Dear Parents and Carers
I am sure you have seen on the news and in the media that have been some changes to the start dates for Secondary pupils. I thought I would clarify what this means for pupils at Parkside.
In Norfolk this does not affect Primary aged pupils (year 3 – 6). All Primary pupils at Parkside should continue to attend full time school as it is still considered mandatory at this point in time. We can only provide remote learning and authorise absence for pupils in Primary that are self isolating in line with Government guidelines (isolating as they have symptoms, are a close contact or live with someone with symptoms or a positive test.) I am sorry if you were hoping that pupils from Primary could receive remote learning, but we have to follow what has been set out by the Government at this time.
Secondary (year 7 – 11) and Pathways pupils at Parkside are encouraged by the Government to come into school full time but have the option of requesting a leave of absence for the first two weeks. If you would prefer your child to stay at home for the first two weeks of the school term due to the steep rise in positive cases in Norfolk, this will be authorised as a special circumstance, in line with the Government’s guidance. They will not return until 18th January, but will have remote education in place instead for those two weeks.
If you would prefer your child to stay home for the next two weeks please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your child’s name and class. We will contact you regarding the remote learning. We are unable to offer a mixture of days in or days off; pupils will need to be in school for the two weeks every day or out of school every day receiving remote education. If you are a critical worker and would only require a place in school for your secondary-aged child on your working days, please email the same place and explain your requirements and why. Please let us know if your child is staying home by Monday 4th January so we can organise the remote learning and let transport know.
I do feel it is important to make it clear that as we are in tier 4 we do not have all our staff available in school; some need to shield as per the guidance. This alongside the higher illness rates means that we already have high staff absence at Parkside. If it becomes unmanageable and therefore we have unsafe levels of supervision we will have no choice but to close classes in order to keep the pupils safe. Our intention is to be as fully open as we can safely be, for as long as we can.
We will continue to work with the families of pupils displaying dangerous behaviours such as spitting/purposeful coughing/not sticking to their bubbles in order to limit exclusion but at the same time ensure Parkside is safe for all pupils and staff. This may include the introduction of part-time tables for example. Whilst we are aware these behaviours may be an expression of stress, given the circumstances we are in with a global pandemic, we will need to have safety as the bottom line whilst supporting all pupils.
The school is in the process of working out the logistics of the in-school testing for Secondary pupils and we will send out further information at the start of the school term regarding this.
I hope you all had a lovely break and we look forward to seeing pupils back in Primary from Tuesday 5th January and Secondary either from the 5th or 18th January.
Carolyn Ellis-Gage and Stephen Hobbs
Head Teacher and Chair of Governors