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    Education leaders putting school closure plans in place

    TAMESIDE Council is working closely with education leaders to put plans in place to organise school changes caused by Coronavirus.

    The Government announced that schools, colleges and early years settings will be closed from next week, with the exception for vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers, as part of the ongoing response to Covid-19.

    Tameside Council’s education service is formalising plans with headteachers, colleagues across Greater Manchester and Government officials to organise which pupils will continue to attend schools and how these will be staffed.

    Every school in Tameside will endeavour to remain open for vulnerable children and those of key workers and will be in contact with parents. If your child’s school does have to close a place will be found at an alternative school.

    A list of key worker jobs, which includes NHS staff, police and key public services, can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

    Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with Education, Health and Care Plans.

    Children who do not fall into these groups should remain at home with appropriate care.

    The Government also announced that it is giving schools the flexibility to provide meals, for collection or delivery, or food vouchers to children eligible for free school meals. The council is working with local schools and meal providers to ensure suitable systems are in place.

    Assessments, exams and performance tables have been cancelled for this academic year, and the council is working with the Government and Ofqual on arrangements. Ofsted has also temporarily suspended routine inspections.

    The government has also stated that it will continue funding for all early years entitlements during any periods of nursery, preschool or childminder closures, or where children cannot attend due to coronavirus.

    The Government’s announcement followed Tameside Council Executive Leader Councillor Brenda Warrington and GM Mayor Andy Burnham calling at a press conference for the Government to urgently make a decision for schools to only remain open for children of key workers and those looked after by grandparents and on free school meals.

    Cllr Warrington said: “I’m pleased this decision has been taken to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus and as it was clear that schools are finding it increasingly difficult to continue as normal, as illness and self-isolation impacts on staffing levels and pupil attendance.

    “I know this will cause much disruption and difficulty for parents at this worrying time but we are taking all necessary steps to help keep staff and students safe and where possible keep providing education.

    “I’d also like to take the opportunity to pay tribute to teachers and school staff who have done a tremendous and selfless job in keeping schools open and providing lessons, and will continue to do so in difficult circumstances, whether that’s by still working at schools teaching vulnerable children and those of key workers, by providing home learning packs or through online tutoring. They epitomise the tremendous efforts that are ongoing in Tameside while we overcome this virus.”

    The latest government advice for parents and carers can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers