Lockdown News St Cuthberts
As we come to the end of what has been a somewhat unexpected week, I wanted to give you a brief update on our schools. Staff, families and children have achieved an awful lot – albeit not quite what we all had in mind! Thank you for your efforts with home learning so far and for your support of the staff and children in our communities. We appreciated it greatly – words of thanks from all of you mean so much and is a welcome boost in the midst of this!
The photographs and feedback from work that children have been completing has really lifted the spirits of staff. Teachers are managing to teach their bubble whilst also manage home learning - a huge ask. It is also a huge ask of you as parents and whilst we are providing a variety of work for the children, if it is becoming unmanageable for you with your existing commitments don’t feel that you must complete everything. Please do communicate with your child’s teacher if this is the case, in order for them to support you. We need to be kind to one another and we certainly don’t want it to create an unnecessary additional stress at home. Next week they will also begin some zoom ‘get togethers’ for the children. A letter about this is attached. Finally, don’t forget if you need things printing out staff will do this for you – you would just need to collect it from the box at the front door once the class teacher has prepared it for you.
Key Worker and Vulnerable pupil places in school
Unlike the last lockdown, both schools are open to key worker and vulnerable pupils for two reasons. Firstly to minimise, where possible, the need for staff working across school communities. Secondly to meet the significant increase in places requested. This is not only a local but national picture – partly because of the vast range of criteria for critical workers and the widening of the vulnerable pupil criteria. We also know that the school closure period will not end before half term and therefore families would prefer for their children to be in school. That is what we all want but this is a particularly dangerous time for the country as our NHS faces real crisis in capacity. We need to play our part by children only being in school when necessary to support key work. I hope you understand that by keeping the numbers of children as low as possible in school we can limit the spread of the virus.
Currently we assess that the number of pupils in our schools is manageable. We are fortunate - many schools are not in this position. That said, we have not had DFE guidance as to bubble size. We are ‘second guessing’ based on room capacity / space / staffing. If significantly more parents were to request places or vulnerable children were to accept our offer of a place we would need to prioritise based on the following criteria:-
- Vulnerable children as per the definition
- Key worker children single parents
- Key worker children both parents are key workers
- Key worker children one parent is a key worker and the second parent is also still working
- Key worker children one parent is a key worker and the second parent does not work. Although this meets the DFe eligibility criteria this is taking a place unnecessarily and putting the children and staff in school at unnecessary risk.
We are awaiting information regarding devices for children and are working with local charities to try and source as many devices as possible to support home learning. If you are in need of a device for your child to do their home learning effectively please let your class teacher know. We can’t promise anything but we can work on it.
Finally you will notice a new name on the bottom of some communication. Welcome Mr Strzeszewski to his new role as senior teacher and Year 5/6 teacher (+3/4 for the moment!!). I am sure he will be very happy here at St Cuthbert’s. He is already having a fantastically positive impact in school despite such a bizarre start!
Miss Lynette Brammah