Updated plans for school – 4th January 2021

Dear Parents and Carers at Newsham Primary School,

Please let me start by apologising for the timing of this communication.  As I’m sure you are aware, the situation regarding the reopening of primary schools in England has been the subject of much debate over recent days and this continues to be the case.

During the past twenty-four hours, several unions representing staff working across all sectors of education have been advising staff to refrain from teaching full classes as normal and to focus on remote learning.  They have advised that staff should only attend school to support the learning of key worker and vulnerable children where necessary.  They have based this advice on the new variants of Covid-19 that are highly infectious and the infection rates that have increased significantly since schools closed for Christmas.

In addition to this rapidly developing national situation, there are several other pandemic related factors that are currently and particularly affecting staffing levels at Newsham Primary School.  As Headteacher, I must formulate the best plan possible based on the information available to me and the staffing levels I must work with.  I am still waiting for some information at a national, local, and school level and really regret the fact that I am having to make decisions at the last minute.  It is not the way I work as Headteacher, but these circumstances are not a reflection of the working practice of Northumberland County Council or indeed Newsham Primary School.

Unfortunately, I must keep Newsham Primary School closed to all pupils tomorrow, January 4th, 2020 due to the uncertainty around staffing levels that affect classroom provision, catering, and cleaning.  It is my responsibility as Headteacher to base my decision on my risk assessments and staff availability and I can assure you that I have considered both fully and come to this decision as a last resort this afternoon.

I very much hope that by the close of day tomorrow, I will have had the opportunity to confirm staffing levels, revise risk assessments in practical terms, determine revised bubble arrangements where necessary and communicate my plans to all concerned.  Please be aware that the plan moving forwards may unavoidably vary from one class to another, but I’ll aim to be as clear about that as possible in my next communication.

This information is being shared by email, our school website and via our school’s Facebook page.  Please help me to ensure as many parents and carers see it before tomorrow morning.
Staff will be available tomorrow via email or telephone to support you with any urgent questions or concerns.

Thank-you for your constant support and your overwhelmingly positive feedback at every stage of this journey.  I’m extremely grateful to you all.
Take care
Mrs Armstrong