15th  May 2020

Letter to parents from Clare Kershaw, Director of Education at Essex County Council:

Letter-to-parents-May-2020

27th April 2020

National Home Learning Support Helpline for Parents

A national parent helpline has been set up, known as StarLine, and backed by the new virtual Oak Academy, as well as Star Academies, the Confederation of School Trusts, Triple P UK and a number of academy trusts. It is also staffed by Ofsted inspectors who have been redeployed alongside teachers to provide advice about home learning to parents. The helpline is designed to help parents and carers create regular routines and study habits, offering practical steps to take and access to resources, such as support with a specific topic or advice on how to structure the day, deal with difficult behaviour or manage the learning of several children.
StarLine is open six days a week and covers all areas of the curriculum across all phases of education. The number to call is 0330 313 9162 (calls charged at local rate).

17th April 2020

Dear parents/ carers,

My apologies for sending out another email today, however I have been thinking about you all today and one of my main concerns is our communities well-being, especially following the news of the extension to the lockdown procedures.

I have therefore put a booklet together of some key information and hopefully some useful reminders as we start what should be the summer term on Monday.

The document attached contains information that is not new, but maybe a little forgotten in light of the difficult circumstances you are all coping so well with.

It is not intended to stop you from making contact with me or the class teachers if you need help or support but another signpost should you need it.

Please do take care of yourselves, I miss you all and as always, I’m sending my very best wishes your way.

Kim

Parent-booklet-summer-term-2020

14th April 2020

There is an increasing concern regarding the reduction in children attending A&E and seeking medical advice during the COVID 19 crisis. Much of this is due to the misunderstanding that all NHS services are focusing on COVID and normal services are not ‘open’. The following resources have been approved by NHS England for dissemination to support parents and carers of when to seek help and advice and which service they should contact.

The following link is a video produced locally by two clinicians (and approved by NHSE/I) to inform parents of the services available and when to seek help : https://youtu.be/u5Mgm1cmptw  .

I have also attached a poster which gives further advice re decision making if you have a child unwell or injured at home.

covid19_advice_for_parents_when_child_unwell_or_injured_poster

Updated Guidance

COVID-19: guidance on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing

Advice for parents and carers on looking after the mental health and wellbeing of children or young people during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

What support is available for children with mental health issues?

Leaders of educational settings, and designated safeguarding leads, know who their most vulnerable children and young people are, and will have the flexibility to offer a place to those children and young people.

All NHS mental health trusts are setting up 24/7 helplines, and seeking to use digital and virtual channels, to continue delivering support during the pandemic.

Social connections, alongside exercise, sleep, diet and routine, are important protective factors for mental health. Resources to promote and support mental wellbeing are included in the list of online resources we have published to help children to learn at home. Public Health England has also published guidance on supporting children and young people’s mental health. The Department of Health and Social Care is providing £5m of additional funding for mental health charities to support adults and children.

Digital support includes:

  • Minded educational resources for adults about children and young people’s mental health, which is relevant for teachers, other professionals working with children, volunteers, parents and carers
  • the Every Mind Matters platform, from Public Health England, about looking after your mental health

Rise Above, targeted at young people, which also has schools-facing lesson plans

The full updated guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing

The Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service (ECFWS) is delivered by Virgin Care Limited in partnership with Barnardo’s, to deliver children and family services across Essex, including local children’s community health provision. Services are commissioned by Essex County Council and work closely with partners within education to change outcomes for children and young people.

I am pleased to share with you edition 1 and 2 of their Weekly Bulletin, an interactive resource aimed to support schools and families throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Each bulletin contains activities to support the wellbeing of our school community in line with the PSHE curriculum, resources for your information, relevant service updates and up to date contact information.

ECFWS-Weekly-bulletin-edition-1

ECFWS-Weekly-bulletin-edition-2

31st March 2020

Home School Agreement – Covid -19

Please see link below for the Home School Agreement for those families using the Key Worker Provision during school closures.

