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25/01/2021 – Key Worker Provision in school and letter from DCC

Dear Parents and Carers,

I hope this email finds you well and you have had a great weekend. This is an update regarding some of the issues in the news, the challenges we all face and to thank you for your continued support. 

The first section is about keyworker provision. It is not stating that we don’t want your children in school, it is making you aware of the facts to enable you as parents to make an informed decision.

Key worker provision for students

The government has revised the guidance that allows the children of critical workers to attend school during lockdown. 

The Department for Education guidance now reads:

Parents whose work is critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and EU transition response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors. ‘Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school or college if required, but parents and carers should keep their children at home if they can.’

Schools should speak to parents and carers to identify who needs to go to school.  If it proves necessary, schools can ask for simple evidence that the parent in question is a critical worker, such as their work ID badge or pay slip.  Parents and carers who are critical workers should keep their children at home if they can.

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said on Sunday, “Schools are there for key workers children where keyworkers need to have the children in school in order to be able to get to work”.

“So for instance, if you’re a keyworker and your partner doesn’t work, then you shouldn’t be sending your children to school”.

Guidance issued by Derbyshire County Council states:

“Parents and carers who are critical workers should keep their children at home if they can, this was reinforced by the government during television broadcasts on 9th and 10th January.  

Letter from the executive director of education

We have over 145 children in school today and we are receiving more requests for places each day. This is compared to 4 – 12 children per day in the last lockdown. We can cope with these numbers in school and we look forward to the day we can safely welcome everyone back to school. However, the purpose of this lockdown is to reduce the transmission of the virus, protect our families and staff. Every member of staff is working directly with a bubble in school and supporting home learning. Transmission is rising in many schools and with children, this can often happen without the child having any symptoms.  At this critical point in this crisis, when we are all being told to stay at home, this risk needs to be carefully considered.

If you are a critical worker who has children in school, or who is considering applying for a place for a child, please consider carefully whether the place is absolutely necessary.  If it is necessary, is it necessary every day?  We are very happy to have children in school only on the days  or half days that you need them to be in school so that you can go to work. If you are able to reduce the amount of time your child is using the key worker provision, please email keyworker@st-james.derbyshire.sch.uk.

Arrangements for the KS1 and KS2 SATs

As you may be aware, there will be no baseline, phonics, KS1 or KS2 tests this year. We will use past papers to inform our teacher assessment at the end of the year. We will be sending out the January report cards with the children’s attainment from December in the coming weeks. It is clear that the staff, pupils and our families worked really hard in the autumn term to close the gap. I am very proud of all of the pupils. 

Bouncing back

These are strange times we find ourselves in and it is very easy to become anxious about lost learning. Please don’t, children are very resilient and our school community will support all of our children and families in bouncing back from this crisis and with a smile. When things get stressful, don’t do more maths; bake,  go for a walk, play with the dog, play a game or whatever makes you as a family smile. I spent most of my primary education in hospital, missed over half of my primary education and I closed the gap. Our children will also do this, we will all help them and we will succeed. Please keep smiling, helping each other and ask us if you need anything. 

Thank you for your ongoing support and take care of yourselves. 

Yours faithfully,

Craig Woodward