Letter from the Governors

14th July, 2020

Dear Parents and carers,

As we reach the end of this very unusual school term, I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks to the whole school community for pulling together during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Firstly, I would like to offer a heartfelt thanks to Ms Paalanen for leading the school with such care and clarity during these difficult few months. The wellbeing of our school community has been her top priority throughout the Covid-19 outbreak and she has needed to make important decisions based upon rapidly changing information and guidance, particularly during the peak of the pandemic and through the recent phased re-opening of the school. At no point has the school been fully closed and Ms Paalanen, with the support of the Senior Leadership Team, has managed the onsite provision for children of key workers while also needing to update and reassure parents, children and staff about the ongoing situation. I have been in frequent contact with her during these weeks and months and I know how relentlessly hard she has worked to ensure that safe decisions have been made for our school community at every point in line with the Government guidance. I cannot think of more difficult circumstances in which to become an Acting Headteacher so I’m pleased to let you know that Ms Paalanen has agreed to continue in this role until the end of the Autumn Term while we recruit a new Headteacher to commence in January 2021. Thank you, Ms Paalanen, for everything you have done to keep us safe during the last four months – we are very lucky to have you as our Acting Headteacher.

It goes without saying that we have only been able to keep the school open and provide continuing education for our children through the hard work and commitment from our staff team. I would like to say a huge thank you to them all as they have worked incredibly hard to provide the home learning materials for children during the period of lockdown as well as ensuring that the school could stay open for children of key workers and now, during the phased re-opening for nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6. We have been able to keep our school safe and clean due to the care of our office and facilities staff who have been in every day to open the site and ensure that staff and children in school have had a clean and safe environment. Thank you all for your hard work and commitment, you are an incredible team.

I know that the recent months have been challenging for families and I would like to recognise the hard work of parents and carers in trying to support and supervise children’s learning while at home. It has been an anxious time for parents and carers, many of whom may have needed to shield or isolate while also balancing their own worries about Coronavirus with the usual demands of family life. Many families have been maintaining employment under difficult and uncertain circumstances or working entirely from home while also trying to support children with learning.

Despite these challenges, I have seen on social media and heard from staff at school how parents have been able to support children’s learning and I’d like to reassure you that all children, whatever their experiences have been, will be helped to transition back into school in September.

The end of the Summer Term often means that we need to say ‘goodbye’ to staff who are leaving Central. Leaving us this term are Mrs Holmes, Learning Mentor, who is retiring after fifteen years at the school. Thank you, Mrs Holmes for all the support you have offered to children and families over the years, including my own family. I hope you have the opportunity to relax now after an eventful final few months at school. Also leaving is Ms Aissaoui one of our Reception teachers, Ms Champion, our dance teacher and Ms Dos Santos who has recently qualified as a teacher. We are also saying goodbye to Ms Cobb who is leaving for a period of maternity leave. Thank you to you all for the contributions you have made to the life of our school, you will be missed! Finally, we are saying farewell to all of our Year 6 children who are leaving for secondary school at the end of this term. I expect that for some Year 6 children the end to your time at Central has been strange and not what you imagined or hoped for, but exciting times lie ahead for you all, I’m sure. Good luck!

As you will be aware, the Government is expecting that all children will return to school full-time from September. Ms Paalanen, Mrs Beresford-Perry and I hosted a webinar this week to talk through the full re-opening of the school, the Recovery Curriculum and the changes we have had to make to the school day to ensure that we are fully compliant with the Government’s guidance and the local risk assessment information. All parents and carers have received an e-mailed version of the webinar presentation, and an information pack about returning to school in September with more information about the school re-opening has been uploaded to the school website. Please continue to check the website for further information during the summer.

As we look ahead to the summer holidays I would like to end by once again thanking you all for supporting the children at our school through the challenges of the recent months. I look forwards to working together with you again next term and I wish you all a safe and restful holiday.

Very best wishes,

Kay Richards & the Governing Body

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