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Dear Parents and Carers,

As our schools will shortly be closing for the summer holidays I just wanted to thank you again for your patience and support throughout this pandemic and take the opportunity to inform you of how we will be moving forwards in September.

As you will know the government has now published a significant amount of new guidance for schools which will apply from September.  We have now reviewed this guidance with our schools and they are working through this with our Health and Safety advisors.  Your school will provide you with further specific information about how your school will return in September including possible adaptions to start and finish times and instructions as to how you can help to ensure the environment is as safe as possible for our children and staff when they return.

I am sure you will agree that one of the most encouraging aspects of the new guidance is that from September ALL children should be back in school. With this in mind we have looked at our curriculum in every school and asked our leaders to focus on a period of ‘settling in’ for the children and time to reflect upon the period that has gone before us.  All of us in some shape or form will have been affected by the pandemic and, as a Trust, we want to make sure we can support you and your child as best as we can.   I realise for some of you there will be a level of anxiety about your child coming back to school and, as a parent, I fully understand this.  However, I can reassure you that our schools are committed to following the guidance for September carefully and fully supporting your children in their return. 

During the period of COVID the Trust has worked behind the scenes to support all of our schools at many different levels.  Our main focus and priority however, has been keeping your children and our staff safe.  We are grateful to our Leaders and staff who have worked closely with our Health and Safety Team to ensure we have properly and confidently assessed the risks in all of our schools and this will continue when your children return to school in September.

Sadly when we return it is clear there will still be ‘risk’.  People will still have COVID and the risk of transmission of the virus will still exist.  Our commitment to you is that we will communicate with you promptly and clearly if we have a concern, however, we need a commitment from you that you will act swiftly and in accordance with the guidance if we are worried about your child.  We will need you to ensure that if your child is showing symptoms of COVID that they are isolated and tested as quickly as possible.  We will inform public health England of every child that we send home with symptoms to ensure the Track and Trace System is ready to alert others should a test return as positive.  We are waiting for confirmation that we will be given testing kits in school to issue to families of children who show symptoms to help speed the process up.

We acknowledge that as we return there will be other bugs and viruses that are not COVID but manifest themselves in a similar way.  Please understand and bear with us – if their symptoms are the same as COVID we will ask you to seek a test and your child will have to be isolated until the outcome of that test is known.  I realise this will be frustrating however, we have to protect our staff and other children.

In the event of a possible further ‘lockdown’ all of our schools will be able to switch to an online learning platform or learning packs.  Like many others we have learned a great deal throughout this period about what works and what doesn’t so our aim is to ensure that resources will be available that are in line with the curriculum that would have been offered in school.

I hope and pray that you have a happy and safe summer break.  Like you we have never experienced anything quite like this before and I think staff in our schools are in desperate need of some time to rest and recuperate.  We look forward to welcoming you back in September and will of course keep in contact should anything change before then.

Yours sincerely

Paul Rickeard

Chief Executive Officer

Durham Diocesan MAT




As next week is our final full week of term (we break up for the Summer at the end of the day on Tuesday 14th July) we want to give out the children's end of year reports and information about who their next teacher will be.
To help reduce the number of people coming to the office at any one time, these are the days reports will be available:

Nursery and Reception – Tuesday 7th July
Y1 and Y2 – Wednesday 8th July
Y3 and Y4 – Thursday 9th July
Y5 and Y6 – Friday 10th July

After school closes for the Summer, any remaining reports will be kept till September when we look forward to welcoming all children back.




Dear Parents/Carers,

Tuesday’s announcements have led to a general surge in requests for places in our Trust Schools. As you know our head teachers and staff have been working incredibly hard to keep our schools open to vulnerable children; key worker groups and now the ‘priority year groups’ (Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6). As yet we have no detail/guidance from the Department of Education regarding new social distancing rules and/or if the bubble limits will be changed. Each of our schools is unique in its layout and every school has different levels of available staffing due to ‘shielding’ or children with specialist requirements.


Once we have received the updates from the Department for Education we will study them and meet with our Health and Safety team to determine if, or when, we will be able to admit more children this term. I do want to say thank you for the patience you have afforded us over the time. As a parent I fully appreciate the complexities of the current situation. Managing work, home learning and the overall effect of COVID is challenging for all of us. I can assure you we are desperate to have our schools back to full operation with teaching and learning back up to capacity as it was prior to the pandemic. However, we can only do this when we are all in agreement about how and when this can be done safely for all of our staff and children in line with the revised guidance.


I hope to update you further in the coming days.

Yours sincerely

Paul Rickeard

Chief Executive Officer Durham Diocesan MAT



Dear Parents and Carers,


May I start by thanking you for your patience as I, along with your Headteachers and wider staff work hard to manage the wider re opening of our Trust Schools across four local authorities. When I last wrote to you I wanted to give you an indication of our thoughts about how, and when, we would look to the wider re-opening of our schools.


On Sunday the Government published further guidance regarding how we manage the Early Years settings in each of the schools and this had led to a further re-drafting of our risk assessments and today we have heard from two local authorities who are phasing back the wider re opening to the 15th June. We have also heard from a number of you who are Key Workers who now wish to take up a place for your child where this has not been required previously. In light of this and the need to ensure clarity around numbers in school when implementing and reviewing risk assessments I have asked Directors of the Trust to agree a delay in wider opening.


I realise this decision will be incredibly difficult for some of you as your employers may now require you to return to work. I also know the vast majority of our children want to come back to school to continue their learning and socialise with their friends. However, the safety of your children and our school staff will always take precedence and we need to ensure staff have time to properly prepare and plan for each stage of re-opening under their school’s risk assessment.


With this in mind please see our reviewed timetable below:

1st June: Key worker Children and Vulnerable Children

8th June: Key worker Children and Vulnerable Children

15th June: Nursery (If applicable) and Reception

22nd June: Year 1

29th June: Year 6


More details will follow from each of our schools along with a link to the Risk Assessment that has been created for each setting on school websites.


Thank you again for your patience and understanding.


Yours sincerely,


Paul Rickeard

Chief Executive Officer

Durham Diocesan MAT