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Cmat Schools Prepare for Students’ Return

Cmat is working together with its primary and secondary schools to plan and prepare to reopen safely to selected year groups in line with the Government’s recommendations and local guidance. Cmat comprises Congleton based Black Firs Primary School and Congleton High School, Crewe’s The Oaks Academy and Castle Primary School in Mow Cop.

Although the majority of students and staff have studied and worked from home over the lockdown period, all four schools have remained open during both term-time and holidays for vulnerable and keyworkers’ children, providing an invaluable service to many. The Trust will now look to increase the number of children physically in school in line with Government and local guidance to ensure that as many children as possible benefit from face-to-face time with teachers before the end of term. The teaching teams will continue to support online learning at the same time and it is believed that, by working together, students will be able to maintain their learning.

Initially Black Firs and Castle will open their doors to children in Reception Class and Year One, while Congleton High and The Oaks will welcome the students sitting exams next year -  those in Year Ten and Year Twelve. Vulnerable and Keyworkers’ children will continue to attend school as previously and the remainder of students from the four schools will carry on with their remote learning, supported by their teachers.

As part of the planning and preparations for opening to larger numbers of students, all four schools have conducted comprehensive risk assessments and worked extremely hard to put extensive safety measures in place to meet the Government safety guidance. Schools have contacted parents, carers and pupils to let the children know what they can expect when they return - the protective and hygiene measures in place, how lessons will work, school transport and what to wear/bring etc. School will be a very different experience for the children returning, and the teaching and support staff will do all they can to ensure that pupils across Cmat schools are kept safe, reassured and supported.

The affect of school closure on disadvantaged students has been a key issue throughout the extended closure, and Cmat CEO, David Hermitt, commented on the Trust’s position on this:
 “We are taking particular care to support disadvantaged children. We have identified those who are newly disadvantaged because of the COVID-19 crisis and are working more closely with parents and carers of students who find working online more challenging. At this time it is only natural that some of our students are anxious about the future. So, to provide extra support and  ensure their wellbeing and mental health, we have partnered with local charity, Visyon, to deliver both student and staff sessions.”

The safety of all Cmat school pupils and staff is major concern also and David Hermitt comments on this:
 “We are proud to be recognised  as having a strong track record for supporting our pupils and staff and have shared our plans for the future with unions and other stakeholders, ensuring that the wellbeing and health and safety of all remain at the forefront of our work. We want everyone to remain safe on our sites and have introduced comprehensive risk assessments that also include wellbeing measures.”

Mr Hermitt added a note of thanks to parents and carers for their assistance during the closure:
 “We are grateful for the tremendous support of parents and carers across all Cmat schools during lockdown. They have done a tremendous job to motivate their children to complete the online learning tasks that we have provided for over 2000 children every day in our virtual schools.”  


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