COVID-19-Home-School-Agreement-March-2020

24th March 2020

Good afternoon everyone,

I do hope you are all okay and keeping well x

Please see below the latest advice and information received from county.

A few updates have come through from the DfE.  They are all included in this link here (including the previous guidance notes)

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings?utm_source=4e31e896-e423-42b1-bc76-55613a187bbb&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

However the one I want to draw your attention to is guidance on social distancing in education and childcare settings:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-social-distancing-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-social-distancing-in-education-and-childcare-settings

The key advice in the note is:

  • telling children, parents, carers or any visitors, such as suppliers, not to visit the school if they are displaying any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • consider how children arrive at the education or childcare setting and reduce any unnecessary travel on coaches, buses or public transport
  • ensure class sizes reflect the numbers of teaching staff available and are kept as small as possible
  • stagger lunch times, break times and the movement of pupils around the school to reduce large groups of children gathering
  • discouraging parents from gathering at school door
  • follow the social distancing guidelines
  • every child who can be safely cared for at home should be, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.

The other main advice in the document is about working with those children in households with a ‘vulnerable’ person.   The section is headed ‘Individuals in vulnerable health groups’.

The section talks about staff and children at the same time and the advice is the same. However, what I think it is saying for children is that:

  • Where a child lives in a household where someone has an increased risk of serious illness as a result of coronavirus ( COVID-19), they can still attend the provision as social distancing and hand hygiene advice is being followed.
  • Where a child lives in a household with someone who has been told directly by the NHS to stay at home for 12 weeks under the ‘shielding’ guidance, they can only attend if STRINGENT social distancing can be adhered to and the child can understand and follow the instructions.

Other new guidance includes:

Guidance on closures of early years and child care settings – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures

Guidance for maintaining Further Education Provision – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision

Keep safe everyone, and I shall update you again if any additional guidance comes through.

With my continued best wishes,

Tuesday 24th March 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Letter to Parents and Carers

Dear Parent / Carer,
This letter follows the Government action taken yesterday (23rd March 2020) to restrict all nonessential travel of action and the decision taken on the 20th March 2020 to close all early years’ settings, schools and colleges. Both decisions have been taken as part of the Government’s response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency. This is a direct intervention to reduce the spread of the disease and to prevent unnecessary deaths. The Government has directed early years settings, schools and colleges to remain open to provide support to vulnerable children and their families and for people identified as critical to managing the outbreak of the virus.
I need to make it clear that school closures are critical to reduce the spread of the virus to a level the NHS can cope with. This is essential to save lives. If a substantial number of children continue to attend school this will unravel this initiative and make this pandemic likely. The Government have also stated that all non-essential travel must be stopped.
Children of Critical Workers
Schools are remaining open only to the children of workers critical to the ongoing management of Covid-19, that are unable to safely stay at home.
We need to ensure that the number of children and young people accessing the offer of provision in a setting, school or college is kept to the lowest number possible. Therefore, even if you have been deemed a critical worker, if your children can remain at home rather than attend school, on some or all days, then they should. Please only use the offer of provision when it is crucial for you to undertake your critical role.
The list of critical workers can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educationalprovision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision
If the school, setting or college feels that your role does not fit the critical worker criteria, you may be asked to verify this or to keep your children at home. If you have a partner who is not a critical worker, you may be questioned as to why they are not able to stay at home as per the Government’s guidance.
Schools, settings and colleges are open to provide care to enable critical workers to respond to the crucial role you will play in the response to the COVID-19 emergency, but you must also support your school, setting and college and only use this offer of support if you have no alternatives for childcare for your child(ren). Clearly the more children and young people that attend an education setting the wider the risk of spreading the virus grows.
Children with Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP) or a Social Worker.
If your child has an EHCP and/or an allocated Social Worker and it is not possible to safely keep them at home, they may attend school, college or early years setting. Please only use the offer of provision when it is absolutely necessary and let your education provider know what you decide.
If you do decide to keep your child/ren at home and you need additional support, please contact your school and they will work with the local authority to support you.

