Covid 19 - School Closures - Guidance for Schools about temporarily closing
The Government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and for schools to remain open only for those children of workers critical to the COVID-19 response - who absolutely need to attend.
It is important to underline that schools, all childcare settings (including early years settings, childminders and providers of childcare for school-age children), colleges and other educational establishments, remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.
Schools, and all childcare providers, are therefore being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children - children who are vulnerable, and children whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.While as many schools as possible should try to stay open for eligible pupils, this will not be possible for all settings and the local authority should coordinate pooling of resources so pupils are able to access provision elsewhere.
The DFE has produced guidance for School about temporary closures which can be found here:
Guidance for Schools about temporary closures
Coronavirus - Information for Governing Boards from NGA
The National Governance Association has issued the following guidance for schools on the Coronavirus
YOUR SCHOOL’S RESPONSE
Your school’s response to the Coronavirus is an operational matter for school leaders to deal with. It is appropriate for the governing board to be kept informed of:
The current advice for schools from Public Health England and the DfE
Any guidance for schools provided by local health protection teams
Arrangements for keeping parents and staff informed of the advice and the school’s response
Any measures taken in school to prevent the spread of the virus
The response to any confirmed or suspected cases in school
Any contingency plans the school has in place
DECIDING TO CLOSE THE SCHOOL DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS
Closing the school is an operational decision taken by school leaders not governing boards.
School leaders will most likely have a discussion with the chair of the governing board before taking their decision to close the school
The current advice from Public Health England is that no school should close in response to a suspected (or confirmed) case of Coronavirus unless directed to do so by Public Health England or under the advice of their local Public Health protection team
Your school leaders should be monitoring closely the government updates and guidance for education settings.
PREVENTING THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS IN SCHOOLS
Public Health England Advice states that personal hygiene is the most important way of tackling Coronavirus.
Schools have been advised to share with their pupils, parents and staff the advice about regular handwashing with soap, the use of hand sanitiser gels (especially in communal areas), cleaning objects and surfaces, covering coughs and sneezes and avoiding touching the eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
Pupils and staff who feel unwell should stay at home.
Adults worried about their symptoms or those of a child should call NHS 111 and not go directly to their GP or other healthcare environments.
The DfE has launched a helpline to answer questions about the Coronavirus. Phone: 0800 046 8687
Coronavirus / COVID-19: Guidance for Educational Settings
Public Health England has produced guidance to assist schools and other educational settings in providing advice for pupils, students, staff and parents or carers regarding:
the novel coronavirus, COVID-19,
how to help prevent spread of all respiratory infections including COVID-19,
what to do if someone confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 has been in a school or other educational setting, and
What advice to give to individuals who have travelled from specified countries or areas within the last 14 days, including school trips
Click here for Advice for Coronavirus
There is a poster which accompanies the guidance which should be downloaded, printed and displayed in all education settings. It is aimed at parents, carers, students, headteachers, teaching and support team staff.
Click here for the Coronavirus Poster
It is also recommended that Schools and education establishments review their Critical Incident Policy and ensure that the 'incident contingency plan' has been shared with all members of staff so that all are clear about roles and responsibilities should an incident occur.
Further information can be found on the NHS website: NHS Website on Coronavirus
Become a School Governor
What is a school governor?
The role of the school governor is demanding but very rewarding and is a good way to give back to your local community. School governing bodies are responsible for working with the Headteacher and school staff to ensure the school delivers good quality education. School governors are volunteers who work in partnership with school staff to oversee and monitor educational standards in school which is a key priority.
Governors are involved in setting the school's aims and values, planning for the long term future and holding school leaders to account for high standards of achievement. Governors are also involved in managing school finances.
The 5 key responsibilities of being a Governor are:
1) Setting ethos and values
2) Holding leadership to account
3) Balancing support and challenge
4) Distinguishing between help and interference
5) Taking responsibility for the Head’s wellbeing.
3 Core functions of a Governing Body :
1. To ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
2. To hold the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff
3. To oversee the financial performance of the school and make sure its money is well spent
Governors also carry out a number of other important duties, which include:
Determining how the school's budget is spent
Hearing appeals and grievances
Forming policy on the school's curriculum and collective worship
Setting standards for pupils' behaviour and discipline
Making sure school buildings are welcoming and safe
Setting and monitoring the school's aims and policies
You don't have to have children at the school to be a governor. However, you do have to be over 18, and pass a formal check for your suitability to be within a school. No specific qualifications are required but there are certain expectations around values, behaviour and commitment to the role which all Governors must follow.
What's really important is that you have the skills, time and commitment to help drive school improvement and the passion and ambition to achieve the best possible education for children and young people.
North Tyneside Council offers a comprehensive Governor Training programme to help with the role. New governors are expected to attend a one day induction course which is essential to helping you understand your role so you can begin to make a positive difference to your governing body.
For further information please contact Kathleen Wallace on (0191) 643 8720 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the role, please visit our Governor Services Portal at http://www.educationservices.org.uk