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Coronavirus Kent: Head teacher of St Peter's Church of England Primary School lays out drastic plan for school's reopening

A school has proposed teaching some children for just one-and-a-half hours a day and cancelling playtime when it welcomes pupils back next month.

St Peter's Church of England Primary School in Aylesford shared its draft plan as the Government works towards schools opening for reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils on June 1.

Head teacher Jim Holditch outside St Peter's Church of England Primary School in AylesfordPicture: Andy Jones
Head teacher Jim Holditch outside St Peter's Church of England Primary School in AylesfordPicture: Andy Jones

In a letter to parents, head teacher Jim Holditch said "very few" of them seem willing to send their offspring to school during the pandemic and he understood their anxiety.

He laid out a plan to try and ensure children cannot spread the virus among themselves or take it home.

Mr Holditch said: "It serves little if this school reopens and the children remain well, but through them the virus is spread across our community and into your homes.

"I want all of the children here to grow up with the love and support of their parents to sustain them."

Reception and Year 1 classes will be split into three groups of eight, with each being taught literacy and numeracy for an hour-and-a-half each day.

St Peter's Church of England Primary School on Mount Pleasant Road, Aylesford, plans to reopen on June 1, but under drastic measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus Picture: GOOGLE STREET VIEW
St Peter's Church of England Primary School on Mount Pleasant Road, Aylesford, plans to reopen on June 1, but under drastic measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus Picture: GOOGLE STREET VIEW

After one group leaves a classroom, the toilet and all the used equipment will be cleaned before the next group arrives, with a deep clean at the end of every day.

Mr Holditch explained: "Doing this means that you can be assured that the children are being taught the core fundamentals they require for future learning.

"I entirely agree with the government that the future education of these children is being adversely affected by missing out on specialist teaching of phonics, literacy and mathematics."

Each child will also have their own set of stationery and restricting the curriculum to subjects which can be taught while pupils sit at desks or on carpets will minimise what needs to be cleaned.

"I cannot eliminate the risk, I can only reduce it..."

The head went on: "Because there is no playtime, we are also restricting the opportunity the children have to interact with each other. Again, it is pointless to suggest that four to six-year-olds can go onto a playground and not touch each other, it would happen."

He reiterated that this was a draft plan, stressing there is no 'right' way to proceed.

He said: "We must be entirely frank and honest, and accept that having the children return to school obviously increases the risk of them contracting the virus.

"The government and local authority have sent me risk assessments which I must complete prior to re-opening. I will do so and I will identify every way possible of minimising the risk to your children.

"But let us all be honest and accept that I cannot eliminate the risk, I can only do all that I can to reduce it."

Mr Holditch's letter, published on Wednesday comes as the boss of a trust which runs a Rochester primary school warned parents that they could face having to home school their children for up to a year until a vaccine for coronavirus is found.

Howard Fisher, head of a Sheppey primary school also wrote to parents, arguing there is no such thing as social distancing in schools, and he would rather children miss a whole year than go back too early.

Heads have been formulating action plans after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Sunday that he hopes schools can reopen for certain ages on June 1, depending on the fall in coronavirus infections.

News from our universities, local primary and secondary schools including Ofsted inspections and league tables can be found here.

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