Dear Parents and Carers

Last week we took an extra school closure day to communicate with you about the arrangements for school this term following the Prime Minister's announcement on Monday evening that because of the increasing spread of the new variant of the Covid 19 virus the NHS was under threat of being overwhelmed and therefore the country would have to enter another lockdown.  

The government have said that we should remain open for children of critical workers and for vulnerable children. In these times the school must also be a safe place for children and staff to be in. Therefore in the light of the increased transmissibility of this new variant of the virus we have made some changes to our risk assessment that relate to the size of bubbles and the movements of staff between them. We believe that this is a necessary step to recognise the increased risks we now face and based on our experience last term. 
 
Many of you have decided that you want your children to be at home with you during this period and I support that decision you have made. We have worked to enable all of those children who do need time in school to have it and also that we have the appropriate staffing levels to ensure that their needs are met when they are here.  

We have learnt much about home-learning since the last lockdown and teachers and support staff have now a much wider range of resources and strategies to support you with your child's learning at home. This website contains a lot of information and suggestions that you can use. Please let your child's teacher know how the home-learning is working out so that they can change or adapt it. We will be surveying you shortly to gain some more general feedback on this. 

The government are supporting home-learning with devices and internet access. If your child needs a laptop or similar please let your child's teacher know. Additionally we can apply to your mobile data provider to increase your mobile data allowance if you need that for your child to access online resources. If you want us to apply on your behalf we will need to know your name, your mobile number, the mobile provider (must be Three, Smarty, Virgin Mobile, EE, Tesco Mobile. Sky Mobile or O2) and whether you pay monthly or Pay as you Go. 

We have organised our lateral flow testing regime in school this week and are currently beginning to test our staff weekly. We are now looking at testing our secondary pupils. The test will need to be self-administered and initially there will only be two tests three days apart. The test requires your child to be able to either rub the probe to the back of their throat or far up their nose. It is an intrusive procedure and causes some discomfort. St. Nicholas staff will only be supervising and they will not be administering the tests. If your child understands the test and can self-administer then we will need your consent for it to happen. We could arrange for you to support your child in administering the test if you feel that would be preferable. If having agreed consent we feel that your child does not want to proceed with the test or is going to harm themselves with the test then we will end the testing process for them. We will provide social stories and videos that show the test procedure to help your child's understanding and prepare them. All tests are entirely voluntary and are not a condition of attendance at school.  

Best wishes

Daniel