School closure updates
Monday 23rd March 2020:
Dear parents and carers,
With the ever changing environment that we are living in, we will be using this space on the website to give updates in line with new government guidance coming out and how this is effecting school life. As of Monday 23rd March 2020, the government issued new advice regarding the upgrade of the current situation to a national health emergency leading to schools closing and a heavy emphasis on everyone needing to stay at home where possible. Click below for a link to the BBC website, where it explains the new guidelines in a simple and understandable way:
In terms of school life, we are remaining open but with a skeletal staff and only to key worker children and those that are vulnerable. Scroll down to our previous posts to see the government's criteria for this. In addition to this, we are going to continue to do the following unless we are told otherwise, or government guidance changes:
- offering free school meals to all that are eligible and delivering these to your doorsteps daily (including holidays)
- continuing to update the home learning page on the website daily (including holidays)
- continuing with the previous plan to deliver home learning packs once a fortnight to your doorsteps (excluding holidays)
However, what the staff of Riddlesden St. Mary's really want all parents and carers to know in this really challenging time is this ... you as parents and carers have been your child’s first education in their life. You’ve taught them lots so far, and will continue to do so. No child will fall behind as a result of this situation as everyone is in the same boat and we are trying our best to provide support.
We may send too much work, or not enough, but this is a new situation to us as teachers, as it is everyone else. If you feel overwhelmed that school are sending too much or too little work, reach out to school and let us know. We are trying our best to answer all phone calls and emails but please bear with us as this is a new and challenging time for us all.
Don’t be harsh on yourself as a parent or carer when it comes to helping your children learn from home but just do what you can and when you can. Don’t forget you know your child better than most and the key thing is to maintain yours and your child's emotional wellbeing at these times. This is a marathon not a race so just breathe and take one day at a time. Be kind to yourself and patient in adjusting. Look after yourselves and those children of yours because at the end of the day you are not doing it wrong, you are doing your best!!
Love and kind wishes from the staff of Riddlesden St. Mary's C of E Primary School,
Friday 20th March 2020:
Dear parents and carers,
Following government guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19) we closed our school as of 3.10pm on Friday 20th March. The government said that this closure is until further notice. During this time, we were going to open school from 8am until 6pm to meet the needs of vulnerable children and the children of key workers where it is not possible for them to remain at home.
- Children who are known to Social Services or,
- Children with an Education, Health and Care Plan
However, if your child falls into one of these categories, BUT has complex health needs then you should follow Public Health England's advice about social distancing and keep them at home. Bringing them into school for child-care purposes MUST be a last resort as this technically is going against the advice of social distancing.
- Front line health workers such as doctors and nurses (including midwives and paramedics)
- Teachers and social workers
- Workers in key public services including those essential to the justice system, religious staff and public service journalists
- Local and national government workers deemed crucial to delivering essential public services
- Workers involved in food production processing, distribution, sale and delivery
- Public safety workers including police, armed forces personnel, firefighters and prison staff
- Essential air, water, road and rail transport workers
- Utilities, communication and financial services staff, including postal workers and waste disposal workers
We understand the pressure that this will put on families. The health and wellbeing of children is our priority. We are working urgently to put as much support in place for pupils and parents as we can.
Each school will have their own individual arrangements for setting work for pupils during the closure. At Riddlesden St. Mary's we will be sending home learning packs home with the children tonight that will last the children for 2 weeks. After this 2 week period, should school still remain closed, we will deliver more home learning packs to your home. For those children who are already off school and in self-isolation, we will deliver your home learning packs over the course of next week.
Below is some frequently asked questions, the latest health advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) and some contact information that we hope is useful.
Frequently asked questions:
Why have you closed?
The government has taken the decision to close all schools across England because of the situation with coronavirus (COVID-19).
When will school be open again?
The government has not given a date for this. The situation will be kept under review and we will update our website and social media pages as soon as we get further information.
What is going to happen to my child?
Most children will be given work to do at home from their normal school. Your school will be in touch to provide further information of how that will be delivered, e.g. learning packs, online-learning.
If your child belongs to one of the vulnerable groups or is the child of a key worker, they will have the opportunity to attend their school.
Who are the vulnerable groups?
