4th January 2021
Thank you so much for engaging with teachers today. As you will imagine, many of you have differing views about the safety of sending your children to school. I continue to assure you that we are working, as we have throughout lockdown, to keep school safe and as normal as possible for the pupils. Likewise, for those of you whose personal circumstances, health of your children and / or other family members or anxiety mean you feel it is safer for your children to be at home at the moment we understand this. Kaarina or a member of the senior team will be in touch with you throughout the remainder of this week to chat things through with you. Please do not worry about fines and so forth. We are a community and we support one another to stay safe and well and we will be working with you.
Over the course of the day I have received a number of notifications from staff on advice from their unions that they cannot work within the building and been notified by staff who are unwell or self-isolating. We have been trying desperately to make a plan that is as near to ‘business as usual’ as possible. However, by the end of the day it has become apparent that we will not be able to keep school fully open over the next two weeks. Each model we have tried lacks enough staff or is too inconsistent to be safe.
We have also had to revisit our risk assessment to take into account the increased virility of the new covid strain. This will mean we will be changing how we manage routines within the school, for example, dinner time and how we allocate resources. We will also need to reconsider how we cover colleagues who are absent for different reasons, such as sickness, as we will not be able to cover as we previously have. This is likely to mean there could be more last-minute individual closures if too many of the staff able to be in the building are unwell or absent.
The leadership team have been working throughout the day to ensure all children of keyworkers and all of the most vulnerable in our community can access full time places. However, we wish to be able to ensure that all children can access some school throughout. This means we need to put in part time rotas up until January 18th and potentially ongoing. All of this information is correct at the time of writing this letter but will be reviewed after the Prime Ministers’ announcement at 8pm this evening. We will, of course, be in touch if there are any further changes.
In order to make the current changes and ensure that the routines of school work, school will remain closed tomorrow. This is because we want to ensure that when we welcome the children back the right routines will be in place with the most familiar staff and school runs in as normal and as organised a manner as we can. It is with a heavy heart and in tears that I write this as we absolutely want the children to be here as much as possible and having to be shut for even one extra day feels like failure! I can assure you we are working flat out to get the right routines in place with the right staffing numbers. We will contact you tomorrow with a plan that enables all pupils to access as much school as possible.
With very best wishes and thanking you for your support