Letter to all parents 16th December
16th December 2020
On Monday we received a letter from the Local Authority Director of Public Health describing a deepening and accelerating Covid-19 infection crisis across Waltham Forest and calling for:
‘immediate and decisive action to control the spread of the virus. I am recommending that all schools in Waltham Forest move to remote learning and remain open only to support the children of key workers and vulnerable children’.
We have no reason to doubt the seriousness of the situation described or the expertise behind the recommendation and as such we decided to switch to remote learning for pupils, other than our key worker and vulnerable family groups, for the remaining three days of this term.
Yesterday all schools in Waltham Forest received a letter from the Minister of State for School Standards, Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP, who expressed ‘deep disappointment and concern’ over Waltham Forest’s action and asking for all schools to reopen to all pupils. In the letter he explains that the Government will consider using their powers to direct all schools to reopen if we do not do so.
This leaves us in a difficult position: having responded to the Waltham Forest Director of Public Health’s recommendation to immediately switch to online learning for most pupils; do we now respond to Nick Gibb’s request to immediately reopen?
I understand the Minister’s desire to keep schools open for all pupils and both schools in our Trust have a longstanding reputation for doing so whenever possible. However, we do not possess the means to question the Director of Public Health’s recommendation and consider the most responsible decision to be the one we have taken – we shall keep to online learning at home for most pupils until the end of this term while remaining open for our key worker and vulnerable family groups.
If the Secretary of State directs us to open for all pupils tomorrow then we shall do so - and will notify you via each school’s website and Seesaw.
I send you all my very best wishes for a peaceful and safe Christmas.