As you are aware, the school will be closed for an indefinite period to most pupils as instructed by the Department for Education. We are however open to vulnerable groups of children and the children of those identified by the government as key workers. Please note that the very strong advice from government is that as many pupils as possible should be cared for at home throughout the period of closure.
We have already spoken to the parents of vulnerable groups directly, but the Key workers were only announced at midnight last night – see attached letter for clarity. To ensure I am protecting my own staff during this national pandemic, please note that even if one of the parents is a Key worker or parents of a vulnerable child, you should only consider sending your child to school if this is an emergency measure for you, and as the government state,: ‘because you cannot keep your child safe at home.’
If this is the case, you must telephone the school office on 01493 806780 before 4pm today (Friday 20th March). You must share your employer details so we can confirm you meet the exceptional criteria for key worker. This allows us to ensure we have enough staffing for Monday. As I am sure you will appreciate, our staff team also have their own health, families and childcare to consider.
In order to properly safeguard pupils, they must either attend full-time or not at all. The government is clear that school will look more like ‘childcare’ than education from Monday, so children of different ages will be grouped together and that a range of support staff and teachers will be involved in delivering activities. Unfortunately, there is likely to be some inconsistency with staffing – but I am sure you will appreciate we are doing our very best. I want to make you aware that we will be following the infant timings for any children who attend from Monday: 8.45am to 3.10pm to Friday 3rd April 2020, with playground gates now opening at 8.35am and 3pm. There is also no before or after-school provision for any children – due to staffing challenges. I have been made aware that the kitchens can only provide packed lunches.
May I also highlight that children should take home PE kits, lunchboxes and medical items (e.g. inhalers) today. For children not currently attending school, an adult (who is not showing symptoms or self-isolating) may visit the main office at 3.15pm today, where we will have staff available to return any items to you. We will also have spare home learning packs available, although remember to use our website links for additional home learning.
I really hope that you and your families stay healthy during this challenging time, and that the school staff team are doing everything we can to support you.
Dr Craig Avieson