Guidance from government regarding maintaining educational provision
The key message is as follows:
The most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear. If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading. That is why the government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.
It is important to underline that schools, colleges and other educational establishments remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.
Schools are, therefore, being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.
Vulnerable children include children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.
We know that schools will also want to support other children facing social difficulties and we will support head teachers to do so.
Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined below (see guidance for parents). Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.
Please, therefore, follow these key principles:
1. If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
2. If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
3. Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
4. Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
5. Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.
We anticipate that most young people who attend Collyer’s and are over the age of 16, will be able to safely study at home from Monday 23rd March when the college will close. In the best interest of students, their families and college staff, we wish to minimise the risks of transmission of Covid-19 and therefore students should only attend college in absolutely essential circumstances. The college will be providing online learning activities for students as well as a range of online support for learning and student wellbeing, during the Covid-19 closure.
Students who receive additional support as part of an Education Health Care Plan will continue to have access to specialist support online. A member of the study support department will email students directly about this support. All students will receive information about how to access wellbeing support through the college VLE and tutorial materials. Students currently in receipt of counselling will be contacted regarding support arrangements.
Vulnerable students (or parents of vulnerable students), who do not feel able to safely study at home with online support, should click on the link below and complete the questionnaire. The questionnaire needs to be completed TODAY to allow us time to make arrangements. We will email all students and their parent/carers who complete the questionnaire, to confirm arrangements for those who need essential access to college during the Covid-19 closure.
Link to questionnaire: Request to access campus during Covid-19 closure
We aim to make the following provision for students identified as needing to attend college:
Access to study support area of college for students with confirmed need (days and times of access to be provided by email following completion of the questionnaire)
Students will work in separate rooms as much as possible to comply with social distancing measures
Staff will be available to ensure student safety and will provide general support for independent study (no formal teaching will take place)
Students will be directed to specialist support provision online whilst at college
The college will be unable to provide a refectory or library service during closure
Free School Meals & Bursary Payments
Students who usually have access to Free School Meals will receive payments by BACS equating to £15 per week (term time), to support the provision of lunches at home during college closure. Bursary payments will also continue during college closure.
We would like to thank students and their families for their support during such a challenging time. The health, wellbeing and education of all our students is at the forefront of our thinking and planning as a staff team. We hope students will reach out to support one another online, as well as accessing the support provided by the college, as we navigate our way through the coming months.
With very best wishes
Vice Principal (Student Support)