I hope you and your families are well.
This lockdown is a huge challenge for everyone, and it is really difficult trying to work and manage family life with children at home. We are doing all we can to support you at home, provide remote learning as well as regular contact and engagement from school. We have had so many positive responses from parents on the work our schools are doing, and the staff so appreciate this feedback, it really keeps them going.
We have high numbers of children and young people in schools and the challenge is to have enough staff to support all the remote learning and provide learning in school. We have had staff unwell with COVID-19 since the start of term and we have also had to close bubbles as we have had children and staff test positive. We now have all secondary and Queensway staff tested, twice a week, using the Lateral Flow Test as well as all those students attending school. This has identified a number of asymptomatic cases which is really helpful in reducing further infections. All our primary staff received home test kits this week so they can test themselves twice a week. All of these procedures really help to keep everyone safe and well.
This week Telford and Wrekin Council provided the opportunity for Queensway staff to receive the vaccine as they are in daily close contact with children. This is a fantastic step forward and I am really hoping that over the coming weeks more of our staff will receive the vaccine.
As I am sure you are aware, the PM announced this week that schools will not begin to fully re-open until 8th March at the earliest. We have no details at the moment as to how this may happen, but I am working with the Department of Education to look at the planning for this; we will keep you informed as soon as we receive further information. I know it means Home Learning will need to be in place for at least the next 4-5 weeks, but I can assure you we will get children back as soon as we are allowed to do so.
Those of you with children in Y11 will also be aware the government is consulting on the mechanism for allocating GCSE grades this summer and this closes today. We should see some decisions on this in the next few weeks and we will be in position to give Y11 more information. Y11 need to keep working hard so we have the best evidence to support our Centre Assessed Grades. They may have to sit some tests, but this is not yet confirmed.
If you are at all concerned about your child then please contact school – they are there to help and they will do so.
Next week, Severndale Academy in Shrewsbury joins the Learning Community Trust and we are delighted to be welcoming them. They are a large Special School and will bring many strengths to our organisation.
I do believe we will see the situation with the pandemic steadily improve as we get into February and March. We all just have to be patient and keep to the current rules to significantly reduce the spread of the virus so we can then finally put this all behind us.
My best wishes to you and your family.
Dr. Gill Eatough