Change to End of Term Date
11th December 2020
I’m sure you will be aware of the statement issued on Tuesday by the DfE re closing schools earlier than scheduled this term (see highlighted section below).
At the moment, parents are asked to contact me via email on firstname.lastname@example.org once they are aware of a positive result in their family (this information is on the front page of the website). Theoretically, this would mean that I would be ‘on call’ on Christmas Eve and I really wouldn’t want to be responsible for ruining the Christmas of any of our families so close to the ‘big day’ itself.
Having discussed this with the staff in school, I think we are of the opinion that we should close at the usual time next Thursday, 17th December. I would then suggest that we come back to school on Monday 4th (which was already a scheduled INSET day). I think this would probably cause the least inconvenience to you all.
The final decision is one that had to be made by the Governing Body: I can confirm that Governors have returned a majority decision in favour of closing on Thursday 17th December at the usual time (2:55-3:20pm depending on Key Stage). School will be closed to all pupils on Friday 18th December.
I really do apologise for any inconvenience caused, but this last minute suggestion is one that came from the DfE, not Warrington Local Authority. It goes without saying that had you already made arrangements to be away on the 4th January this will be treated as an authorised absence.
It’s going to be a very different Christmas for all of us this year – I do hope that you all have a wonderful time!
End of term planning – From the DfE
We know that school and further education leaders, teachers and staff, as well as nurseries and childminders, have worked tirelessly over the last term. This has included their important role in contact tracing, to help in the national effort to limit the spread of the virus. We are aware that this has led to additional work over weekends and holidays and we are incredibly grateful for this.
We recognise the challenges of this responsibility at the end of term. Public Health England has agreed a 6 day window after the final day of teaching in which schools and further education providers are asked to remain contactable so they can assist with contact tracing where necessary. This will allow enough time for positive coronavirus (COVID-19) cases to be identified and confirmed by a test and for relevant contacts in the education setting to be traced. We are clear that beyond 6 days after the final day of teaching, school and further education staff are not asked to play a role in any contact tracing. It is also likely that the need to support the tracing process will reduce dramatically over the course of the 6 days as the majority of cases should be identified earlier in the week.
End of term – advice for schools
To ensure that staff get the time off they need and deserve, schools may wish to use an INSET day, making Friday 18 December a non-teaching day and using the day for staff training, which could be delivered online. Where term would normally finish in the week commencing 21 December, schools may wish to consider adjusting term dates to make Friday 18 December the last day of term (which could be an INSET day), and bringing forward the start of term in January by the same number of days.
In all circumstances, teaching time must be made up at another point in the academic year. You should not limit attendance at school before Friday 18 December. It remains vital for all children to be in school up to the last day of teaching.
We recognise this communication has arrived with schools late in the term but would ask schools to be as helpful to parents as they can by sharing any changes to end of term arrangements as soon as possible, particularly where schools choose to make Friday 18 December a non-teaching day. Your support with this is appreciated.
We recommend all schools ensure staff, parents and carers are aware of [this] information and [of] relevant arrangements regarding positive cases in the holidays.