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West Berkshire Council: Primary Schools and COVID

By Compton Parish Council Compton Parish Council

Monday, 4 January 2021

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Compton Parish Council Contributor

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West Berkshire Council has released the following information at approx. 3:15pm today (Monday), but please do also keep an eye on the national announcement due from the Prime Minister at 8pm tonight.
Primary Schools and COVID
Under current guidance all Primary Schools in West Berkshire were expected to return tomorrow following the Christmas Holidays.
However, we are aware that some parents, teachers and Headteachers are concerned about the return of pupils to school after the festive break when the spread of COVID-19 continues to affect us at an increasing rate.
Most schools are on an INSET day today (Monday 4 January 2021) but a number of Headteachers have decided they will not be able to fully open tomorrow, as they will not have enough staff available to reopen safely due to union advice.
As leaders of West Berkshire Council, we have been supporting and working with the Education team and Headteachers across the district to ensure that schools are COVID compliant and are as safe as possible for the return of pupils and staff. However, we are remaining alert to changes in the risk as more detailed evidence about the transmission rate of the new variant in different sectors of the population becomes available.
The basis for the union action is that they believe schools are not safe places for their staff members, but acknowledge, as we believe, that schools are the best place for children to be. Headteachers are taking difficult but pragmatic decisions during this challenging time based on health and safety consideration, and we will support them.
In virtually all cases, schools will remain open for vulnerable children and those of critical workers. In those settings forced to close to other pupils, remote learning is being used wherever possible so that pupils can continue with their education.
Schools are keeping in touch with parents on their opening status so parents should check with their child’s school for any updates.
At this critical time it is vital that all families and staff follow the rules for Tier 4 and take every precaution possible to reduce the danger of infection coming into school.
Please continue to follow the guidance:
• avoid all non-essential contact,
• following social-distancing rules,
• wear face coverings, and
• regularly wash/sanitise your hands.
More information on the Tier 4 rules can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-4-stay-at-home.
More details and the criteria for education settings can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision.

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Wilkins Centre, Burrell Road, Compton, Newbury, Berkshire, RG20 6NP

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The Wilkins Centre is situated down the driveway to the left of the Village Hall.