08.01.21 Weekly Update from the Headteacher
6 January 2021 (by Max Lawson (mlawson))
Click on this news story for a weekly update from Caroline in relation to the school closure, remote provision and face-to-face provision for children of critical workers.
All updates can be viewed by clicking here.
Weekly Update - 8th January 2021
I hope you and your family are well. I wanted to give a short update on the situation at school. We appreciate that this has been an extremely difficult start to the new term for everyone and we really appreciate the messages of support we have had.
On line learning
As you know, we have chosen Google Classroom as our main on line learning platform. By now, most of you have accessed it and it was particularly lovely to get positive feedback about the assemblies and resources. We are learning with you regarding how to get the most from this technology – please bear with us. There will be the odd error and glitch. It is not intentional and it is helpful when families are understanding and reasonable.
All teachers are developing resources for their year groups, however not every teacher will be able to give feedback or respond straightway as some staff are in school during the day working with the key worker and vulnerable children groups. So, please be patient. If your child’s class teacher does not respond, it maybe because they are teaching and may take longer to get back to you. It may also be because they are ill. If you have any further questions on this, please do contact your year group lead who will be happy to give you more support.
Key worker and vulnerable children provision in school
We were keen to get this provision in place as quickly as possible for obvious reasons. Over this week, we have been making a number of revisions to our plans to make sure we use our limited resources as effectively as possible. We had a far higher number of requests than during the last lockdown and are having to look carefully at our capacity. Our priority is always the health and safety of the children and staff and ensuring that our risk assessment is not just a paper exercise but is effective. Guidance from Hackney Education has stressed the importance of the two metre rule during this outbreak due to the virulent nature of the new strain of corona virus. This limits the number of people we can have in any classroom due to room size. This means that we have had to look carefully at our capacity and the number of places we have. We are aware that government guidance says that schools should offer spaces to families where only one parent meets the key worker criteria, however that guidance also states that schools must comply with health and safety law, which requires them to assess risks and put in place proportionate control measures in order to protect people from harm. There is a conflict here.
We would ask that all families consider very carefully whether they need their child to take a place if they are eligible to apply. We understand that you want your children to be in school having as normal a life as possible. However, we do not have the capacity at present for all the requests we have received. Currently, staff are working on rotas, as advised, so that the risk of coming into the building is shared and lowered. A number of staff are shielding due to pre-existing conditions and to date, 10 are isolating or tested positive. We expect that number to go up over the half term due to the high infection rates in Hackney and surrounding boroughs. It is not always possible for other staff to step in to cover absences as we have a statutory duty for teachers to provide online learning and it is not possible for them to do this and teach in the classroom all day.
We now have a waiting list of families who have applied for a place and we will be contacting families on that list to give them an update by the end of the week to let them know about spaces.
Obviously, any in school provision will be subject to the same protocol should any member of a particular bubble tests positive. All staff and children in that bubble will be sent home and potentially have to isolate for up to 10 days subject to advice from NHS England. We were so lucky last term to be one of the few schools that did not have any bubble closures.
Parents’ and carers’ evening
Over the next couple of weeks, you will be offered a phone call with your child’s class teacher to discuss their progress over the Autumn Term and how best to support them at home during this difficult period.
As well as your year group weekly newsletter, I will send a weekly update on the situation at school generally so that you can get a sense of how things are going and also the challenges we face. I am so grateful for all the messages of support we have had and I know the staff are too. I am sure you would like to join me in thanking them for their professionalism and commitment to the school and your children. I know many are anxious about the risks they face in coming into school, but have pulled together to work as a supportive and effective team.