Tuesday 12th January 2021

For the attention of Nursery Parent/Carers

Dear Parent/Carer

Guidance has been issued by the Department for Education that clarifies the expectations for schools with regards to nursery classes and provision for two year olds.

“Early years provision should continue to remain open and should continue to allow all children to attend full time or their usual timetable hours. This includes early years registered nurseries and childminders, maintained nursery schools, as well as nursery classes in schools and other pre-reception provision on school sites. Only vulnerable children and children of critical workers should attend on-site reception classes. This is the default position for all areas irrespective of national lockdown restrictions.”

This is new guidance that has only just been published and therefore we are looking at how to effectively organise this at our school.

As mentioned in my previous letter on 5th January, the list of eligible critical worker roles is extensive. This has led to a very high number of children presently attending school.

We fully appreciate the pressures which parents will now be experiencing. However, when community transmission is rapidly increasing and there is a new, more easily spread variant, I am again appealing to parents/carers to exercise caution before they choose to send their child to Nursery.

The overriding message is to “STAY AT HOME”. If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be. If you or another parent/carer are at home (including working from home), please keep your child safely at home and access remote learning.

Unlike in the last lockdown childcare support bubbles are allowed and these should be considered if possible.

If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, and you cannot keep your child safe at home, then your child can attend school. However, children should only attend school on the days when they cannot be kept safely at home. Attending school on a part time basis is helpful and if all parents do this whenever they can it makes a huge difference because it keeps the numbers at school as low as possible.

Whilst the school has measures in place which have kept pupils and staff as safe as possible to this point, keeping the number of pupils attending school as low as possible is a vitally important measure to protect the health of children, their critical worker parents and families and the staff at Whitley Lodge First.

If numbers attending school remain high, this counteracts the primary aim of the lockdown which is to reduce the transmission, protect the NHS and save lives. Ultimately, this will allow the return of all pupils to school at the earliest opportunity.

Transmission is also more likely in larger groups and this will increase the likelihood of children needing to isolate, should they have been in close contact with a confirmed case.

Finally, please consider that teaching staff will be juggling the competing demands of teaching pupils attending school as well as those completing remote learning at home. Keeping numbers low at school allows teaching staff to give more time to support and feedback to fellow classmates that are learning at home.

If, after careful consideration of the above, you wish to send your child to Nursery, please email school via info@whitleylodgeschool.org.uk  by Thursday 14th January. This will allow us to finalise plans for your child to start on Monday 18th January.

(Please note this does not apply to the children of critical workers in Nursery who are already attending).

If we do not hear from you, we will presume that you are keeping your child safely at home.

However, it may be that the government tightens lockdown restrictions in the coming days and this may impact on a full opening of Nursery.

Therefore, we ask that you appreciate the rapidly changing situation from the government as we continue to work to meet expectations.

Kind regards

Mrs F Lutman

Headteacher