Friday 20th March 2020
COVID-19 Update Letter to parents/carers (2/2) – Arrangements for Critical Workers/Vulnerable Children
Following our email yesterday, the government have only now just published their guidance on Critical Workers and Vulnerable Children. I appreciate many of you have been anxiously waiting for us to send further information of how we will provide for both groups and I have outlined details in this letter.
The government has stated that:
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.
This is an offer to parents and carers and there is no requirement for parents and carers to send their children to school if they do not need or wish to do so.
For vulnerable children, your child’s social worker will work with you to assess the best option for your child.
We are committed to remaining open to support and care for children who meet the Vulnerable Children criteria and for those children of Critical Workers who have no choice but to send their child/children to school so that they can go to work in order to continue to offer critical services as part of the country’s ongoing response to the virus.
However, we are also conscious that we are being asked to ensure social distancing measures are adhered to and I would ask that you consider your child care needs very carefully before sending your child to school, based on the criteria provided for Vulnerable Children and Critical Workers only(this is further detailed below and via the link provided). We all need to be very responsible in ensuring we do not spread the virus and that teachers and teaching assistants remain well to be able to provide this service as well as protect their own families.
We will only be able to provide this service whilst staff numbers allow. Should we find that we do not have enough staff who can attend, due to illness and self-isolation, then we will be forced to close until such a time that we have enough staff available to safely open again. Should we need to close, we will work with the Local Authority and Bath and Wells Multi Academy Trust to signpost parents in need to an alternative provision.
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.
There is a document called “Closure of Educational Settings: Information for Parents and Carers” and this can be accessed by following the link below:
In this document you will find the criteria for identifying yourself as a Critical Worker. I have also provided an overview at the end of this letter.
To clarify, only one parent is required to be a Critical Worker for your child to qualify for a place.
Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with education, health and care (EHCP) plans. Children who have a social worker include children in need, children who have a child protection plan and those who are looked after by the local authority.
The expectation is that all schools, pre-schools and nurseries should stay open for children of key workers and vulnerable groups and so Staplegrove Church School will only be able to provide for current children on roll who fall into one of the two categories above.
I appreciate that there is now a very short window for you as parents/carers to organise child care if you cannot access school provision, and also for us at school to get the necessary work done to prepare for Monday. We have emailed all parents a form which you will need to complete and return to school no later than 12:00 noon today (Friday 20th March 2020) if you wish to access this service.
We intend to run our provision daily, Monday to Friday between 08:30 and 15:30. If staffing numbers allow, we will try and provide wrap around care, but this is not guaranteed at this time. We will continue the provision in this way until we are instructed by the Government to adapt or change it.
Please note the school will aim to continue this provision through the Easter holidays as well. At the moment, we are working with our cleaning team and caterers to ensure we can operate within the correct health and safety framework to enable this to happen and will confirm arrangements for the Easter break as soon as we can.
We are aware that the situation, and related guidance, is changing all of the time. We will continue to update you of any changes and developments as they occur.
Thank you for your continued and considered support at this difficult time.
Criteria for Critical Workers
One parent needs to identify as a Critical Worker for your child to qualify for a place in school during the closure period.
If you think you fall within the critical categories below you should confirm with your employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, your specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.
Please do not contact the school for advice on this.
Parents who are not in one of the Critical Worker groups below are not entitled to a school place and will be expected to keep their children at home.
Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined below. Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home.
Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.
Please, therefore, follow these key principles:
If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision:
There are 8 categories of Critical Worker, as detailed below:
Health and social care
This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.
Education and childcare
This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.
Key public services
This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.
Local and national government
This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.
Food and other necessary goods
This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).
Public safety and national security
This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.
This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.
Utilities, communication and financial services
This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.
Your child will have taken home details of how to access the home learning materials today, using the MS Teams app. The staff are working hard to upload interesting, enjoyable and relevant learning experiences. Please have a practice logging on and let us know if you have any difficulties. Teachers are starting to put on next week’s work. We have supplied child with an exercise book in which to record their home learning. These have been handed out today and some children have taken the books for those children who are absent and will post them through your letter box. If you are self-isolating and are able to ask someone to collect it on your behalf from the school office, please do so by 3pm tomorrow. If not, we will endeavour to deliver these through your letter box as soon as we can.
Free School Meals
Our caterers have stated that, from Monday to Friday, they will continue to provide our free school meal children with a packed lunch. These packed lunches can be collected from the school each day.
We will make regular contact with parents with updates on the latest situation through both Parent Mail and the school website. You can phone the school or email email@example.com if you have any queries.
This is an unprecedented situation that we are currently experiencing, and I want to thank you again for all your support. Please be rest assured that all of the staff here at Staplegrove will do all that we can to support you and your family during this time.
Mr Gordon, Miss Huddy, Mrs Walker and Miss Clear