Sugar Hill Primary School

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Sheraton Road, Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, DL5 5NU


Sugar Hill Primary School

'Learning and Growing Together'

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Parents of children in Year 6, Year 1 and Reception

14 May 2020 (by Vicky)

A message and survey for parents of children in Year 6, Reception and Nursery

Dear Parents, carers of Y6, Y1 and Reception                                                      14th May 2020 


What a week it’s been! 

I have spent the week along with the Senior Management Team pouring through Government Guidelines as to how the opening of school, week beginning 1st of June is supposed to work.   

I have discovered that firstly this has not been thought through by someone who has ever been in a school building, let alone taught in one and secondly that they are asking us to implement the impossible. Split corridors down the middle that are less than 2m wide in the first place, teach children in groups of 15 or less, keep children 2m apart from each other at all times, remove all toys from Reception, not allowing the sharing of any equipment, not allowing the groups to mix at any times through the day, have a staggered time to start and end the day, which may not help parents with work and that’s only to name a few. Believe me there are pages and pages!!  

There is very little mention of the fact that this is so hard because at the moment it is not safe to reopen! If it was then the planning would not be so difficult.  

I became a teacher, as did my entire staff, first of all for a love of being with children, wanting to educate children for their future and to ensure their safety at all times. In doing what we are being asked to do we are doing none of these things.  


The children will not be coming back to Sugar Hill school as they left it. The classrooms will contain a group of 15 children meaning that most children will not be with their class teacher. This is only possible until we are told that all children are to return.  

Many measures will need to be put in place in order to keep the children as safe as we can. This will include children starting and finishing at different times of the day within their year group. They will not be allowed to wander in and onto the yard to play before school. Each group will have a strict start time and enter through a specific entrance. They must stay in their small group at all times of the day, including playtimes and lunchtimes. Lunch will be packed lunch only and be eaten in classrooms. The yard and field will need to be partitioned so that groups do not mix. Actually teaching the children is made more difficult when the children are spread around the school. This is going to be very hard for the children to understand especially in Y1 and Reception.  

In order to stay safe, we will not be running Breakfast Club or after school clubs at least until September. 


If it was safe to bring children back, why is all of this necessary? 

Do you take your children to the shops with you? Do you let them play out with their friends? Do you let them go to see people in other houses? If you are answering no to these questions then why are you being asked to send them back to a situation that even with everything in place I can not 100% guarantee is safe. That is something I never thought I would say, because a parent should be able to send their child to school knowing absolutely that they are 100% safe.  

If you asked me as a parent would I send my children back yet I would say no! It is not yet safe enough. That’s why in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the children are not yet going back. 


I know that some of you may think, well those teacherhave had long enough off and now they just want more. Nothing is further from the truth. The staff here are desperate to get back and see the children and be normal but only when it is safe.  


I urge you to think very carefully about whether you want your children to be sent back in these circumstances.  

The document giving guidance on returning to school states that “it’s good for children’s mental health to have social interactions with their peers” but then tells us that we have to keep them in small groups all day, not let them mix with any other group, keep the same adults with them all day, have lunch in a classroom, and have playtimes and outdoor times only with that group! Is that really good for their mental health? 


There is a lot for you to think about here and I know that for many of you this will be a very hard decision.  

Please be assured that whatever you decide we will support you. If you choose to keep your children at home, until you feel more confident that it is safe to do so then I fully support that. I will not be chasing you with letters about attendance! 

For those who choose to send your children then be assured that we will do our very best, as we do with everything, to implement the measures we have been asked to.  


This is all still dependent on the Government deciding that they have met their criteria.  

In order to help us to plan we will be seeking your views via an online survey as to whether you might be sending your children back or not. Please visit the following link to complete the survey - 

More information will follow next week for the specific year groups starting first.  


Please take care and continue to stay safe.  


Mrs Paula O’Rourke