This week was a particularly exciting one for us all – as we began to get more clarity on the plans to bring students back to school. It was really welcome to hear that we will, ultimately, be allowed to bring all of our primary and secondary students back over the next few weeks.
However, even though the news was expected, it was still hard to hear that the medical experts advising the government do not believe that it is safe to bring back students into our kindergartens.
We will be doing everything we can to continue to deliver for our youngest children in the final few weeks of the term – including trying to come up with ways that will allow the children and their families to take part in the wonderful end of term celebrations that are such a fixture of our kindergartens.
While our final plans for bringing back the students who are allowed to return will be dependent on the guidelines that we expect to receive from EDB and the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) early next week, I do want to share with you the principles that all of our schools are working to in shaping our back to school plans:
- We will have plans that ensure the safety of our students and our staff by complying fully with the CHP guidelines
- We will continue to deliver an outstanding learning experience for every single one of our students
- We will be consistent in approach across ESF where it makes sense to do so, but we will make sure that school plans are able to best reflect the needs of their community.
It is really important that we have these principles in place. Of course, safety must be at the absolute heart of everything that we do – keeping your children happy and healthy will always be our first priority. However, we also need to make sure that we are continuing to deliver our world-class ESF education, so that every student successfully makes progress in their learning.
This is, of course, a real challenge for us. Schools are social places – and humans are social animals. So, we need to find a way of bringing students back, keeping them safe, but still allowing us to teach using the methodology that we know is right – and for our students to learn in the way that is most effective for them.
If we are to meet this challenge, we will have to think imaginatively. If we are to stick to the safety guidelines – which of course we will do – it may well be that we don’t have every student in school every day – and that we continue, at least in part, with some kind of online learning during the school week.
The most important thing – in whatever solutions we find – is that we do not disrupt your child’s learning and that they continue to make progress. Every school day is precious – and that is exactly how we intend to treat it.
Work is continuing apace and we hope to finalise our plans as soon as we receive the CHP guidelines. As soon as we do, your school will be in touch with you.
For now, I just want to thank you for your support. These have been a long few weeks and I know that they have been, at times, very difficult. It does feel that some kind of normality is within reach and I know that you, like every single one of us at ESF, cannot wait to have it in your grasp.
Chief Executive Officer