School Closure Letter - 20th March 2020
School will be closed from Monday 23rd March 2020 for the vast majority of pupils until further notice.
Dear Parents and Carers,
I'd like to start by thanking you for your messages of support at this difficult time. The messages we recieved through our questionnaire proved what a fabulous and supporting community we have here at Parkfield.
As you may be aware, we are expected to continue to provide care for a limited number of children. We have been advised that this should be up to approximately 20% of our school population which is around 40 of our children. It goes without saying that fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.
This may require us to prioritise which pupils receive an offer, according to greatest need. This is not about ‘entitlement’ it is about doing the right thing for the greater good of society; accommodating the greatest need and limiting social interaction and the spread of the virus whilst also allowing school to stay open for those who need it the most.
Can we provide support for all 'Vulnerable Children'?
I understand that many parents have been upset today as they feel that their children are on the 'vulnerable' list and school should provide provision for their child. However, in line with Government expectations, we can only offer our 'limited' provision to those children who have Education and Health Care Plans, children who have social services involvement and children of Key Workers. We would love to have more children but we can't accomodate the numbers. If our position changes in future, we will contact those families.
The list of Key Workers is long but the guidance is clear parents should only take up our offer of provision if absolutely necessary. If you can find an alternative arrangement that does not include groups expected, for their safety to self isolate eg grandparents, – then you should do so.
This is NOT every child of a key worker on that list. It is only the children whose parents have no other options, this should very significantly reduce the number of children and by doing so hopefully keep the children in attendance and their families, as well as teachers, safe. What will provision look like in school? This is a very different type of provision than schools usually provide; for these pupils, it will be about care, not education. This is about keeping children safe and allowing key workers to go to work and care for the sick, or to keep food supply chains moving.
My child is due to attend next week, what are the plans?
We will contact parents and carers via email those pupils that are able to access school next week. We have worked incredibly hard over the last few days to ensure there is some kind of provision in place. We are currently able to offer a service where children can attend school from 8.45am - 3.15pm. It will run a little like a school holiday club with a small number of staff in place.
The main school entrance will be used for dropping off and picking up. For those that only need part time care you can come to the main entrance at the agreed times. Children do not need to wear their school uniform and a packed lunch will be provided by the school kitchen. You are welcome to send your child in with their own packed lunch as this will alleviate the pressure in the school kitchen.
Can the school still decide they need to close?
It remains the case that if we do not have enough staff to care for pupils safely (even based on the new ‘reduced provision’ approach) then, subject to a risk assessment and consultation with the chair of governors, a full or partial closure may be necessary. We will review the situation daily.
Again, fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread to staff and therefore allow the school to remain open. Please keep your children at home if possible. If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.
My child is at home, what work will be set for them?
Please click on the link for further information: https://curriculum.parkfieldprimary.com/home-learning . This, along with Showbie, will be updated on a regular basis and provides your child with a vital link back to school. Although teachers will not be sat permanantly at their computers, they will be regularly setting work and sending messages to pupils on Showbie.
Over the next week we will organise learning packs for those pupils that can't access the online learning resources. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you require a pack and we will let you know when you can pick it up.
My child is on entitled to Free School Meals and I requested support. What do I do?
We are working on a system where a packed lunch can be picked up yourself from school. However, this will not be in place on Monday. The government have also discussed the possiblity of vouchers being issued but we are still awaiting further details. We will contact families early next week to let you know the our plans of providing a meal.
Please keep an eye on your emails and text messages. We plan to keep you upto date and informed as the current situation develops.
How long will school be shut?
Currently, we have no indication as to how long the school will be closed. These are unprecedented times. Schools have been put in a very difficult position by this announcement and there is a very real sense of ‘managing the best we can’ with the staff available.
The key message is that schools are closed, but we are doing what we can to support our families, given these unprecedented circumstances. As I have already said, fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society; including your children and my staff – thus allowing the school to stay open to those who need it the most.
Thank you to all who are working hard to support our community and the most vulnerable in our society; especially those in the NHS. Take care all,
Thank you for your co-operation.
Mr Kemp and Mrs Whalen
(Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher)