Cambridge Primary Education Trust leader issues update on phased return of pupils

Cambridge Primary Education Trust (CPET), which comprises Hatton Park Primary School, Histon & Impington Infant School, Histon & Impington Junior School, Somersham Primary School and Trumpington Park Primary School, has issued an update on the phased return of children of over 300 children to its schools since 8th June.

Lesley Birch, CEO/Executive Principal at the Trust, spoke about the ‘re-opening’ of CPET schools and paid tribute to their “amazing staff” and “absolutely fantastic children”. “In the last week we have welcomed back more children to CPET schools via a phased return approach, as well as continuing home learning for children who have not returned and remain at home. At the highest point we had 329 children across our schools, each allocated a ‘social bubble’ with a teacher and teaching assistant overseeing that bubble.

“Firstly, I would like to say a big thank you to all our amazing staff who have supported our children and families, not just over the past week, but throughout the period of lockdown. It has been an extremely difficult and challenging time for everyone but their hard work, commitment, dedication, resilience and ongoing good humour has been quite remarkable. What has also been remarkable is the messages of support we have had from parents and carers. Our children have been absolutely fantastic and we are so very proud of them all.”

Ms Birch said that CPET had left, and would continue to leave, no stone unturned in our attempts to create a safe environment for all in their schools. “The Trust, and all our schools, have developed a robust risk assessment that has been personalised for each school,” she explained. “All of our schools have prepared their environments and updated their health and safety arrangements to ensure that two metre social distancing can be adhered to. All schools have also revised their cleaning arrangements and purchased PPE and additional cleaning products. The Trust has co-ordinated the central purchasing of PPE and cleaning products. All schools have ensured that their staff are familiar with all new procedures and protocols.”

Those children in school are receiving a focused curriculum which includes the core subjects as well as Personal Social Health Education (PSHE) and PE. For those children who have yet to return to school, teachers have been providing work and having regular conversations with children and families. “We very much hope that we will soon be able to see larger numbers of children returning to our schools, but this will only be the case when we have further updates to the government guidelines and, as a Trust, we deem it safe to do so following ongoing risk assessments,” Mrs Birch said. “In the meantime, and in line with current guidance, we will continue to follow our existing course until the end of the summer term. This will include immediately isolating anyone (pupil or staff member) experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 and taking action with other members of our ‘bubbles’ in line with government guidance.”

Mrs Birch said that Trust schools were available to listen to concerns that parents and carers have regarding the further opening of schools. “We are mindful that the picture is ever-changing, and last week the Prime Minister announced that the government would be doing a ‘huge amount of catch-up for pupils over the summer’. As a Trust, we will reflect on any firm plans which are announced and update our communities thereafter. We also recognise the new guidance published on Monday that primary schools with extra capacity can welcome back pupils from any year groups. We will look to bring more children back where possible, but are also rolling out Teams to ensure more virtual communication.”

She added: “We know that our communities are eager to know whether or not our schools will be back to ‘normal’ in September. Naturally, we all desperately miss the ‘buzz’ of day-to-day school life as we know it, but we appreciate continued patience and understanding on this matter. It is not easy for any for us. However, the protection of our pupils, colleagues and their families is the single most important priority for the Trust.”