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Letter from Mr Hatley - Disruption to Education

Dear Families,

The past term has been challenging for everyone. Before Christmas we saw the number of staff needing to isolate which meant that we were unable to have all students in school at the same time and we have seen a similar situation over the past couple of weeks. Disrupting our students’ education is always a last resort and decisions are always made in conjunction with the Trust, Local Authority and also Public Health. Thank you for the support you continue to offer us while we work together to make things work for our children. Your feedback, comments and questions really do help us.

Our Current Position

There is no doubt that although other schools locally are seeing a similar rise in positive cases amongst staff and students and also having to make decisions to have students learning at home, we have been significantly affected. We have a daily consultation call with Public Health England who work with us to monitor our data. Our numbers are higher than a number of other schools and also above local averages. It is clear from data patterns that the spike of infection at school is in line with patterns seen in the community and that rather than infecting each other on-site, we are bringing it into school from outside. For example, we have far higher incidence of infection at the start of the week, after the weekend, and numbers reduce as the week goes on.

Looking Ahead

In order to make an immediate impact we will be returning to some of the methods previously used in order to control the spread of Covid, and introducing some new measures. A number of families have been in touch to ask what they can do to help us maintain education for students and prevent further disruption and so there are also important things we need you to ensure are in place outside of school.

Control Measures in School

From Today, the following measures are in place:

  • no face to face meetings will take place for staff, only smaller meetings in controlled circumstances
  • no visitors will be permitted on site other than in essential circumstances (such as specialist support for students)
  •  most parent meetings will return to being on-line or by telephone
  •  staff will all wear face coverings in communal spaces and will maintain social distancing in classrooms
  •  students are encouraged to consider wearing face coverings in communal areas, as a personal choice
  •  all staff have been asked to increase ‘regular’ testing to daily testing
  •  all students will be asked to sanitise their hands at the gates on arrival at school and when entering classrooms at the start of each lesson
  • we will also ask students to assist us in using disinfectant wipes to sanitise their work area at the end of lessons
  • increased cleaning of communal areas and high ‘touch points’ such as door handles and stairways

How you can help at home

In addition to the measures in place at school please support us by:

  • ensuring your child conducts a LFD test each morning before school
  • explaining to your child the importance of following the guidance and the measures that are in place at school
  •  encouraging your child to be sensible about exposing themselves to risk, when not in school  if your child does need to isolate, please ensure they do so until they have a negative LFD.

All students have been given LFD Kits to bring home this afternoon. Please contact us if you require more.

We will continue to monitor the situation in the same way that we have been - with colleagues in the Trust and Local Authority - and will continue to take advice from Public Health England. We apologise in advance if our measures mean we cannot provide the usual level of service to you in terms of meetings and time spent talking with you. During this period of high staff absence other staff will also be strained and so the speed with which they can respond to your calls and queries may well be different to normal. Please continue to get in touch when you need to and in the usual way and bear with us if it is at a busy time.

We must work together to reduce the infection rate in our school and try to keep ourselves and each other healthy. Only by doing this can we keep staff in school and students attending lessons.

Thank you again for the support and understanding you continue to offer the school and rest assured we are always focused on doing the very best for our students and their families.

Yours faithfully

Daniel Hatley