Suffolk County Council news release - For immediate release: 31 March 2020
For further information contact: Katherine Merlo - Tel: 01473 265847 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Schools to remain open for vulnerable children and children of key workers over the Easter period
Suffolk County Council (SCC) is working with school leaders to enable schools in Suffolk to stay open over the Easter period for vulnerable children and those whose parents are key workers.
Schools and Early Years Settings are a crucial part of our response to the Covid-19 pandemic and without the hard work and dedication of school and early years leaders and staff many key workers would be unable to continue delivering essential services. Therefore, over the Easter break schools and Early Years Settings in Suffolk are putting in arrangements to allow children of key workers and vulnerable children who need to attend school to do so. In some schools this may include opening over bank holidays.
Schools and Early Year Settings across Suffolk will all be delivering this in slightly different ways – with some developing local collaborations – so parents are advised to contact their school directly to find out more information. Parents can also keep up to date with school closures at www.suffolk.gov.uk/children-families-and-learning/schools/school-closures/
SCC have launched a helpline for parents which will assist them if their usual school is not open or has been unable to make alternate arrangements for pupils. If parents are classed as a key worker or have a child that is classed as vulnerable they are able to call this line and SCC will liaise with schools to find them a place. The helpline number is; 01473 263985, this line is open on weekdays from 8am – 5pm.
Even if you are classed as a key worker, if you are in a position to keep your child at home then you must do so. Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be. The fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.
Councillor Mary Evans, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills said;
“Once again I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone across the education sector . We are all working together to identify the best solutions for all pupils, especially the most vulnerable. Schools and Early Years Settings are a hugely important element of the nationwide response to Covid19. I am extremely grateful to schools and Early Years Settings which are able to open for vulnerable children and children of key workers over the Easter break. I appreciate that in normal circumstances the teachers, staff, leaders and managers at schools and early years settings would have been looking forward to time off now and it is a tribute to their dedication that they are prepared to come in to work.”
In a joint statement, Tim Coulson, Chief Executive Officer at Unity Schools Partnership, Bill Holledge, Chief Executive Officer at Paradigm Trust, Jacqui Frost, Executive Officer for the Suffolk Primary Headteachers’ Association and Jane Sheat, Director of Education at St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese Multi Academy Trust said;
“We would like to extend a big thank you to all parents who have kept their children at home during this time. We understand this is an unsettling time but with the majority of parents educating their children at home we are able to focus our resources on those children who most need it. We are pleased to be able to keep our schools and Early Years Settings open over the Easter break for this small number of children and would urge eligible parents to let schools know if they wish to take up this offer.”
For more information on schools please refer to the Q&A’s on SCC’s website
There is also guidance available for parents on the government website.
Councillor Mary Evans (Con), Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills 01284 789478, 07970 187864, 07714 597992, email@example.com
Councillor Jack Abbott (Lab), Opposition Spokesperson for Children’s Services, Education and Skills, 07590 627739, firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Penny Otton (Lib Dem) Leader of the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group and Spokesperson for Education, 01449 737870, 07545 423847, email@example.com