I’m sure that by now many of you will have heard Prime Minister Johnson’s statement regarding school closures, so I am writing to you to ensure everyone was as up-to-date as possible. The key announcements from yesterday in parliament were as follows:
- The earliest schools might ‘begin to re-open’ will be Monday 8th March, which is the start of the third school week after the half-term holiday;
- There will be a plan set out on Monday 22nd February, the first day after the half-term holiday, with further updates;
- When the decision to return has been made, schools will get two weeks’ notice of this;
- We also received a clarification from the Department for Education (DfE) yesterday that schools would not be asked to open over half-term for children of critical workers as was the case in the first lock-down.
This means that restrictions on school attendance will continue and that only a limited number of pupils are able to attend school currently. In order to keep the numbers of children in school safe we have asked:
- Families to only request a space for their child if it is absolutely necessary.
- That even if they are a critical worker, to keep their child at home wherever possible even though they are working from home.
- That if there is someone in their household who is not a critical worker and whose work is not critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and EU transition response that they look after the child.
- That, if families absolutely need a space, then they only take that space on the days they need it. Even reducing their presence by one day makes a difference in terms of keeping each class as safe as possible.
I am very grateful for all of the support families have offered by keeping their children at home which has enabled me to open the school safely in line with our current risk assessment.
Unfortunately, this announcement means that we have at least four more school weeks of home learning under the current arrangements. I know that this will be bitterly disappointing for many families and the children, but I hope that it provides some optimism that there might be an end to this lockdown in sight, at least in terms of getting the children back into school safely.
Wellbeing Week – Home Learning: Week beginning Monday 8th February
For the week beginning Monday 8th February we will vary the content provided for Home Learning with this having a specific focus on wellbeing. To reduce pressure on families who have worked so hard since Christmas and to focus on children’s health we will:
- Provide a schedule which siblings and wider families can do together
- Focus on activities which are not reliant on screens/IT
- Identify sessions in which children can concentrate on being relaxed and calm
- Build in activities which support creativity
Although these types of activities are part of our normal weekly schedule, this will be the sole focus in that week before half term.
I know this entire situation is far from ideal and I can assure you that the last thing any of our staff want to do is to turn children away. However, safety for us all must be the most important factor in any decision I make and will continue to be my overriding priority.
We are hugely appreciative of the support and understanding families have afforded us, considering the situation. The messages we receive helps my dedicated staff know that their commitment is understood. We will continue to work hard to support families in many ways whilst you are doing your part during this pandemic.
We are all hopeful that we will be able to welcome all of your children back safely soon and that life at Harlow Green will slowly begin to return to some level of normality. I am confident that the opportunities and experiences our school normally provides will, once again, be offered to your children once again so that we can help you to nurture your children in the way they deserve.
Mr M Malik – Head Teacher