Proof of critical worker status
7th Jan 2021
Firstly, thank you for your support this week with our response to the latest lockdown and coronavirus spike – it has been much appreciated.
You will be aware from the media that many schools are concerned about their capacity to support home learning and cater for larger than expected numbers of children in school. It seems that most schools have seen a dramatic increase in requests for critical worker provision – our school is no different in that respect with very large numbers of parents completing our critical worker surveys: far more than last year.
To summarise the challenge we are facing:
- Schools are being asked to accommodate far more pupils than expected in school, far more than the expectation last spring.
- Currently, the numbers at Crossdale means all teachers are teaching their class every day.
- We are being asked to provide high quality home schooling for those pupils at home – OFSTED may evaluate this provision.
- Whilst asking us to offer provision for critical workers and vulnerable children, the DfE are stating, ‘in the face of the rapidly rising numbers of cases across the country and intense pressure on the NHS, we now need to use every lever at our disposal to reduce contacts outside households wherever possible.’
Several parents have contacted us since Monday to ask questions and share their thoughts. Typically, parents are seeking clarity about keyworker status and the provision we are able to offer going forward. In the absence of any updated guidance from the government about school operations, we are doing our best to answer those questions. However, until we receive more information, we will not be able to plot a course with absolute certainty regarding the number, and which children we can have in school. This is before we consider the list of potentially vulnerable children the government are asking schools to accommodate in school.
In this context we would ask all critical worker families to only book in-school provision on the days they absolutely need to, on days their children cannot access home learning safely at home. Furthermore, like most local schools, we now find ourselves in a situation where we need to ask for proof of employment from people who have requested critical worker places in school. This would ideally be in the form of a letter from your employer, although NHS staff may just show their identity badge (click here to read the official critical worker criteria). This should be submitted to school via firstname.lastname@example.org or shown at the gate to a member of staff when you drop or collect your child. We can only offer places to children after next week where we have proof of critical worker status or where we already know your child is vulnerable.
The numbers of pupils in school is currently manageable, but we are getting more requests each day. I am sorry for the extra inconvenience this will cause to people whose lives are already busy, but we need to do this to keep numbers manageable in school, allowing us to also support children at home. In addition, we hope that parents who are supporting their children at home, some of whom have questioned the number of parents accessing in-school provision, will be reassured that we are allocating school places fairly, consistently and in line with the needs of the country at this time.
Many thanks in advance for your cooperation on this matter.
NB If you are emailing in proof of critical worker status, this email will be deleted as soon as we have recorded it.