- children who are known to Social Services
- children with an Education, Health and Care Plan
- children whose parents are required to work as they have been identified as key workers
However, if your child falls into one of these categories, BUT has complex health needs then you should follow Public Health England advice about social distancing. If you have any concerns, please contact your school or Bradford Council's children's services on 01274 435600 for advice.
What if my child meets the criteria to attend their school, but requires support for longer than the school day?
If your child will be attending their school, they will be providing support and care outside normal school hours. This will be from 8am - 6pm.
Will my child’s Education, Health and Care Plan be reviewed during school closure?
All schools are provided with advice on how to undertake annual reviews if they are required. This includes how annual reviews can be made without a face-to-face meeting, e.g. telephone, email.
How will I know if my child can still attend school?
The government has said that schools will be open for the children of key workers and vulnerable children.If you believe your child is in one of the vulnerable groups, or you are a key worker, your school should be contacting you. If you haven’t heard anything, you should contact them.
My child has been identified as being in one of the vulnerable groups and entitled to keep attending school but I want to keep them at home. Can I?
If your child is known to a social worker, the local authority may decide to make school attendance compulsory as part of a care plan.
If your child has complex health needs, and under Public Health England guidance should be social distancing, then they should stay home for up to 12 weeks.
If your child shows symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) they should self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days.
If your child has an Education, Health Care Plan, it is expected that they attend the allocated school, which may not be their normal school, unless they show symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or have complex health needs, in which case they should stay home.
Any parents who are finding it difficult for their children to attend, should contact the SEN Assessment Team on 01274 435750.
I think I am a key worker, what do I do?
You need to check the list from government detailing who is a key worker.
If you are in doubt, contact the local school or Bradford Council.
What if I can’t care for my child?
If you are unable to care for your child, you need to seek the help and support of your family and extended networks. Should you require advice on how to do this safely please contact Bradford Council's children's services on 01274 435600 for advice.
Should your child have an allocated social worker please contact the allocated social worker directly or the duty social worker for the area team.
What should I do if my child gets free school meals?
Schools are currently organising how the meals service can support families through this period. When details have been confirmed, we will make this information available.
What if my child doesn’t get free school meals but I am having difficulty feeding them?
Contact your nearest local school that has remained open so that they can arrange for your child and/or you to have a meal.
A list of the open schools will be on the Bradford Council website from Monday. In the meantime, please contact your normal school for details of the open school in your community.
Will teachers and staff still be contactable if I need to speak to them?
Individual teachers may not be contactable, however, all schools will be contactable via the usual phone number.
What about children with exams?
This summer’s exams have been cancelled. As soon as a national announcement is made on what the government and Ofqual (the people responsible for exams) plan to do, we will let you know.
Latest health advice:
- For the latest advice and information on COVID-19, people are advised to visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus
- When schools close from Friday, do not let your children visit elderly people (age 70 or over), those who have a long-term health condition, those who are pregnant, or people who have a weakened immune system.
- If any of your family develops symptoms of a high temperature and a new, continuous cough, follow the advice on the NHS website: www.nhs.uk/coronavirus. DO NOT visit your GP, pharmacy or hospital. If symptoms persist or get worse use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service - 111.nhs.uk/covid-19/ - you should only call NHS 111 if you cannot get help online.
- If you have an underlying health condition follow the government advice https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults
Other useful contact numbers:
- Job Centre Plus Benefits Enquiry line: 0345 604 3719
- You can find local help on the Money Advice Service website.
- Citizens Advice Bureau: 0844 111 444. To find your local advice centre go to http://www.divabradford.org.uk
- Housing advice: The Housing Options Service - housing advice: 01274 435999
- Samaritans: 24-hour helpline for the depressed, distressed and suicidal: 08457 909090
- If you need support for your mental health, advice and support is available online at My Wellbeing College.
- Meal provision for the vulnerable or those in isolation in the Bradford district can be found at Wellsprings Together.
- Bevan House: advice and support centre for the homeless and asylum seekers: 01274 322400
- National domestic violence helpline: 0800 200 0247
- Lone parent support: 0808 802 0925
- NHS 111: telephone 111
- NSPCC: 01274 769800
- PALS: NHS patient advice and liaison service: 01274 364021 for Bradford Royal Infirmary or 01274 365853 for Airedale General Hospital
- Relate: relationship and individual counselling:
- Bradford Council's children's services: 01274 435600
- NHS search service: for help with finding a GP, dentist or hospital phone 111