To all parents and carers,
Firstly I would like to thank you for your patience and understanding following the short notice decision we had to make yesterday about closing the school for an emergency training and development day.
You will be aware that there have been discussions with unions and the government around health and safety in schools and it has been very difficult to respond to concerns due to the ever changing picture.
Today we have been informed that a very large number of our teaching and support staff do not feel it is safe to return to school for the first two weeks due to the new strain of coronavirus. Of course, we do have a very comprehensive risk assessment and safety measures in place to protect all of our school community, however we do understand our staff concerns. Therefore, we do not have enough staff to open to all pupils tomorrow.
We have spent today trying to formulate a plan which has the safety of our entire school community – our pupils, our staff and our families - at its core. It has always been our aim to stay open for as many pupils as we can and we understand that for families this is very difficult. We respectfully ask you to support us with this due to it being no fault of the school, our staff team or their representative unions.
Consequently, we will be open from Wednesday 6th January only for those children of critical workers and to those we consider to be extremely vulnerable. We recognise that all of our pupils are vulnerable but given the complexity of this situation and resulting staffing difficulties, we find ourselves in the position where we have to prioritise. The safety of your children and our staff team has to be our top priority and this has had to inform our plan.
This plan will be reviewed daily but our intention is to fully reopen to all pupils from Monday 18th January. We will keep you fully informed about the situation and any changes that may need to be made.
Tomorrow the families of pupils we can accommodate in school will be contacted by a member of the Senior Leadership or Management Team.
We will be in contact with you over the next couple of days to inform you how to access our remote learning plans and materials and teaching staff will be on hand to support with this.
If you are a critical worker parent and require a place for your child, please inform us by emailing [email protected] with ‘Critical Worker’ in the subject heading and proof of your critical worker status attached to the email. This can be a letter from your employer on headed paper with any information you can provide about shift patterns or working hours.
Below is the government definition of ‘critical workers’. Please use this as a guide.
Critical workers are parents whose work is critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and EU transition response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined in the following sections.
Health and social care
This includes, but is not limited to, doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributors of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.
Education and childcare
• support and teaching staff
• social workers
• specialist education professionals who must remain active during the coronavirus (COVID-19) response to deliver this approach
Key public services
• those essential to the running of the justice system
• religious staff
• charities and workers delivering key frontline services
• those responsible for the management of the deceased
• journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting
Local and national government
This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of:
• the coronavirus (COVID-19) response, and the delivery of and response to EU transition
• essential public services, such as the payment of benefits and the certification or checking of goods for import and export (including animal products, animals, plants and food), including in government agencies and arms length bodies
Food and other necessary goods
This includes those involved in food:
• sale and delivery
• as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines)
Public safety and national security
• police and support staff
• Ministry of Defence civilians
• contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and EU transition)
• fire and rescue service employees (including support staff)
• National Crime Agency staff
• those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas
Transport and border
This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the coronavirus (COVID-19) response and EU transition, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass and those constructing or supporting the operation of critical transport and border infrastructure through which supply chains pass.
Utilities, communication and financial services
• staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure)
• the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage)
• information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the coronavirus (COVID-19) response
• key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services)
• postal services and delivery
• payments providers
• waste disposal sectors
Once again, thank you for your support during this difficult time. We will support you however we can and we will keep you up to date with the situation as it becomes clear to us.