School Closure - Update Number 24

Dear Parents/ Carers,

My last communication to parents was on 23 March of this year and that now seems to be a lifetime ago! The lockdown had been set in motion and we were becoming accustomed to a more restricted style of life, alongside the school closure for all but a few designated pupils. At least now we are able to see some light at the end of the tunnel, with more people being able to go back to work and an increasing number of children able to resume their schooling, albeit in a format, far removed from what they have experienced in more ‘normal’ times.

While the school governors have not been in a position to make their standard school visits and liaise face-to-face with staff, we have still maintained our responsibilities, as set out by central government, relying on digital forms of communication as well as the telephone. The Full Governing Body met on Thursday of last week (courtesy of Zoom) with a slimmed down agenda to focus on the report from the Head and the Leadership Team on developments in the school both prior to the lockdown and since. It is symptomatic of the commitment of staff at Bannockburn that the report was in printed form rather than just orally delivered, a measure of the extent to which staff are willing to go the extra mile in the process of school appraisal. It was especially interesting at this meeting to get the perspectives of parent governors on how they felt their children were coping with the current situation, highlighting their adaptability and their appreciation of the support provided for home learning through work-packs and feedback.

One of our parent governors, Briget Fosang, made this glowing tribute to staff in an email, following up the governor meeting:

I would like to extend my regards and appreciation to all staff. During these past few months of home schooling, …………….. the abundant resources that have been uploaded onto the school website, have been a life saver! The detail in which teachers have gone into in order to cover the curriculum the best way they can has been phenomenal. In addition, also including active tasks and activities to support the children's health and wellbeing, just shines a light on Bannockburn's real care and support for families in their entirety.

The quality of the school’s pastoral care was emphasised by all the parents, a theme which has been a hallmark of the school over many years.

Our Pay and Strategy committee (which consists of the chairs of all the governor committees plus the Headteacher) met in early June to approve the risk assessment/planning document drafted by the school team as a prelude to opening the doors to more pupils. This document, which drew on advice from a variety of sources, including the government and the local authority, meticulously details all the steps taken to minimise risk and to make the school environment, both human and physical, as safe as possible. Needless to say, governors were duly impressed by the rigour and comprehensiveness of the document, which also provides a secure basis for forward planning to next term and the new academic year.

In addition to these meetings, the Vice-Chair, Sue Kimmins, and I have been attending all the on-line briefing meetings for staff, prior to working on site and this has given us another perspective on how the school is managing the process of opening its doors to welcome more children. All governors have continued to receive the weekly briefing notes for staff, a key line of communication for the school community, both before and after lockdown and weekly newsletters from the National Governance Association (to which Bannockburn subscribes) provides us with insights into the ever-changing national scene. So these may be exceptional times, but governors continue to have a role to play in promoting the wellbeing of the school and do so with an immense sense of gratitude to staff and their senior leadership team for responding to the crisis with a vast fund of energy, goodwill and patience and above all with a profound concern for the safety and welfare of the school community.

Robert Young

Chair of Governors , Bannockburn Primary School