Parent Update – 04.01.2021

Dear Families,

We are contacting you again today to update you on the decision we have made about the ongoing provision in our school. As we said yesterday, we know our decision to close today, and the uncertainty of schooling from now on, must have been disappointing and inconvenient for many of our families. Again, we apologise for this but, as we said yesterday, our school is in a very difficult situation where there are no easy or clearly right answers. There are many other schools who find themselves in the same situation and were closed today, and the Local Authority has offered its support for schools that needed to close today to get a clearer picture of how we can proceed. You will be aware of conflicting information in the media and through expert advice about the risk our present situation brings: being in Tier 4, told to stay at home and not see loved ones, and talk of further restrictions, contrasts markedly with the idea of busy schools being fully opened.

The advice from staff unions is that we cannot ensure staff safety, nor that of the children, if there is a full return to school; this is also the advice of headteachers’ unions, which support this. In addition to the guidance from the teacher and support staff unions, we also have staff who are unwell and are self-isolating, further reducing our capacity. We, therefore, do not have the capacity to open our school to all children. The unions’ health and safety advice is that risk is significantly reduced by working with smaller groups of children.

Because of this, we are moving the vast majority of children to remote learning, at home, from today until Friday, 15th January. This will be managed by the staff in your child’s Year Group. Children in Nursery, Reception and Year 1 will have their learning uploaded daily onto Tapestry and children in Years 2 to 6 have individual logins for Microsoft Teams. Remote learning provision this academic year is based more closely to the structure of a school day so please get in touch, using your child’s year group email address if you have any difficulties. Staff will be available from 8.30am to 3.30pm every weekday for support and feedback. All children in Years 2 to 6 have been using Microsoft Teams in school to familiarise themselves with it as well as children that had to self-isolate last term.

We are able to make onsite provision for vulnerable children and critical workers’ children for these next two weeks. Children onsite will be supervised to complete the remote learning set by year group staff. If your child meets the criteria as a vulnerable child, you will be contacted by a member of staff today to discuss this provision.

If your work is critical to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and EU Transition, your child/children could be offered onsite provision from tomorrow. Please complete the link in the survey here https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=Dlw3sMLK1kqvT_gXe1WtrMSjNulfT31GlM82jQRepORUOVNKVk5TTkJRV09HS0dTM1g1SVFCMkhUNS4u. Critical worker provision does need booking in advance, so please complete this as soon as possible so we can confirm places.

Please be mindful that we may not have provision for all those that apply; groups will need to be kept to a limited size to reduce risk. Unlike the first lockdown in April and May, informal childcare and support bubbles are permitted.

Our hope is that the next few days will bring clarity to the situation for us all. We will keep in touch with you as we receive revised advice and guidance.

Again, we apologise for the inconvenience and disruption this may cause, and for the disappointment many of your children will feel at not being able to return to school with their friends.

As always, we thank you for your continued support. We will do everything we can to get all children back to school as soon as possible.

Take care and please get in touch if you need further support,

Stay safe,

Sarah Shirras and Vicky Buxton