Notice to parents and carers
The following information has been taken from the Government website giving you the latest guidance on what needs to happen from Thursday 5 November if you have children who are attending college.
All children and young people, in all year groups, should have now returned to school and college full time.
Children attending nurseries and childminders were able to return from 1 June. From 20 July, nurseries were able to return to their normal group sizes.
The scientific evidence shows that coronavirus (COVID-19) presents a much lower risk to children than adults of becoming severely ill. There is also some limited evidence that children may play a lesser role in transmission than adults. However, there will still be risks while coronavirus (COVID-19) remains in the community. More information is available in a statement from the Chief Medical Officers on the risks and benefits to health from schools, nurseries and childcare opening fully.
To manage the risks, things are a bit different this term. We have asked nurseries, childminders, schools and colleges to put in place a range of protective measures to help reduce the risks.
Your child’s nursery, childminder, school or college will be able to give you more information about the changes they have made.
On 12 October, the Department of Health and Social Care published information on local COVID alert levels, including what they mean, why they are being introduced and what the different levels are.
The tiers of restriction for education and childcare, summarised in annex 3 of the contain framework and in guidance on higher education, work alongside the local COVID alert level framework.
At all local alert levels, the expectation is that education and childcare provision should continue as normal.
The government has been very clear that limiting attendance at schools and other education settings should only be done as a last resort, even in areas where a local alert level is ‘high’ or ‘very high’. Decisions on any restrictions necessary in education or childcare settings are taken separately on a case-by-case basis in the light of local circumstances, including information about the incidence and transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Attendance at school and college
It is vital that children and young people return to school and college, for their educational progress, for their wellbeing, and for their wider development. School attendance is now mandatory again. This means that it is your legal duty as a parent to send your child (if they are of compulsory school age) to school regularly if they are registered at one.
There is not a corresponding legal duty for post-16 education but if a young person fails to attend, their college may believe they have left the course. Local authorities and schools have a range of legal powers to enforce attendance if a child or young person misses school without a valid reason.
If you have concerns about your child returning to school or college because you consider they may have particular risk factors, you should discuss these with your school or college. They should be able to explain ways they are changing things to reduce risks. There are resources to support you with these conversations, including this leaflet on returning to school after a period of absence.
Some parents choose to educate their children at home full-time (elective home education). Educating children at home works well when it is a positive choice and carried out with proper regard for the needs of the child. If you’re considering elective home education for your child, you should read the advice on home-schooling and elective home education.
We really do hope that you will continue to send your young person to college to enable them to develop new knowledge, skills and behaviours which will help them to a more positive destination in the future.
The college is open for business as usual and it is really important that young people receive an education at this time.
Actions you can take to help us
Do not send your child to their nursery, childminder, school or college if:
• they are showing coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms
• someone in their household is showing symptoms
Arrange a test if you or your child develops symptoms. Inform your nursery, childminder, school or college of the results.
If the test is positive, follow guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, and engage with the NHS Test and Trace process.
Your child does not need a test if they:
• have a runny nose, are sneezing or feeling unwell, but do not have a temperature, cough or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste
• are advised to self-isolate because they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), for example, another pupil in their class, but are not showing symptoms themselves.
It is really important that you help nurseries, childminders, schools and colleges to implement these actions by following the advice set out here and wider public health advice and guidance.
Here at Newcastle City Learning we are asking all learners to wear a face covering whilst walking around our premises from one area to another, and particularly when in reception areas. Once the learner is in class and seated in their designated desk area or within their allocated bubble, they are able to remove their mask for the rest of their lesson.
We also ask that learners do not mix with other learners from other bubbles when at college or outside of college. Doing so can seriously increase the risk of transmission of the disease.
Please can we ask that you send your child to college with a suitable face covering to wear during the day. However, if you do not have access to suitable face coverings, we do have some available in college to give to your child to wear.
Most people, including children, have been spending more time online, whether that is in the classroom or at home.
See the support for parents and carers to keep children and young people safe from online harm. It suggests resources to help keep children and young people safe from different risks online and where to go for support and advice. Support to stay safe online includes information on security and privacy settings.
We are working hard too at college to ensure that all learners are aware of the risks whilst using technology to support their learning. In particular we are constantly talking to learners about cyber bullying and how this can impact on others significantly.
If you think that your child is a victim of cyber bullying in any way, please do not hesitate to contact the college.
I do hope that you have found this information useful, but if you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0191 2773520.
Interim Head of Service