Coronavirus – What is next for our schools?
No Headteacher would ever have expected to find themselves in the position they are in right now. An international virus outbreak is sweeping through our country, putting many lives at risk and our schools are part of the front line that are fighting the spread.
Our Trust Headteachers are working tirelessly to keep their schools open and provide a clean and safe place for their children to be. Information and guidance from the Government is changing constantly and we are all working hard to stay up to date with the most recent messages coming from the Government and to interpret what these mean for our schools.
Right now, our heads are glued to the BBC news feed awaiting the list of ‘key workers’ whose children will need school places over the coming weeks. We’ve all looked through our SEN registers, identified our vulnerable children, but we need to know clearly who will be in that ‘key worker’ group to know exactly how many children we are planning for and what needs they have.
Once we’ve got that list together, each school will be reviewing their staffing – how many teachers are well and in school? What staffing ratios do we need for each age group? Which support staff are well and at school? Do we have enough office staff to keep communication up with our families? Do we have kitchen staff in school to provide food for the children? Are our first aid trained staff in school? And what about our safeguarding leads? Then it’s time to start planning what kind of activities these children will do while they are in school. With a relaxation on inspections and exams, at least we can plan a more creative curriculum for these children where all abilities and ages can take part.
There is so much to plan for to keep our schools open in the coming weeks and to provide for those who need it so that we can look after our most vulnerable families as well as allowing our key workers to continue their important work. But what about the children we are sending home?
Once the schools have planned for the children who are staying in school, they’ll need to start providing learning for those children who are at home. Not just learning, we need to think about those children who need food at home because school might be the only place where they have a hot meal, we need to think about how we stay in regular contact with families and children we are worried about but don’t fit the ‘vulnerable’ category.
And then what? Will we continue this arrangement throughout the Easter break? What will our staffing look like as we move through the weeks and more staff begin to self isolate?
These really are extraordinary times and no one knows what is around the corner. What we do know is that we are teachers, support staff, Headteachers, cooks, cleaners and caretakers and our job is to keep our children safe. We are committed to playing our part in this national strategy to manage the virus and we will do all we can.
We pray for strength and courage at this difficult time, we pray for all affected by this virus.
‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit’
© The Diocese of Chelmsford Vine Schools Trust 2020 a company limited by guarantee and registered in England. No 8709542.
Registered address: The Diocese of Chelmsford Vine Schools Trust, Diocesan Offices, 53, New Street, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 1AT.