Government Advice re Leaving Children Unattended
There is no law about when you can leave your child on their own but it is an offence to leave them alone if it places them at risk. As parents, you should use your judgement on how mature your child is before you decide to leave them at home.
If you are at all unsure, the NSPCC recommends that children under 12 are rarely mature enough to be left alone for a long period of time, children under 16 shouldn’t be left alone overnight and babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone.
It is important to note that schools, settings and colleges will not be able to provide an education offer to your child(ren) but will be able to provide facilities to enable you to go to work and/or keep vulnerable children safe. All normal and usual education activity has been suspended during this emergency period.
Schools continue to work closely with the Local Authority and the Headteacher Associations in order to offer a consistent and safe response to the current crisis. The health and safety of your children and your family is everyone’s first priority.

Thank you for your co-operation at this time.

Kind Regards,

Clare Kershaw Director of Education Sent on behalf of:

Essex County Council

The Association of Secondary Headteachers in Essex

Essex Primary Headteachers’ Association

Essex Special Schools Education Trust

21st March 2020

DfE Information to cascade to parents and carers

From Friday 20 March schools, childcare and other educational settings are closed for everyone except:

·        children of critical workers

·        vulnerable children

We have published guidance for parents and carers:

·        https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers

Critical workers

If parents’ work is critical to the coronavirus response, their children will be prioritised for early years and education provision.

The Government has published a list of critical workers:

·        https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

Please cascade the above information to parents and carers where possible.

Attendance reporting for educational settings to start from Monday 23 March

From Monday 23 March, educational settings should complete a short form to notify the Department for Education about their status regarding coronavirus (COVID-19).

The form will ask you to confirm whether your setting is open and, if so, provide information about numbers of pupils and staff attending. It will take you less than 2 minutes to complete. You should submit it by noon of each weekday.

Your data will help us build a national picture of educational provision so that we can focus support more effectively. It will also help the Government monitor the impact of the virus.

You will need a ‘DfE sign-in’ account to access the form. We are writing separately to DfE Sign-in approvers in all education settings to help you with this.

We will send more information about recording attendance and completing the form tomorrow.

Further details on exams and grades announced

New details regarding the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on summer exams has been released.

The exam regulator, Ofqual, and exam boards will work with teachers to provide grades to students whose exams have been cancelled this summer, following our actions to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Ofqual and exam boards will be discussing with teachers’ representatives before finalising an approach, to ensure that it is as fair as possible.

Find details on the impact on summer exams here:

·        https://www.gov.uk/government/news/further-details-on-exams-and-grades-announced

More information will be provided as soon as possible.

Funding to support schools

To ensure schools can continue to pay their staff and meet other financial commitments, schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure.

We will put in place a new process that allows us to reimburse schools for exceptional costs that they face as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Details of the scheme will be published in the coming days.

Handwashing advice

The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.

The latest guidance and video on hand washing can be found here:

·        https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

Department for Education coronavirus helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), 10am to 4pm (Saturday to Sunday)

Please note, we are currently experiencing high volumes of calls. We appreciate your patience at this time and apologise for any wait that you may experience. To ensure that we answer your calls as quickly as possible, we have now extended our opening hours to cover weekends and are increasing the number of call handlers available to answer your calls.

If you work in a school, please have your unique reference number (URN or UK PRN) available when calling the hotline.

Where to find the latest information

Updates on COVID-19:

·        https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Guidance for educational settings:

·        https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19

Guidance for social or community care and residential settings:

·        https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-social-or-community-care-and-residential-settings-on-covid-19

Travel advice for those travelling and living overseas:

·        https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

Educational resources:

·        https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/101-coronavirus-/resources

·        https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/schools

Latest Department for Education information:

·        https://twitter.com/educationgovuk

·        https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk/

20th March 2020

Dear parents/ carers,

Earlier today I sent out information regarding the expectation on schools to provide child care provision for children of Key Workers, vulnerable groups and those children with an EHCP.

