Dear Parents and Carers
My thanks to all of you for your support and kind words over the last few days. As you can imagine moving the school back into a Lockdown scenario has been challenging. As a parent, I understand how stressful and upsetting it has been to face a school closure on Tuesday, followed by a move to working online for most pupils from yesterday. My thanks must also go to all of our staff who are working so hard to provide education and support to our pupils.
It is important to remember that the Prime Minister called for schools to be closed on Monday evening in order to limit the spread of the virus. He described schools as being a “vector of transmission”. Add to this the knowledge that we have a new variant of the virus and Chris Witty tells us that nearly 1 in 50 people across the country have the virus. Under these circumstances, I am tasked with delivering online education and opening for the children of vulnerable children and those who have parents who are critical workers.
In order to do this we have further reviewed our risk assessment and ensured that all our children on site are taught in strict bubbles and work at individual desks, aside from Early Years children. We have increased our hand sanitising and removed all communal areas from school. You can read a full list of our measures on our updated risk assessment here.
Critical Workers and Vulnerable Children
For us to operate a physical space for designated children we need to do this safely. We are finding that the numbers of children in school is considerably high when one considers the advice to stay at home and to limit contact. We have a school that is 21% full of children and, for context, this is ten times as high as the national average during the first lockdown.
I have a statutory duty to ensure that vulnerable children can attend school and we will always prioritise the needs of these children. However, the definition of critical worker on government website is very broad and this will account for why our numbers are increasing. In order to operate safely I can only accommodate a maximum of 15 places in most year groups, therefore it is very challenging to find any additional places following the deadline we set earlier this week.
Therefore, please can I stress and ask the following:
- For all of you who are currently sending your child to school:
- Please consider whether you have the capacity for your child to remain at home for all or part of the week. A place at school should only be requested and taken if there is nobody at home to look after your child.
- If you are at home but working from home, we urge you to keep your child learning remotely at home. With this in mind, we have designed our remote learning package so that it can be completed as independently as possible by our pupils, and accessed at any time of the day, enabling you to be flexible as to when your child completes their work.
- Please see the table on the next page for some common scenarios (this is not every scenario, so contact the School Office if you would like to discuss your situation).
- If you are currently sending your child to school and, in light of this clarification, you need to reduce the days your child attends or indeed take your child out of school provision altogether, please let us know immediately so we can adjust our groupings accordingly. We appreciate your cooperation with this matter.
- Please note, we are still awaiting further Government guidance and we may have to review our current allocation and your child’s status in light of this guidance.
Remember that we are guided by government to stay at home unless it is essential.
- If you missed the deadline for obtaining a place for your child then keep in mind that our places are exceptionally limited and we will be offering these initially to vulnerable children and then to families where parents work in either the NHS or education as the priority.
Children Learning from Home / Distance learning
We have received several questions from parents asking whether we will be delivering ‘live lessons’ during this lockdown. We are aware that some schools are offering live lessons via Teams or Google Classrooms, but we have no intention in doing so.
We have chosen to use recorded (asynchronous) lessons rather than live (synchronous) lessons for a number of reasons.
- Firstly, teachers can increase engagement and take advantage of recorded lessons by instructing children to pause the video and complete the questions displayed. Teachers can also remind children that if they are struggling they are in charge. They might request that children re-watch an explanation or use different resources or watch a different video for those who are finding it tricky.
- It cannot be assumed that all children have access to a laptop or computer. Therefore, lesson slides and the content within them must be presented in a format which can be easily viewed on a number of different devices. These include mobile phones, tablets and even some games consoles.
- Additionally, some families need to share devices and if parents have online meetings or siblings (who potentially attend different schools) were to have live lessons or class meets they might be scheduled at times that clash. Recorded lessons provide greater flexibility meaning children can access lessons when it is most convenient. Recorded lessons are less likely to be affected by technical problems and will therefore increase participation.