Dorset schools welcome back more children

DORSET Council has been working with schools and early years providers to help them welcome back more pupils from reception, Year 1, Year 6 as well as three and four year olds this week.

Key workers’ children and vulnerable pupils who are not in these year groups can still attend childcare and school.

Wider opening, which began this week, depends on arrangements at individual schools and childcare settings. This week about 75% of Dorset schools are welcoming more pupils into reception and Year 1 and about 50% are welcoming more students into Year 6.

This will increase over time as some schools are opening in a phased way starting with younger pupils.

Secondary and upper schools in Dorset are also working on plans to hold some face-to-face sessions for Year 10 and Year 12 students from June 15. Schools are contacting parents and carers to discuss arrangements.

Dorset schools and childcare settings have carried out risk assessments and are following guidance from Dorset Council and the Department for Education. Parents and carers can choose whether to send their children to school.

Arrangements will vary, as what is needed in a small primary will be very different from a large secondary or upper school. Classes will potentially be very different, as measures have been put in place to help keep children and staff as safe as possible.

Special Schools are working with families individually to agree when it is safe for each pupil to return to school. Children and young people who are shielding because they are considered clinically vulnerable should continue to shield and should not return to school.

Childcare providers, such as pre-schools, nurseries and registered childminders, may need to limit the number of children they can take. Arrangements will vary as what is needed in a childminder’s home will be very different to a larger nursery or pre-school.

Some providers may stay closed if they cannot open safely. If your usual provider cannot look after your child, you can search for open childcare providers on Dorset Council’s Family Information Directory.

Cllr Andrew Parry, Dorset Council portfolio holder for Children, Education and Early Help, said: “I would like to thank our schools and childcare providers for the work they have done to welcome back more children.

“I would also like to recognise their service during the pandemic, as schools and many childcare providers have been open throughout for the children of key workers and vulnerable children.”

School and childcare providers will keep parents and carers informed of the latest arrangements. Here is the latest government guidance for parents and carers.

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