Planned re-opening date revealed for one of Doncaster's biggest schools

One of Doncaster’s biggest schools has confirmed it plans to re-open from the middle of June.

By David Kessen
Friday, 22nd May 2020, 5:55 pm

Hall Cross School is looking to take its first steps toward re-opening since schools closed due to the coronavirus outbreak by running lessons for its year 12 pupils on June 15.

Hayfield, at Auckley, is provisionally looking at a similar timescale.

Under the plans at Hall Cross, each pupil will receive two hours contact time per subject during the week. They will continue to receive online learning.

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L-r Harry Sadozi, Amy Bailey, Jacob Walsh and Katie Wells, all 15, pictured. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP-17-09-19-HallCross-4

The maximum class size will be 12 pupils, with a four square metre area around each pupil.

The following week, the year 12s will be in school on the Monday and Tuesday, with year 10 pupils returning for the first time on the Wednesday, June 24, and the Thursday, and Friday.

Headteacher Simon Swain said he supported the Government’s aim to get pupils back to school, and also understood Mayor Ros Jones’ concerns about not having enough Doncaster specific information for her to make a call on giving schools official advice on whether to re-open.

He said: “Part of it is the students’ emotional well-being, to be able to see their friends and talk to them and to start to get back to normal.

Jayne Gaunt, Principal, pictured with Paige Martin, 18, of Intake, who is heading into Primary school teaching and Riannon Taylor, 18, also of Intake, who is going into Nursing. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP-15-08-19-Alevel-OutwoodAcademyDanum-1

“We will make sure social distancing is maintained, and there will be seating outside for lunchtimes. If they are staying on site at lunchtime they can sit in groups two metre separated.

“We will only be using the upper school. There is an element of helping them to feel comfortable about coming to school again.

“We have consulted staff, students and parents. If parents feel it is not safe that is their prerogative, but I would reassure them that all necessary precautions are being put in place.

“We’re taking a very measured approach. Our upper school holds 1,000, but at any one time we will have only 150 on site.

“Parents have been very supportive.”

He said DFE guidelines said personal protective equipment was not necessary, but staff and pupils would be free to use it if they wished. Hand sanitiser would be available at every classroom

Pupils from other year groups will continue to be taught online.

Some schools are still to make a decision.

Outwood Grange Academies Trust, which runs the Danum and Adwick academies, said it had started planning, and schools would work at their own pace.

A spokesperson said: “At Outwood, we are working hard to ensure we are ready to open our schools when the time is right to do so and that when open we remain as safe as possible.

“We have taken extensive steps to plan for all of our primary and secondary academies reopening, including Outwood Academy Danum and Outwood Academy Adwick, providing them each with a framework to work within at their own pace depending on their own circumstances.”

The schools says if the government gives assent to further open schools, and if each school successfully completes their risk assessment, then schools would step up efforts to get more vulnerable children in shools and stablise the numbers of critical worker children from June 1, so they were clear on the number of children on site at any one time.

Monday June 8 would be a staff training day to ensure they knew how to operate safely in school.

And from Tuesday June 9, the aim would be to be in a position to welcome back small groups of students for some face-to-face academic reviews – maybe some teaching.

Jayne Gaunt, principal at Danum, wrote to parents today to expain that position and asked them to complete an online survey to indicate if their children would come to school – to give them a better idea of numbers.

She said: “My absolute priority moving forward is to ensure that we only open to more students if and when it is safe to do so. I am working with my team to carry out a robust risk assessment to inform my decisionmaking.

“At this point, I would like to make it very clear that my expectation, in line with government guidance, is that this will be phased with very small numbers in the academy at any one time. This will be for year 10 and 12 only for the summer term, alongside our critical worker and vulnerable children provision. All other year groups will continue with their online learning and will not be in school.

WThis will not be normal school provision and will be part-time and operate in line with social distancing measures, and in line with the government guidance. This provision will allow some face to face contact with students in year 10 and 12 to compliment their online learning to help progress their studies further during the summer term.”

Hayfield school has made June 15 a provisional return date, and has written to parents to tell them that this week.

Headteacher Lisa Fox said if evidence does not support a return to school then it would be delayed.

She wrote: “I want to be very clear that the school does not want to put students, staff and their families at risk. This means all of us playing our part to keep ourselves and others protected. To that end we are in the process of risk assessing and planning the return of Year 10 in mid-June.”