To date, our local schools have supported children’s learning at home and we have received many expressions of thanks for the extra mile and care that has been shown by headteachers and school staff. Keeping in touch has been a focus for everyone and has helped to make sure children continue to feel part of a wider community.
Schools have been asked to plan that children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 are the first groups who are prioritised to return from 1 June. This is in addition to the continued offer for the children of our critical workers and those who are more vulnerable, including some children and young people who have Education, Health and Care Plans.
We have been working with our school leaders to assess and plan how they might be able to do this in a graduated, structured way, which makes sure that the school environment is safe for children and school staff, and allows for social distancing as much as this is possible with young children.
The model for reopening schools is likely to look different in each school because it will reflect the staff they have available who are fit to work, the nature of the school building and its wider site, the number of year groups they need to accommodate, and will be informed by a detailed risk assessment. Headteachers are working with their staff teams to plan the details of this phased reopening and our advice has been to use a graduated approach across the first few weeks of June.
For children of keyworkers and children with social work involvement, all state-funded schools in Kingston and Richmond boroughs have worked collaboratively to make 'hub' arrangements available for those children to attend other local schools.
Early Years information (note this will be updated weekly)
Schools have risk-assessed children with social work involvement and are working with us to ensure that those children are regularly checked, either by social-distanced home visits or video-conferencing.
Read more about arrangements for children with an EHCP and special educational needs or a disability (SEND) on the SEND Local Offer COVID 19 advice section.
Get technology support for children and schools during coronavirus (COVID-19)
The Government announced (April 19th, updated 24th) proposals to supply laptops, tablets and internet connection to some children and young people who do not currently have the appropriate technology to access remote education or the means to stay in touch with social care services.
You can read the announcement here on GOV.UK
Who is eligible to receive digital devices and internet access
Laptops,tablets and internet access will be provided for targeted disadvantaged families, children and young people who do not currently have access to them. Eligible people are:
- care leavers (age not currently specified)
- children and young people aged 0 to 19 with a social worker
- disadvantaged year 10 pupils
People aged 16 to 19 without a suitable device for education will be eligible for support through the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund. Those offering 16 to 19 education should visit the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund to find out about eligibility for relevant funding and support.
Local authorities, trusts and other relevant organisations overseeing schools and social care can apply. Schools, parents and pupils will not be able to apply for internet access or digital devices themselves.
AfC is overseeing the application process for all LA maintained schools. Academy Trusts will have received their own instruction on how to submit a forecast.
Once we are in receipt of the devices, AfC will arrange the distribution of these to the identified families. This may be to their home, or where appropriate to the school. We are still finalising logistics so will be in touch at a later date with details.
For any further information please contact:
Edwina Gregory-Johnson, Senior Project and Policy Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
School meals vouchers
The Government has launched a new voucher scheme for schools providing free school meals.
Schools can now provide every eligible child with a weekly shopping voucher worth £15 to spend at supermarkets while schools are closed due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
The vouchers can be spent on food at a range of shops including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and M&S, and the Department of Education is currently working on more shops joining the scheme.