‘Tentative’ Plans for re-opening of School on 5th January 2021
Dear Parents/Families and Carers.
Following the recent national announcements from the Secretary of State for Education, I wanted to be able to send out ‘tentative’ plans that clarified our start of term arrangements. However, the messages from Gavin Williamson are muddled, confusing and contradictory. There continues to be developments and amendments to documents that were sent out to schools and I have spent time unpicking these with my senior leadership team. Ideally, schools would be playing an active role in helping shape the decisions about the education sector, but unfortunately we find out about the changes and arrangements at the same time as everyone else. Today we hear the announcement that Teaching Unions are calling for the closure of all Primary (as well as Secondary) schools until the 18th January. This makes planning and communication very difficult and I appreciate how frustrating this is for parents, given the close proximity to the start of term.
As it stands today (2/1/2021) – We will be opening to all children, Primary and Secondary, on the 5th January 2021. You will receive a welfare call on Monday from your child’s class teachers to ask if you will be sending your child in. Whilst again the Government are stressing that children should be school we all need to factor in the risk to our children and families as we are now in Tier 4 with the spread of COVID -19 even greater. If you decide not to send your child in until the revised date of 18th January then we will respect this decision, just please inform us of your decision.
To support us please;
- Send in lunches in disposable wrapping and bags
- Provide cold drinks
- Drop off and collect promptly and do not get out of your cars
- Social Distance
- Inform us of any family symptoms or test results
I must stress as always that if we do not have the staff to safely open the school then I will need to make the decision to close; also I will continue to be proactive in keeping us all safe as a community and at any time I need to close a class to prevent further spread then I will do so.
You may also be aware that schools are now required to become mass testing sites. Before Christmas (17th December) we were informed that schools would be able to become mass testing hubs, but this was not compulsory. It appears this has now changed and it is now mandatory for all secondary schools. The impact of mass testing in schools is that we would no longer need to send home large cohorts of close contacts following a positive case, therefore keeping more students in school. There will be weekly testing for staff and tests for all students (who opt in) when they return. We would then test close contacts over a 7 day period when positive cases are confirmed. There is a logistical mountain to climb with regard to establishing all of this and more details will follow but this will not begin until at least the 11th January – we have not even received our tests yet.
We will also have to send a form out for all parents to complete which gives permission (or not) for your child to be tested in school; we will include lots more information about this process alongside the form so that you can be fully aware of how it will work before you make a decision.
I hope 2021 brings us all a much more positive experience. The challenges of 2020 have been awful and I know each family has had to deal with its own set of unique and difficult circumstances.
2021 will continue to be a challenge; in fact I think the first few months might be even harder than what we have already experienced, but I know our school community will collectively support each other and successfully rise to the challenges ahead. Thank you as always for your support.
Patience, Compassion and Kindness.
Happy New Year. Take care and stay safe.
Main Office number for all general enquiries – 01563 216489
School mobile if school is closed or for Welfare/Safeguarding concerns - 07925 355534