School is the best place for our children, says Richmond Council

Release Date: 01 September 2020

Schools across the borough have the full support of Richmond Council, as members recognise the hard work that has been carried out in order to make schools safe for children and young people.

In a letter to parents this week, the Leader of the Council and Chair of the Education and Children’s Committee for Richmond Council, told parents that whilst attending school is no longer optional, it is the right approach to ensure that children do not suffer educationally or socially.

In the letter, Cllr Penny Frost, said:

"Over the summer our schools have been working hard on their plans to welcome back all school-aged children and young people from September.

"We are very grateful for the very hard work that Heads and their staff teams have put into their preparations to ensure a very safe start to the new school year, and we fully support all that our school community have been doing. And, together with our colleagues at Achieving for Children, we have been impressed with their determination, commitment and passion in making all our schools as safe as they can possibly be."

Accompanying the letter is a handy guide for parents and families. Created by Achieving for Children and the Council’s Public Health Team, the booklet outlines some of the steps that schools have taken to keep children safe.

The booklet also includes information on what will be expected from parents and carers, with guidance on how families can help support the schools by ensuring that their children travel safely, social distance outside school and regularly wash their hands.

Cllr Frost added:

"The current levels of confirmed cases in our borough continue to remain very low, our testing levels are high, showing you are being vigilant, and the NHS Test and Trace service are contacting well above average numbers of contacts if cases are confirmed. Obviously, things can change quickly. So, it is important that we all remain on our guard. Which is why parents, carers, children and young people, have a part to play as well."

Ian Dodds, Director for Children’s Services at Richmond Council, added:

“It is important that we support children and young people back into school as quickly and smoothly as we can, not only so that they can get back to structured learning with their teachers in their classrooms, but also because of the emotional support and routine that school provides.

"I appreciate that some children, young people are parents may be anxious about returning to school, particularly with the risk coronavirus still present in our communities, but the public health advice is that this risk is low and I am confident in the preparatory work that schools have done, and will continue to vigilantly do, to ensure they are safe and secure places for all their pupils, students and staff.”

See the letter to parents.

See the guidance booklet for parents and families.

Watch a video of Cllr Frost visiting Barnes Primary School to understand their preparations.

Also, on Thursday – listen to our Talk Richmond podcast on Back to School – with Ian Dodds (Director of Children’s Services) and Elaine Ball (Headteacher of Orleans Park School).

See guidance on Back to School Travel.

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.

Reference: P344/20

Updated: 30 September 2020