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Summerhill School

Summerhill School


Dear Parents/Carers

I hope you and your families are well. Thank you for your ongoing support, patience and bearing with us during this unprecedented time. This is a rather long letter which contains some important information and requires both some actions and response from parents and carers in the next few days. Please take the time to read it through and respond as soon as you can. A summary of what is required is at the end of the letter.

Following the announcements last weekend and the subsequent media reports over the week, I’m sure that many of you are a little confused and indeed concerned about what will happen next with school opening. I have always promised to be open, honest and transparent in my communications but I’m afraid that as school leaders we are still waiting for final decisions from government regarding how and when they plan to re-open secondary schools.  There is still significant press coverage which is extremely unhelpful as we try to find a way through the crisis.

At this stage, I would like to say that I do not want any parents or carers of Year 10 students to worry about attendance. You will NOT be penalised if you decide that keeping your child at home is safer. As parents you are entitled to make that decision yourself and no attendance fines will be issued. Despite government advice stating that we should speak to you everyday to ascertain the reason for absence if you chose not to send your child in, we will not be doing this. We will ask you to email into school once to confirm that they will not be attending once we send out updated timetables but you do not need to explain your decision to us. Obviously, at the point where we return to some taught lessons, we will not be in a position to set additional work to compensate for these face to face catch up support lessons with staff and would still expect students to complete the ongoing distance learning set via SMHW.

To aid our planning, please complete the Year 10 parents online survey via as soon as possible and by no later than midnight this Friday 22 May 2020.

We are intending on implementing a phased reintegration approach for Year 10 students which will begin week commencing 1 June 2020. This will be fully risk assessed, as far as reasonably practical and we will do everything in our power to make school as safe as possible. In the current climate however, I have to say that it is unrealistic for us to say that we can mitigate every risk and eliminate the dangers of the Coronavirus. There are still too many unknowns.

Reintegration plans (Year 10) – One to one tutorial with House staff

From Monday June 1st our House staff and SLT will be available to have a one to one personal tutorial with each Year 10 student via an online video call. One parent is also welcome to join this meeting.

Each appointment will last approximately 30-40 minutes and will focus primarily on student wellbeing and pastoral support. There will be an opportunity to discuss academic progress and remote learning during the meeting as well as looking at where additional support is needed.

Safeguarding is paramount with this and the meeting will be overseen by two members of staff. Students and one parent should join the meeting at the correct time and be in a public space within your house. Online meetings must not take place in a bedroom space. A document entitled ‘How to join and participate in online video meetings’ will be available on the SMHW portal once appointments are confirmed.

The appointments will take place from 9.00am-3.00pm from Monday 1st June 2020 through to Friday 12th June 2020 with the booking system live to parents from Wednesday 20 May 2020. This will close to all bookings on Tuesday 28 May 2020 at midnight. Please log in via to make appointments. It is the same system we use for Parent Evening bookings. If you have any further queries regarding this please do not hesitate to contact Mike Glattback (Head of Draco House) via

Once appointments have been made and confirmed, an invitation will be sent approximately 24 – 48 hours before your allotted time via your child’s school email address.

Reopening plans (Year 10) – Physical face to face tuition on site at Summerhill

From Monday 15th June until Friday 17th July 2020 we plan to implement a partial reopening of the building for Year 10 students whose parents wish them to attend. Half year groups will attend either morning or afternoon sessions for a distinctly modified timetable. Start and end times for different cohorts will also vary. Prior to reopening, you will receive information about which cohort your child will be in and the days that they are expected to attend. Please be aware that the school will look and feel very different as we endeavour to keep it a safe place to learn and work. A number of measures are being put in place to minimise the risks of Covid-19 and you will receive an update of expectations before we reopen. The finalised timetable will depend upon the number of students whose parents wish them to return to school.

Some of the key points of the proposal are:

  • Classes will be of a maximum of 8 learners in an average sized classroom.
  • Hand wash/sanitisers will be available at all times and frequently replenished in all areas.
  • Reception will be fitted with Perspex screens where needed.
  • There will be no assemblies or social time. Students will attend for lessons at given times.
  • Learners will bring their own snacks and water bottles. There will be no onsite catering available.
  • Social distancing expectations will apply at all times and all staff and students must adhere to them.
  • There will be no visitors allowed into the school building unless authorised by the Local Authority.


  1. Please complete the Year 10 parent/carer survey by midnight Friday 22 May 2020 at the latest. The link can be found here via and will be sent out electronically via WeDuc and Parent Pay.  
  2. Please register your child for a one to one tutorial with their House team/SLT. This is available on the Parent’s Evening booking app via and should be completed by midnight Tuesday 28 May 2020.
  3. Please familiarise yourself with the ‘How to join and participate in online video meetings’ document which will be available on the SMHW (Satchel One) portal once an appointment has been confirmed. This will ensure a swift entrance into the meeting at the correct time.

As you know, guidance from the government continues to change depending on the current climate.  We will of course continue to keep you updated where possible and review circumstances on a daily basis. Thank you for your patience at this time and please continue to stay safe.

Yours sincerely

Martyn Palfreyman