The government has stated that self-isolation, household isolation and social distancing are the best way to limit the chance of COVID-19 spreading; this is why schools have been closed across the country from today.

Parents have been asked to keep their children at home, wherever possible, but have asked schools to remain open only for children who absolutely need to attend.  It is clear that the larger the number of children who travel and attend school, the greater the risk of exposure to COVID-19 there is for those children, for our school staff and everyone’s families.

I have been inundated with requests for the provision and I need to reiterate that we are not encouraging or expecting your child to attend school as per the Government guidance.

To ensure this service is only being used by those who absolutely need it, I sent out a form earlier today to highlight your qualification for this emergency service.

To ensure we minimise the number of children attending, and follow the guidance by Government, you should only be requesting this service if:

You are a sole key worker parent OR

You can confirm the other adult with parental responsibility is not a key worker and has an employer who has said they will not be able to follow government advice to grant ‘working from home’.

Please can I ask that this guidance is followed to ensure we are not overcrowding and increasing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for the children that need to attend, my staff and your families.

In order for me to be able to finalise numbers, I would ask that any requests are received by 10am tomorrow (Saturday 21st March).

Thank you in advance for your cooperation at this very difficult time.

With best wishes,

Kim Hall

Headteacher

19th March 2020

Dear parents/ carers,

Further to my communication last night and earlier today, our area Director for Education has been in talks with various agencies as well as the Regional Commissioner for Education.

Firstly, it is acknowledged that school leaders and school staff are being asked to provide support to the government in this time of national emergency.  That support is to enable two things to happen:

  • Assist the government with their plans to reduce the spread of the coronavirus across the UK and
  • To support the most vulnerable children and families in our communities.

From speaking to the DfE this morning, the DfE have been clear that the children entitled to attend a setting, school or college place next week are:

  • Those children with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
  • Those children with a social worker – children in need, children with a child protection plan and children in care.
  • The children of Key Workers. This list is promised, but it has yet to come through and I acknowledge how frustrating this is. You will be aware from my earlier email today that I am trying to identify which of our parents are key workers and whom therefore will require a place at our school next week.  Obviously, without the criteria, this is currently very difficult to ascertain.  It may be that we are not able to fully identify the pupils who are eligible until Monday.  If I have not received the list by tomorrow, I will send local advice to you over the weekend.

The government have also sent information about Free School Meals.  The requirement of schools is to provide free school meals to families who are eligible for Free School Meals (Pupil Premium Grant children).  We have been advised this can be in the form of supermarket vouchers or food parcels.  We are awaiting further clarification as to how this is to be delivered.  At this moment we do not think the requirement covers universal free school meals (Year R – 2), but I shall inform you if this changes.

In terms of the entitlement of children with an EHCP, we have been seeking to clarify what the expectation on education providers will be.  The emergency legislation passed yesterday helps with this as it does refer to relaxing the legislative requirements placed on Local Authorities during these times.   It does not specifically state that the provision requirements in an EHCP are suspended during this time but does talk about working in a pragmatic way.  As soon as I have more information on this I will contact you to confirm.

In terms of planning for next week, staff that are not self-isolating will be in school to enable us to assess how many eligible children will want to take up the entitlement.  Again, until we have the full list of key workers, it will be difficult to ascertain the staffing levels required.

The DfE have confirmed that as schools are officially “closed” from Monday, there is no statutory responsibility for parents to send their children into school if they fall under the vulnerable category or if you are a Key Worker.  However, I would ask that you contact the school to confirm the reason for not attending.

If children arrive at school on Monday who are not entitled to be there, so are not in the vulnerable or Key Worker group, parents will be contacted for them to be collected.

A draft home to school agreement, which will outline the responsibilities of school but also of parents during these arrangements, is currently being prepared.  I will send this out as soon as possible.

