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Coronavirus: Newark Academy says year 9, 10 and 12 students are not to attend school until further notice

Pupils in three year groups at The Newark Academy have been told not to attend school until further notice.

Those in years seven, eight, 11 and 13 have been told to continue to attend lessons and exams as planned unless they fall into high-risk categories, including having underlying health conditions.

But a letter to parents said pupils in years nine, 10 and 12 must stay at home.

Newark Academy. (4147390)
Newark Academy. (4147390)

For pupils who are at home, the school said they would aim to maintain learning by setting work via the school’s email system or Microsoft ‘One Note’ facilities.

The letter, from headteacher Andy Seymour, reads: "As a NOVA Education Trust Academy, we are aiming to maintain as normal a service as possible at this moment in time, but safeguarding pupils and staff is of paramount importance.

"Already we can see that this is having a significant impact on our academy staffing levels, which offers significant challenge to our ongoing commitment to maintain the highest levels of educational provision that you have come to expect for your children.

"As an academy and as a wider trust, we have been placed in a hugely difficult position.

"As public servants we naturally want to maintain our service to all our learners but to do this we need our staff to be available at the workplace to provide that service.

"Unfortunately, following the recent government guidance, more and more staff are having to self-isolate on top of normal absence which provides us with an unprecedented level of challenge to maintain a normal school service level.

"We have prepared a series of training materials which will be emailed to all parents and carers and all pupils have received an information session prior to this decision and will be clear on the expectations of how they should access and complete work set.

"Teachers have been tasked with providing lessons and resources via email with clear instructions on what work should be completed and pupils will be encouraged to reply to class teachers to engage regularly in dialogue around their home learning experience.

"All parents and carers should receive copies of work via email to ensure that communication remains positive and that monitoring of activity can ensue."

The school has had to cancel its regular minibus run to Fernwood due to staffing levels.

"Our site team has been significantly reduced as a result of the recent guidance provided and as such all enrichment activity is cancelled and pupils will be expected to exit the Academy by 3.30pm daily," the letter reads.

"This is to enable the Academy site to be made safe and secure at the end of the normal working day.

"Parents and carers will need to be aware that we have also decided to cancel all achievement evenings including this week’s year 8 evening and year 13 due to the government advice previously referred to.

"For many parents and carers, the possible loss of school meals is a major area of concern.

"If the Academy is required to fully close to all pupils in all year groups, we will work with our catering suppliers to offer families some level of service that provides access to school meals.

"At this point in time however, we are unable to guarantee this service to families.

"This is a hugely challenging time for the Academy and indeed all schools.

"We continue to react to an ever-changing landscape and remain committed to ensuring that our standards of service to all children in our care remain high. Staff are working tremendously hard to continue to support all pupils and I would encourage parents and carers to continue to communicate with class teachers, pastoral teams and colleagues from across the Academy to support our young people at this difficult time.

"I wish to take this opportunity to thank you for your understanding and consideration in response to this unique situation. Your support is hugely valued, and we will continue to maintain a high level of contact with you as this situation unfolds."

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