Coronavirus School Closure
At 5.15pm yesterday, the Secretary of State for Education gave a public statement that all state-funded schools in England would be closed from the end of the school day on Friday 20th March. This information was cascaded to the whole country at the same time and we had been given no prior warning.
Having indicated that all schools would be closed, he then indicated that they would be expected to remain open for the children of key workers and for those in various vulnerable categories – providing a safe place and access to meals. We are expecting a definition of ‘key worker’ today from the Cabinet Office. It will take time to determine the nature of this provision. We will be letting you know how ‘key-worker’ is being determined as soon as we know and a swift response from yourselves will be helpful so that we can work on arrangements. Please do not contact us before this as we will not have the information to answer your questions.
The Secretary of State gave no undertaking that schools would be expected to sustain a pattern of normal learning during the closure; rather that any available staff would be expected to support other frontline efforts. Our school response is yet to be determined. We will of course let you know as soon as possible.
Although we have been anticipating such an announcement, and prepared for various scenarios, the limited details so far released raise considerably more questions than answers. You will all have your own legitimate concerns and queries. Working at home packs have been issued for children yesterday. These packs cover work for your child for the next two weeks. If you have not picked up your pack they are at the main office for you. New information and learning packs will be sent to you after the Easter holidays. We will have dedicated staff working on these packs and extra ideas to support you and your children at home. We will still be available to support you and your child as best as we can.
He also indicated that all the GCSE, AS and A-level examinations due to take place this Summer, have been suspended; and that students would be credited for their learning in some other way. We assume that this will include SATs but confirmation of this we hope will also come today.
I will be working my senior leadership colleagues, and all staff, and the local authority to clarify as best we can what this announcement means for the school, for our pupils and for you. I anticipate providing more details later today.
For the next two days, pupil attendance is expected to continue as normal within the COVID-19 Public Health England guidance. A reminder to not send your children to school if they have any of the previously shared symptoms.
Thank you for your support and for your patience in the meantime. I understand that this is a worrying time for us all and we appreciate your understanding at this tricky time.