Dear Parents and Carers
This letter is being sent on behalf of the three maintained special schools – The Bridge, Haughton and Southall.
You will know that we had the expectation that we would have all pupils in at the beginning of this term and work face-to-face with pupils within the context of our COVID-19 provision risk assessments and with all the measures in place. It has been well reported in the media over the weekend that there has been a legal challenge to the government from many unions working with school staff. The view is held by the unions that staff and also pupils are not fully safe in school due to the new variant, rising numbers, testing not established and that SAGE recommendations were not being followed by the government. Staff members across the country have been told to exercise their described legal right to a safe workplace and to request to not teach/work in full classes, but to support the most vulnerable pupils linked to safety and the children of key workers in the classroom.
The three schools have received letters from some staff citing union recommendations and, therefore, alongside other staff absence e.g., positive cases, isolation due to contact with positive cases, isolations prior to medical treatment, non-covid related absence, it is not possible to have all pupils on site for face-to-face teaching. The advice from the unions is that the position of their staff members is reviewed after two weeks, week ending 15th January.
We have also been advised by Unions that Head’s and Governors must ensure that staff and pupils are safe in the context of the provision risk assessment. Our risk assessment is guided by the LA with local Health and Safety advice and local Public Heath Advice. The provision risk assessment needs to be updated to take account of the new variant and the Sage and any other relevant advice. We are waiting on information to inform this and to see if we need to add any further measures. We hope to have this process completed this week. This will inform the way forward
It is with sincere regret that the three schools, for this week, will not be able to have all pupils in school. Where there is capacity the three schools will be:
For the week commencing 11th January, we anticipate we will be in the same situation. However, we are hoping that the provision risk assessment will have been re-assessed and we may be able to increase the numbers of pupils on site attending. However, we need to continue to assess against the advice given and the national and local information.
We hoped that we would not be in this situation. We know some parents/carers are relieved as they want to have their children at home due to rising case numbers and new variant risks. The LA have confirmed that parents wanting to keep their children at home will not be fined. We know some parents will want their children in school and will find it disappointing their child is not accessing face-to-face education. We know for all parents and pupils the situation brings challenge and pressure. We all hope that the situation will change positively and quickly. We would ask any parent that has pressures to contact Family Connect on 01952 385385 or school on contact numbers for your child’s school.
For a local authority stance please read the below link:
Please see school specific information below.
Head of Southall School
Head of Haughton School
Head of The Bridge School
BRIDGE SPECIFIC INFORMATION
During today, teachers will be ringing each parent/carer. For those that are registered as key workers they will check if this remains the case and what the potential need is regarding placement. We will talk to parents/carers where there has been multi-agency agreement for a place linked primarily to safety. For all other parents, the teacher will talk through home learning support and any resources that may be necessary that we may be able to support with. All parents/carers have had home learning packs and further ideas and work can be provided but with no pressure just if wanted.
We continue to send every pupil and their families our sincere best wishes.
Head of Bridge School