Friday 20th March 2020

A note from Mr Hessey – Chief Executive Officer – The Forge Trust

Dear Parents and Carers,

RE: Coronavirus Planning

As you are no doubt aware, schools in England will be closed to everyone except children of key workers, as part of the country’s ongoing response to Coronavirus. This is, however, a large proportion of children.

We are committed as a Trust to supporting the national effort to ensure ‘key workers’ can continue to do their jobs. We understand that these are extremely difficult times for all concerned, both in terms of worries for loved ones, and the resulting financial hardship potentially involved in needing to look after children or self-isolate.

At the same-time we need to balance this with the need to reduce social contact.  The reason behind the government’s decision to close schools was to stop the spread of the Coronavirus.  For this reason, we need to ensure that it is only children that fit the government’s definition of Key Worker (along with children with an ECHP plan or who have an allocated social worker) who attend school at this time. We ask that you understand this and continue to support the steps and measures we take as a trust.

IF CHILDREN CAN STAY SAFELY AT HOME THEY SHOULD DO SO TO LIMIT THE CHANCE OF THE VIRUS SPREADING. The fewer children making the journey to school and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk and death rate across the country will be. The trust’s stance is for children to stay at home wherever possible until we beat this pandemic. THE FORGE TRUST WILL REMAIN OPEN FOR THOSE CHILDREN THAT ABSOLUTELY  NEED TO ATTEND.

Staff members of the workforce have been designated as Key Workers:

  1. NHS
  2. Education and child care staff (teachers; social workers; specialist educational professionals)
  3. Police and emergency service personnel and administrative personnel in these areas
  4. The Military and Fire and Rescue
  5. Prison and probation
  6. Haulage workers
  7. Anybody involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery
  8. Transport staff (rail and road workers)
  9. Financial services (bank and building society workers)
  10. Anybody working in the oil, gas, electricity and water sector
  11. Telecommunications workers and call centre staff
  12. Postal services staff and waste disposal sectors.

Children Attending School Next Week

Please be aware that the situation is likely to be changeable as government policy evolves and as our own staffing situation develops (e.g.  staff needing to self-isolate).  Throughout this time, we will ensure good communications are maintained.  Please ensure that if your child becomes ill (or a member of the family does) you follow self-isolation advice and inform school.

I would like to reiterate again that the safest place for your family is if your children can stay at home. We do know that most children aren’t necessarily vulnerable to the virus, but their older family members may be. Our view is very clear: keep your children off school if at all possible. As a CEO, I have never condoned our schools shutting for snow days or bad weather when other schools have taken this stance. Our leaders fully understand the needs of working parents, and we have always put them at the heart of key decisions. However, make no mistake, the situation we are faced with is totally different and very dangerous.

Thank you again for your continued support. Please follow the guidance given and ensure you and your family stay safe.

Yours faithfully

Lee Hessey (CEO/NLE)

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