20th March 2020
Following on from my letter yesterday, it is my intention that the school will remain open. However, as an increasing number of staff are needing to stay at home we will not be able to operate fully as from Monday. The latest guidance issued by the Government is:
Special schools, colleges and local authorities are advised to make case by case basis assessments of the health and safeguarding considerations of pupils and students on an education, health and care (EHC) plan. For some, they will be safer in an education provision. For others, they will be safer at home. We trust leaders and parents to make these decisions and will support them as required.
I have today sent a questionnaire to you all to establish which pupils to prioritise. Depending on the response, and our predicted staffing levels, I should be able to provide a service for those who most need it. If you are able to keep your child at home, this would free up places for those who can’t. For those who will be staying at home, we will be providing some online work and communication. You will be hearing more about this directly. As staffing and pupil numbers fluctuate, the school be operating on a responsive level. Once I have the questionnaire responses, I can confirm which pupils will be able to attend and will inform you as soon as I can.
I have heard from BCC that transport will be provided for those who need to attend school.
Further guidance from the DfE regarding those who are on Free School Meals is:
Effective immediately, schools will be able to order vouchers directly from supermarkets or shops in their communities to be emailed or printed and posted to families, and they will have their costs covered by the Department for Education.
A national approach to providing these supermarket and shop vouchers is being developed. Further details, including the total values being provided, will be provided shortly via the published guidance.
The Government’s decision will provide immediate reassurance to families across England that they can still access this support even in the event of having to self-isolate at home or while schools are closed on the Government’s advice.
We are working to get this actioned as soon as we can.
We are having to reassess on a daily basis, according the advice received and our current circumstances. My intention is to provide the care and support needed for our most vulnerable members of the community and also to support the Government’s strategy to tackle this pandemic. I am most grateful and appreciative of the dedication and determination of my staff to make this happen, and to all of your for your support and understanding.