Sefton’s Director of Children’s Services Vicky Buchanan and Director of Public Health Margaret Jones have written a letter of reassurance and guidance to parents and carers across the borough.
Dear Parents and Carers
As you are fully aware the Prime Minister announced a full lockdown which meant that all schools were closed except for vulnerable children and critical worker children. This was not the start for the year that we wanted as we hoped that all children and young people would be in school by the 18th January at the very latest.
We need to drive down the infection rates in Sefton and indeed the whole country so that we are all safe and secure in returning to everyday life. In order to do that it is crucial we all follow the government guidance of staying home unless absolutely necessary. We need everyone to follow this guidance to protect not only the NHS but also ourselves, our families and our friends. Hopefully, with the roll out of the vaccine and keeping to the guidance this will happen sooner rather than later. Government guidance for schools and for parents and carers has been very clear about who should access places in schools. ‘Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school or college if required, but parents and carers should keep their children at home if they can.’ Full guidance for parents and carers can be found at:
We would ask that if you can, as the guidance says keep your child at home then please do so. Schools are under increasing pressure to manage the number of children and young people in school due to staff not being able to attend school due to covid issues. Schools may therefore as a last resort have to consider prioritising places for vulnerable children, health workers and school staff. Schools will only do this after considering their Risk Assessment and consultation with their governing body and Sefton Council. This will be continually reviewed as situations change throughout this current lockdown. Your school will keep you informed as to what is happening. Please do discuss any concerns with your school. Alongside having children in school, schools are providing high quality remote learning for those at home.
As you can imagine this is placing a very heavy burden on staff to ensure that everyone is catered for. Please do remember that all school situations are different and this impacts on how a school will deliver remote learning. There are many different ways that this can be delivered and no one way is the only way.
Some schools may have the facilities to deliver ‘live’ lessons and other may not be able to do so, that does not mean that their offer is any less effective. Please do work with your school to support your child and if you do have any worries then do discuss with the school. All our schools have worked incredibly hard to ensure that what they are offering is helping our children and young people to carry on learning in very difficult circumstances. If you are struggling with accessing online learning please do speak to your school.
We would ask that you continue to encourage your children to follow the advice of Hands, Face, Space.
Our schools will continue to reinforce this message as well as ensuring social distancing, good ventilation, use of face coverings as appropriate, and ensuring people with symptoms do not attend. These remain
the most effective ways to reduce the spread of the virus, even with rapid testing in place within schools. However, as parents and carers you could further support by not sending children to school unless necessary – stay at home; please don’t bring children to school if they are of an age when they can walk there on their own. If you need to take your child to school please observe hands, face, space, wear a face covering and don’t stand around the playground or school gates. We want to try and minimise people mixing.
We would ask that you continue to work with and support our schools with the same and consideration you have done so throughout this pandemic.
VICKY BUCHANAN MARGARET JONES
DIRECTOR OF CHILDREN’S SERVICES DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH