As you would expect we have been faced with a number of staff absences today as colleagues are either self-isolating following recent guidance or because they sit within one of the vulnerable groups identified as being most at risk by Public Health England.

You will not be surprised to learn that many more colleagues have made the difficult decision to attend work today despite identifying as being part of the vulnerable groups list. In our forward planning I fully expect this number of staff absence to increase daily.

We have modelled carefully our staffing levels for the coming days with the priority of maintaining a safe environment for as many students as we possibly can. You will understand that it is not just our teaching staff that are affected by this and we need to consider our ability to open and secure a large site as well as provide support for children who have identified needs.

Given that this is an ever-changing picture we have taken the difficult decision to enact a partial closure of the school tomorrow, Wednesday 18th March. This decision has not been made as a result of any identified case of Coronavirus or having been directed by Public Health England. It is based on our inability to staff the whole school as a result of significant staff absence.

The Year Groups that will be asked to remain at home to complete work are Years 9 and 10. We are also unable to staff the teaching of Year 12 and 13. 

We do have the capacity for Sixth Form students to attend and work independently in the silent study rooms should they wish and remain safe to do so.

Please understand that this has been an exceptionally difficult decision and we have not taken it lightly. However, our priority has to be to ensure that your children are safe and we cannot guarantee sufficient staffing levels for the whole school to be open in the coming days.

These are very difficult times in a rapidly-changing set of circumstances. At this stage we are not in a position to make a decision on whether the partial closure will change for Thursday and I envisage being able to update you with this information during the course of tomorrow morning.

Mr Taylor