20th March 2020

To all members of the Ackworth School community,

CLOSURE OF ACKWORTH SCHOOL DUE TO COVID-19

What we earnestly hoped could be avoided has happened; schools have been instructed to close normal operations and we have to support the decision. We are all doing whatever it takes to prepare our pupils and teachers for online learning, which will begin on Monday 23rd March.

Ackworth School remains open to:

  • Boarders
  • Vulnerable children
  • Children of critical (key) workers

The children of critical workers will be supervised at school and pupils in our Autism Resource will continue with their education until Friday 27th March when we would otherwise close for Easter. Care for these children will continue as required throughout the Easter holidays, but this will be more akin to childcare than supervised learning.

The most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear. The government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

We would appeal to parents of children on the list above to follow the principle of keeping their children at home if it all possible from Monday onwards, and to only send them to school if there is no safe alternative.

We have taken steps in recent weeks to ensure that pupils’ education continues in the event of closure. We are well prepared.

ONLINE LEARNING

For Senior Pupils:

  • We are moving to online learning to ensure students’ education continues during term time.
  • Teaching staff will provide lesson content by email, distributed to pupils directly. Instructions and relevant documents will be included, along with links to any relevant websites or other online resources.
  • Additional support to pupils and/or parents will be provided by the Learning Support team by email and by telephone.

For Junior Pupils:

  • Teachers will communicate directly with parents via the SeeSaw app to set work as appropriate for the duration of the closure in term time.
  • Learning packs will be distributed to parents with clear instructions on how to use them, and the outcomes your child will be working to achieve.
  • We will send links to parents who wish to access additional learning activities from several education providers who are offering free resources. These will be made available by the teacher.

FOR BOARDERS

  • The school will remain open for boarders for the remainder of term and over the Easter holidays.

INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC LESSONS

  • Instrumental lessons will continue where possible, delivered remotely via Microsoft Teams. For the week beginning Monday 23rd March, lessons will follow the existing timetable, although this may be subject to change and students should monitor their school e-mail closely for further information on lesson times. Lessons delivered will be chargeable at normal school rates.
  • Further details on this will be made available and any queries should be directed towards Daniel Marks, Director of Music via e-mail

to Daniel.Marks@ackworthschool.com

FOR AUTISM RESOURCE STUDENTS

  • Ackworth School will be open for children in the Autism Resource until further notice.
  • If you have any questions, please contact Lynne Ward.

FOR CHILDREN OF CRITICAL WORKERS

  • We have sent a request for parents who are critical workers to confirm whether your child/ren will be in attendance next week.
  • Advice is for freshly-laundered own clothes to be worn to school.

MEALTIMES

  • We will continue to provide meals to boarders and day students in attendance.

ISOLATION

  • In the event that a student or staff member presents with symptoms, we will enact our isolation plan.
  • Continuing to protect the Ackworth School community remains our utmost priority.

EXAMINATIONS

  • We are waiting for guidance on what the changes to public examinations will mean for students.
  • As soon as we know, we will communicate with students and parents.

The School’s management team will continue to meet on a daily basis throughout this period of closure. We will keep you informed via a range of channels as appropriate: email, school website, social media and text message.

I want to thank all of our teachers for their exceptional teaching and support staff for their efforts in continuing to educate and support our students throughout this period of uncertainty.

I believe that we will overcome this international crisis with the assistance of all members of the wider school community and will continue to hope for the safety and well-being of all.

Anton Maree

Head