I hope that over the weekend you have been able to have at least some time for rest and recuperation.
Last week was one of the most challenging any of us are ever likely to face. The lack of detailed government advice and the ill-judged extensive key worker list only served to exacerbate the scale of those challenges.
I know that many of you will have spent time this weekend thinking about how things will work at school tomorrow and that there will still be a high degree of uncertainty for many of you.
We are entering a different phase now, as many schools move from being providers of education to places of care for our young people. The government should not underestimate the scale of that challenge.
So that we can understand 'the situation on the ground' and give urgent feedback to the government, please complete this short survey. It asks a few critical questions about whether you are opening and the percentage of pupils that have attended your school.
Please only complete this tomorrow morning once you have a clear picture of the sorts of numbers you are working with. We must understand what is happening so that we can challenge the government to act if things are not playing out as it has envisaged.
You may have seen that today the English government has published three new pieces of guidance. You can find them here:
Like you, we are very frustrated at how long it has taken for this advice to come out, but it does start to address some of the questions our members have raised. For example, it makes clear that not all pupils with education, health and care plans will necessarily need to be in school next week. It also signals the government's intention to reimburse the additional costs that schools will now face.
We will now update our guidance to reflect this latest information and publish a revised version tomorrow.
In our guidance, we suggest that, in most cases, schools should be working to an upper limit of 20% of pupils attending. This is a figure that was quoted to us by the Department for Education (DfE) last week.
And while we note that the DfE still hasn't published that figure in its guidance, on Friday 20 March, the health secretary appeared on The Today programme and stated he expected the number of pupils going to school on Monday should be under that figure. You can hear him discuss that here (at the 2:14 mark).
If we see large numbers of schools exceeding that figure, we must get an urgent message to the government.
I appreciate that, given how busy you are, completing a survey won't feel like a high priority, but so that we can respond quickly, I would be grateful if you could take just five minutes to do so.
First published 22 March 2020