Today, for this evening, it states in my diary – fly to Antalya! How all our plans have changed! I guess the least of our worries, at this time, is missing a holiday to Turkey.
So, where are we up to?
As of today, we have got around 18 children attending our hub schools in Oldham and Tameside. They are almost all children of families who are critical workers. Can I thank all our school based teams for their amazing support. You guys are making such a difference for all our communities. We are planning to keep the school hubs open next week and the week after. Our Tameside hub is closing for Good Friday and Bank Holiday Monday and our Oldham hub is closing for just Bank Holiday Monday. This is subject to change and if we do need to alter arrangements, I will inform you all as soon as is possible. The staff teams will keep you up to date.
The staff who are managing the virtual learning offer are also providing the vast majority of our children with at least a degree of stability. I know it’s not the same as being in school but, believe me, our offer is one hundred times better than most including my own 14 year old who in Spanish, has been asked to draw an Easter Egg????? Please check out our school blogs this week as some of the children’s work is quite inspiring.
I’m sorry to say that Horizons is staying closed until further notice.
For those children who are entitled to free school meals, today we have sent out vouchers for the next 4 weeks. Our trustees unanimously agreed that we should extend the free school meals offer over the Easter vacation period. This (holiday payment) is without any precedent and we will review it the next time the children are due a holiday. For now, please use the vouchers to ensure you’ve enough food in the house. If any household is struggling, please mention it in your “check ins” with the school teams and we will signpost you to the most appropriate support.
I’m still working as part of a reference group trying to influence government decisions. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m continuing to try and lobby for Personal Protective Equipment for our front line workers (albeit accepting that our NHS critical workers need any available equipment first). At the minute we’ve got aprons, gloves and hand sanitiser, but would benefit from more specialist equipment. Secondly, and as importantly, I am ensuring that our whole staff team can be part of the “testing” that the Secretary of State keeps mentioning. If we can accelerate this strategy it will allow us to better understand which of our staff are asymptomatic and therefore we may be in a position to extend our school based offer.
Thank you all for your continued messages of encouragement and support. They mean a lot. Together, we’ve got through anther week. If we deal with this challenge hour by, day by day, week by week, we will get to a degree of normality. One thing for certain is when we get back to being fully operational our school events will be better than ever.
You can find all Graham’s previous updates and blog entries here