15 Jan

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Graham

I saw a super quote, on a forum, the other evening,

“What a week this year has been!”

So, lots to tell you all about.

Let’s start with an update on lateral flow tests (LFTs). As you know, all our secondary schools had the LFTs delivered at the beginning of term. Our teams have been thinking and planning with respect to two key issues – the first using the tests for adults, the second testing children and young people. As our teams were working on protocols, the following article was published in the Guardian, last night, and has since been widely distributed:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/14/regulator-refuses-to-approve-mass-covid-testing-schools-in-england

As a result of this latest news, we are led to believe that today the government is meeting with some important organisations.

In summary we have therefore decided, at this point, to wait until a clearer picture emerges and further guidance relating to the LFTs comes our way. The last thing we are prepared to do is place any of our children, staff and communities at risk, by providing unreliable results. To ensure safe working practices, we will continue with our original guidance contained in our Protocols document. We’ve never deviated from the model and the system continues to offer security and has served us all well. Details can be found here.

A number of weeks ago we made the decision, as a trust, to continue to provide supermarket vouchers to our families who are entitled to free school meals and whose children are currently accessing our remote learning offer. The trustees have used financial reserves to provide this essential support. We felt that this was fundamentally the right thing to do to support our families. I am delighted to inform you that over 300 vouchers were sent out this week and the government have now finally caught up with our way of thinking and, as from next week, families will once again have the choice of which supermarket to spend their voucher in through the “Edenred” voucher system, that has returned from lockdown one. A huge thank you to our school leaders and administration teams for ensuring that none of our children were disadvantaged during what is already a particularly challenging time. There will be no pictures of poor-quality hampers on twitter from our schools!

Next is an update on Vaccinations. As I mentioned last week, we are hopeful that all staff in our schools and organisations will, should individuals choose, have access to the vaccination programme in the next few weeks. I’m acutely aware that getting back to normal routines is incredibly important to all of our children and young people. Thank you to all of you that signed the national petition.

All our schools and colleges seem to be operating well at the minute. Horizons is managing to stay open (touch wood). Our remote learning offer has been really well received. Can I reiterate if any parent or family member has any issue regarding the provision your child is presently receiving, please contact the relevant school as a matter of urgency. Our school-based teams are there to help you.

We’re another week nearer – as always, thank you for your messages of encouragement and support.

Keep safe everyone – take care,

Graham

You can find all Graham’s previous updates and blog entries here