I am writing to say that we have now received the DfE guidance document with regard to the provision of ongoing care through the period of school closure. The document is available here:
I would like to draw parent’s attention to the opening section of this document:
If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.
That is why the government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.
It is very clear in the expectation that schools are to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend:
If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be: even if you are a Key Worker the expectation is using a school is the last resort
“If workers think they fall within the critical categories above they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.”
From Monday (March 23rd) there will be an offer of childcare from 8am-6pm based at all TILT schools for children who need and are eligible for it on any given day. To start with, we aim that the provision will be staffed beyond the requirements of the number of children we expect to attend. For some age-groups, we may not be providing the normal pupil:staff ratios, but we will ensure that all provision is fully risk-assessed to ensure a safe environment for all children at all times. This will not be a ‘drop-in’ facility. Children’s attendance will only be by advance arrangement or, in emergencies, with an agreement from the headteacher A guiding principle will always be in place that the safety of the children is paramount, if we are unable to provide safe care for any given child due to staff shortages, lack of expertise, we will not be able to cater for that child until we can make it safe to do so. This will apply to children who pose a risk to themselves and others: normal behaviour expectations will apply.
Please note that this is not normal school provision – it is an emergency childcare initiative which will be safe and enjoyable for everyone involved, but will not be the equivalent of normal school provision in terms of the educational content of each day.
In order to best protect both children and staff during this crisis, we will be asking that childcare is requested only where there is a ‘need’. Although having one ‘critical worker’ in the household may qualify your child for this provision, we would expect that if there is a non-critical worker in the home capable of basic childcare during the day that guiding principle 1 should be the starting point for families:
“Many parents working in these critical sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.”
If you believe you are a Key Worker, and your need is such as described as above please complete the form (Update 5) that was sent home yesterday and return to the school by 1.00 pm today. We shall endeavour to collate all of your responses as quickly as possible and then email you if we can accommodate your children. Please bear in mind this may be over the weekend.
I do appreciate that for some parents you are not necessarily aware if you are required to work at this time. If at a later stage your circumstances change, please complete the form and return it to the school.
We are a community, and we will pull together to support the effort to keep society safe. Therefore, we will remain open for children who need it, but I strongly urge you to think very carefully about whether this is really necessary for you.
I need to make sure that my staff are well protected as key workers themselves, all of whom have families and many of whom have children of their own.
I know that this time causes much anxiety, and as a result, we can all be a little more on edge. We all need to take care to choose our words carefully. I know that we will all do our best to support each other through this time and I thank you for your ongoing support for me, my team and our schools.
The Island Learning Trust