20 March 2020
As you know, following the announcement by the Prime Minister on Wednesday 18th March, all schools are closing from the end of the school day on Friday 20th March.
Last night guidance was issued by government and it states that the most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear. If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading. They have set out 5 key principles:
I appreciate that for many parents, the closure of your school will make life even more difficult for you during what I know are extraordinarily challenging times. We are acutely aware of this and that many of you will want to continue to work if you can.
Schools have been asked to prioritise an education provision for vulnerable pupils, if your child falls into this category you will receive a separate personal letter from myself shortly.
If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision:
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. A letter to this effect will be required to admit your child into school and we will require 24 hours’ notice to ensure we have adequate staffing levels to keep all children safe whilst in our care. (Please note that for emergency services, education and government workers photographic ID will be accepted)
For students attending Rochester Grammar School we will be basing this provision at the New Horizons Children’s Academy site, Park Crescent, Chatham, ME4 6NR and will be working with New Horizons Children’s Academy, The Victory Academy and Holcombe Grammar School.
Members of our school team, including the Headteacher and the Senior Leadership Team, will be based at the New Horizons Children’s Academy site to ensure our students have familiar faces and people while we care for them. We hope this will be reassuring for them.
The reason that we are working with other local schools through this period is to enable us to ensure education provision remains open for these children whilst staff are unable to attend due to illness or because they are self-isolating when a family member may be showing symptoms of the Coronavirus.
Staff will aim to provide as complete an education for students through this period but the Government has also been clear that we will not be expected to provide more than care and supervision if, because of staff absence, we are not able to, I hope you can understand that. We will, of course, continue to do our very best for you and your children.
Our plans for Monday are:
We expect students to:
We are working with the school caterer to enable meals to be available for students during the school day.
So that we can best plan for Monday, it would be very helpful indeed to know how many students are likely to attend. Therefore, if you believe your child is eligible to attend school from Monday, please download the letter and complete the form, including proof of eligibility, and return to the school office by the end of the school day on Friday 20 March.
For all other students the school is closed and we will provide support with distance learning. Initially this will provided on the Edmodo learning platform. Staff are working to finalise our distance learning package and we will give information of this through ParentMail next week.
I realise this is a very challenging time for everyone and appreciate your continued support – we are only able to continue to operate because of your ongoing co-operation and help, and I am very proud of the way everyone is rallying around. I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the staff across our schools who have shown, and continue to show, remarkable fortitude and commitment.
Mrs C Brinklow
Head of School