COVID Free School Meals 310320
Thursday 19th March
At 5.15pm yesterday, the Secretary of State for Education gave a public statement that all state-funded schools in England would be closed from the end of the school day on Friday.
He also indicated that all the SATs, GCSE, AS and A-level examinations due to take place this Summer, have been suspended; and that students would be credited for their learning in some other way.
Having indicated that all schools would be closed, he then indicated that they would be expected to remain open for the children of key workers and for those in various vulnerable categories – providing a safe place and access to meals. We are expecting a definition of ‘key worker’ today from the Cabinet Office. It will take time to determine the nature of this provision.
Although we have been anticipating such an announcement, and prepared for various scenarios, the limited details so far released raise considerably more questions than answers. You will all have your own legitimate concerns and queries.
The Secretary of State gave no undertaking that schools would be expected to sustain a pattern of normal learning during the closure; rather that any available staff would be expected to support other front line efforts. Our school response is yet to be determined.
I will be working my senior leadership colleagues, all staff, local schools and the local authority to clarify as best we can what this announcement means for the school, for our pupils and for you. I anticipate providing more details later today.
Thank you for your support and for your patience in the meantime.
For the next two days, pupil attendance is expected to continue as normal within the COVID-19 Public Health England guidance.
Wednesday 18th March
As you are no doubt aware the Government’s guidance has changed from the contain phase to delay. We would like to inform you of what we are doing in light of this, and what we expect from all of you, to help make sure our school community remains safe and calm.
We would like to reassure you that we are taking all of the necessary steps to protect our community and are continuing to follow official guidance from the Government and Essex County Council.
What is the current situation?
- School remains open – this is the current official advice we have been given.
- All trips and events have currently been postponed until further notice. This includes the Class 1 parents evening which was due to take place on Thursday 2nd April. We will, however, aim to offer parents a phone consultation alternative with Mrs Page should they wish to take it. Further information will follow.
- As you may be aware, the government has added ‘Stay at Home’ guidance to its response to the COVID-19 virus. You can find this guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection
- Pupils should attend school unless they feel unwell. If they or any member of the household develop a new continuous cough and/or temperature, the advice is that the whole household should isolate for 14 days -
- If your child is unwell please report this as you would do normally
- We will keep you up to date with any changes
What we need you to do
- Ensure we have your correct contact details in school as soon as possible
- Come and collect your child straight away if we ask you to
- Follow the government’s guidance
What we may have to do
As the recommendations from the government change so does our position in school. We currently have a number of staff who are either already self-isolating or will need to self-isolate in near future as they are vulnerable for a variety of reasons.
Our intention is, of course, to keep the school running as smoothly as possible. However, we may have to make some changes to how we run if we are low on staff. These changes may include:
- Combining classes
- A partial closure of the school for some classes or year groups
- If school is closed to identified groups of children, we share tasks that can be completed via ClassDojo. Please ensure you are able to access this.
- Ask parents to send in packed lunches if we do not have enough staff to run the kitchen
What happens if school has to close?
We will only close if we are officially advised to or if we do not have enough staff to run the school safely. In either case, we will:
- Alert parents to the closure by text, ClassDojo and a post on the school website
- We will inform parents of a date to reopen via text, ClassDojo and a post on the school website
- Send home home-learning packs for all pupils in school. If your child is not in school at the time and you wish a home learning pack to be sent with another pupil, please advise us of this and we will endeavour to get it to you.
- Set challenges via ClassDojo.
What happens if a child needs to self-isolate?
- Please contact school in the usual way to advise us of the self-isolation
- Recommended activities for those self-isolating will be posted on ClassDojo weekly.
- We will not be providing individual work packs for pupils self-isolating.
Please bear in mind we are only sending out this information to help the school community to prepare. There are currently no plans to close and we have not been put on alert to close at this time.
If you have any questions, then please consult the following:
- https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ if you want to know more about the symptoms of coronavirus. If you think you or your child may be experiencing the symptoms please use the NHS 111 online service before ringing 111. It can be accessed here: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/
- Department for Education’s coronavirus helpline: 0800 046 8687, if you have questions about the Department for Education’s response to coronavirus in schools
- Consult the Government’s advice for staying at home, vulnerable people and travel. This can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
Monday March 16th
We have taken the decision to cancel all trips, parent assemblies and church services at this time and until further notice. We thank you for your support in these challenging circumstances.
Monday March 16th
We continue to follow government advice about coronavirus, COVID-19. The government's advice to everyone including schools last changed on Monday16th March. Key changes:
- Schools to remain open and not close unless directed to do so.
- Pupils or staff with a high temperature or a new continuous cough to stay at home for 14 days.
- Families of anyone with a high temperature or new continuous cough to stay at home for 14 days.
- Advice to schools, including about travellers returning to the UK and confirmed cases of COVID-19 has been updated.
The importance of good personal hygiene, including regular hand-washing, to prevent the spread of infection continues to be stressed. Children have been taught to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds and have had a demonstration about what this looks like to be effective.
The government wants schools to remain open and not close unless directed to do so. School trips abroad are recommended to be cancelled. We will continue 'business as usual' including all off-site trips, clubs and activities. For off-site trips, parents may withdraw consent for pupils to take part. We will respect your wishes. Pupils not taking part in off-site activities will remain in school in a different class.
The government expects pupils or staff with a high temperature or new continuous cough and those living with anyone displaying symptoms to stay at home for a period of 14 days:
- Public Heath England, Stay at home: guidance for people with confirmed or possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.
- It is for parents to decide if pupils need to stay at home.
- If you decide your child needs to stay at home, tell us. Absence from school will be authorised for 14 days from the onset of the symptoms.
- Individual members of staff will also need to decide if they need to stay at home.
- Please note this is only the case for newly developed coughs.
Advice to schools including about travellers returning to the UK and confirmed cases of COVID-19 has been updated:
- DfE PHE Guidance to educational settings about COVID-19
- It is for parents to decide if pupils need to stay at home.
- If you decide your child needs to stay at home, tell us. Absence from school will be authorised for the PHE identified isolation period.
We may experience more members of staff needing to stay at home. This may put pressure on our ability to operate normally. It has already become harder to find agency (supply) teachers to cover day-to-day teacher absence. The government wants schools to stay open. This means teaching and cover of main classes is our priority:
- we will use agency staff and/or our own school staff to cover depending upon need and availability;
- class sizes for Reception, Year 1 & 2 cannot be increased above 30 pupils by law at the current time;
- class sizes for Years 3,4,5 & 6 may increase to split classes where teachers are absent. This might be longer than typical
There is much speculation about the closure of schools in the media. I do not want to add to that speculation. We have not been put on alert to close and at present we have no plans to close the school for any additional time.
We are working closely with the Local Authority and if we are advised differently by Public Health England and the Department for Education to close, we will inform parents and carers immediately. Please be assured we have contingency plans in place should this become the requirement.
This page will be kept up-to-date with the latest information as and when we receive it.
The Department for Education advice line
The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), 10am to 4pm (Saturday to Sunday)