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To thinks something like this would be a good option for schools going forward?

(211 Posts)
Notplannedforthis Thu 21-May-20 13:46:27

Like most on Mumsnet, the topic of Covid and schools has been on my mind recently.

Whilst suffering from another night of insomnia, I was musing about how we could reopen schools safely and came up with the below plan.

Have any of you been sat at home thinking "If I was in charge, this is how I'd do it" If so, what suggestions have you come up with?

My thoughts:

1. Schools don't go back until September.

2. All of the young and fit TAs and some of the teachers are allocated the job of providing childcare for key workers children that can’t manage with them at home, AND for people who will lose their jobs if not at work (they'll need to provide evidence for this). No rota system for staff. Their usual working hours.

3. Companies must be told that if their employees CAN work from home, they SHOULD get them the equipment to do so, and should allow FLEXIBLE WORKING where possible. It’s bloody hard trying to work from home with kids and allowances need to be made for this.

4. All teachers not working in the hubs are responsible for providing quality home learning for those at home. They can fit their hours in flexibly around their own children, but work their usual number of hours where possible, doing things such as:

-filming themselves teaching lessons (if more than one teacher for a year they should communicate and divide up lessons for the year rather than for the class)
-having a system where kids can submit work and have feedback
-posting work packs for children with no online access (with stamped addressed envelopes so work can be returned for marking)
-ringing children and parents to see if they’re managing to access work etc.

5. Parents will be advised that all work provided is optional. So kids have access to high quality home education, but there’s no pressure.

6. Senior leadership teams in schools have the time from now until September to come up with how they will manage a September return for ALL children with some degree of social distancing. This is likely to involve using playing fields or even land on different sites to put up porta cabin classrooms and hiring more staff. I appreciate this will be an extremely challenging task but having observed the mammoth effort and innovative solutions that NHS leaders have come up with to change their working over the past 3 months, I believe it can be done. Not perfect, but workable. The NHS have managed by doing things including: -people who have left the profession returning – staff changing their roles -students qualifying early. Needless to say this will require a large injection of cash from the government who will HAVE TO SUPPORT TEACHING LEADERS to do this.

7. When schools go back in September, children will go back to the year that they were already in.

8. New reception starters start in January, year 6 kids move up in January, new university entrants start in January.

9. The country changes permanently from a Sept-Aug school year to a Jan-Dec school year, but keeps the age cut off date as is. Meaning the age of reception children will change from ‘4-5’ to ‘4yrs4months to 5years4months’ which is much more sensible anyway as there's plenty of evidence that starting school at JUST turned 4 is detrimental.

10. Teachers who will need to shield for the long term work with Oak Academy to continue quality home learning for children who need to shield long term.

SachaStark Thu 21-May-20 13:57:15

I think you’ve got some very interesting ideas here, though some would not be workable. It also seems to be very primary-school centric, what would be your plan for GCSE and A Level exams, and teaching across GCSE option subjects? I do think it’s interesting hearing what other people’s ideal plans would be!

Especially like the suggestion for a large cash investment from the government... what we wouldn’t give for enough money for pens in every classroom! I was hoping that the pandemic might highlight to the public how outrageously underfunded schools are.

Also, even in an absolutely ideal world, it still wouldn’t be possible to have video lessons go ahead, for many, many schools, due to the safeguarding of both students and teachers, before we even get to the tech issues.

myself2020 Thu 21-May-20 14:00:21

Nice idea, but impossible. Our - very dynamic - independent school
just about managed to get up portacabins etc at a new side with a 16 week time line. and they had loads of parent help, a very dynamic management, huge grounds and money.
impossible for the average state school who have hardly any of thesr

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Thu 21-May-20 14:03:18

Not to put a spanner in the works but we discussed keeping a portakabin that has been in place for a few years. The contract has run out. Would cost upwards of £10K and need planning permission, even though it is on the school playing field.

The logistics of getting kids in is huge. You can safely get 10 kids on a normal sized bus. We have nearly 500 to transport😱

Notplannedforthis Thu 21-May-20 14:04:35

Yes, I expected some of my ideas may be a tad unrealistic on the money front. I may need that magic money tree.

Exams already cancelled for this year. Next year's year 11s and 13s would have exams later, to fit in with the new Jan-Dec school year and would have an extra term in their current year, to make up the lost time.

Waxonwaxoff0 Thu 21-May-20 14:06:21

I actually really like this idea but it would be very costly.

LaurieFairyCake Thu 21-May-20 14:06:27

Unfortunately about 700-800 kids travel by London bus to school

And the government will never pay for this (7). It would cost so much money for portacabins etc

There just isn't the room even using the small playing field to properly socially distanced a secondary school of 1400 pupils

SachaStark Thu 21-May-20 14:08:27

Ah, trouble with moving the exams to a later date, is that they are marked by normal teachers, who use the spare time as school is winding down towards summer, and during the first weeks of he summer holidays. If the exams were later, say, in September/October, there would be nobody available to mark them! Autumn term is the busiest term of the year.

thatonehasalittlecar Thu 21-May-20 14:08:32

Who’s going to pay for the extra 4+ months of nursery for all those reception starters?

