I am writing to you as you have either requested a critical worker childcare place or have a child who is defined as vulnerable.
The Local Authority has issued further guidance based on the latest government advice. The key message is that in-school provision is only for those families who really cannot keep their children at home.
Schools are facing significant staff shortages which are likely to get worse, and any places that we can offer for critical childcare will be subject to further prioritisation by Wednesday, according to staffing ratios.
The government have made it clear that the intention is to reduce numbers of children and staff in schools to the absolute minimum.
The Local Authority advice is also that schools should only remain open if they can do so safely – if not, they should close. Currently we have enough staff to remain open to care for those children where parents have indicated child care is an absolute necessity. We will be looking closely at the key worker criteria next week and may have to take some hard decisions regarding spaces. Some of you will be disappointed and will be told that your child does not have a place beyond Wednesday. We ask for your understanding in unprecedented times. Priority will be given according to strict Local Authority approved criteria. Top of the list will be parents who are both critical workers, working in front-line life-saving roles with absolutely nobody who can mind their children. You will be advised at the latest on Tuesday if you have a place beyond Wednesday.
Please can you confirm that you wish to take up (or decline) a place for your child (children), by emailing head@northdenes.
I will take a decision about how best we continue this offer on a day by day basis, bearing in mind the rapidly changing situation and staffing numbers. We hope that keeping childcare going on our site remains viable and will keep going for as long as we can keep your children safe. I very much hope that in the light of the seriousness of the situation we face, you will work hard to find alternative child care and therefore help us out with these difficult decisions. I do not feel that having a large group of children and staff in school is necessarily safe and want to reduce numbers to the ABSOLUTE minimum.
In the meantime, take care and we will keep you informed!