Sent on Behalf of Gareth Drawmer, Head of Service Achievement & Learning
We are coming to the end of what has felt like a very long term. Everyone has had to manage the day to day complications of a school with significant Covid restrictions, and the vast majority of schools have had to make some very difficult decisions regarding the closure of bubbles, or in some case the whole school. We recognise the complexities that this term has meant for school leaders and the pressure that all of this has placed on you. We cannot thank you enough for your professionalism and careful consideration of the issues when making decisions that affect children and families.
Unfortunately, we are still seeing a significant number of cases across schools in Buckinghamshire with our highest number of schools needing to close yesterday. Even with the first people receiving the vaccine today, we have a long way ahead before life moves closer to normality, please continue your current strong monitoring of the staff and student populations and manage potential cases and individuals who have tested positively both sensitively and robustly. If you have to close down bubbles or even the whole school then we would ask that you refer to this as a move to remote learning rather than labelling it as a closure. Whilst the school buildings may be closed, you and your staff are still providing education to the children and this better articulates this to parents. When you take a move like this it is important for you that you have discussed this with public health as this provides you with a strong rebuttal if there is a challenge from parents. We also ask that you have a discussion with the Local Authority if you are making a decision to move the whole school to remote learning or if you have a substantial number of students who will have to stay at home. We will help you to sense check your thought processes and can give you a wider view based on our experience of other schools’ actions.
Throughout the pandemic, schools have supported children of keyworkers and vulnerable children very well, and we would ask that you continue to consider these children in your planning for moves to remote learning and where appropriate that they maintain a physical presence in your school. Where these pupils need to work at home, please maintain a high level of contact to ensure that they have the ability to access the learning, are engaging with it and are safe and secure. We all know that for many children, the approach of the holidays can be a period of acute anxiety and I know that this will be reflected in your thinking.
I hope that the last two weeks of term are manageable for yourselves and your staff, please contact us via the SIS mailbox or myself directly if there is anything that we can do to help.
Head of Service
Achievement & Learning