This is my last letter of 2020 and I just wanted to give you a final update before we break up for Christmas.
I want to pay tribute to all our staff in our schools for the incredible job they have done since September in providing the best possible education and support for our children in the most challenging term we have ever had. They have truly gone above and beyond giving up planning time, management time and doing more duties to support the daily running of the schools, they have covered lessons where colleagues have had to self-isolate or been unwell. This has allowed us to keep the majority of our children in school since September. We have also asked them to provide high quality Home Learning when we have had to close bubbles or children and families are self-isolating, and this is additional work they have had to do for us.
I also want to acknowledge that the majority of our children and young people have been brilliant and done all that we have asked of them in and around school. It has been hard for them as many of the extra-curricular and enrichment activities that they enjoy so much have not been possible, but they have really appreciated the fact they are in school and life has been as close to normal as possible. We do have some amazing young people!
The fact we have had far fewer positive cases in schools over the last two weeks has really made a difference and we have had far less disruption; staffing levels have been very tight, but we have managed it well with the support of staff. It seems the infection rates are really dropping in Telford and we are all desperate to see that continue and I hope next term will see further improvements.
We have all heard the announcements about rapid testing in schools early next term, as yet we have not received any further details but we will keep you informed as soon as we understand the systems we need to implement. The great news about this is that it will enable us to reduce the number of children self-isolating and also have our staff tested quickly who may have been a close contact but have no symptoms. We will be working with Telford and Wrekin Council and the Health Protection Hub as this programme is rolled out next term.
I am delighted to announce that Crudgington Primary will formally join the LCT on the 4th January 2021 and we hope Severndale Academy will follow rapidly the following month. These schools will be a great addition the Trust.
We remained open on Friday this week because we already have two PD Days booked on the 4th and 18th January, we have some national and international speakers booked and I could not and did not want to change these arrangements. We have had no opportunity since March to provide training and time with our staff to work on Trust and individual school priorities, we need these days to catch up on some key work. There are no further P D Days this academic year.
Finally, a huge thank you to you, our parents, for all your support as we have managed the challenges of Covid-19 and running schools. I work with an amazing group of Headteachers who do their very best for the children in their care, every day. They desperately, along with all the staff, need a break and time to re-charge the batteries for next term when I suspect we will still be dealing with the same issues, but hopefully, they will be less intrusive as the vaccine begins to have an impact and rapid testing is effective.
I wish you and your families a very Happy Christmas and I do urge you to stay safe and well during the festive season.
We can all look forward to 2021!
Dr. Gill Eatough