I am writing to update you on the current impact of Covid-19 on The Radclyffe School and our plans to address this. You will be aware from the school’s communications since September that we have made every effort to continue to provide an outstanding education to all our students whilst maintaining an environment that is as safe as possible. We have also, with the support of the local authority and Oldham’s Public Health England staff, followed a policy of thoroughly investigating all cases of Covid-19 within the school and keeping the numbers of students required to self-isolate to an absolute (but safe) minimum.
As of today (23rd November), the school has 34 members of staff absent due to general absences, illness and isolation related to Covid-19. Within this group are 19 teachers, representing over 20% of our capacity in this area. In addition, 5 of our 7 Learning Managers (our permanent, trained school staff who cover lessons for absent colleagues) are also currently absent.
We have attempted to secure the services of supply teachers to address the above shortfall but the growing impact of the spread of the Covid-19 virus in the North West means that the demand from all secondary schools in the region for these temporary cover teachers has dramatically increased in recent days. This in turn has led to an acute shortage of available supply staff. As a school we only employ supply staff when absolutely necessary and when we can be assured of their quality and subject-specialist knowledge. Obviously, the current circumstances mean that it is extremely difficult to be confident that our high standards in this area would be maintained.
I have discussed our current situation with the local authority and with Mrs Webb, our Chair of Governors. All parties are in unanimous agreement that the school needs to take exceptional steps in order to maintain our successful operation as an organisation and to continue to support the safety of all stakeholders.
As a result, I have reluctantly made the decision to introduce a revised timetable which means that not all year groups will attend school on a full-time basis until Monday 7th December. The details of the new arrangements are outlined below. I would like to assure all of our families that this decision has not been taken lightly and that if our circumstances change for the better then we will return to our normal operation as quickly as possible. However, if there are further teacher absences over the coming days then we may be forced to ask year groups to stay at home on additional days.
Please note that Years 10 and 11 will remain in school full-time and will follow their normal timetable. We have prioritised these year groups due to the fact that they are preparing for their GCSE exams and they have already been disproportionally affected by partial closures since September.
For Years 7, 8 and 9, the table below indicates the days that each year group will not be in school:
|Day||Year Group Remote Learning at Home|
|Tuesday 24th November||Year 9|
|Wednesday 25th November||Year 8|
|Thursday 26th November||Year 7|
|Friday 27th November||Year 9|
|Monday 30th November||Year 8|
|Tuesday 1st December||Year 7|
|Wednesday 2nd December||Year 9|
|Thursday 3rd December||Year 8|
|Friday 4th December||Year 7|
The school remains committed to providing a high-quality curriculum to all students whether they are in school or learning from home. On the days that students are required to learn from home, work will be provided on Frog (https://vtle.theradclyffeschool.co.uk) and students can also communicate with their teachers via email Sign in to Outlook (office.com)
We fully appreciate the impact that this will have on our young people and yourselves as parents and carers. We apologise for the additional disruption to learning and family life that these measures will inevitably bring but hope it is understood that the school would not be taking these exceptional measures unless it was absolutely essential to do so.
I am very grateful for your continued patience and understanding as well as your commitment to supporting your child’s learning and progress during any enforced absence from school. We will continue to communicate regularly with all our families and send any relevant updates to you as promptly as possible.
If you have any questions relating to this matter or require any additional information, please contact the school via our usual email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr J Cregg