School is now closed to all pupils except the children of key workers
More information can be found here.
Why are schools and colleges across the UK closing?
The UK Government’s initial scientific advice was that children and young people are most resilient to the virus and keeping them in school keeps them safe. However, the Coronavirus has spread quicker than anticipated and the Government has directed all schools to close at the end of the day on Friday 20th March 2020.
Who is school open for?
The children of key workers and vulnerable students. ‘Vulnerable’ children includes those with education, health and care plans (EHCP) and those who have a social worker.
The Government is updating its definition of key workers. These are people who – in these unprecedented times – are needed on the frontline. That means those working in the NHS; in care homes; in the police and fire service; and teachers. It will also include people who are involved in retail delivery and those manufacturing medical equipment. We want to assure you that we are taking as broad a view as possible of who our key worker parents are, in order to help keep the country at least partially open whilst it is safe to do so. Can I ask that anyone needing this service complete THIS FORM?
How long will schools be closed?
The announcements suggested that schools would be closed for a ‘considerable’ amount of time. Again, there is little clarity on what this means. However, it is likely that opening in April is now an unrealistic target.
Why were all exams cancelled?
This was the bombshell in yesterday’s announcement, and it will have left many of you dealing today with children who are disappointed, angry, confused and anxious.
Once it became clear that the epicentre of the virus was going to be in the middle of the exam season, the prospect of running a full suite of exams became unfeasible. We simply have no confirmation of what will happen yet, but an announcement from the Government is expected within the next couple of days.
What about your children at home?
The expectation for our staff is to set work that students will find engaging and useful. We will still be ‘teaching’ the students. Our methods may have changed, but we will still be giving feedback and helping students improve their knowledge base.
However, we are very aware that keeping students motivated to learn at home will be a tricky role for many families. Some families will be fully aware of how to do this, but in case any of us begin to struggle with this at any time in the forthcoming weeks, some of these tips may be of use:
Set out a structure for the day with chunks of time for school study, breaks, TV and family time. Plan time to relax as well as time to work.
Plan exercise within your routine. This might be through an app, YouTube videos, or simply by running up and down the stairs.
Don’t fall into the dark abyss of perennial box sets - you may never come out and it will be hard to make learning happen. It is best to work through those films, etc with an agreed evening slot - or whatever works for your family.
Talk to your children about fitting in your work with their work (if you are working from home as well). Negotiate where necessary!
Encourage them to learn as many life skills as possible - cooking, laundry, ironing, DIY etc.
Do puzzles and play board games such as chess and Monopoly etc.
We also strongly encourage students to find out about their family history and maybe show them photos of yourself or their grandparents when they were younger.
- Look out for people less fortunate than themselves, especially elderly neighbours or relatives.
Of course, anything additional you find that works, please let us know and we can share ideas with each other.
Who to contact?
Until we are instructed to fully close by the Government:
Reception will be open Monday to Friday 8am – 4pm. (01323 465400)
- Student Services will be open 9am – 3pm. (01323 465400 opt. 2)
- Teaching staff can be contacted via email. Staff email addresses can be located here
IT Support can be contacted by email at - firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any safeguarding/welfare concerns, please contact Kerry Guppy - email@example.com
Mental Health and Student Self-care
Should we reach a point where all households are asked to stay indoors, student mental health may become more of a concern. Guidance is available at:
https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/ https://www.annafreud.org/on-my-mind/self-care/ https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/helping-children-cope-with-stress-print.pdf
We will endeavour to make your children’s educational experience as usual as possible. If you have any feedback, please do not hesitate to contact us. We have planned for this diligently, but it is new territory and the landscape is constantly changing. As mentioned in previous letters - your child’s education and welfare remains our focus.
We are acutely aware that some families may need help to purchase food and toiletry/sanitary products at this difficult time. We have allocated a budget to help families that need support with this. If you need support with meals and household basics for the students, please contact Mrs Maynard - firstname.lastname@example.org