To all parents and carers, schools staff and key stakeholders,
Following the previous statement on the reopening of schools, we wish to further clarify the position of Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) in its support for schools and school leadership teams.
As many of you will be aware the Government has announced that we are to enter an immediate national lockdown with ratification in the early hours of Wednesday morning, and as part of the lockdown all schools shall remain open only for children of key workers and vulnerable learners.
To this end we are supporting all schools to enact their contingency arrangements and will support schools to take the decisions that are right for their school environment and community in respect of partial opening as it relates to the safe delivery of teaching and learning in the current climate.
This means that remote learning arrangements will be put in place for the vast majority of pupils at both primary and secondary phase, and we will respond to further government guidance that supports this.
We had already pledged our support for schools who wish to remain closed to most pupils during the first two days of this academic term, and thus many schools will continue to support key worker children and vulnerable learners as the national arrangements come in to force. We would urge parents to contact their school to confirm with them their arrangements.
We anticipate that legislative relaxations with regards to school attendance will once again be given, and as such we do not intend to progress any sanctions for non-attendance this term.
Schools will be contacting parents and carers to ascertain which children fall into the eligible groups for provision, and to inform you of the arrangements for home learning provided by your school. We understand that each school setting is different, and staffing availability will be different for each school and so we are clear that there is no ‘one size fits all’ in respect of school arrangements. This is why we believe that the best place for decision making is with the Headteacher; and we still support this.
We will be working with schools in respect of those children eligible for Free School Meals, as we did last year during lockdown, to ensure that this important provision continues to be available. We will also be working with schools to understand and implement any new national guidance as it relates to education provision (such as arrangements for summer exams), as this guidance is released.
As your Council we continue to engage with all schools and settings and have a clear dialogue with the Department for Education, Public Health England and Government, and look to work with them to respond to the developing picture for Wokingham and support the right decisions for children and young people, their families, school staff and the wider community.
We continue to monitor the situation locally and will respond to the changing guidance and demands of the pandemic as the situation necessitates.
From John Halsall, Leader of the Council & UllaKarin Clark, Lead Member for Children’s Services