Coronavirus / Covid-19
19 March 2020 (by Lisa Slight (lslight))
Update as at 19th March 2020
You will now be aware that all schools in England are to close from Friday 20th March 2020 for the majority of students indefinitely. This closure will have far reaching consequences and we have no idea currently of when we will operate again normally. We are only aware that schools will operate in a limited educational capacity for students with a Social Worker, individuals with an EHCP (Educational Health Care Plan) and those whose parents are key workers (NHS, Police, Delivery Drivers).
At this stage. We still have limited information and expect to receive further guidance over the next 48 hours. This is expected to clarify a list of key worker categories and those eligible for this support.
If you believe your child falls into the categories of support and you wish to make a request to access this provision, please email email@example.com stating the name of your child, tutor group and your role. Once we have a list of students we will be in a position to plan provision for these students.
We will aim to start this provision from Monday 23rd March 2020. Please note that this will initially focus on care rather than education. Students attending this provision will not be required to wear uniform. Further information will be distributed to parents/carers once a request for provision has been received and verified.
St Edmund’s will not be open over Easter, as a planned shut down was already in place and essential work to the fire systems has been scheduled.
We are obviously devastated for our Year 11 students who have worked so hard for 5 years and will no longer be sitting GCSE examinations. We are currently unclear as to how the Government and Ofqual will award grades. However, the Government has made it clear that the progress and hard work of students will not be disadvantaged.
There is still the possibility of examinations being taken at a later date so we have urged Year 11 students to keep all of their books and resources where possible, to keep adding notes and completing practical work (e.g. in Art, Photography and Graphics and BTEC subjects). Suffice to say that it has been upsetting for myself and all the staff at the decision made, knowing that we have such a beautiful group of students who have worked hard throughout their time at St Edmund’s. It has been a privilege to be a part of their lives and they will always remain part of the St Edmund’s family.
We have held a special last-minute Leavers’ Assembly for Year 11 today. If it is at all possible the Year 11 Leavers’ Prom will go ahead. We will update you in regard to these matters as time/events permit.
In terms of Friday 20th March 2020, only students from Years 7 and 8 can be accommodated, along with any children identified as meeting the criteria for extended provision as indicated by the Government. School will then be closed for all students except those requiring the specific provision.
Working from Home
I have already outlined the support the school will offer in previous correspondence to support families with the responsibility of home education. This may be a great opportunity to learn some new skills or explore new curriculum content. We know that all of our children are unique and require different materials/guidance.
As I understand it, there is an expectation from the Government that children should not be out and in large social groups. This will pose a direct risk to not only themselves but their families. It may also have more serious repercussions for wider society with more mandatory isolation sanctions being imposed.
Although I cannot predict how long this period of home studying will last, I would suspect that it would be for a considerable period of time. Students may be returning to a new year group or even an extended period of continuation. Our aim would be to continue to upload materials on the school website which families can access. We will not be in a position to personalise this.
However, it is vitally important that we maintain contact with our students. Tutors and staff will aim to contact students once a week via email providing they themselves are not ill, self-isolating and in a position to do so. Students will receive each week a prayer and information relating to new work on the school website. This contact will be the normal professional standard and will occur via email or teams providing these systems are in operation.
Students / Families in need of further support
We will be setting up our dedicated phone lines for students who require specific emotional support. These will be staffed by our own Pastoral/Wellbeing/Counsellors. They will operate between 10am – 2pm. There is also the school website and use of Zumos.
Further to this there will be a dedicated school email address of firstname.lastname@example.org for any family safeguarding issues you wish to report to us. Alternatively, there will be direct line open at school between 9am – 3pm which is 023 9289 2585 where a member of the support staff will be able to note any queries and questions you should have.
Free School Meals (FSM)
The Government announced that there will be support for children eligible for FSM. This was indicated to be through a voucher system. As of yet we have no information as to how this will work.
Therefore, we will be providing food parcels for eligible students (i.e. already registered as FSM) for next two weeks. Should you wish to take advantage of this please contact
Ms L Slight on 023 9289 2585 or email Lslight@saintedmunds.org.uk by Friday 20th March at 9am.
This should then give adequate time to provide guidance in relation to how the voucher system will operate. If we are still able to provide further assistance then we will.
This is a difficult time for all of us and we currently have more questions than answers. At the moment, we receive information here in school, via the news, at the same time as yourself. Hence, it is highly probably that there will be further changes and difficulties ahead of us.
I would like to thank you all on behalf of myself, Governors and the whole staff for your support. We pray that you all remain and that the challenges/pressure ahead of us are manageable.