College will close at the end of Friday 20 March and there is no expectation that students will then attend college until the advice from the Government changes.
I am sure that you will have heard the Prime Minister’s announcement on Wednesday 18 March about general school closures but continuing provision for children of key workers and vulnerable children. I am writing to give you an update on our plans for this, following advice from the Local Authority.
College will close at the end of Friday 20 March and there is no expectation that students will then attend college until the advice from the Government changes. The reason for the closure is so that students can start socially distancing themselves from others. Students have been told today that they need to limit their face-to-face interactions outside the home. The government has taken this step to encourage social distancing and is asking all citizens to be responsible. My understanding is that if we do not adopt social distancing, a full lockdown could follow.
While our college will be closed for general admissions, all schools across the country are being asked to run an emergency service for the children of key workers in essential services so that they are able to continue to work. However, this is working on the premise that you should only send your child to college if there is no safe alternative.
The list of keyworkers was published this morning and we have surveyed parents about their need for students to attend, the guidance on this is below. We have now closed our survey but if you feel you qualify and that you have not responded to the survey and you have no other way of looking after your child, then please contact us as a matter of urgency.
The first principle of the government guidance is that provision in college is the last resort, as we will all need to practice social distancing, so the number of students in college will need to remain low.
Key worker groups:
- 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 childcare, support 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 arm’s 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.
- Transport - 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.
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, the college will ask for proof of this.
There is no expectation that children of these key workers have to attend college. If you fall into this group and wish to make other arrangements, then you are welcome to do so and this is encouraged.
If you, or your partner are not a key worker and the child is not part of the vulnerable groups then they cannot come to college even if they want to. They must also not go out and meet up with friends, they must be practicing social distancing. The latest government advice for parents can be found here:
The Government is also asking that we continue to provide education and support for children who have an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP), children who have a social worker assigned to the family, those from families receiving Early Help and children receiving support from the Primary Behaviour Service.
Again, there is no requirement that children in these groups have to come to college, but they will be welcome should parents or carers choose this option. Each parent of a child in this category has been contacted by the college. If your situation changes, then please contact us immediately.
Home to College Transport
The County Council will continue to make home to college transport available to those children that are eligible to receive it. In some instances, that might require some changes to be made which may take a little time. We expect further information from the Local Authority if this is the case and will provide further information as soon as we have it. We have been advised that on Monday 23 March and Tuesday 24 March, all buses will run as normal at their normal pickup points. There will be no late bus running from the college so all students will need to catch the 2:45pm buses home.
Online materials and learning
For those children who will be at home from Monday morning, there will be online resources available to support children to continue to learn. All learning activities will be allocated via ClassCharts; your child has been shown new features which were released today which will support them over the coming weeks. In addition, the BBC has said that it will be increasing its range of resources to support children’s education.
If during this time, your child, or you, need any safeguarding advice, please contact the safeguarding team via email@example.com.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support through these unprecedented times and urge you and your children, to be responsible. Please be assured that I will continue to update you as the situation changes and that we will continue to work for the best interests of the children at our college.