18 May 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
I hope this letter finds you and your loved ones safe and well.
I would like to update you on our position regarding what you may have heard from the government and in
the media over the last few days about the potential re-opening of schools. As I am sure you will appreciate,
the situation is both complex and fluid, with changes and new guidance appearing daily. This makes
planning very challenging, of course. We all want our children back in school, learning and being with their
friends again. Teachers want to be back doing what they love doing. We all want a return to normality.
However, our priority at school will always be the health, safety and wellbeing of all of our school
community. I will not compromise on this.
The Government has asked that, from 1 June at the earliest, schools provide some face-to-face support for
pupils in year 10 and year 12 to supplement their remote education. Priority groups, including vulnerable
children and children of critical workers who have been eligible to attend throughout school closures, will
continue to be able to attend school, as they are currently. The Government has said that there are
currently no plans to reopen secondary schools for other year groups (Years 7, 8, 9, 11 and 13) before the
summer holidays. We will continue to set online work for those pupils.
The Prime Minister has said that any changes to the current situation will only happen when the five key
tests set by Government justify the changes at the time, including the rate of infection decreasing. It is also
important to understand that the government will only make the final decision on whether to press ahead
with the reopening of schools when it reviews the latest science on May 28, and that if the evidence does
not support this decision at that time, it will be delayed.
However, the final decision on whether to invite pupils back will rest with school. We are beginning to assess
options, but we will not be rushing into any decisions immediately. Any plans for changes will need to be
carefully considered and would be subject to consultation with the Governing Body, staff, unions and
parents. A full and robust risk assessment with Health and Safety experts will be undertaken. If there is any
further opening, significant logistical changes, and therefore time, will be required to make school safe. We
will look at ways of involving the views of parents in the decisions we take.
Local context is also important in this decision. Regionally, the North-West had the highest number of new
cases of COVID-19 last week and Wigan still has a significant number of cases; this increases the need to
proceed with extreme caution. In addition, each school is different and will therefore have different
considerations to take into account. The Deanery has both Year 10 and Year 12 students, unlike any other
secondary school in Wigan. It is also one of the biggest schools in terms of pupil numbers. We have one
main building and cannot distribute pupils around outlying buildings.
Taking all of the above into consideration, it is highly unlikely that pupils in Y10 and 12 will be
returning to school on 1st June. Depending on national and local circumstances, consultation, planning
and risk assessment there may or may not be a phased approach to Y10 and Y12 pupils returning at some
point within the next few weeks. I will write to you again at that point when the picture is clearer. This will
be a long journey back to any kind of normality. If, at any point in the next few weeks, pupils in Year 10 and
12 return, it will not be a return to full timetables or pupils being back in school full-time. It will absolutely
not be ‘business as usual’. In the meantime, pupils in those year groups will continue to be set work by
their teachers online.
Trust is such an important word in our vocabulary. I recognise the trust that parents place in school every
day even in normal circumstances, but especially in the current situation. That trust is precious and I will
never take it for granted. I understand that at the moment things can feel uncertain, unclear and worrying.
Please be assured that we are doing everything we can to plan for the future and to support our pupils.
Thank you for trusting us and for your ongoing support and understanding. You are all in my thoughts and
Mr M Wood
Click here to download the Information for Parents Letter from Wigan Council.