Apologies for writing to you during the holiday period, but in light of the current Tier 4 restrictions and following a meeting with Welsh Government officials yesterday and today, it is necessary to revise the arrangements for our schools next week.
The revised position is aimed at keeping our children and staff safe, and is summarised as follows:
• The new school term will start on 4th January. The 4th and 5th of January will remain as planning days so that schools can prepare for the delivery of remote learning and on-site provision for vulnerable learners and the children of critical workers. This will also provide an opportunity for school leaders to update their risk assessments and plans to keep learners and staff safe. No remote learning will be provided for your child/ren on these dates.
• All schools, including mainstream and special schools, and pupil referral units, must provide remote learning opportunities for all learners from the 6th to the 8th of January, and beyond, if face to face learning is not possible for all learners in school settings. Provision should also include remote wellbeing support where this is deemed necessary. Education will not be provided on school sites during the first week of term unless your child is identified as a high priority vulnerable learner or critical worker eligibility is met.
• All schools, including mainstream and special schools, and pupil referral units, delivering education via remote learning must make school-based provision for high priority vulnerable children during core school hours.
• All schools, including mainstream and special schools, and pupil referral units, delivering education via remote learning must also make provision for the children of critical workers in school settings. The regulations now stipulate that provision for the children of critical workers must also be made in secondary schools. This provision will be for core school hours, including breakfast club provision in primary schools.
• Based on current information it is still anticipated that from the second week of term (w/c 11th January) most schools will be providing face to face learning for the majority of pupils, leading to a full return by the 18th January at the latest. However, further detail will be provided for parents and carers later next week following further meetings with Welsh Government officials.
As schools will not be open to all learners during the first week of term, your child’s school will be expected to make special arrangements for high priority vulnerable learners from the 6th of January. Eligible children include high priority children:
• that have additional learning needs;
• are looked after;
• are young carers;
• are in need of care and support; or
• with child protection needs.
Your school should have notified you already of whether your child is considered to be a high priority.
Critical worker provision will be made available in all primary and secondary schools, special schools or PRUs for the first week of term as schools will not be open to all year groups. Your child’s school will notify you, on Monday the 4th January, of this offer for the following eligible workers:
• Blue light workers, including NHS, Police, Ambulance and Fire Service staff;
• Social care workers (including care homes); and
• Childcare or education staff.
This provision will be available for eligible children of all ages in primary, special school and pupil referral unit settings. In mainstream secondary schools, this provision will be made available for mainstream learners in years 7 and 8 only, and for the children of critical workers attending key stage 3 and 4 learning support class provisions only.
Please only apply for this provision if you clearly meet eligibility and are scheduled to work and have exhausted all possible childcare avenues. All schools have been asked to directly notify parents/carers of their provision for critical workers on the 4th of January 2021 and to make appropriate arrangements for delivery from the 6th of January onwards. This provision will cease once schools are open to all learners.
A further update will be sent to you later next week to advise you of plans for the week commencing the 11th of January. At present, it is hoped that the majority of pupils will be accessing face to face learning during the second week of term and that all learners will be back in school by the 18th of January, subject to the local position and transmission rates.
A Healthy and Happy New Year to you all.
Director of Education and Inclusion Services