Dear Parents/ Carers,
In deciding which pathway to take in reopening school for the Spring term, today has been incredibly difficult.
The publication of new and updated guidance from the main teaching unions and unions representing support staff, have highlighted their position for education to move to remote learning for all pupils with schools reopening for children of key workers and those most vulnerable only.
Local Authority updated guidance also supports schools moving to implement remote education for the next two weeks.
Balancing the need for children to be in school alongside ensuring the safety of the children, families, staff and wider community is an almost impossible task and one which has been made more difficult by the lack of guidance from government and the confused communications received from Department for Education.
The safety of the children, families and staff are top priority. As much as is practicably possible, decisions must be based on protecting the health interests of our whole school community.
Considering union advice and local authority guidance and as there are still so many unanswered questions regarding the safe return to school for children for the start of the Spring term – alongside the increased transmissibility of the new COVID variant – we have taken the extremely difficult decision to use emergency powers and close the school to all children tomorrow (Monday 4th January). This will provide myself and senior leaders at school opportunity to establish a wider, long-term strategy for the safe return of all children to school as soon as possible and when it is safe to do so.
Given the ongoing uncertainty and seriousness of the current situation in Tier 4 areas, a decision has also been taken to open school from Tuesday 5th January to children of key workers and vulnerable children ONLY. This plan will remain place until Friday 15th January and it is my hope that school will be in a position to open to all children from Monday 18th January.
Learning for children not in key worker groups or classed as vulnerable will take place remotely, with class teachers working in close communication with families to provide learning activities and tasks based around core curriculum areas. More information will be published to parents/ carers tomorrow on measures to deliver and feedback on home learning activities and tasks.
I have published a link to Gov.UK detailing the key worker list. In order that we can establish an up to date list of children from key worker families, I ask that you study the list and – if you feel that you and your family are eligible – to please contact your child’s class teacher directly on Class Dojo from 9:00am tomorrow morning. Each Team will then compile a register list of children who are eligible to attend school from Tuesday.
Children classed as vulnerable will be contacted tomorrow to confirm arrangements for attending school on Tuesday.
No headteacher wants to take a decision to close a school to children – school is where all children should be. The decision taken today has been incredibly difficult and has not been one easily made. Everyone at school also appreciates the pressures this will be placing many families under. However, given the seriousness of the situation which we now find ourselves in, advice received from unions/ LA and the significant threat to public health, I have no choice but to make this decision to protect the wider health interests of our school community and to enable a wider strategy for the safe return of all children to school to be established.
Thank you for your continued support.