Coronavirus: Calderdale headteacher's message ahead of speculated closure of schools

A Calderdale headteacher has provided a statement to staff, parents and pupils ahead of news Government is expected to close all schools across England.

Wednesday, 18th March 2020, 3:40 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th March 2020, 5:17 pm

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is awaiting a decision for English schools after it was confirmed all Welsh and Scottish schools will shut on Friday.

David Lord, Chief Executive Headteacher of Sowerby Bridge's Ryburn Valley High School, has provided a positive message as the Government announced coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the UK exceeded 2,600.

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Ryburn Valley High School, on St Peter's Ave, Sowerby Bridge

"The messages to the general public, especially those around vulnerable adults with pre-existing medical conditions socially distancing themselves, and those to the teaching profession have been increasingly conflicting.

"As the clear guidance for schools is to stay open then the social distancing guidance does not seem to apply to school staff.

Our students and staff have been amazing throughout this crisis so far.

He said all staff have been in school despite enormous external pressure to stay away from an environment with over 3,400 (1,600 at Ryburn) people present.

"Staff with vulnerable people at home, often who are their sole carers, and those with medical conditions have insisted on coming to work to ensure young people are cared for and educated – British values personified.

"Ryburn specific despite this, we have a duty of care to all individuals at our school and have therefore made the difficult decision to allow vulnerable staff and students to remain at home

from tomorrow.

"We'll be partially open for our youngest students, examination groups and children requiring additional support with free-school meals and those children of emergency workers.

"Teachers have been working their socks off preparing over a month’s worth of work just in case we're directed to close our schools.

"We're desperate for more definitive and clear guidance from Gavin Williamson [education secreatary] and Government, but at the moment we've been reliant on the support networks across Calderdale and Kirklees that help leaders make sound decisions for the good of our staff and children.

"The plan moving forward will be do whatever it takes to support our communities no matter what comes our way.

"We're all extremely humbled with the support we receive from these fabulous communities."