I appreciate that there is a lot of information to digest and unfortunately, there are still many unanswered questions for both parents and schools, that I hope to be able to clarify during the next few days.

Tomorrow, we will be handing out learning packs to all the children in school at the end of the school day.  For those that are self-isolating, two of my lovely governors, Lindy McDermott and Jess Laird will be delivering them to homes during the day, so everyone will receive the packs ready for next week’s closure.

Over the course of the weekend, I will send out more detailed information about our plans for providing activities for the children during the school closure.

In the meantime, I can’t thank you enough for your incredible support and understanding during this very difficult time.

As always, with my very best wishes,

Kim Hall

Headteacher

18th March 2020

Dear parents / carers,

At 5.15pm today, the Secretary of State for Education gave a public statement that all state-funded schools in England would be closed from the end of the school day on Friday.

Having indicated that all schools would be closed, he then indicated that they would be expected to remain open for the children of key workers and for those in various vulnerable categories – providing a safe place and access to meals. We are expecting a definition of ‘key worker’ tomorrow from the Cabinet Office. It will take time to determine the nature of this provision.

Although we have been anticipating such an announcement, and prepared for various scenarios, the limited details so far released raise considerably more questions than answers. You will all have your own legitimate concerns and queries.

The Secretary of State gave no undertaking that schools would be expected to sustain a pattern of normal learning during the closure; rather that any available staff would be expected to support other frontline efforts. Our school response is yet to be determined.

I will be working with my senior leadership colleagues, and all staff, and the local authority to clarify as best we can what this announcement means for the school, for our pupils and for you. I anticipate providing more details later tomorrow.

Thank you for your support and for your patience in the meantime.

For the next two days, pupil attendance is expected to continue as normal within the COVID-19 Public Health England guidance.

With best wishes,

Kim Hall

Headteacher

17.03.2020

I know I have already sent out information today updating you on the schools position regarding the coronavirus along with details of events that have been cancelled, however below is a current roundup of the latest information which includes more detailed guidance regarding self-isolating.

As you will probably already have heard from the Prime Ministers statement earlier this evening, schools have not been told to close, we will therefore carry on as normal.  If this advice changes, I will of course let you know as soon as I hear.

New guidance for households with symptoms

Yesterday, the Government introduced new guidance on whole household isolation in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak:

·        if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started

·        if you live with others and you or another member of the household have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. It is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community

·        for anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.

The symptoms are:

·        A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above)

·        A new, continuous cough

The full stay at home guidance for households with these symptoms can be found here:

·        https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance

This guidance is intended for:

·        people with symptoms that may be caused by coronavirus, and do not require hospital treatment, who must remain at home until they are well

·        those living in households with someone who shows symptoms that may be caused by coronavirus

The main messages are:

·        if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started. See ending isolation section for more information

·        if you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill

·        it is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community

·        for anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period. See ending isolation section for more information

·        if you can, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period

·        if you cannot move vulnerable people out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible

·        if you have coronavirus symptoms:

·        do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital

·        you do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home

·        testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home

·        plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home and consider what can be done for vulnerable people in the household

·        ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home

·        wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser

·        if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, then use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999

What is the advice if I live with a vulnerable person?

If you live in a house with a vulnerable person refer to our household guidance.

The Prime Minister’s statement from Monday 16 March can be found here:

·        https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-statement-on-coronavirus-16-march-2020

Handwashing advice

The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.

Watch this short NHS film for guidance:

·        https://youtu.be/bQCP7waTRWU

17.03.2020

An update/ reminder of the current guidance on COVID-19

New government guidance states that:

  • If any member of a family show symptoms the advice is that the whole household should self-isolate for 14 days. This is to help to protect others in the community.
  • Schools are to stay open
  •   staff, young people and children should stay at home if they are unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature to avoid spreading infection to others. Otherwise they should attend education or work as normal
  •   if staff, young people or children become unwell on site with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature they should be sent home·
  •  clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces more often than usual using your standard cleaning products·
  •  supervise young children to ensure they wash their hands for 20 seconds more often than usual with soap and water or hand sanitiser and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues

The following additional measures taken as a school: 

  • Moving assemblies to ‘classroom’ rather than whole school assemblies.
  • Staggering lunchtime sittings to avoid large groups sitting together.
  • Continuing with handwashing schedules for all and regular cleaning practices in place to keep commonly used surfaces clean.

