Due to the increased number of staff that are having to self-isolate as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus, we have had to suspend lessons for Year 11, Year 12 Year 13 on Friday 20 March. I appreciate that our Year 11 and Year 13 pupils will not have had the opportunity to say farewell to one another, in the customary manner associated with a final day at school. This disappointment comes amid the ongoing uncertainty about how their GCSE and A-level qualifications will be awarded following the government’s decision to close all schools from the end of the day on Friday 20 March. I am also mindful of the importance our pupils, and their families, place on the social aspects of celebrating exam success and transitions to next stages of education or employment. The school will seek to organise suitable events, to recognise their hard work to date, once the coronavirus pandemic is under control.
From Monday 23 March the school will be closed for the foreseeable future, except to a small number of pupils. There are still many details as to how these arrangements will work, but my staff are working tirelessly, with colleagues from other agencies, to gather the necessary information and put appropriate plans in place. I will be ascertaining which staff are able to work within the school (given their own demands for childcare etc.), which children will be remaining in school and ensuring that all children, whether working remotely or in school, have access to educational materials.
Here is what I do know, currently;
- The school will remain closed to Year 12 tomorrow (Friday 20 March) and, as explained above, this closure is now extended to include Year 11 and 13, due to staffing constraints.
- The school will close to the majority of pupils from Monday onwards. There is an indefinite time period to this, and I will rely on government advice as to when the school can reopen to all students.
- The school will remain open to any children identified as vulnerable, to include those with an EHCP and those students whose parents work in nominated services (this guidance is due be released by the government later today). I have already sent out an email, in advance of the detailed Cabinet Office briefing, requesting information about which of our parents/carers are ‘keyworkers’ to help us begin planning.
- All examinations, both A level and GCSEs have been cancelled, buy we have been assured pupils will receive their awards. As yet we do not know the detail of how this will work.
- The government are asking that schools remain open over the Easter holidays for the purpose of continued support of local services. Staff dependant, we are committed to providing this.
- Canteen staff will be able to provide lunches as normal to pupils and staff who remain on site.
- Staff have already prepared resources to support pupils online learning from home. Details of how you can support them with this are contained in the guides linked below:
Many thanks for your ongoing understanding during these challenging times. We will continue to update you as and when we receive further government guidance. Please check your email regularly for further communication as this, alongside our website and social media feeds, will be our main form of communication.
R Woodland – Headteacher