Much as it goes against my philosophy on work-life balance to be posting on a Saturday evening during the Christmas holidays, I realise that many of you will be wondering about where we stand in the light of the changing landscape about schools opening or not on Monday. Hence I thought it might help to try to clarify a few points at this stage; although I am very aware that everything could change in the blink of an eye if the government or BCC make a different decision at the eleventh hour, as they frequently do!
As it stands, the National Association of Head Teachers have begun legal proceedings against the Department for Education regarding their treatment of the teaching profession during this pandemic and asking them to reconsider their position. Birmingham City Council have done something similar in that they are requesting (via a letter to the secretary of state) that a different decision be made for Birmingham schools than the current one where we all return on Monday. BCC are saying they will support any head teacher whose risk assessment determines that it is not safe to open for all pupils next week, but reminds them that face to face teaching should be made available for all key worker children and vulnerable children, whilst also providing remote learning for all other pupils. The National Education Union are considering instructing their members not to attend work next week if the environment is not COVID-safe for colleagues to work in.
Our individual school risk assessment has not really changed since last month - we have only one positive case of COVID amongst our staff, during the holidays, so this does not affect any bubbles. None of our colleagues have so far stated they are not comfortable to attend work next week.
Therefore, our current risk assessment is that it is safe to open for all pupils on Tuesday 5th January 2021, as previously planned.
If information or advice changes in the next few days (or hours!) then we will reassess our situation.