Dear Parent/Carer 

Further to my communication yesterday I can now clarify what is happening for the next two weeks leading up to the Easter holidays. 

Schools are closed from Monday 23rd March until further notice for the majority of students.  This is to help stop the spread of the virus, but the country can’t survive unless critical workers such as those in the NHS can go to work.  Schools are, therefore, being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable and children whose parents/carers are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home. Wherever possible students should remain at home, as per Government guidance. 

The guidance from Government is clear, please therefore, follow these key principles: 

  • If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be. 

  • If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them. 

  • Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions. 

  • Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults. 

  • Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible. 

If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed the link below and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers 

If you are a critical worker but you can keep your child at home, then it is important that you do so.  

Eligible students should attend on time in full school uniform as they normally would.  Poor punctuality is still not acceptable and we expect to maintain high standards of behaviour as is the norm in our school.  Please note students should also bring PE kit every day as we will endeavour to put in a physical activity into the daily timetable. We are not in a position to offer a normal curriculum during this period; the provision in school is likely to be more akin to childcare than a normal timetable. The back gate will not be open; all students should report to the front entrance to sign in. 

As the vast majority of our students will not be in school, they should be undertaking home learning as outlined on the website: https://www.aldercommunityhighschool.org.uk/student-zone 

Online resources have been provided with paper copies if no access.  Reading is important and I would urge you to ensure your child is reading every day as well as taking some exercise either in the garden or inside.  Structure and routines in children’s lives are important and for the moment I will leave it to you as parents to decide how much home learning takes place but would recommend between 3 to 4 hours per day.  Please ensure that your child is not mixing socially during their time away from school in a way that can continue to spread the virus.  

Special arrangements have been made for those children who are entitled to a free school meal.  We are looking into setting up a voucher system but in the meantime, we will have a grab and go packed lunch available for collection from school between 12pm and 12.30pm.   

I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the seriousness of the current situation and that by working together to follow the Government guidelines we can get through this extremely difficult and challenging time.  I will continue to communicate with you in the following days and weeks. 

Please take care of yourselves and your families. 

Yours sincerely 

R. O’Regan 

Headteacher