Headteacher Letter 24th Mar 2022

Posted on: 24/03/2022

24th March 2022

Dear Parents and Carers

Arrangements for Friday 25th March 2022

If you follow any of the national statistics about the current profile of positive COVID cases, you will be aware that the South West is experiencing the highest number of cases nationally whilst, within the South West, Somerset is the peak area.

Since my letter earlier this month, informing you about a rise in positive cases within our school community, we have experienced significant levels of staff absence. We have been following our outbreak management plan and working very hard to keep students in school. In order to do that, extraordinary arrangements have been put in place and these include:

  • collapsing classes to enable students to be taught in larger groups with one member of staff overseeing them
  • cancelling events that move teachers away from classrooms
  • using our own staff to provide cover for lessons outside of their timetabled periods
  • members of staff who are not teachers covering lessons and providing additional support
  • making use of multiple supply staff where we have been able to book it

Unfortunately, whilst we have seen a levelling out across the student population, we are currently experiencing a peak in staff absence from school. In addition, two of our regular supply teachers are unavailable in the immediate future and there is a shortage of available cover teachers in Somerset. These two factors will have an impact on our provision tomorrow and, depending on the return of staff from their absence, potentially next week. We cannot now sustain teaching for all students in school without making further adjustments.

As a result, we have taken the difficult decision that we will not run in-person lessons for students in Year 8 on Friday 25th March.

This will operate as follows:

  • Year 8 will not come into school on Friday, but will stay at home.
  • Year 8 tutors will run a live google meet tutor session during tutor time (8.45am). This is a pastoral check on the students and is there to support any questions they have about how the day should operate.
  • Year 8 teachers will set work for their students on their google classroom. This should be in place by the start of the day. These will not be live lessons as those members of staff are required in school to cover other classes from absent colleagues.
  • There may be a few vulnerable students that we will need to support individually and we will be in direct contact if that is needed.

I am really grateful to staff who have worked tirelessly over the last few weeks to support the school in any way that they can to keep things running as normally as possible; without our staff willingness to give of their time in this way, we would have reached this point at a much earlier stage.

We will make an assessment of the situation during the day tomorrow and make a decision about Monday as, if the situation persists, we may need to remove in-person lessons for a different year group on Monday 28th March.

I am very sorry that this arrangement has been necessary. We have not taken this decision lightly and apologise in advance for any disruption it causes. We had hoped that we would not find ourselves in this situation. This current wave does appear to be causing more illness, particularly amongst staff, than previous waves that we have experienced.

If your child is feeling unwell, please keep them away from school and undertake a COVID test. Our greatest protection in school is avoiding infectious individuals coming into school.
You are aware that we no longer have spare testing kits. It is possible to order LFT test kits from the government using this web link: https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests.

If you have a particular question about the management of a potentially positive case in your family, then please contact using the usual contact address: mailbox@ansford.net or by telephoning the school office on 01963 350 895

Thank you for your continued support.

Yours faithfully

Rachel Purnell

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