Download our FREE smartphone app today!
Temporary Closure From End of Friday 20th March
ALL SCHOOLS IN ENGLAND: TEMPORARY CLOSURE DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
As you have no doubt already heard, the government has announced that all schools will temporarily close from Friday March 20th. This is the case across all schools in England.
The government has taken its decision on the basis of advice from its scientific experts. The evidence from around the world is, thankfully, that children and teenagers are not particularly vulnerable to coronavirus. However, the decision to close schools now has been timed very carefully by the government, in order to maximise its impact on the spread of the virus.
Because there has been so much speculation that schools could close, we have been able to put a great deal of time and resources towards preparing for this. We have spent time with your daughters - collectively in assemblies and individually too - talking to them about the current situation. In these conversations, your daughters have said how much they love school not just because of the education they receive but because of all the other support they receive here too.
The coronavirus pandemic is both completely unprecedented and constantly evolving. We know that it will cause difficulties and stress for our pupils and their families. But we also want you to feel reassured that we have made careful and detailed plans to support you and your daughters through this.
We will maintain provision for the vulnerable children and the children of ‘key workers’ at the front line of the current situation. We had made plans to do this anyway, but in its announcement yesterday the government mandated it for all schools. The government is due to announce its definition of ‘key workers’ but has already said that it includes health workers in the NHS, police, social care workers and supermarket delivery drivers. Once the government has published its definition of ‘vulnerable children’ and ‘key workers’ we will send out further information.
In the meantime, the Academy has already collected from you details of parents that work in the front line services. However, if you believe you are a key worker and you haven’t already told us, please email Keyworkersprovision@harrisbermondsey.org.uk with your child’s name, your job title and employer so that we are able to plan for the number of children we may have in the Academy.
To access this service, each parent will be required to present evidence of employment. This can be for example, Work ID Card, Letter of employment, current wage slip or another appropriate piece of evidence to demonstrate you are employed in the ‘key workers’ list. The Academy will offer this service to ‘key workers’ but it is not a compulsory school day and we will respect parents who are able to provide suitable childcare for their child.
Of similar importance, we will ensure that all children on Free School Meals continue to receive these - something we have already begun to do. If this applies to you, we will write to you separately with more detail. At the top of our minds, throughout recent weeks, have been pupils and families who may be particularly disadvantaged by this crisis. We will continue to think of imaginative ways we can help and support these families and will update you.
The uncertainty of the past few weeks has worried absolutely everybody. But it has posed particular concerns for girls (and parents) at the most critical times in their education. Year 11 and 13 girls have been preparing for their GCSEs and A Levels. We know that your daughters have worked exceptionally hard at their education and at the Academy we will always push for them to get the outcomes they deserve.
While GCSE and A Levels won’t take place in the summer, we await further clarity from the government on how pupils will be rewarded with the qualifications they deserve.
We will of course update you as soon as we know and will work with families on an individual basis as needed to ensure fair outcomes for everyone.
Your daughters in Year 11 and 13 have been today advised that we and they must stand up for their education now by continuing to work hard at their subjects and prepare for the next phase of their study. Their teachers will be supporting them remotely and compiling evidence of their strong performance, should this be useful to examination boards later. It is essential that we all encourage every girl to engage in full with her education from home; our school is more than bricks and mortar and their education does not stop because of this temporary closure.
Our physical schools will be closing for now, but our ‘virtual schools’ stand ready for you and your daughters. This is new territory for all of us, and it is new territory for all of you, but we remain as one school community. We have developed a huge amount of ‘virtual provision’ in a short amount of time: you may need to bear with us at times, but rest assured that we will continue to develop and revise our provision to make sure it is working. At Harris Academy Bermondsey:
- All girls will be expected to engage with their teachers using the online platforms we have set up for them. Year 11 and 13 girls should use Microsoft Teams. Year 7 – 10 and 12 should engage through the school email account and have been set work on various platforms, including Seneca for Science, Hegarty for Maths and Bedrock for English. Our Home Learning page on the school website has a wealth of useful resources: https://www.harrisbermondsey.org.uk/858/study-resources-for-home-learning
- Your daughter has been set clear deadlines to meet for completing her work. Her teachers will be checking that she has done so and offering help via email if she needs it.
- All girls receiving counselling in school will continue to receive this, by telephone.
Girls will be able to email into the school, and the school switchboard will continue to be operational during school hours. If during the temporary closure of the school you or your child need to reach us, our telephone number is 0207 237 9316 and our email address is HABReception@harrisbermondsey.org.uk, or you can complete an enquiry form at https://www.harrisbermondsey.org.uk/10/contact-us. The most urgent enquiries, including safeguarding issues for any vulnerable pupils, will be answered first. You can make direct contact with our safeguarding team on firstname.lastname@example.org. If your enquiry is not
urgent, please bear with us if there is a delay in responding. Please note that for safeguarding reasons, teachers are not permitted to give out their telephone numbers, but that a small team of teachers will be able to make contact via school mobile phones and so may call you from those numbers.
However much the temporary closure of schools has been speculated about by the media, we know that it will still cause considerable shock, distress and disadvantage to many of our families.
While we can never fully compensate for this loss of school time to your daughters, staff across the Harris Federation and all its academies have rallied together to support and plan for this and we know our school communities will get through this whatever happens.
Rebecca Iles-Smith, Principal