Having spent the last two days organising our 17 bubbles of 245 children of key workers we have now had a surge of late requests for places this afternoon, meaning we now have to look again at our lists, bubbles and organisation.
I appreciate that some of the late applications are due to some late information from the higher education department, which has not helped; however, many of them are because people missed the deadline or just missed the form. The government have said that families with only one critical worker can request a place in school, and many parents have exercised this right. What the government also has made clear is that children should remain at home if at all possible - this means that one parent being a critical worker and another parent working at home or not working at all does not qualify their child for a place in school.
Our numbers are now soaring and in some year groups the bubbles have already reached 20 children. Other schools in the area have far less children in than we do and are able to keep their bubbles very small because of this. We are striving to keep everyone as safe as we can but feel that our resources are being stretched. Our staff are trying to teach in school and teach remotely - please bear this in mind.
I would respectfully urge all key worker parents to think carefully about the decisions they are making for their child's safety, as well as their education and emotional well-being. Some parents have contacted us today and withdrawn their children from school, explaining that they feel it is safer to keep them at home in view of how easily the new strain is spreading. We thank these parents heartily for their careful consideration.
Some of the parents who have applied for places today are expecting their children to attend school tomorrow - I am afraid this will not be possible. We will need to look at the late requests very carefully, and work out where we do have spaces for the children. Parents will have to wait for the decisions to be made. This will mean that not all of them will be allocated a place as I will not put at risk the safety of the staff and children already in school.
You will have seen by now that we have today closed our first bubble - this is a stark warning for us to take extra care with our community.
Please be patient and please be reasonable. Thank you.