The government announced on Wednesday evening that all schools in England would close at the end of the day on Friday 20th March 2020 until further notice.
The government has decided that:
1. Schools will remain open for pupils in the following categories:
a. Pupils with parents/carers who are key workers
b. Pupils with an Education, Health and Care Plan
c. Pupils with a Social Worker.
2. Pupils who are not in these categories must remain at home with appropriate care.
3. Provision will be made to support pupils who are entitled to Free School Meals. This does not include universal Free School Meals.
4. The Department for Education will not be going ahead with external exams and assessments this academic year.
This is an emerging picture and we will all need to be patient while further details follow from the government in the coming days.
I write to provide assurances that our individual academies are planning for the start of next week. Please understand that:
1. A full and meaningful set of learning resources will be provided for pupils who are remaining at home.
2. Provision will be made for pupils who are in category 1 a, b and c above to attend school for the normal school hours. A school meal will be provided. For those pupils not on Free School Meals, a charge will be made.
3. All pupils who are entitled to Free School Meals are invited into the academies to collect their meal at a time specified by the academies. Parents will need to inform the academies if their child is self-isolating and we will make alternative arrangements.
4. We will talk in detail with pupils in Y11 and Y13 who were expecting to be examined in May/June. They will understandably be concerned about the announcement. We do not have details yet, but we are confident that pupils will be able to progress successfully onto the next stage of their education. We understand the true potential of our pupils and we are well placed to advise them, the university sector, Sixth Form tutors, employers and college staff on where and how they will flourish. We will continue to work with pupils and families to ensure that they are well placed for their future. It is easy to say, but please do not worry about this.
5. We acknowledge also that Y6 pupils will have been preparing for assessments and continue to ensure that they are ready for the next stage of their education.
We will keep you updated throughout the period of closure through our email/parent contact systems. We will use our websites to provide general information. In some cases, as advised by the government, we will make home visits to ensure the wellbeing and safeguarding of all those in our care. Contact details are on our website pages.
This is the biggest test that our country has faced in generations. Our academies have always played an important role as places where pupils are educated, communities are supported, and the best of humanity is reflected. We are determined that this will continue.
At times such as this, we see the importance of our values; as such, we wish you and your families courage in your hearts, generosity in your spirit and wisdom in your judgements.
Please understand that we are immensely proud of our pupils and will do whatever we can to help them at this time and into the future.
From everyone at the Priory, our thoughts are with you.