Recently updated Information from the government about the closure of schools.
Dear Parents and Carers
Following my letter to you yesterday, some of you have come back to me with further questions, which this letter aims to answer.
We will also be giving more guidance on our school website and in parent mail. Do please visit the school’s website regularly, as this will be an important way of keeping in touch.
We may not be able to answer all your calls if you phone, but we will if we possibly can.
School closure for most pupils
Although the Government announced on Wednesday 18th March, that most other schools will operate differently from the end of Friday 20th March, usually closing to pupils. As my letter yesterday explained, our school will be remaining open from Monday 23rd March.
Pupils with EHC plans
Most of our pupils will still be able to attend school, as long as they are not self-isolating or in a vulnerable group. Also, there is no obligation to send your child to school, but we are ready to provide for them if you do want them to attend.
While the Government had advised that children with EHC plans should still be able to come to school, late yesterday they further advised that children should stay at home if that is possible. It is your decision to make. Whatever you decide, we are committed to maintaining education and support for our pupils, in our school or at home.
Please inform us immediately if you plan not to send your child into school next week. This is so we can begin to organise suitable activities and staffing. We will be in contact with you to support your child if you want them to stay at home.
Should our risk assessments dictate your child may also need to remain at home for health and safety reasons.
There will be a few children who we will need to ask to stay at home due to staffing numbers. This situation may change from week to week and possibly day to day. Our teams will contact you and we will endeavour to ensure that this is in good time, if this involves your child. Richard Manager from Woodlands and Anne our Family Liaison Manager will lead on this for our Further Education site and Lucy and Thea from Havelock.
Tests and examinations
We understand all tests and examinations, SATS included, that usually take place in May and June are cancelled. We do not yet know what will replace them. The Government has said it will work with the regulator, Ofqual, to ensure that GCSE and AS levels will still be awarded. We will let you know through our website as soon as we know more.
Our teachers, TLA’S, office staff, site staff, cleaners, cooks – the whole school team – will all continue to work in school as long as they can and unless there is new Government advice. Staff will support pupils through the learning we are able to deliver and help them with the work that teachers have set if they are at home.
As I’m sure you will understand, some of our staff are already affected by the measures that Government has recommended. Vulnerable staff, for example, are no longer in school. A few staff have also self-isolated because they or their family have symptoms.
Most of our children travel to school with transport provided by your local authorities. Do make contact with them and let them know whether you still need transport for your child.
Free school meals
We have been told that schools will be able to purchase meals or vouchers from supermarkets and shops. We do not have exact details yet, but will let affected families know as soon as we can via our website.
Lunch and Snacks
We will continue to provide healthy snacks and a midday meal (£2 per day); however should our suppliers not be able to deliver we may need to ask you to send your child in with a packed lunch as stated previously.
Toiletries & Hygiene
We will continue to provide all toiletries and ensure a sanitised environment.
However should our suppliers not be able to deliver goods we may need to ask you to send you child in with tissues, toilet paper and wipes. We are currently working with Ealing - our host authority - to place pressure on suppliers to prioritise as required.
We are not yet clear about the arrangements for keeping the school open over the Easter holiday and will let you know as soon as we can. The situation should become clearer in the coming week or so. As well as the expectation of more national guidance. If we are to remain open we will also need to assess what we are able to provide during this period based on our staffing capacity, and demand from parents. The availability of transport for some children during the holiday period may also need to be considered.
Above all, we wish you and your family well at this difficult time. We know many of you have elderly relatives or others who are vulnerable. Please do know that our thoughts are firmly with you and them. We urge you and your children to follow all relevant Government guidelines so that you keep safe and well.
As a strong and caring community, I know we will work together to support each other during this crisis. We will do whatever we can to help.