Dear parents,

I would like to follow up on the information you received from the School Management on 12 May 2020 that, as of 25 May, only the P1 and P5 year groups will return to classes “in situ” and that the rest of our school population – with the possible exception of one further primary year group – will continue with remote teaching until the end of this school year.

Throughout this troubled period, your Parents’ Association has been fully engaged mobilising the contribution of class reps, the members of the Management Committee, our Interparents representatives, whilst participating actively in the ongoing consultative process engaged with the School during which we have conveyed the views and concerns of parents. We can attest that the sentiment of the parent community is highly polarised, diverse and often strong.

I trust that we can all agree on two principles: (a) that we all want our children to return to school “in situ” as soon as safely possible and (b) that we all accept the need to respect the public health measures imposed by the local Luxembourg authorities.

I would like to explain to you the role of the Parents’ Association in this decision-making process and how both we and you together can contribute constructively to making the best of very difficult circumstances. We were asked to respond within very tight timeframes to the information we received as the situation and planning evolved. We consulted the APEEEL1 Management Committee (21 members and 1 co-opted observer), composed of representatives of all cycles and all language sections. The statements we submitted can be found on our website here.

At the online meeting of the School Advisory Council (composed of the School Management and representatives of the teachers, administrative staff, pupils and parents) on Monday 11 May, we discussed three scenarios based on certain primary year groups returning to school “in situ” on 25 May or all cycles returning only in September. At the meeting, given the diverse range of opinions in the parent community, we said that we could not express support for any individual scenario. We did, however, emphasise all the most significant recurring concerns of parents, from deficiencies with remote teaching through doubts about sanitary standards to questions about abandoning L2 for the P5 pupils returning on 25 May.

The decision on how to manage the return to “in situ” classes is complex and for the School Management alone to take. The role of the Parents’ Association is to listen to parents and convey their views and perspective on the issues at stake. We have no authority over the School but we endeavour to leverage our credibility and engage constructively to move forward the interests of parents.

As a Parents’ Association we intend to focus our efforts and resources in the next weeks on making things work as well as possible, namely:

  • P1 & P5: prioritising these groups during the transitional period from 25 May;
  • Remote teaching: drawing lessons from our survey over the Easter holiday and ensuring that they are addressed across all cycles by year-end;
  • S6 & S7: pursuing creative solutions to enable these groups to complete their studies and/or obtain critical grades before year-end;
  • Preparing Plans B, C, D, E etc. if Plan A (normal business) cannot be implemented in September.

If you have any concerns about any issue (return to class, remote teaching etc.), we encourage you first to contact your child’s teacher. If you are not satisfied, we encourage you to contact the respective Deputy Director for Primary/Nursery or Secondary. You can also inform your class rep, who is called to play a particularly important role during this period, or you can contact the Parents’ Association at any time. We understand that parents are sometimes reluctant to report concerns out of fear about an adverse reaction towards their child. Whether you contact your class rep, the Parents’ Association or a deputy director, you can always ask for your report to be treated confidentially.

The School has published Frequently Asked Questions on its website. We will review these and provide feedback to the School Management on anything that we think could be clarified or improved. We will also gather as much additional information as we can in the dedicated section of our own website:

Kind regards
John Coughlan
President, APEEEL1