Dear parents, children families and wider school community.
It is hoped this message finds you all well and safe.
I aim today to give you some updates and information to support all in these unprecedented times. I hope to answer many of the questions I am being asked and make you aware of some key steps being undertaken.
1: Easter holidays
For those essential workers and vulnerable children offered a place at the school during the closure, we will be remaining open for you – Monday to Friday during what is officially the Easter break. This, I know, is important for many of you as I know your shift patterns are increasing in numbers. You are supporting the community and therefore we will support you.
Important: This can only be the case for those families identified under the government guidance and is not an open invite to all. On that note:
2: Key / Essential Workers.
The definition of ‘key worker’ and later ‘essential worker’ is very wide, and as a result is complex to manage. For clarity, I have to ensure the safety of my staff and the children on site by ensuring that those deemed key/essential workers are those ‘critical to the response to Covid 19’ – such as, NHS staff, education setting workers, emergency services, care workers, food and transport.
Important here is the statement of ‘critical to the response to Covid 19’. Many employers are producing letters claiming their workers are ‘key workers’ and stating tenuous reasons for this. I have a duty to protect staff and children and therefore will rigidly vet what is deemed ‘critical to response to Covid 19’, and not what is critical to the running of a business mmodel. This is no easy task and a heavy burden, but please understand that if I say no to claims of critical workers this is done for safeguarding purposes.
Schools are ‘requested to remain open’ and headteachers do not have to do so. We are staying open, but in order to sustain this I have to manage the wellbeing of all on site. Please heed the advice given by government, ‘stay at home where safe to do so’.
3: Free School Meals:
Free school meals are made available to those entitled to the Pupil Premium, not Universal Free School Meals (please see earlier notice on the difference between Pupil Premium Meals [claimed] and Universal Free School Meals [free to EYFS, Year 1 and 2 children]).
Pack ups are available every day, Monday to Friday at reception for those entitled to these.
Voucher system: We are aware that some families would have a preference for vouchers and we are working on this. Sadly, it is not easy to achieve for many schools owing to the systems by which funds are allocated to schools. Whilst the government will reimburse schools at a later time, supermarkets do not take 'IOUs'; the system has to be in place and it is not across all schools. We hope to have this in place soon and I am aware that the government are due to provide support for this during the week.
In the meantime, the school is meeting its obligation to support those families entitled to Free School Meals by providing a daily pack up. If you are wanting one, please come to the school reception between 12 noon and 1pm.
I am very aware that many of you are accessing the resources made available to you online. These will be updated weekly as promised.
Some parents have contacted me to ask what they should do if they do not have access to a printer. Most tasks are designed to be achieved without a printer and this is why a book was provided for the children when they broke up. If there are some tasks you cannot access for any reason, please move onto the next. The activities are there to support you as you see fit.
It is not possible to print out packs weekly and have them collected by parents. Doing so would undermine the ‘stay at home message’ and further the risk of cross contamination. Staff are working hard to give you access to as much as possible; we appreciate this is not always easy for some of you, but we are taking all steps to provide something for everyone.
Around a month ago, when all this started to come to the fore, I was planning on managing this on a week by week basis, as opposed to term by term. That quickly became day by day and is now often hour by hour. It is difficult to say what will be expected in the near or distant future, however, we will be doing all we can to support you in the coming weeks.
We have system in place that can be maintained for as long as needed and we will make improvements to it as we learn and respond to the situation.
Thank you to all those parents who have already passed on their thanks to staff. I wish all you families well and ask you to heed the message. ‘Stay home and stay safe’.
I will keep you updated periodically.