'I can do all things with the help of God who strengthens me.' Philippians (4:13)

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Coronavirus / Covid-19

13 March 2020 (by Lisa Slight (lslight))

Statement from the Headteacher 13th March 2020

Over the past few weeks we have been keeping a watchful eye in relation to the Coronavirus and following the advice from Public Health England (PHE).

With the recent announcements yesterday and further guidance from the government, we now have a clearer picture of the approach being taken from a national perspective.  The most up-to-date information for the public can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19 Or PHE website:  https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

 There is currently a clear mandate for schools to remain open and continue the education of our children.  This is especially important for students in Year 10 and 11 who are due to sit GCSE examinations after Easter.  We have received no information or indication at this point that these examinations will not take place as planned.   Hence, it is vitally important that we continue to prepare for those as normal.  The Ofqual statement can be viewed:   https://www.gov.uk/government/news/updated-statement-on-coronavirus?utm_source=902eab94-2834-4d55-8675-aacbf61212f3&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

Our aim is to maintain the same level of learning and operation as calendared, as at present there are no confirmed cases within or connected to St Edmund’s Catholic School.

However, there is also the understanding that there is a continually evolving situation and things are subject to change   There may be several circumstances that the school needs to respond to quickly or take immediate action.  In this situation it may be necessary to text short messages and provide more detailed information via the school website.   If you have recently changed your phone number could I ask that you contact the school to ensure that we have the correct contact number.

School Trips

We expect that trips and activities planned within the UK will take place as normal.  These will follow the normal EVOLVE risk assessment and guidance procedures. The government has advised against all overseas trips for children under 18 until further notice.  

Hence as things stand it is very unlikely that any trips abroad will take place. We are today contacting Insurers and Travel Companies to explore where the school for this academic year stands in relation to this guidance. We will contact individuals impacted upon as soon as we have further information.

Absence from School

Government advice released yesterday indicated the need to self-isolate if staff or students are suffering from high temperature and/or a new continuous cough.  The school is not in a position to diagnose medical issues and this must remain the decision of the parent/member of staff.

Should the decision be made to self-isolate it is essential that individuals remain indoors for the full 7 days. The NHS page https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ has information about self-isolating at home.

In such circumstances the student/member of staff will not be able to return to school until 7 days have elapsed.   Any such absences will not negatively impact on the attendance of the individual.

Contingency Plans

We have developed a Contingency Plan should it be necessary to close the school at any time, either as a result of direction from the Public Health England or a decision made within school.  This may include a partial closure as a result of staffing issues, or a longer term ‘imposed’ shut down.    In such cases, it is important that students have the opportunity to continue their education with the following provision.

 Key Stage 3

Students should complete the homework tasks, including the new summer activities in the first instance.  For periods of prolonged closure specific subject tasks will be published on the school website for each year group.   All homework tasks will be marked as normal.

Key Stage 4

Year 10 – the priority for students to continue to prepare for the English Literature GCSE examination and Biology/Astronomy (if relevant) in May.  Students should re-read texts/poems.  Examination questions, tips and advice are provided on the school website.  Subject specific revision/extension tasks will be provided on the school website for prolonged periods of school closure.

Year 11 – all students are now just 7 weeks from all examinations.  It is vital that time and energy is directed towards revision.  Subject guidance on what to revise will be provided via the school website.  Where possible specific tasks will be set via Microsoft teams. This may allow a more specific approach/guidance. 

Our priority will be to ensure Year 10/11 students are not adversely affected. 

I pray that despite the evolving nature of the situation we are faced with, you feel some sense of reassurance regarding our plans.  As always it is our children that are at the heart of our thoughts and actions.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding in helping us to manage this medical situation.

Mr Graham