Currently, in house after school clubs remain in place.

In addition, there are several event cancellations across the school, in date order these are:

Wednesday 18th March – Sing Big – Years 3 and 4

Wednesday 18th March – Swimming – Year 4

Thursday 19th March – Football league match – Years 5 and 6

Friday 20th March – Sharing Assembly – Year 5

Friday 20th March – Hockey match at JFan – A Team

Wednesday 25th March – London Museum trip – Year 6

Wednesday 25th March – Swimming – Year 4

Thursday 26th March – Football league match – Year 5 and 6

Friday 27th March – Sharing Assembly – Year

As you have all done so brilliantly so far, please do keep in communication with us about self-isolation so that we can mark all absences as authorised in this circumstance.  Any emails to me will be treated with absolute confidentiality.

I know that emotions are running high, it is a very uncertain time, but thank you for your continued support and understanding.

16.03.2020

Updated guidance for education settings on coronavirus (COVID-19)

Today, the Department for Education and Public Health England have issued updated guidance for education settings on COVID-19. This guidance will assist staff in addressing COVID-19 in educational settings. This includes childcare, schools, further and higher educational institutions.

What you need to know:

·        staff, young people and children should stay at home if they are unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature to avoid spreading infection to others. Otherwise they should attend education or work as normal

·        if staff, young people or children become unwell on site with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature they should be sent home

·        clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces more often than usual using your standard cleaning products

·        supervise young children to ensure they wash their hands for 20 seconds more often than usual with soap and water or hand sanitiser and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues

The updated guidance can be found here:

·        https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19#contents

Current advice remains in place: no education or children’s social care setting should close in response to a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case unless advised to do so by Public Health England.

The Chief Medical Officer has advised that the impact of closing schools on both children’s education and on the workforce would be substantial, but the benefit to public health may not be. Decisions on future advice to education or children’s social care settings will be taken based on the latest and best scientific evidence, which at this stage suggests children are a lower risk group.

Recording school pupil absences

Where a pupil is in self-isolation, in accordance with latest information and advice from Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England, the pupil should be recorded as unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances in the attendance register. Code Y (Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances) should be used in this instance.

If a pupil does not attend school, despite the school operating as usual and the pupil is not self-isolating, they should be marked as absent. It is for headteachers to determine whether or not the absence is authorised depending on the individual circumstances.

Where a pupil cannot attend school due to illness, as normally would happen, the pupil should be recorded as absent in the attendance register and the school will authorise the absence. Code I (Illness) should be used in this instance.

Handwashing advice

The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.

Watch this short NHS film for guidance:

·        https://youtu.be/bQCP7waTRWU

Department for Education coronavirus helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), 10am to 4pm (Saturday to Sunday)

Please note, we are currently experiencing high volumes of calls. We appreciate your patience at this time and apologise for any wait that you may experience. To ensure that we answer your calls as quickly as possible we have now extended our opening hours to cover weekends.

12th March 2020

We are continuing to follow advice from Public Health England in respect of Coronavirus.

 We have not been put on alert to close and at present we have no plans to close the school for any additional time.

 We are working closely with the Local Authority and if we are advised differently by Public Health England and the Department for Education to close, we will inform parents and carers immediately.

Essex County Council would like to reassure you all that they have not informed any ECC schools to close, please see their statement below.

“We have not informed any Essex County Council schools to close for additional time due to coronavirus and they have not been put on alert as stated by the media.
There has been no advice from Public Health England or the Department for Education to do this.
Should the situation change we will update all of our schools immediately.