IMPORTANT CHANGE FOR SCHOOL ATTENDANCE OF CRITICAL WORKER CHILDREN

Dear Parents/Carers,

  • This message only applies to children who are in school and who are children of critical workers, not those who are vulnerable.
  • If you are a critical worker but have already agreed to keep your child at home, you can ignore this message.
  • All critical workers whose children are currently at school must complete this form even if you cannot change your arrangements. 

Firstly, I would like to thank all our parents and carers for their support at this difficult time of National Lockdown.  It has been a real boost for our teachers and support staff to receive your many positive messages this week and we will continue to do all we can to support you and your children.  Over the week we have developed our remote learning provision further to ensure all children have quality educational time with their teachers and access to the full curriculum that they would be receiving if they were in school.

The National Lockdown has been introduced to reduce the transmission of the new COVID-19 mutation and this included closing schools to all children except for vulnerable and critical worker children.  The Government has been clear that although children may only get a mild case of Coronavirus they are vectors in the transmission chain and often the first to bring it into homes.  This is why schools have closed to most children; it is to reduce the number of contacts a household has with other households, protect an overwhelmed NHS and save the lives of people within our community.  

As you may be aware we have had a significantly greater number of places requested for the childcare provision in school; increasing from 30 a day in March to 246 a day now.  In light of this pattern across England and the Government’s instruction to keep ‘bubbles’ as small as possible, the Government updated the guidance for Critical Workers on Friday evening, after the lockdown announcement on Tuesday.

The updated guidance is that critical worker children should be kept at home if possible. This does not apply to children who are classed as vulnerable. It states that:

Critical Workers

Parents whose work is critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and EU transition response including those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined in the following sections.  Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school or college, if required, but parents and carers should keep their children at home if they can.’

In light of this, and in keeping with the purpose of the lockdown and everyone’s safety, we would ask all parents to reconsider whether they can keep their child at home in order to reduce the number of children in school and therefore reduce the risk of transmission to children, staff and our community. 

Struggling with home learning is not a good enough reason to have your child at school, if you are a critical worker but are able to have your child at home. 

Thank you to those parents and carers who have already contacted us to either ask for their child to only attend on the days they are working or have found other ways to keep their children at home full time despite being classed as a critical worker.

For our part, we must stress that places in school for critical workers’ children are finite and we ask that you only take up a place if absolutely necessary. As a community we must ensure that there is space for our healthcare workers’ children and other vital roles that are actively helping to fight the pandemic. Many of our critical workers, particularly hospital and frontline medical staff, will be working additional houses and covering multiple shifts and we want to ensure that we prioritise those in most urgent need.

It is still our desire to accommodate parents’ needs as far as possible whilst keeping children and staff in school safe but, just like other schools, we are balancing difficult priorities. While we have carried out all the required risk assessments and put the relevant procedures in place to keep school safe, we recognise that younger children in particular find it very difficult, if not impossible, to maintain social distancing.  For these reasons, if we can find ways to reduce the number of children in school on any given day, especially in the younger groups, this would reduce even further risk of spreading infection.

Please take some time this weekend if you can to review your own situation and consider where you can reduce your child’s attendance in school and complete the google form below if you are a critical worker.

All critical workers whose children are currently at school must complete this form even if you cannot change your arrangements. 

Best wishes,

Charles Applegate