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January opening update and response to recent government stance on school safety.


To all Parents/Carers,


At the time of writing I can confirm that school will reopen on MONDAY as planned.­­­ Although there have been calls for primary schools to close, this has not been enacted by government.


So, what do we know?


  • All primary schools in London will not reopen their doors until the 18th January at the very earliest.  This follows pressure from school leaders, local councils and teaching unions.  London’s boroughs are all in Tier 4, like most of the country, so there is some reason to believe that Derby City schools may following suit.


  • However, it is suggested that this same pressure is not being applied by all councils further north so a decision to close primaries in other Tier 4 areas has not been made.  This could change in the coming days or weeks.


  • Derby City Council have not announced anything as yet but I am expecting this to change over the coming days.  If we are advised to close to all but key workers and vulnerable children, then this decision will be made by them and/or the Government.  At this stage we know that whatever decision they do make it won’t provide much notice, so I would like to say thank you now for your flexibility and understanding.  


Calls by teacher/support unions to close schools independently, or staff not to attend school premises.

Two main teaching unions have called for staff to not attend school under concerns related to health and safety laws; legally they do have to right to refuse to attend work if they deem it 'unsafe' (doing so would result in remote learning being enforced for children affected).  


At time of writing, I am not aware of any teaching staff at Ashgate Primary School intending to refuse to work on premises.  I cannot guarantee this will always be the case.


Parents should therefore send their children to school unless:

  • they, or any other household member, are showing symptoms of, or have had a confirmed positive covid 19 test
  • or if directed otherwise by the school.



What happens if schools are instructed to close at a later date?

If we are instructed to close then two key elements come into play - Remote Learning and Key Worker Provision:


  1. Remote Learning


Some year groups have already experienced the newer version of Remote Learning via Microsoft Teams as a result of their bubbles closing last term.  If we do close then Remote Learning will commence the day following any announcement.  It will be provided in line with guidance issued last term (including user name and passwords).  Details are also available on the school website on how to use the system.


If any individual has difficulties logging into the system (some parents have lost passwords or found software challenges), there are generic work activities for children on the school website 'Class Pages' - all are age relevant and parents can use these if required.


  1. Key Worker Provision


When we know more about if/when schools are closing the school office will be in touch explaining the eligibility criteria, timings and how to sign up. I am informed that at this moment the Department for Education (DfE) is currently reviewing which jobs qualify as essential workers.  Please check the lists if and when they are issued.


The question of schools being safe?

I am neither a politician enforcing guidance or a health practitioner; therefore cannot offer concrete guarantees that children will not be at risk of Covid 19 - this has always been my position and one that is realistic and reasonable.  What I can say with confidence is that guidance issued is followed at Ashgate Primary School, it is underpinned and strengthened by all staff.   The Prime Minister on Sunday morning made a clear statement that he believes schools 'are safe'.  My statement is that I believe that all that can be done, whilst schools are open to pupils, is being done to mitigate/reduce risk and that the school is acting on all guidance provided.


I will of course keep you all updated regarding any changes I am made aware of.


Mr Seargent