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Coronavirus parent/carer update 17 March 08:10hrs

Dear Families

Coronavirus parent/carer update 17 March 08:10hrs

I suspect, like me, you were grossly underwhelmed with the information presented yesterday in relation to schools and the inherent inconsistencies and contradictions with other Government guidance.  Given the absence of clear guidance, I will be taking the matter into my own hands and communicating at each and every stage.

It became apparent late last night that we were going to be short of at least 9 staff today - before any potential sickness notifications this morning.

Three staff are self-isolating because they are presenting with the recognised symptoms

Four staff are self isolating due to being in vulnerable groups or due to underlying health conditions

Two staff are self-isolating due to family members presenting with the recognised symptoms

(Some students are self-isolating for similar reasons to those above)

Whilst the cancellation of events and trips in the coming weeks will help with our staffing as less cover is required, we are having difficulty securing supply teachers for obvious reasons.

For these reasons, I made the decision last night to stop Y12 lessons for the foreseeable future and communicated this to parents via email, social media, the school website and the Gloucestershire school closures website.  The absence of a year group frees up teachers to manage other classes in the school.

This morning, I will be looking to meet specifically with the Sixth Form leadership team to make arrangements for Y12 so as to minimise the impact on their learning.  Year 12 students will be contacted later today in relation to arrangements to continue their learning remotely.

In terms of moving forward, and on the assumption of a continued absence of national direction, I anticipate having to make further phased individual year group closures.  Those closures will involve the other year groups in KS4 and KS5 who are more equipped to look after themselves if home alone.  

However, there are no plans presently to close the school for other year groups.  With limited staffing capacity there is an obvious tension between keeping examination groups in school and keeping younger children in school to enable those parents not able to work from home to carry out their normal and, possibly, essential duties and work commitments.  

I would like to finish by thanking you for your consistent and ongoing support at this difficult time.

Mr G M Watson