18 March 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
Following guidance from other Trusts and Headteachers of special schools across the country and conversations with the local authority, we have taken the very serious step of closing Curnow School from the end of the school day on Thursday 19 March. This means that the school will not be open for pupils on Friday 20 March until after the Easter holidays. This has been an extremely difficult decision to make but we hope you understand our reasons for taking it.
Staffing is the most important aspect of running any school and even more so in a special school. In recent weeks, and especially after this week’s government announcements, we have really struggled to ensure that the school is adequately staffed to ensure the health and safety of all our children. With the development of Covid-19 this has added incredible additional pressures. We are now in the position where we do not feel we can give you the guarantees about your child’s safety that we must.
We have a number of children in our school with complex and multiple health needs. Again, the government advice is slightly vague but the latest guidance says:
We have already advised those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.
This guidance effectively suggests that all the pupils in a special school with a learning disability should be under stringent social distancing measures.
In these extraordinary times, it is very clear that our communities will need to pull together and find new ways to support each other. I believe that with the additional vulnerabilities of many of our learners, the importance of protecting them from the health risks posed by Covid-19 is of paramount importance and therefore know that we are taking serious precautions in protecting our children.
Safeguarding the welfare and education of our pupils is our priority and this does not change now that the school is closed. We have put together a plan designed to provide you with as much support as we are able.
Curnow School offers a school text service which will be used to update parents and carers as information becomes available. We will also post updates on our school website noticeboard at www.curnow.cornwall.gov.uk
Your child’s class teacher will contact you to discuss your child’s home learning pack which will include:
Whilst school’s closed next week, the following email accounts will be monitored should you have any queries:
Assistant Headteacher (Lower)
Please remember our staff also have families that will have additional commitments linked to school closures. We will not always be able to reply to you immediately. All enquiries relating to Covid-19 please follow Government Guidelines and contact the NHS 111 / on-line survey. We will keep you updated as we receive further information.
For families that usually receive Free School Meals – we are looking into ways that we can continue to support you. We understand that there will be further guidance from the DfE in this area. We will update you as we hear more - we appreciate that this a very important area to address.
We are committed to doing everything we can to support you and your family within the constraints of this national and global challenge.
We will keep you informed as to future decisions, especially around likely dates for re-opening.