Dear parents and carers,

Before I begin, I do hope that as lockdown continues to be eased my message still finds you and all of your families safe and well. I hope, also, you may have had the chance to read our final Celebrations Newsletter from Mrs Shilling, Miss Wilson and the Teaching and Learning Team. It has been an immense piece of work to continue through lockdown, and I am incredibly grateful to them for all of their efforts. I hope that you will feel as passionately as I do, that everything you have seen in those newsletters has been a very neat and perfect encapsulation of everything that our Trust stands for, both in and out the classroom, and in and out of school. The next newsletter you will receive will be back to the “old days” of the Pillars of Excellence Newsletter at the end of this term.

You will all doubtless have seen the Department for Education’s guidance on how schools should re-open to all students full-time in September, released to the general public at the same time yesterday as Headteachers saw it for the first time; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools

As you already know, the guidance that remains in place until September has allowed us to welcome back significant numbers of young people at City View Pre-School and Nursery, The Canterbury Primary School and The Canterbury Academy. In addition to the groups of Key Worker and vulnerable children that already existed, it has been an absolute pleasure to gradually see more numbers return to campus, seeing more smiles and hearing the much missed sound of young people laughing and enjoying themselves gradually but surely increase in volume! I know I can speak on behalf of all my colleagues across the Trust, when I say we have missed our face to face interactions with your children, our students, so very much.

For those of you that may have read some or all of the guidance, you will see that there is much to wade through and I am sure you will have many questions as to how things will work. As I have said on several occasions previously, I hope that you will still respect that I can make no guarantees of complete safety from COVID. But I can continue to assure you that we will take all reasonable steps to mitigate the risk that we shall all face to an acceptable level. I hope you will have felt assured by the COVID secure and compliancy documentation available on our website.

In the main, today, I write to thank you again for your unwavering support and the absolutely integral role that you continue to play as parents and carers across our Trust community in supporting us as we edge back towards a new normal in our schools. The time frame within which we have to plan for September is tight, but we are resolute in our determination to get things as right as possible, as quickly as possible and as safely as possible. Your feedback at every stage of our gradual and phased re-opening has been crucial in shaping our thinking, and we wish for this to continue as we move into what we hope may be the final phase of re-opening now for all students in September. There are still nearly two months before the start of next academic year and much can change, as we have seen most recently in Leicester. We shall live with this virus for many, many months to come. We must and shall, as always, proceed carefully, methodically and calmly; gathering as much intelligence, feedback, information and guidance along the way as possible.  

With all of that said I also write to thank you for your patience. Our leadership groups across the Trust are in possession of the guidance and have begun to carefully plan their way through it. Meetings will continue next week and although it is impossible to give an exact time frame, it is my hope that each of our Heads of School will have written to parents with a clearer plan and details for the total re-opening of our schools in the next two weeks, including expectations around school uniform and other detail, certainly in advance of the summer holidays. I shall personally, of course, continue to update you as and when appropriate.

Alongside those communications, we shall also make you aware of the provision we will offer through the summer holidays across our Trust. Although schools have been guided by the DfE to close to all students over the summer break, our Trust is determined to still offer a provision through our Youth, Community and Extended Services Team. In light of yesterday’s most recent guidance, Adam Fairbrass, who directs that particular pillar, is currently in the process of finalising staffing and provision, so that we can write to you and our young people in the next week or so with details of what that offer may look like.

So, as our Trust community has done throughout this situation, we shall keep calm and carry on. There remains guidance in place for schools and parents until September, replaced then by the new DfE guidance above. We shall continue to face the challenges that COVID presents us together as a Trust team of students, parents, carers and staff; working through them sensitively, objectively and always with the very best and safest interests of all of our families in mind.

My very best wishes remain with you and all of your families,

Jon Watson
Trust Executive Principal