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Access Arrangements 2016/17

Sunday, 4th September 2016

 

Dear parents and carers,

 

I am taking the unusual step of writing to you on a Sunday following the news shared on Friday about the summer works that have taken place and have, as a result, had an impact on access arrangements to the school playground. As the news was shared via text message, our website and our social media platforms, we were able to monitor the response. As always, we do our best to listen to and act on parents’ concerns where possible. Please see the table below for a summary of some of the concerns raised and our response:

 

Comment

School Response

‘Why have they changed it? Wasn’t it fine as it was?’

We constantly review what we do here at Birchwood C of E to make sure that we’re providing the best possible outcomes for our children. We have decided to make this change to significantly improve the outdoor provision available to children in Birchwood Buddies and our FS2 class. There have also been concerns raised by parents and community members about the fact the entrance gate opens directly on to a car park.

‘Winchat Drive is going to be a massive traffic jam every morning from people parking there to take their children in.’

 

‘Will turning Winchat Drive in to a car park stop children leaving school on to a car park?’

We are anticipating that many people will still park at the front of school and walk to the rear of school to drop their children off as they have done in previous years.

 

The gate to the rear of school is set back from the road meaning that children are significantly away from the road and any parked cars whereas the gate to the front of school open directly on the car park.

‘I can’t walk from the car park on Admirals Road to take my children to FS1 and then the gate at the rear for other year groups.’

We understand that many people may have difficultly dropping children at FS1 and then round to the rear gate for FS2-Y6. We do have a staggered start and end to the school day for this reason with FS1 starting at 8:30am and the rest of school starting at 8:45am.

 

In the case of parents or carers having specific mobility issues, please contact us to discuss what we can do to support dropping off and picking up from school. This is something many parents have done in the past and is, of course, something that we are more than happy to do to support our families.

‘Surely that’s no good if there is going to be a fire.’

This gate is still able to be opened in the event of a fire. As you’d expect, there are robust procedures in place within school in the event of the fire.

‘Why can’t they open the gates as usual and close them at 9am as usual?’

This was considered and discussed but, unfortunately, as this area will now be providing much needed playground space for children in Birchwood Buddies, this is not an option due to the fact that they start at 8:30am and staff will need to have the outdoor area set up prior to children starting.

‘Why weren’t we consulted?’

Our decision to make these changes was an informed one as we’d listened to the concerns from parents and community members with regards to the car park and we’ve consulted our EYFS staff and children to see what they’d like to do to improve their environment.

 

‘I know it’s a matter of a few more yards for me in the morning but at the end of the day it’ll make a big difference.’

Thank you for your support. After all, we are here to provide the best possible environment and outcomes for our children.

‘Why was my comment deleted?’

With regards to our Facebook page, we have made it clear from launching 2 years ago that it is for information and success sharing purposes only. We do not feel it appropriate to answer specific comments on sensitive issues where parents and carers are particularly passionate. All comments and concerns should come to school in the usual ways during school hours. However, please be aware that when comments are deleted they are recorded should there need to be any specific follow up action required from us.

 

It is also worth noting that this page is monitored by a member of staff and as such it wouldn’t be appropriate, or fair, for them to be answering specific questions and queries at any point throughout the day – even when school is closed.

‘It doesn’t look like that much has changed inside of school playground.’

The changes to the playground may only appear to be small but the impact they’ll have on the learning experiences of children in Birchwood Buddies and FS2 will be substantial and our excited staff have already started to utilise the new space.

 

Soon we will be sharing information about ‘Open Afternoons’ for each of our classes to allow parents and carers to come in, meet new staff and have a closer look at the many changes that have taken place, both inside and outside of school. We’re excited to show you just how wonderful our school looks!

 

I appreciate that many of you will have strong opinions on these changes, I would ask that you remain open minded and join us in supporting us in these changes bearing in mind that we have made these decisions in the best interest of our children. We will have building work starting soon to completely refurbish the Years 3 & 4 classrooms and we anticipate that it may be a consideration that once completed there will be other options to consider with regards to alternative entrance to school for some of our community.

 

I look forward to seeing you all, safe and well, tomorrow morning!

 

Thank you for your continued help and support.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Miss D. Rapson

Headteacher

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