I am writing to inform you that following a thorough risk assessment with the chair of governors we have taken the decision to close school for the first two weeks of term January 4th to January 15th.
School will be closed for all pupil's tomorrow, January 4th, and open for vulnerable and key worker pupils only from Tuesday 5th January.
You may be aware from the media that the largest education union NEU advised its members to invoke their Section 44 right and not return to the classroom and engage in face-to-face teaching with whole classes of pupils amid serious health and safety fears. The NAHT and ASCL (headteacher's unions) also have serious concerns and have mounted a legal challenge to the government's decision to re-open schools. I have received a letter signed by over 95% of St Mary's staff notifying me that they are not available for whole class teaching from tomorrow as they don't believe their work environment to be safe. In the absence of definitive evidence from the government for the scientific evidence on which it is basing its decisions on school opening, we are unable to provide sufficient assurances to resolve staff members concerns. With this proportion of staff advised by their union not to engage in face-to-face whole class teaching it is not possible for the school to be open to all pupils.
I know that the decision to take this action was incredibly difficult for our staff - they want to be delivering face to face learning as they know that is what is best for children but they also know that with no social distancing in schools and the use of PPE not allowed that a return to the classroom for face-to-face learning with all pupils would be to put themselves, their families and the wider community at increased risk.
Therefore, from tomorrow teachers will provide remote learning for all pupils as was the case during the initial lockdown period and for those who have had to isolate since September.
Parents will be contacted with regard to arrangements for key worker and vulnerable pupils to attend school from Tuesday Jan 5th and class teachers will be in touch via SeeSaw with regard to remote learning.
This is an ever changing and unprecedented situation nationally and we will keep you up to date as soon as possible with any changes or further information.
Thank you in anticipation of your support and ongoing understanding as we do our best to protect our school community in these challenging and difficult times.