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February 23, 2021

Tuesday 23rd February 2021 – Return to school for ALL pupils :)

Filed under: Whole School @ 11:44 am

Dear Parents/Carers,

I am writing to you to set out in greater detail the easing of restrictions on face-to-face teaching that was announced yesterday evening.

When the Prime Minister announced this latest lockdown in early January, he was clear he would review the situation in mid-February and that the outcome of this review would be dependent upon the most vulnerable people being offered the first dose of the vaccine by 15th February, meaning they should have developed some immunity from the virus by about three weeks later, that is by 8th March.

Thanks to the monumental efforts of the NHS, volunteers and scientists, the Government has achieved this target and, following an in-depth analysis of the virus prevalence data, and the data on NHS capacity, both suggest that infection rates have fallen across all ages, including in children and young people.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister set out the next phase of the Government’s response to COVID-19, including where restrictions on attendance at schools can be lifted. The decision to ease restrictions has been made on the balance of risk to public health and educational considerations. (Video message from Mr. Campbell)

The Government has determined that now is the right time to re-engage all children in full-time education, back in schools and settings with the friends and adults they have missed over the past two months. As a result, ALL schools, colleges and further education settings will be open for ALL children from Monday 8th March. Wraparound childcare, including childminders, will also allow attendance for eligible children.

School attendance will be mandatory for all pupils.

Schools are being asked to communicate expectations about regular attendance to pupils and parents and encourage parents to inform the school of any pupils at risk of disengagement or who feel overly anxious about returning.  This will allow the school time to develop plans to help re-engage and support them.

Rapid testing

Rapid testing will continue to remain a vital part of the Government’s plan to suppress this virus in education and childcare settings and across society. This sort of testing means that asymptomatic people who might otherwise continue to attend educational settings are identified and self-isolate.

Primary school staff will continue to take two rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) tests each week at home to identify positive cases more quickly and break the chains of transmission.

Safety measures

The return to on-site face to face teaching for all pupils will be supported by a range of actions and measures designed to help minimise the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Department for Education has worked closely with Public Health England to develop and refresh the system of controls it deems essential to reduce the risk of transmission in education and childcare settings, based on scientific rationale. The system of controls supports schools to assess and implement measures to mitigate risk, including ventilating occupied spaces, staggering breaks/lunches, enhancing cleaning and retaining bubbles of pupils.

Over the next few days, I will be looking through the guidance (link below) and updating the schools COVID-19 risk assessment to ensure that pupil and staff’s safety and well-being remains a top priority. Upon completion, I will share with all parents/staff, so you are clear about the school’s measures to minimise the risk.

We will be asking pupils, parents and staff to continue to do everything they can to adhere to these measures because they must be implemented well and consistently.

Schools coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance (

Over the next two weeks, the staff at Bishop’s Waltham Junior will begin planning for the successful return of all pupils.  We will continue to communicate with you throughout this period.

I’m delighted that we will welcome back all pupils to school on the 8th March and would once again like to thank all parents/carers for the support they have given to the school during this difficult time.

Please do get in touch if you have any questions/queries.

Kind regards,

Darren Campbell 


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