4 th January 2021 8.30pm
I am very sorry to have to contact you so late on the night before you expected to be bringing your children into school tomorrow. However, our prime minister has just let us know that, from tomorrow, schools in England are only to be open to children of critical workers and those classified as vulnerable in order to keep people safe from infection by the Covid virus. We have attached to this email the list of people classified under those headings.
From tomorrow, only children of families who fall into these categories will be able to attend school. Everyone else will have to stay at home and access our distance learning provision. We ask that you send by email some form of proof that you are a critical worker if you do bring your child into school tomorrow, and that you let us know how many sessions/days in each week your child will be attending school. This may change, with your shift patterns, but we would be grateful if you could provide us with as much detail as possible.
Critical workers may only bring their children in if they have no other option, in order to keep the risks as low as possible. Tomorrow will be somewhat turbulent as we work quickly to make sure we have enough staff to manage the children in school as well as running the distance learning effectively. We have very little idea at the moment how many children will be in school at this stage.
We hope to continue with our Wrap Around Care offer, though if it is very poorly attended, we may reduce the offer or, if there are no children attending, we may pause it for the time being. Please let us know if you would continue to use this provision – again, only available if you are a critical worker.
We had planned for full time face to face teaching up until this evening and will need time to complete planning for full time distance learning. It is very different to plan for distance learning, of course. There is some work on the Moodle site for you to access for the next day or two by which time we hope to have our full distance learning programme up and running. We will send out more detail about this as we complete the final planning tomorrow.
We are very sorry for the very late notice, and for the difficulties this might present to you. But we know that we must all do all we can to stop the spread of this terrible virus.
Best wishes Mercedes Henning
Children who may come into school in January
Vulnerable children and young people
Vulnerable children and young people include those who:
- are assessed as being in need under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, including children and young people who have a child in need plan, a child protection plan or who are a looked-after child
- have an education, health and care (EHC) plan
been identified as otherwise vulnerable by educational providers or local
authorities (including children’s social care services), and who could
therefore benefit from continued full-time attendance, this might include:
- children and young people on the edge of receiving support from children’s social care services or in the process of being referred to children’s services
- adopted children or children on a special guardianship order
- those at risk of becoming NEET (‘not in employment, education or training’)
- those living in temporary accommodation
- those who are young carers
- those who may have difficulty engaging with remote education at home (for example due to a lack of devices or quiet space to study)
- care leavers
- others at the provider and local authority’s discretion including pupils and students who need to attend to receive support or manage risks to their mental health
Parents whose work is critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and EU transition response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined in the following sections.
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 distributors of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.
Education and childcare
- support and teaching staff
- social workers
- specialist education professionals who must remain active during the coronavirus (COVID-19) response to deliver this approach
Key public services
- 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
- journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting
Local and national government
This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of:
- the coronavirus (COVID-19) response, and the delivery of and response to EU transition
- essential public services, such as the payment of benefits and the certification or checking of goods for import and export (including animal products, animals, plants and food), including in government agencies and arms length bodies
Food and other necessary goods
This includes those involved in food:
- sale and delivery
- as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines)
Public safety and national security
- police and support staff
- Ministry of Defence civilians
- contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and EU transition)
- fire and rescue service employees (including support staff)
- National Crime Agency staff
- those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas
Transport and border
This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the coronavirus (COVID-19) response and EU transition, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass and those constructing or supporting the operation of critical transport and border infrastructure through which supply chains pass.
Utilities, communication and financial services
- staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure)
- the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage)
- information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the coronavirus (COVID-19) response
- key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services)
- postal services and delivery
- payments providers
- waste disposal sectors