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Coronavirus Latest and Social Stories



21st May 2020

Dear Parent and Carer,

I realise that the past 2 months have been extremely challenging and the closure of schools has posed many challenges and placed increased pressure on families. I would like to thank you all for the positive way you have engaged with school and look forwarding to being able to bring you more positive news in the coming weeks. As we approach what would have been the half term break, I want to share the latest information we have in relation to school closures and the latest advice and guidance from the Welsh Government.

Since closing on the 20th March there has been almost constant news coverage of the virus. This has often led to some confusion in relation to school closures with a different message in Wales to the one given in England. In this newsletter I have tried to capture some of the key messages as they stand this week and provide some updates on other key announcements at a school, regional and national level.

Update on current position in school:-



School continues to be closed. There is currently no date for a reopening and the most recent announcement by the Welsh Government’s Minister for Education states that “Schools will not be open for more pupils on June 1st in Wales” and “There will be no immediate change, but a series of decisions have to be taken”. The plans to reopen schools are being built around a decision framework which you can read by following the link below.



The document lays out some key principles that will allow schools to work with local authorities and to map out a plan for reopening based on five key principles. She stated that:-

Of my five principles the first, and most important, is the safety and mental, emotional and physical wellbeing of students and staff.

The Minister set out her five key principles on 27 April, which are:-


  • The safety and mental, emotional and physical wellbeing of students and staff

  • Continuing contribution to the national effort and strategy to fight the spread of COVID-19

  • Having the confidence of parents, staff and students – based on evidence and information – so that they can plan ahead

  • Ability to prioritise learners at key points, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds

  • Consistency with the Welsh Government’s framework for decision making, to have guidance in place to support measures such as distancing, managing attendance and wider protective actions.

This all means that for the foreseeable future the school will remain closed but will continue to provide the childcare provision outlined in the Welsh Government and Conwy Guidance. The school has been “repurposed” since the first week of lockdown and will continue to provide this significantly reduced service.

Continuity of learning (learning at home)

Our continued priority during the period of school closure is the principle of maintaining everyone’s safety and mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Alongside this priority we have continued to support “continuity of learning” in the most appropriate way for each pupil. Teachers, support staff and specialist staff have prepared a range of resources and ideas that they are sharing with you, however, I would like to emphasise that you should only see these as a support and not as a requirement that places additional pressure on you as a family. Resources are being made available through a range of methods including:-



Teachers and support staff are also working hard to keep in regular face to face contact as well as sharing ideas and digital resources on twitter, through video conference and through producing specialist videos for specific groups of learners. In addition our Family Engagement Officer (FACE) has also been supporting parents through a Facebook page. The links are below:-



We appreciate you are best placed to make decisions about what your child can do whilst at home. Next week (half term) we will not be sending work home as it is important that staff, parents and pupils recognise the need for a natural break in the term.



Free School Meal Update

From week commencing 11th May, Free School Meal benefit changes from a packed lunch collection to direct payments in to Parent/Carers Bank Accounts for the period of the Covid-19 control measures.

If you are a new claim since 9th April 2020 and supplied your bank details at the time of making the application, a payment should have been made on 14th May 2020 and then weekly while the Covid-19 control measures are in place. If you have existing Free School Meal benefit and still haven’t received the letter, then please contact the school advice team schooladvice@conwy.gov.uk

Well being

We have been asked by Conwy and Public Health Wales to share information regarding their launch of the Solihull Approach online parenting programme that they have made available free of charge across North Wales.



A number of helplines have also been shared that can provide invaluable support for specific or general issues in relation to supporting your child at home:-


End of school year planning

As we approach the end of any school year there are a number of adjustments and organisational issues that we need to consider despite the current school closures. These often cause some anxiety for parents, carers, pupils and staff. This year the issues of transition, timetabling and class groups are further complicated by a number of unknown factors such as the dates for reopening of schools. I am unable to give you more information at this point, however, I hope that knowing that we are considering many factors before deciding on class groupings for September will provide some reassurance. We are currently balancing and considering issues such as:-

  • Benefit of returning children to a familiar classroom and teacher following the period of school closure
  • Needs of children and young people transitioning to College and leaving school this year
  • Needs of children who are making the transition as new starters into school
  • Unknown start date following school closure
  • Increase In the school population in September
  • Uncertainty around which staff and pupils will remain off school due to shielding requirements when we return


We will try and communicate these arrangements as soon as is practicably possible but hope that you appreciate it is unlikely that this information will be available until very close to the end of the school year.

End of year reports

The Welsh Government have confirmed that a written report to parents is a continued legal requirement this term. However this needs to be reasonable, proportionate and realistic. As pupils have not been to school or been assessed since early March it would be difficult to provide you with any accurate assessment at the end of July. Therefore we will provided a general overview of your child’s progress up until school closure and a focus on their achievements and progress up to the point school closed.

Summary

The current closure of all schools in Wales has created new challenges that nobody had envisaged. I have been encouraged by the resourcefulness and positive response of families and some of the fantastic pictures, videos and work that has been shared with us are been nothing short of inspiring.

Having said that we appreciate that life is far from easy for you or your children and many of you are extremely keen to re-establish the familiar pattern and routines that come with school life. It is clear that when we do have a return date that there will be many restrictions and considerations that mean that a so called “new normal” will be required. Whilst we have no date to share I can assure you that we are working hard with the local authority, regional consortia and Welsh Government to ensure that we have a robust plan that will enable us to open safely for pupils, staff and parents.

Please continue to take care, stay safe and we look forward to sharing more information when it becomes available.

Kindest Regards

Jonathan Morgan Headteacher