URGENT COVID UPDATE REGARDING START OF TERM – JANUARY 2021
I am sorry to be writing this letter (at 7.30am on the last day of term). You may have watched the various announcements from the Department for Education over the last week with a growing sense of disbelief. You will also be wondering what this means for you and your child in January.
Some schools and councils, notably Greenwich in London, have been threatened with court action for suggesting that their schools could switch to remote learning in the week before Christmas. It is ironic that Thursday afternoon, without warning, the Government has advised a staggered start to the term in January with some students working remotely.
The Government has said that Primary School pupils and students in Year 11 return to school immediately after Christmas but other secondary school students (Year 7, 8, 9 and 10) will return the following week (Monday 11th January). However, vulnerable children and children of critical workers can also attend school from 4th January. Please complete this form by 12 noon on Monday 21st December if you or your child fit into these categories. In January the DfE are launching rapid mass testing for students and staff. In order for schools to manage this situation our students will have a staggered return to school in year groups.
Therefore, for the first week back after the Christmas break ONLY YEAR 11 students should attend school, plus students from other year groups who are in the critical worker/vulnerable categories and have completed the form. In addition, those in receipt of free school meals will receive a voucher, via email, for £15 per child on Monday 4th January 2021. Transport will run as normal
Remote learning (Year 7-10)
Year 7, 8, 9 and 10 students should remain at home and access our Remote Learning Curriculum. It is likely this provision will be a blend of ‘Pre-recorded’ lessons and ‘live’ lessons. We will communicate further details on this nearer to the start of the new term together with information on how to access support with technology in the home if required. However, we are fully aware that not every student will have access to an internet connected device at the exact time (s) it is required.
May I take this opportunity to wish you a peaceful and safe holiday and reassure you that we will be operating to best support the learning and wellbeing of all our students and staff. I am sincerely sorry for the last minute decisions by the DfE that will cause you any inconvenience, but the priority has to be the safety of the community. As headteacher I have never felt so frustrated at the lack of clarity about the impact these decisions will have on the school. I am speaking out now, as I do not want our good relationship with parents tarnished by decisions made over which I have no control. You know I will always do what I am asked to do, but I want to do it very well for the students, staff and parents in the community.
Following this and our final enews of the year, you will receive no further communication from me until the 3rd January, unless we are notified of a positive case.
M J Serridge