Thursday 16th December 2021
School Operations Spring 2022
The Welsh Government has written to schools today to confirm that the first 2 days back in January (the 4th and 5th) will be closed to pupils for the purpose of assessing staffing capacity and planning for whatever provision will be needed to support learners for their return. There will be no Blended Learning on these days.
As things currently stand, all children will return to school on Thursday 6th January for face-to-face learning. Prior to this decision we were closed on 4th January for staff training, but we have been advised to move this training to a later date in the year and focus on planning and updating of our risk assessments. We will inform you of this new training date later in the Spring term.
As you are probably aware, the Welsh Government is now reviewing the COVID situation on a weekly basis and the information we received this morning was quite unexpected, but further changes could be made. The Welsh Government Education Minister, Jeremy Miles has stated:
“We know that during this school term, there has been disruption due to staff absence which has resulted in some schools having to make the difficult decision to move certain classes/year groups to remote learning for short periods. In recognition of this, and the current levels of uncertainty regarding the impact of Omicron, I want to provide schools with as much clarity now as I can to enable you to plan and prepare for the return in January.
Therefore, I am providing all schools with two planning days at the start of the new spring term, this will allow you time to assess staffing capacity and put the necessary measures in place to support the return of learners.
I am also conscious that what we learn over the coming weeks about Omicron may require interventions for the higher risk levels as set out in our Local Decision Framework. Therefore, as a precautionary approach, it would be prudent for you to plan your mitigations for the return based on the ‘very high’ risk level. As part of this preparation, I am issuing a Coronavirus Act 2020 Notice to allow schools to operate staggered start and finish times from the start of the new term as an additional mitigation should schools determine this is appropriate as part of their risk assessment process.”
My aim is to write to you again on Tuesday 4th January to provide you with an update on the arrangements for your child to return to school. As we all know, these situations change very quickly but at this current point in time we expect a full return to school on Thursday 6th January with the existing start and end times. If this is to change over the Christmas period we will inform you on our return to school.
We are so sorry for the inconvenience this has caused and we want nothing more than to have all of our children safely in school as they should be. Please continue to follow Welsh Government advice and recommendations over the Christmas period so that in the New Year we can continue to provide your children with the face to face teaching we know works best.
Have a safe and happy Christmas and we look forward to seeing you in the New Year.
Mrs J. Beckett