03/01/2021 Headteacher School Update - IMPORTANT UPDATE - Partial Opening
3rd January 2021
I am writing to inform you about the decision reached by the Governing Body regarding the return to school. Apologies for the late hour, we have just finished a local Union update.
Following extensive meetings over this holiday period and considering all options very carefully, for the next two weeks we will keep our School open for key worker and vulnerable children only . Learning for the rest of our children will take place online and through learning packs.
As I write this letter, I know that this will cause anxieties, strains and potential financial losses to families and I cannot apologise enough for this and for the late notice. For the safety of our whole community I am left with no alternative at the present time than to carry out the above actions.
This has been a hard decision to make and many meetings have taken place to review our risk assessments, discuss solutions, answer staff and parent concerns and consider all possibilities before resorting to this as a last measure. Parental and staff concerns about re-opening have focused on the real worry of staff and children in full class bubbles (up to 30 households mixing indoors) with no social distancing possible in classrooms. Our staff have been placed in a difficult position causing anxiety and worry over the break, especially as we see cases rising locally with the new covid variant. We do not want to add to these statistics by putting life at risk in our community.
I have received letters from the majority of staff, following advice from their Unions not to work in unsafe circumstances. Staff have deliberated at length as to whether they believe it is safe to return to work, balancing it with wanting to support our children. In light of the latest scientific advice from SAGE and after reviewing our risk assessment, I wholeheartedly support their decision. Our Risk Assessment already has tougher measures in place and as a community you have been brilliant in supporting all measures. Up to this point, we have been incredibly fortunate not to have a positive case – and we want to keep it this way for the whole community.
This two week window will keep our community safer as we implement additional measures while we wait for a clear strategy from the government for primary schools. Local statistics will soon be available from the impact of Christmas, placing us in a better position to make an informed decision.
For now, teachers will continue to work in school with key worker and vulnerable children but in a safer environment with smaller classes, enabling everyone to socially distance in the classroom. This is not an easy option for us to take and it does place extra demands on staff, who will need to balance being in class during the day and providing learning at home. You can access our online policy on our website for further details. Please bear with us while we try to support all learners – in class, online and with paper packs for families requesting this.
I will keep you informed as and when I know more. Once again, I am sorry to have to share this news with you at such short notice. It has been a changing situation. We are working closely with the DfE, Public Health England and the Local Authority. I understand that you may have lots of questions - please direct them to the school as opposed to through social media. I will endeavour to support all families as best I can.
I will be in touch again tomorrow and confirm arrangements for key worker and vulnerable children including additional safety measures we will be operating. You will also hear from class teachers regarding learning packs and online learning commencing on Tuesday 5thJanuary.
Thank you for your support at this very difficult time and I hope we can return to normal arrangements on 18thJanuary.
Please say hello to all your children from all of us. Teachers had exciting new topics to launch this week. Tomorrow we will review our plans to make learning at home as accessible as possible.
With sincere best wishes