Dear Parents/Carers,

I’m hoping you and your family are all doing ok during this latest lockdown?

I’m watching the news and reading everything, as I am sure you are, and feel very concerned for the number of Covid cases, deaths and the intense pressure on our NHS, with someone needing hospitalisation every 30 seconds.

Now is not the time to get ill.

I think also, like you maybe, I’m now knowing lots of people who are now ill, its affecting us all.

It’s a tricky time for the UK.

However, there is good news with the extensive roll of the vaccination programme and some indication that number of Covid cases may be reaching a plateau.

As always we have our eye on infection rates in our immediate community.

At Nursery:

Last week the reduced staff team on site have been working with about 35% – 40% of our children, those staff members who are in our nursery feel that working with such reduced numbers means there is less opportunity for community transmission of the virus.

The team have also been making phone calls to families and recorded some stories and messages for your children at home – which will be uploaded onto our website/YouTube channel later this week.

As you will remember, many staff wrote to express their feeling of being unsafe should we have continued with our usual high numbers at nursery, so they are relieved that we are operating a smaller team right now.

We have also managed to furlough some staff members with their agreement.

Reflections for this coming week:

The SLT and Governors are reviewing the situation on a weekly basis, and are desperate to return to normal. We hope that by the end of January, everyone will feel safe to do this, but would prefer to fully restore our service before then.

Right now we still DO NOT feel we should be opening to everyone this week, this is due to the:

  • the rates of transmission in our community, covid cases, and deaths
  • the pressure on our NHS and local hospitals
  • that fact that staff do not feel comfortable or safe working at full capacity
  • the fact that some staff are self-isolating

However, we are extremely worried about funding.

As you will know, the government deem it safe for nurseries to be fully open (which is based on research about transmission rates in young children, without full understanding of the numbers of children or staff who pass through a busy nursery over the course of a week).

Therefore the government has just announced that it will only fund places for children at nursery (our 3-4 yr olds) if they are actually accessing nursery on the census week/day – January 21st, . This is unless their family have chosen to not to bring them to nursery school.

As it stands, this will result in us losing 60 – 65% of our government Early Education funding and could be catastrophic for the future of the nursery school.

So, unless the government do a uturn, we may be forced into opening to all children again at some point this week.

How you can help:

To inform this uncomfortable decision we would like to know from you please if you would feel safe to bring your child into nursery should we return to our full offer this week.

Once we have these numbers in, we can then consider if we can widen our numbers at nursery by looking at the number of staff available.

A few of our onsite staff team are also self-isolating, it would be helpful to know if you are isolating as a family too please.

Once we have looked at numbers of families wanting to resume their places, and available staffing we can notify you of our intentions mid-week.

Please could you complete the attached information form and return it to us by the end of TUESDAY 19th January, we will also be telephoning some families.

It is just SO hard to juggle the needs of the families, the safety of the community and staff team, and the economic stability of our fantastic provision.

Please understand that the leadership team are trying really hard to be responsive, transparent in our decision making and model our social responsibility.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to discuss anything further, or need some extra support.

Many Thanks for your help in this challenging time.

Stay safe and stay connected.

Lucy Driver

Headteacher & National Leader of Education

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