LaurieFairyCake Thu 21-May-20 14:09:16

The only option the government is taking is to release constant drip drip stories to the media saying it's safe hmm

Todays was a 'study' saying health workers weren't more at risk from Covid - which anyone with half an ounce of common sense knows can't be true

This is so they don't have to compensate their families sad - putting all the risks back into health care workers and teachers

They will and are just saying it's safe and that anyone who kicks up a fuss is 'lazy' or a 'coward'

JassyRadlett Thu 21-May-20 14:10:59

What’s your plan for nurseries and childcare settings? Including incoming children?

LetsGoFlyAKiteee Thu 21-May-20 14:11:37

Only problem with schools going back into the same year is nursery children due to start in September. We have 45 due to leave and until they leave none of the other children can move up a class as currently no babies etc be stuck for another 4 months in the same room..that and parents having to pay more in fees.
That's why glad it hasnt been actual suggestion. Wouldn't work.

lyralalala Thu 21-May-20 14:12:04

Are there enough portakabins in the country for every school to have as many as they need?

Even without the cost and logistics I don't think there are. Then you'd still have to work out handwashing and toilet facilities for the kids in the portakabins.

The country changes permanently from a Sept-Aug school year to a Jan-Dec school year, but keeps the age cut off date as is. Meaning the age of reception children will change from ‘4-5’ to ‘4yrs4months to 5years4months’ which is much more sensible anyway as there's plenty of evidence that starting school at JUST turned 4 is detrimental.

That would be impossible to implement so quickly, if ever. School term dates affect nurseries, colleges and universities too. As well as term-time employment contracts.

Universities with international students wouldn't want to get out of sync with the way other countries do dates.

Appuskidu Thu 21-May-20 14:17:23

Some sensible ideas here but the government would never fund 6) and 7/8 can’t happen.

8.New reception starters start in January, year 6 kids move up in January, new university entrants start in January.

We are an infant school with 9 classrooms and fte teachers. If we open in September keeping existing children back, where would we put all of the y2 children in January, when the new reception start?

nedtherobbot Thu 21-May-20 14:18:30

Dd's academy Trust are struggling to get porta cabins for their new build school which is not going to be ready for September. The have a full intake for the initial reception year and a nursery class almost at the upper limit for. To find for the other 7 schools in time would probably not be possible and I don't think they would have the space for them even if they were given permission to over spill onto land close by.

Her school would also need double the number of teachers if they are going to keep class sizes small. They are a popular school so could probably find enough staff wanting to work there but would need their funding doubled to pay them. All the children would need regular contact with a teacher so it wouldn't be appropriate to expect TAs to step up completely into the role either.

Witchcraftandhokum Thu 21-May-20 14:19:50

I'm a teacher, I'm also in charge of safeguarding. I'm desperate to get back to my kids. I'm questioning how I can keep kids safe when I can't see them. Today I've cried at an email from a kid. I also haven't seen a member of my family since March.

I'm also young-ish and childless so by your plan in September I could be back in school with kids. The bottom line for me is it will be safe enough for me to be in a classroom with kids when it's safe enough to visit my parents.

FourTeaFallOut Thu 21-May-20 14:25:07

Maybe they could invent self cleaning porta-cabins classes that are like those self cleaning toilets? grin

MyNameHasBeenTaken Thu 21-May-20 14:25:34

Some good points. Some awful.
Printed work sheets would be perfect for my dd (y2)
But a weekly phone call? Would drive me insane as dd is a nightmare if I am on the phone.
The optional fun zooms have worked well for her.

Hingeandbracket Thu 21-May-20 14:26:57

YABVU for having being infected with "going forward"

JassyRadlett Thu 21-May-20 14:30:30

The bottom line for me is it will be safe enough for me to be in a classroom with kids when it's safe enough to visit my parents.

Safe for whom? The relative risks to children, you and your parents are each going to be very different, and penalising children (lowest risk) based on the potential impacts on the highest risk group is only acceptable in the absence of alternatives.

It is shit that it may be safe enough to have children back in classrooms while not yet safe enough to expand into socialising with vulnerable people (or socialising at all).

I feel your pain, I won’t get to see my family until the borders in our respective countries and transit countries open and travel normalises; previously I was supposed to see them at Easter. It’s hard and heartbreaking. But ultimately necessary.

RedskyAtnight Thu 21-May-20 14:32:08

Moving the academic year start to January will be awful for current Year 11s and 13s (if they are going onto further study). They already have 6 months of doing nothing; what are they meant to do for another 4?

Witchcraftandhokum Thu 21-May-20 14:38:14

jessyradlett safer for everyone. We have no conclusive evidence, about children being able to spread the virus, or any conclusive information about kawasaki disease.

If I'm able to be in a classroom with kids who are children of Key workers I need to be sure I'm not asymptomatic and spreading it to them or they are spreading it to me.

The government are advising us to wear face masks in shops but not in classrooms.

strugglingwithdeciding Thu 21-May-20 14:44:19

How would you hold back a year where would the new reception kids go or would you say they get held back ? What about college next year no first years ? Then a few years later no universities?

CommanderShepard Thu 21-May-20 14:46:50

Where are you getting these young fit TAs from?

strugglingwithdeciding Thu 21-May-20 14:48:17

Plus year 6 are mostly ready to move up and are beyond primary .
We have to hope by September things are looking more normal and if numbers are low kids can go back as before .
My year 10 will have to do exams worse case have another year of teacher assessments if they miss to much ,scrap Sats for a year ( or forever ) and most of the other years can potentially catch up

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