20th March 2020 Safeguarding Update
Sorry to add another worry to your list, but please be aware that the current situation is a perfect scenario for paedophiles: lots of children given loads of access online, being potentially allowed to join video streaming groups for PE or other subjects. Unless it is a closed group, and you are the administrator, you don’t know who else is in it. Also, there are lots of adults offering to look after other people’s children. Whilst most of these offers are genuine kindness, there are good reasons why schools have to be so stringent with safeguarding checks. Please be very, very careful about child-care and online use.
20th March 2020 Update – Please follow this link for today’s update – COVID – 19
16th March 2020 Update – Covid-19 and School Closures
We are open for all healthy children and staff. Our aim is to remain open until / unless we told to close. We have contingency plans about how we will manage staff illness. We are discouraging additional visitors. As long as the scientists think it is sensible, we agree that the nation needs childcare, to avoid health risks for grandparents and to avoid financial hardship for parents. Incomes still need to be found, and looking after children at home doesn’t tie in with many people’s work. Also, education is a ‘drip, drip’ cumulative process, and several months in isolation from it is unlikely to be good for many children. So the longer we can safely remain open, the better for our families.
We are following, and will continue to follow, all advice and direction given by Public Health England and HM Government.
We are planning schemes for the children, in case they need to learn from home. These will include on-line and paper resources. Our aim is to give you a structured curriculum which you can follow at home, if schools are shut. We are trying to create something which will ensure progression in learning, and which will consolidate children’s understanding, so that they don’t forget everything they’ve learnt, if schools are shut for any length of time. There are many companies exploiting this situation by offering free online schemes / trials. Some will be good, many will not, and none of them will be thought out with your individual child’s education in mind. We do know the children, and so we will try to provide you with something which is relevant. It will necessarily be a skeleton, with suggested extensions (many of which will be from online sites), but it will be at the right level for your child, and will build on what they have already learnt.
We have had a chat with the children this morning about carrying on in our usual brave, cheerful and calm way. Children don’t deserve to be impacted by this. They don’t have any power to change anything (except by hand-washing) and so we need to keep their lives as normal as possible.
I will keep you informed of any changes in government guidance. Please keep me informed of any illness in your families, especially any need to self-isolate.
9th March 2020 Update – School Response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
Cases of the virus are predicted to increase. This means the likelihood of a pupil or member of staff testing positive or being in contact with a confirmed case and being advised to self-isolate is increasing. The current situation is that if there is a confirmed case at school then Public Health England will advise on the appropriate and proportionate steps to take. Where a pupil or staff member is self-isolating due to contact with a confirmed case the current national advice is that schools should remain open. We are not aware of any cases that affect our school community currently. However, students must not come into school if they have any of the following symptoms: a. Fever b. Dry cough c. Shortness of breath. If any of these symptoms are present or you are worried in any way that you or your child may have contracted coronavirus you should contact NHS 111 immediately to seek advice. Please then notify the school about the action you have been asked to take. I would like to reassure you that the health and wellbeing of students and staff is our top priority.
Having carefully considered the current situation in Cumbria, we are going to take the following measures with immediate effect:
- The concert planned for 25th March is cancelled. We have decided that it is not sensible to encourage mass attendance including lots of our volunteers and elderly community members, at an event which is not vital to our school life.
- The parent meetings in school will go ahead, unless you are notified otherwise between now and next Wednesday. If we do have to cancel, we will send home the reports.
- Trips and visits will be assessed on an individual basis. It is important to stress that a decision may need to be made at short notice regarding trips.
- We will look to minimise visitors in school. Anyone who does come into reception will be asked to sanitise their hands and shown a copy of the Public Health England leaflet ‘Advice on coronavirus for places of education’.
We would ask you to consider carefully any travel arrangements you might be planning over the Easter holidays. Please be aware that the guidance about this, which can be found on the FCO website, frequently changes but it could mean that a period of self-isolation might be necessary on your return. Please notify us immediately at the start of the summer term if this is the case.
In addition to these actions, we have put in place a number of measures with the children. This includes encouraging good hygiene and regularly checking the soap dispensers to ensure that there is always an adequate supply. Please could you do the same at home, particularly before you come in to school.
We will continue to monitor the coronavirus situation closely and follow the advice from Public Health England and the Department for Education. The Department for Education’s advice page for schools can be found using the link below: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19
The most important advice is to limit the spread of the virus. Health-care professionals stress the importance of hygiene and hand washing. They recommend:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water
- Catch it, Bin it, Kill it: Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in a bin
- People who feel unwell should stay at home
Students, staff and visitors should wash their hands:
- After using public transport
- Before leaving home and on arrival at school
- After using the toilet
- After breaks and sporting activities
- Before eating any food, including snacks
We will continue to highlight this important advice to children.
We are also planning how to support your children’s continuing education in case of partial or total school closure.
If circumstances do change in anyway then we will contact you immediately with any arrangements that may have to be put in place.
Parent Governor Election
The ballot for the two Parent Governor positions at Grasmere School is now complete. We were very impressed by the calibre of the nominations. What a lucky school we are. We were also impressed by the number of papers returned. Thank you to all the candidates who stood for election. This is a great example of democracy in action for our children to see. The two parents who received the most votes were Carly Harding and Dominic Kelly. They are now our parent governors. Andrew Leech, whose term of office as parent governor has finished, is now the LA governor, having been nominated by Will Clark.
Our full governing body is as follows:
- Richard Attenborough – Chair of Governors & Foundation Governor
- Rod Hutchinson – Vice Chair of Governors, Foundation Governor (Finance)
- Peter Yates – Foundation Governor
- Maggie Patchett – Foundation Governor (SEND)
- David Wilmot – Ex-Officio Governor
- Jane Robinson – Foundation Governor
- Adam Foster – Staff Governor
- Andrew Leech – Local Authority Governor (Safeguarding / H&S)
- Jo Goode – Ex-Officio Governor
- Carly Harding – Parent Governors
- Dominic Kelly – Parent Governor
In addition: Jason Hewitt is co-opted on to the governing body for monthly financial scrutiny.
The governors are in charge of the strategic direction of the school. As our school is a Voluntary Aided School they are also the employers, and have overall responsibility for everything. The day to day management of the school is delegated to me, as head teacher.
We look forward to welcoming our new governors.
Clerk to the Governors & Returning Officer
Understanding Relationships and Health Education in your child’s primary school: a guide for parents
Please follow this link for further information – Relationships and Health Education
- Support and protect your children online – www.thinkuknow.co.uk
- Gaming: What parents and carers need to know – www.thinkuknow.co.uk
- Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) – Parent View