Amid mixed messages over the weekend, there is confusion and growing frustration across the country over whether parents can, or should, be sending their children into their primary schools this morning.
Secondary schools are staying closed this week, except for vulnerable and key workers’ children; and the official line from the Department for Education is only primary schools in certain Tier 4 areas (including Rother and Hasting) should remain closed.
Yesterday (Sunday) on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show (32:39), the Prime Minister insisted that schools are safe. However, The National Education Union (NEU) has advised its members not to return to the classroom. Its General Secretary, Dr Mary Bousted, said primary schools should stay closed for two weeks to “break the chain” of transmission and prevent the NHS becoming “overwhelmed”.
In our area, High Hurstwood and St Mary’s have closed for all years, and Fermor is closed to Reception and Year 1 pupils only.
On their website High Hurstwood have said:
Please note that this school is temporarily closed due to staff shortages. However, children of Key Workers can attend as usual. Updates to follow.High Hurstwood CofE Primary School website
The Head Teacher at Sir Henry Fermor CofE Primary School, Mrs Sacha Strand, emailed parents at 8pm last night to inform them not to send their Reception and Year 1 children into school this morning.
As one of the parents affected said:
I received an email at 8.11pm on Sunday evening informing me that my son would not be going back to school.
I am livid at receiving such late notice. I work full time and have no childcare options. The school have provided no indication about when the classes will return.
I simply don’t know how we’re meant to cope with being thrown into this situation at such ridiculously short notice.Fermor parent who wants to remain anonymous
In her letter, Mrs Strand, apologised for the extremely late notification and promised to write again on Monday concerning arrangements for the rest of the week. She confirmed other years will be taught as usual in their classrooms.
I am very sorry for the significant inconvenience for those parents already committed to working tomorrow but can assure you I will work [sic] continue to work tirelessly to ensure we have a provision for the vulnerable children and children of critical workers in year 1 and EYFS, from Tuesday.Mrs Sacha Strand, Head Teacher at Sir Henry Fermor CofE Primary School
The NEU’s website gives advice to teachers, along with a model letter to send to their head teacher explaining they will be working from home on safety grounds.
In defiance to the Government, Brighton and Hove City Council has advised primary schools to delay reopening and teach remotely until 18th January.
Click to download the letter to parents and carers of pupils at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School regarding school provision from Monday 4th January.
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