UPDATE: 3PM, FRIDAY 8th JANUARY 2021

Dear Parents,

I hope you and your families had a good Christmas, despite all the restrictions we had to follow, and I wish you all the best for 2021.

This is my first letter which includes our Crudgington Primary parents, the school officially joined LCT on Monday and we are delighted to be working with your school.

The new term started very differently from the one we were expecting with the PMs announcements the previous week and on Monday night. We had to take rapid action to inform parents that HLC Primary and Wrekin View were closed on Tuesday because we simply did not have the time to get a plan in place, thank you to those parents for their understanding over this decision. Crudgington and Queensway did open on Tuesday as they have significantly smaller numbers of children to support compared to the two very large primaries.

It has been a very busy week as we respond to all the issues created through the lockdown, supporting our schools with Home Learning plans and the provision for vulnerable and critical worker children. Home Learning is now up and running and will be working fully from Monday, there has been an awful lot to do to put this in place and ensuring staff are very clear on what they need to do each day. I am delighted at the quality of work that is now in place and our children and young people have a really good provision. We have learnt over the months how to deliver this effectively and it has really stepped up from the previous lockdown.

What is really different from the last lockdown is the number of children in our schools, this has significantly increased and we have had to meet the demand for places. It is really important that parents understand our staff are teaching in school as well as providing Home Learning so they are working flat out to do that. I cannot thank them enough for the immense effort they are making to ensure our children are getting a good education.

We are also responsible for the welfare of all of our young people and there are good systems in place to keep in contact with home, this will be ongoing through this lockdown. If you need support with your child please do not hesitate to contact school and seek help and advice.

The other key area of focus for us has been to implement the Secondary Testing programme using the Lateral Flow Test (LFT) for students and staff that are attending Charlton, Ercall Wood Academy, HLC Secondary and Queensway. As always everyone has committed to getting this working and we will now have testing fully working in all schools by Monday. The staff (including me!) have been the guinea pigs and students who have already been tested have been brilliant! This testing provides increased assurances to staff working in these schools.

I know for some families laptops and wireless access is still an issue and we are applying for more devices through the Government scheme, we do not have any control over this and just have to wait to see if we have been successful and then await delivery.

Free School Meals is another issue as the government has yet to tell us if there will be a reintroduction of the national voucher scheme. Therefore, we have implemented our own voucher system. Parents will receive vouchers next week as it has been a complex process to get this system working for the Trust.

It has been challenging dealing with all of this but we are hoping everything settles next week as staff, children and parents adjust to this lockdown.

I have to thank our brilliant staff across all our schools who have worked tirelessly this week to react so quickly to the demands placed upon us with little warning or guidance.

My best wishes to you and your family.

Dr. Gill Eatough
CEO LCT