20 March 2020 (by admin)
Dear Parents and Carers,
The Government has been very clear in explaining the most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19. With regard to schools, we are being advised that the 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. If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.
As you are aware, your child’s school will be closed from Monday 23rd March.
However, we have been given guidance last night informing us which children should be prioritised for childcare provision from Monday 23rd March. The guidance states;
“The Government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open for those children who absolutely need to attend.”
“Schools are, therefore, being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.”
“If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.”
Our DoWMAT academies wish to comply with this as best we can. However, with reduced staffing levels ourselves, we have had to consider how we can provide this care safely.
Having consulted with all of our Headteachers, it is our professional opinion that initially we will only be able to provide places for approximately 10% of the current number of pupils on role and this is leading us to some very difficult decisions on how we prioritise these places. We may be in a position to increase this percentage in due course and your school will provide you with a booking form to reserve a place as soon as one becomes available.
Therefore, from Monday, the school will only be open to the following;
- Children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.
- Children where both parents are keyworkers or where a sole parent is a key worker. This is our highest priority at the moment.
Key workers are as follows;
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.
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).
We hope to widen the list to include all the key workers in the current Government advice, in due course.
If you think you fall within the critical categories above, your school may ask you to confirm with your employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, your specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.
This is an unprecedented and complex situation that requires careful consideration so please bear with us as we look to ensuring we are as supportive as we can be to our Parents and Carers whilst ensuring we have appropriate staffing levels to keep everyone safe.
Your school will give details of the precise arrangements for your school. If your school finds the challenge of remaining open too great, in the event of staff shortages, you will be informed immediately.
Claire Davies Hugh Richards
DoWMAT CEO DoWMAT Chair