All Schools in England Close From March 23rd - Letter from the Principal
ALL SCHOOLS IN ENGLAND: TEMPORARY CLOSURE DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
The government has today announced that all schools will temporarily close from Monday 23rd March 2020. This is the case across all schools in England. Further information on the length of closure will be communicated to you, via the website, as soon as we more guidance from the government.
The government has taken its decision on the basis of advice from its scientific experts. The evidence from around the world is, thankfully, that children and teenagers are not particularly vulnerable to coronavirus. However, by temporarily closing schools, the government is aiming to slow down the spread of coronavirus. The decision to close schools now has been timed very carefully by the government, in order to maximise its impact on the spread of the virus.
Because there has been so much speculation that schools could close, we have been able to put a great deal of time and resources towards preparing for this. We have spent time with pupils - collectively in assemblies and individually too - talking to them about the current situation. In these conversations, pupils have said how much they love school not just because of the education they receive but because of all the other support they receive here too.
The coronavirus pandemic is both completely unprecedented and constantly evolving. We know that it will cause difficulties and stress for our pupils and their families. But we also want you to feel reassured that we have made careful and detailed plans to support you and your children through this as best we can.
- We will remain open to the children of the following key workers: Police; social workers; medical professionals and fire services. If your family falls into one of these categories, please contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. These groups have been prioritised in order to enable their parents to continue to work at the front line of the current situation. We will ensure these pupils are looked-after and fed during the school day, with teachers present to help them access their schoolwork and other activities.
- We will do our best to ensure that pupils on Free School Meals continue to receive their entitlement to food. If this applies to you, we will write to you separately with the details of this.
- All secondary pupils and staff in the Harris Federation have already been trained in the remote working platform, Microsoft Teams, which will enable them to communicate with and share files with years 11,12,13 subject groups. We are keen to keep the momentum with have with exam groups for when they sit their exams to ensure all students achieve the best that they can. We have already identified what their needs are in terms of devices, software and internet access at home and are working with them individually to address this. Students in years 7-10 will be able to access work using the Study Resources for Home Learning web page. This work follows the curriculum maps and schemes of learning.
- Pupils in years 11-13 will be able to communicate with their teachers through Microsoft teams and the teachers school email addresses. Students in years 7-10 can communicate with their teachers through the email@example.com. Please put the teacher; subject and request for further guidance and your teacher will respond to you. Communication to teachers via email should be from your Harris Battersea account.
- Any Harris pupil receiving counselling in school will continue to receive this, by telephone.
For safeguarding reasons, teachers are not permitted to give out their telephone numbers, but pupils will be able to email into the school, and the school switchboard will continue to be operational. If during the temporary closure of the school you or your child need to reach us, our telephone number is 020 7622 0026 and our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. The most urgent enquiries, including safeguarding issues for any vulnerable pupils, will be answered first. If your enquiry is not urgent, please bear with us if there is a delay in responding. Please also check the new Harris website - www.harrisadvice.org.uk - to see if your question is answered there as this will include the most up to date information on Cov-19 and the impact on schools.
Please be aware of government guidance on ‘social distancing’. Pupils must remain at home or in the care of responsible adults. They are not permitted to be out in public places unsupervised. Please also note that there are some groups of people who are at increased risk from coronavirus. These include people aged 70 and over, pregnant women and people of all ages with the underlying health conditions listed by the government on this web-page. It is vitally important that children avoid mixing with anyone in these categories.
However much the temporary closure of schools has been speculated about by the media, we know that it will still cause considerable shock, distress and disadvantage to many of our families. But while we can never fully compensate for this loss of school time to your children, staff across the Harris Federation and all its academies have rallied together to support and plan for this and we know our school communities will get through this whatever happens. I am aware that you may want to call and contact the school tomorrow for reassurance however please refer to the www.harrisadvice.org.uk website for more information. The telephone lines will be busy please email email@example.com with any queries you may have and we will endeavour to respond as soon as possible.
Miss Paula Leigh
SIR DAN MOYNIHAN