As I said we would yesterday, I am contacting you regarding the return to school, planned for tomorrow. In all the years I have been teaching and been a headteacher, and all the months we have been in this national crisis, I have never had a 24 hours like the last one… I didn’t think the system we are working in could have become so complex and uncertain. I have been in meetings with the Local Authority, other headteachers (including leading meetings for 200 headteachers this morning), our staff team; I’ve been reading guidance and advice and so we can make what feels like the best decision in an almost impossible situation.
As you will know from the media and from social media, there have been huge concerns raised about the return to school, scheduled for tomorrow. This is even more relevant for us than for some areas as we are in Tier 4, bringing restrictions on so many aspects of our daily lives in order to keep people safe. The majority of our staff are in unions and professional associations The advice they have been given is that the risks at present are unclear but appear greater than before Christmas and that to carry on operating as we were would bring increased risk. In addition, we have a few staff who are self isolating, adding to the pressure on staffing levels. Some unions have requested a delay in primary schools re-opening (as in secondary schools) and some have raised concerns about the safety of staff in school. As a staff team and as school leaders, we need to consider the safety of every member of our school community.
Working with Hilary, our Chair of Governors, and Vicky, our head of school, we have decided we are closing school tomorrow for all children. Given the situation we find ourselves in, we believe this is the right thing for our school community. It will give us time to weigh up the situation, get feedback from you and plan for then on. As soon as possible tomorrow, we will let you know our plan for the rest of this week.
We know tomorrow’s closure will be difficult for some of you and we apologise for that. We also apologise that the way forward after that is so unclear. We want to make every decision with the safety of our children and our whole school community at its heart. We appreciate your support in this, as with everything.
Thank you. Keep looking after each other and please stay safe.