January 2021: Important information for our families
Following the government announcement of a national lockdown, please be advised we are remain open only for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children and young people to attend. All other pupils and students will receive remote education until February half term and must remain at home, in line with national guidance.
You will be aware that on Monday 4 January 2021, the Prime Minister announced a national lockdown in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, which has now come into effect. Full details of the lockdown restrictions including the stay at home message can be found here
This central Government decision does not suggest that schools and colleges are no longer safe places for young people. Instead, limiting attendance is about reducing the number of contacts that all of us have with people in other households.
The new restrictions mean that Primary and Secondary schools and colleges will remain open only for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children and young people to attend. All other pupils and students will receive remote education until February half term and must remain at home, in line with national guidance. We have set out further details below.
Children of critical workers
Schools are remaining open to the children of workers who are critical to the COVID-19 response and EU transition response, who are unable to safely stay at home.
Please think carefully before sending your children back to school
We need to ensure that the number of children and young people accessing the offer of provision in a school or college is kept to the lowest number possible, so that we can reduce household mixing and the risk of spreading coronavirus. As a result, we have a limit on the number of children we can safely support in their bubble arrangements. Therefore, even if you are a critical worker, if your child(ren) can remain at home rather than attend school, on some or all days, then they should.
Please only use the offer of provision when it is crucial for you to undertake your critical role. Click here to view the list of critical workers as defined by the government.
If we feel that your role does not fit the critical worker criteria, you may be asked to verify this with a letter from your employer detailing why you personally are critical to the COVID-19 response or EU Transition. If there is an alternative adult such as a partner or second parent who is not a critical worker, you may be asked why your child(ren) are not able to stay at home as per the Government’s guidance. If the other adult is working at home or able to take leave from their non-critical job, this will be deemed as a safe alternative.
Schools, settings and colleges are open to provide education to enable critical workers to respond to the crucial role you will play in the response to the COVID-19 emergency, but you must also support our academy and only use this offer of support if you have no alternatives for childcare for your child(ren). Clearly the more children and young people that attend an education setting the wider the risk of spreading the virus grows.
Vulnerable children and young people – including those with education, health and care plans or a social worker
If your child has an education, health and care (EHC) plan and/or an allocated social worker they may attend their school or college. If you do decide to keep your child(ren) at home and you need additional support, please contact your school and they will work with the local authority to support you.
Click here to view the Department for Education (DfE) definition of vulnerable children and young people who can access their school. Mrs Metcalfe & Smith will make direct contact with the families of any pupils we define as vulnerable.
Free School Meal Entitlement and Provision
We understand that families continue to live in uncertain times and many are facing changes to their financial circumstances as a result. If you have not previously applied for Free School Meals, or your name has recently change and now feel you may be eligible, please email the academy office who will be able to provide you with advice on how to apply
If you are currently in receipt of free school meals, it is not yet clear what the situation will be around FSM vouchers, the government guidance (released 7 Jan 2021) makes reference to a national scheme with detail to follow. The Greenwood Academies Trust Board have agreed that all Primary and Special FSM children across the Trust not accessing provision will (retrospectively) receive a voucher for £3 per day for the last 4 days.
- Families will be issued with a voucher next week to cover the period Tuesday, 5 Jan to Friday, 8 Jan 2021. These will be sent to Bishop Creighton families as soon as we receive them in the academy.
- This is a temporary measure whilst we wait for Government guidance. We will clarify the situation as soon as possible. We will write to you with any further information as we receive it.
Government advice on leaving children unattended
There is no law about when you can leave your child on their own, but it is an offence to leave them alone if it places them at risk. As parents, you should use your judgement on how mature your child is before you decide to leave them at home. If you are at all unsure, the NSPCC recommends that children under 12 are rarely mature enough to be left alone for a long period of time, children under 16 should not be left alone overnight and babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone.
Summer 2021 exams / assessments
The Government has decided that, in the circumstances, it is not possible for GCSE and A Level exams to go ahead in the summer as planned. They will be working with Ofqual (the organisation responsible for regulating qualifications, examinations and assessments in England) to consult rapidly and put in place alternative arrangements that will allow students to progress fairly. The Secretary of State for Education announced in Parliament on 6 Jan 2021 that Primary school SATs will not take place this year. Schools will be providing more information on these changes soon.
For parents who are not accessing school, our plan for delivering remote learning during this time can be accessed here or via the Children Zone > Remote Learning section on this website.
Click here to view the Department for Education has published expectations on these arrangements.
If you are concerned about your child/ren’s progress, access to technology or have a query over the content of remote learning, please contact us the main office so we can arrange a call back to discuss this. If you require any password resets, please request using the Form on the remote learning page.
Finally, we would like to thank you for your continued support of our academy and your compliance with the wider national restrictions in place. Whilst last year was extremely challenging for parents, carers, their children and our staff, we were extremely proud to see how you all stepped up and faced the challenges head on. We have every confidence that together we will all play our part to protect ourselves, those around us, and the NHS.