19th March 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
Children of Key ‘Frontline’ Workers and vulnerable children
Once again, we thank you for the support and kind messages that you have sent both to myself and the staff over the last 48 hours. The ‘community-feel’ so far has been strong and we are all working through this together and continuing to smile. It is a difficult time and we cannot thank you enough for your patience and kindness during this unprecedented time.
As instructed by the government yesterday, schools will close tomorrow for all pupils apart from the most vulnerable and children of key workers. I was hoping for further clarification tonight from the government, over the clarity of ‘key workers’ and vulnerable children, but to no avail.
Over the last week, we have followed the Government’s guidance on how to respond to the Coronavirus and have been active supporters of the strategy to combat the crisis. We are trying to slow down the spread of the virus and whenever we make decisions, we are doing so to keep the risks low and everybody safe. Currently, the numbers of children who were planning to be in schools next week, due to one key worker within a family, is meaning the projected numbers are high. Well above the safe maximum suggested by the government of 20% of the school population.
As a result of this, we have been liaising today with local schools, Head Teachers from other families of schools, schools in larger Trusts and have followed union guidance. As of this evening, there is a developed understanding that the highest priority for childcare places in schools, over the next few weeks, will be for families where both parents are key workers or where a sole parent is a key worker. However, there may be some flexibility around this to help manage individual circumstances. Therefore, I urge you to get in touch tomorrow morning by 10am to inform us of whether both adults, or a sole parent, are key workers (or if we need to discuss your circumstances). However, I plead that you only request a place if you have good grounds and need us for emergency provision.
If you work in the following sectors, you are considered a key worker and should be able to keep sending your child/children to school to enable you to continue to work.
Key Workers: (PLEASE NOTE, this list is currently not finalised by the government and may change within hours)
We expect the list of front line workers to be expanded and clarified over the next 24 hours.
As well as considering childcare provision for all key workers within a household, we have also had to think of our most vulnerable pupils. At this moment in time, we have guidance from the Local Authority that:
Vulnerable pupils are:
Again, if you feel your child is vulnerable then please let us know. We will also make calls to you if we feel that time in school is what your child is going to require over the coming weeks.
The guidance is changing all the time and there is more and more to put in place quickly. I have to submit registers tomorrow to the Local Authority of children who will be in school on Monday. We cannot just have an ‘open door’ policy under these circumstances and you must get in touch by 10am tomorrow please.
As soon as we have an idea of how many children we are expecting, we can plan to make it happen. Please let us know if you want to take up this offer of emergency provision by:
Calling the school office on 01773 712128
Emailing school on firstname.lastname@example.org
By popping into the school office to tell us tomorrow morning
We will send further updates as soon as we have them and also communicate again tomorrow when we have a further plan for learning and what will be required in school Monday if you are on the register for your child/children to attend.
Once again, this is an unprecedented time and we are working hard behind the scenes to prepare for the school closures. We will work together with you to ensure that the health and wellbeing of our community and the education of children remains at the forefront of our decision making.
Thank you so much for your support.
Mrs Michelle Bates and Mr Chris Manton
(Head Teacher) (Chair of Governors)