Wednesday 6th January
Firstly I would like to apologise as I would have liked for this letter to have been shared yesterday. However, I spent most of the day in meetings with the local authority, teaching unions and other headteachers regarding the move to opening for critical workers and vulnerable children.
This decision was not taken lightly and I would like to share why and how I made my decision.
What we currently know
· The two weeks leading up to the 30th December infection rates went up by 70%
· 3 out of 10 hospital beds are now occupied by COIVD patients.
· 1 in 50 people in England have the virus, this is even higher in London
· We are in lockdown and adults are asked to stay at home to save lives.
· We have a new variant. Imperial College London says the variant increases the rate of infections by up to 0.7.
· Infections rates and deaths are steadily rising.
· Despite the continue rise in infections and death rates, we have not hit the peak of this pandemic.
· Several staff members have tested positive for COVID and the prevalence of this correlates with the rising infection rate in London.
· Several staff members have been told to shield and are not available to work.
· Nursery schools cannot socially distance and if one person tests positive then the whole nursery will have to close for a prolonged period of time.
· Teaching unions have shared SAGE data with staff that includes statistics such as:
- Teachers are 333% more likely to get COVID than the general public
- The rate of infection for 2 year olds to 11 years olds doubled in the 2 weeks from the 1st December to the 15th December
· Professor Calum Semple (SAGE virologist expert) stated - ‘It may be that a political decision has been made here that nurseries are essential. But it’s not a scientific one.”
With the above information a decision was made based on reducing the risks to staff, pupils and the wider community while understanding the need to provide a sustainable service to critical workers and vulnerable pupils.
We have organised two teams, one in school with pupils who are eligible to attend and one delivering on line learning. This means that should a member of staff test positive for COVID we can bring in the second team.
I have organised access to rapid lateral flow tests so that staff can be tested in such an event and we will be working with other nursery schools so that in the event of teams having to isolate, on line lessons will still continue and critical workers children and vulnerable children will still be educated (as long as they haven’t been exposed to COVID).
What we are doing
You would have been contacted and offered a place if you fit the criteria as outlined by the government. It is absolutely essential that these children are prioritised so that the country can continue to function during this lockdown period.
It is also absolutely essential that the health and safety of staff is prioritised. By reducing contact with other people I hope to reduce the likelihood of staff contracting COVID and further serious illness.
I ask for your understanding during this time. I understand it is unprecedented times so we are trying to enhance our online offer.
Our extended offer
Mental Health videos and support
Collaboration with Westminster nurseries so that a varied and easily accessible on line offer is available.
Free school meals
The government are not providing vouchers. The school will provide weekly food parcels for pupils who are eligible for benefits related free school meals who are not attending school. You must register on parent pay if you want a food parcel. The food parcels will be available every Friday from 12:00 and you must register your interest by 2pm every Wednesday to receive a food parcel.
If you would like a food parcel for Friday 8th January you would need to register by Wednesday 6th January (2pm).
A food parcel example
· 1 loaf of bread or pack of rolls / 10-inch wraps
· 2 baking potatoes
· 1 cucumber
· 3 large tomatoes or 1 pack of cherry tomatoes
· 1 standard tin sweetcorn in water
· 5 portions of fresh fruit (e.g. apples, satsumas, bananas) or 3 portions of fresh fruit and 1 tin fruit in juice (e.g. pears, peaches, fruit cocktail)
· 2 items from the following: 1 pack sliced cooked meat (e.g. chicken, ham or vegetarian alternative) or 1 tin meat or 1 tin tuna in water or 6 eggs
· 200g block of cheese or 3 cheese portions
· 1 tin baked beans
· 1 500g pot plain low-fat yoghurt or 3 individual serving yoghurt pots
· 1 litre / 2 pints semi-skimmed milk
Mr B. Commins,
Ms. Rose Parle and Ms. Wendy Jenkins,
Federation Deputy Head Teachers