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Dear Parents and Carers,


Remote Learning except key worker and invited (vulnerable) children


We have managed to open the school today following a great deal of hard work and commitment from the whole St Denys team. Unfortunately, due to the rapidly changing circumstances that we find ourselves in, I have become aware of an increased number of staff who will be unable to be in school for the remainder of this week and beyond. These are staff who are:

  • staff who are extremely critically vulnerable and are now shielding at home under tier 4 guidance,
  • staff who are isolating due to being a close contact with someone who has COVID
  • staff who have raised legitimate concerns about their safety and that of the children and families as cases continue to rise locally. Their concerns are in line with guidance they have received from their professional bodies (unions).


With all this in mind, I have had to take the very difficult decision that from Wednesday 6th January the school can only be safely open for pupils whose parents are critical workers and invited vulnerable children, including those with an EHCP or who have a social worker/ family engagement worker. All other children will have remote learning through Class Dojo and our website at home.


This will be for the rest of this week initially and I will update you on Friday, at the latest, about what the plans will be going forward. I am hoping that later this week I will have further guidance from both the Department for Education in consultation with the unions that will help find a solution going forward. In the meantime, we will continue to work closely with our school community to support you in the best way we can.


I know that this decision will be inconvenient to many of you and I sincerely apologise that it is coming with little notice. We are able to open tomorrow as we are rearranging things to cover classes but this is not sustainable in the future. You may have seen the message from Chris Hammond (Leader of Southampton City Council) where he acknowledged the incredible pressure schools are under at the moment, where the council would be supportive of individual schools moving to remote learning while there are staffing pressures and concerns.


I will send out information later today confirming arrangements for those children whose parents have let us know they are critical workers. We will also be contacting the families of vulnerable children to invite them to continue to attend school. I will also write a further letter about how remote learning will work during this time with guidance for parents.


Thank you for your continued support in these very difficult times. Whether the children are here physically or learning remotely, we remain a St Denys School community and will continue to make sure that we support you in keeping the children, happy, safe and learning in every way we can.


Best wishes


Amanda Talbot-Jones, Headteacher