Friday, 20 March 2020
I am writing with the latest information in regard to how school will operate over the coming weeks. These are uncertain times, but I want to assure you that we will do everything we can to ease the load and to support your children to the very best of our ability.
When school finishes today, it will remain closed for the foreseeable future for the majority of children. We are putting provision in place for the children of key workers (more on this in a moment). Below, I have outlined the ways in which we aim to do this. I will be honest, I don’t have all the answers at the moment, but we will stay in touch.
Please read the information below carefully and contact us with any questions.
With Best Wishes,
Staying in Touch:
Maintaining good communication is key at a time like this. Please can I now update you with our communications procedures:
The school office phone will not be answered after 4pm today.
Today, children have been sent home with a book containing some initial information. This includes some recommended websites, some exploration activities, 100 things to do indoors and a recommended daily schedule. For those not in school, that information is on the website and we’ll get the books to you ASAP.
We believe that a routine is vital for children during this time. It’s a great opportunity for family games and lots and lots of reading – we’ve recommended some websites with free e-books on. On the class pages section of the school website we’ve uploaded the recommended reading booklets for each year group.
On Monday, the staff will be finalising plans during our virtual staff meeting and we will be sending out weekly activities on a Monday afternoon. What you can expect from us during this time:
All learning activities will be posted on the school website, in the home learning section:
As originally stated, further details on home learning will be shared on Monday.
Due to home-working and other factors, a number of families are struggling with not having enough/the right devices at home. We have today loaned out a number of our devices to those who identified that they needed it. If you fall into this category now, and want to borrow equipment, let us know and we will make arrangements.
We know some children are very anxious and that is likely to continue over the coming weeks. Part of our weekly conversations with children/parents will be to understand how a child is coping and how we can help. Mrs Burton is a trained school counsellor and already works with children – this will continue during this time (albeit remotely) and we are also aware that other children may need support too and we have plans to address any emerging needs.
Money worries and food concerns:
Sadly, a number of our parents have lost their jobs within the last week. I know people are worried about how they are going to cope. Well, firstly, you are not alone.
Should you need it, I am able to make confidential referrals to a foodbank. The process takes a matter of hours.
We will also be providing supermarket vouchers for those children who are identified as pupil premium – we are currently awaiting details from the government on this scheme. If your financial situation has changed, I’d encourage you to apply for pupil premium funding as this will strengthen our ability to support you in this time. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Information for Key Workers
On Wednesday, I asked parents to email the school office if they believed they were in the category of being a key worker. Since then, we have received some further guidance. If your circumstances have changed please advise us:
Holme Community School will reopen on Monday to support key workers with essential child care, only for those children who absolutely need to attend. At this point, we are only opening for 1 week, subject to further advice from the local authority who are developing a ‘hub model’ where a smaller number of schools remain open and staff resources are shared across them.
Please note that self-isolation rules still apply – if any member of the household displays COVID-19 symptoms, all in the home must self-isolate.
The reason for school closure is to minimise social contact and the spread of the virus. Therefore, “every child who can be cared for safely at home, should be.” Our Key Worker Childcare is to enable specific parents, who have no other alternative provision without this support, to do their part in helping keep essential services going.
We expect parents to only use this facility when there is no alternative childcare. It is not so that parents can continue normal life, but so essential services can operate.
If parents try and access this service when they have some form of childcare, for example, a parent working from home, then the service will be unsustainable and collapse completely.
Please read the government guidance on the next page…
Please read the following statement from the Government before emailing the school office to confirm your requirements:
Please, follow these key principles:
1. If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
2. If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
3. Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
4. Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
5. Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.
If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision:
Health and social care
This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.
Education and childcare
This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.
Key public services
This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.
Local and national government
This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.
Food and other necessary goods
This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).
Public safety and national security
This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.
This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.
Utilities, communication and financial services
This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.
If workers think they fall within the critical categories above they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.