School closed to most students from end of day on Friday 20 March 2020
Published on 19/03/20
The following message from our Head of School, Mr Birkbeck, has been sent to all parents today (19 March 2020):
Following on from my last update, I’m now writing to confirm that we have now been instructed to close the school to almost all children after this Friday until further notice.
Please read all of this letter as it contains important information about our future plans.
Children who can still attend school
As advised by the government, we will do all we can to stay open for the children of key workers (e.g. NHS staff, police, others in frontline services) and children with certain needs.
We are waiting for the government to publish more information on what this means but the latest advice includes the following examples:
- Children of key workers, such as NHS staff, police and supermarket delivery drivers, who need to be able to go to work to support the country’s fight to tackle coronavirus.
- Vulnerable children who have a social worker.
- Children who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
Please note that this list may expand, as we receive further guidance. We will update you as soon as we have this.
The government has also asked schools to be open during the Easter holiday. Once we know how many students need this service, we can assess whether this is possible.
We need to make plans for the level of service to provide in the coming weeks, so please let us know if you will be sending your child to school.
If you think your child falls into one of the following categories please email email@example.com or, if you can’t access email, call Mr Simmons on 0114 248 5221. Please provide the following information:
- Your child’s name and class.
- The reason for them attending school, e.g. if you are key worker (please provide your job title); child has social worker; child has EHCP.
- Whether you need this service during the Easter holiday.
We will then send you further information before the end of the week about arrangements for next week.
Arrangements for the rest of this week
We are still responsible for the safety of all our students, so if you are not sending your child in Years 7, 10 or 11 into school this week please inform us as usual.
You can do this in the following ways:
- Calling reception on 0114 248 5221
- Using the Weduc app to report an absence.
If you have already informed school that your child is self-isolating you do not need to contact us again. School remains closed to students in Years 8 and 9 other than those whose parents/carers are key workers.
On Friday school will end at the normal time.
Support for students in school
We will be talking to students in school today and tomorrow, reassuring them about how we will still be supporting them during the closure.
What we will do during the closure
Support for students receiving Free School Meals
The government has said:
“To support children eligible for free school meals, schools will be able to purchase meals or vouchers for supermarkets or local shops.
The government has also confirmed that the total value of vouchers offered to each eligible child per week will exceed the rate it pays to schools for free school meals, recognising that families will not be buying food in bulk and may therefore incur higher costs. The final amounts will be confirmed shortly.
Effective immediately, schools will be able to order vouchers directly from supermarkets or shops in their communities to be emailed or printed and posted to families, and they will have their costs covered by the Department for Education. Guidance for schools will be published shortly.”
We will update you with further information about these arrangements as soon as we have them.
Exams cancelled for this summer
The government have announced that there will be no exams this summer for GCSE, A-level, etc. There is no further advice yet about what this means in practice but we will share it as soon as we receive it.
Whilst this does remove certain academic pressures, it is important that students do not give up on their studies. They will still need to be prepared for the next stage of their education. Therefore we are providing remote learning resources (further information is below).
I know that our students have been working hard towards these exams and that they may feel a mixture of relief but also disappointment. It is a very odd situation and it may feel confusing for them.
Our teachers will be setting remote learning for all students. This will be communicated in the usual way using the Weduc home learning app. You will also be able to find useful information on our website at: https://www.westfield-chorustrust.org/remotelearning
We realise that home learning creates pressures for you at home and, in due course, we will provide you with advice and tips about how best to manage this responsibility. We are all adapting to this new situation, but we are determined to support you throughout it.
In the meantime, if you are concerned that you or your child does not have access to Weduc, please contact: studentITsupport@westfield-chorustrust.org
The welfare of our students is vital during this closure period. Below is some initial information about what we plan to do to support them:
If you need support or advice about any issues while school is closed, please use Weduc to message your child’s Head of Year or Pastoral Manager. (Search by surname in Weduc).
- Year 7 – Emma Hopkinson / Debra Robinson
- Year 8 – Steve Adams / Kerry Kubon
- Year 9 – Steve Adams / Jo Tyler
- Year 10 – James Atkinson-Parmenter / Lee Thompson
- Year 11 – Helen Suter / Nicky Lister
Protecting students online
If students are at home and spending more time online, please do ensure that they stay safe. There are some great resources at: https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/young-people/resources-11-19s
But it’s also worth talking to them about this and checking in regularly about what they are doing online.
How will school keep track of vulnerable students?
School will remain open to all students who have a social worker. We will be providing additional support to all other students who currently access Learning, Pastoral or Medical support in school. We will be writing to the families of these children giving details of the additional support that will be provided.
Who should I contact if I have concerns about a student?
If you have any safeguarding concerns you wish to raise during the school closure please contact one of the below numbers:
These numbers will be operational during normal school opening hours – 08.00 – 17.00, Monday to Friday. If there is a safeguarding emergency outside of these hours, please contact the Sheffield Safeguarding Hub on 0114 273 4855.
What we won’t be doing during the closure
Unfortunately, owing to the closure, all school events have been cancelled. This includes any revision sessions scheduled during the Easter break.
Staying in touch with you
Our main means of communication during the closure period will be through the Weduc app. Please check for regular updates. It is crucial you check the Home Learning section of the app, as this is where work for all students will be set.
If you do not receive messages in this way please contact studentITsupport@westfield-chorustrust.org to seek support in accessing this service. Guidance is also available on our website at https://www.westfield-chorustrust.org/itsupport
All information about what we are doing during the closure will also be posted on our website at: https://www.westfield-chorustrust.org/schoolclosureinfo
I hope that covers all immediate questions. As I have said, we will update you once we receive more information from the government.
And remember: if you or your child feels ill and you want to know what to do next, please use NHS 111 online at: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19
Thank you again for your continued support.
Wishing you and your family the very best,
Mr Joe Birkbeck
Head of Westfield School