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Bracknell Forest schools – January return information

Girl in school wearing a face mask

The council is providing further clarity on the return of pupils to the borough’s schools in January following the education secretary’s announcement on 30 December.

Week starting 4 January 2021

Primary schools

Some Bracknell Forest primary schools have planned inset days for the week starting 4 January 2021. Parents should check directly with their child’s school for the exact return date.

Given developments over the weekend, some Bracknell Forest primary schools may have to offer remote learning if they are unable to open for operational reasons. In this case, parents will be contacted by the schools directly.

Where normal full opening is not possible our schools will prioritise face-to-face provision on site for those children deemed vulnerable (have a social worker or EHCP) and those whose parents/ carers are critical workers.

Currently the schools that will only be offering this provision are:

  • College Town Primary School
  • Birch Hill Primary School
  • Harmans Water Primary School
  • Holly Spring Primary School
  • Sandy Lane Primary School
  • Great Hollands Primary School
  • Wildridings Primary School

Parents/ carers with children at other primary schools are advised to check their child’s school website or look out for direct email updates from their school.

Secondary schools

Secondary schools will:

  • focus on the rollout of testing to help find asymptomatic cases once pupils return for face-to-face learning
  • provide face-to-face education for vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers
  • prioritise resources for remote education for exam year groups (years 11 and 13) in line with what they would receive in class
  • provide non-exam year groups (years 7 to 10 and year 12) with remote learning where resources permit - resources could include online learning packs and guides rather than virtual lessons and each school will provide as much as they can within teaching and support resources and capacity available

Vocational exams will continue as planned.

Week starting 11 January 2021

In the week starting 11 January:

  • exam year pupils (year 11 and 13) will return to school for face-to-face learning
  • secondary schools will start testing - they will prioritise staff and exam year pupils (year 11 and 13)
  • non-exam year groups (years 7 to 10 and year 12) will be provided with remote learning

Week starting 18 January 2021

In the week starting 18 January:

  • non-exam year groups (years 7 to 10 and year 12) return to school for face-to-face learning
  • testing will be rolled out for non-exam year groups

Clinically extremely vulnerable children

All children should return to school as per the dates above unless they are designated as clinically extremely vulnerable. Proof should be provided to the child’s school in the form of a medical letter or previous shielding letter.

Children who are clinically extremely vulnerable will be support by the relevant school with remote learning resources. 

Parents and carers who are clinically extremely vulnerable should speak to their child’s school regarding pick-up and drop-off arrangements and any other support that may be needed.

Cllr Gareth Barnard, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Learning, said:

“The government’s announcement yesterday made it clear that children should return for face-to-face learning as soon as practically possible.

“For Bracknell Forest primary schools that means children return to the classroom from 4 January. There is a staggered return to secondary school for face-to-face learning in January to allow for testing to be set up and rolled out. During this time, online learning will be made available in various forms.

“I’d like to reiterate that it’s really important for children’s intellectual and social education that they go to school and it’s also important for their mental health and wellbeing. For those reasons, I’m urging everyone with school aged children to make sure they go to school as per the advised dates unless they are designated as clinically extremely vulnerable, have COVID-19 symptoms, live with someone who has symptoms or have been told to self-isolate.

“This is yet another challenge for our schools in a very uncertain time; however, I’m confident that all our schools will rise to the challenge and provide the emotional, social and academic education our children need to thrive and develop.

“I would urge parents and carers to speak directly to their child’s school if they have concerns or enquiries so that these can be looked in to and appropriate advice and reassurance can be provided.”

Information about the government’s announcement can be found on GOV.UK - School contingency plans to be implemented as cases rise.