The pandemic-linked events of recent years had an astonishing impact on our communities - and as a result children’s education.
Children, their teachers' and their support teams' capacities to be in school, was affected. We experienced closures, lockdowns, bubbles, social distancing and all manner of hygiene challenges. The spring term of 2022 saw the greatest number of absences when Omicron made its presence felt amongst children and almost all of our staff at some point.
Throughout that time and since I am proud we have been able to remain open to all classes from YR to 6 thanks to the flexibility of the adults in school and the support of our families. At the peak of infections last February changes to testing such as Lateral Flow tests being acceptable instead of PCRs and shortened isolation periods and changed the impact of absence on school. Frequently shortening it to just the period of time a child is ill. However, in the event of school being unable to staff certain classes and if all other avenues had been exhausted, the following remote plan would have been activated.
The plan offered remote learning opportunities, but we also acknowledged that some households would have limited access to devices and would require hard copies of work and resources – this would have been dealt with on an ad hoc basis.
This plan would have been applied if a class or year group had to be educated remotely due to insufficient staff being available on site to teach the children safely; or if Health Protection Lincolnshire advised us to implement a closure as part of an infection control risk assessment.
This would have met the expectations set out in the DfE guidance ‘Remote Education Support’ at the time.
Since then, we have not experienced anything like the absences of winter / spring a year ago, although the Scarlett fever/ respiratory outbreak we had in Nov-December 2022 brought back memories. Our children attend “as normal” and we are delighted to offer a full, broad and rich curriculum enhanced by outside the classroom opportunities both within the community and further afield.