Please see the contents of the letter below. As a school, we are disappointed with this extremely late change, and furthermore to the planning we had already undertaken. All staff at St. Joseph’s were ready for the re-opening on the 29th and were expecting the school to remain open until Friday 24th July 2020. Today we have considered whether we could open until Friday 24th July 2020 regardless of the local authority decision – and know that we would have had the support of a great many parents. However, we have determined that it would not be the right course of action and like all secondary schools in Wrexham, we will close on the original end of term date – Friday 17th July 2020.
Many thanks, for your continued and valued support! I will post the amendments to our planning seperately. The letter from Wrexham County Borough Council is below:
Youwill be well aware, the Welsh Government announced on 3rdJune that schools are to partially reopen on a ‘check in, catch up and prepare’ basis. The original announcement stipulated that this would be for a period of four weeks from 29thJune. The Councilis verygrateful for all the hard work being done in schools to prepare for the 29thand to you as parents/carers for your perseverance, cooperation and patience in assisting schools prepare for the reopening.
Over the past weeks there have beenon goingdiscussions nationally relating to the week commencing 20thJuly.It is our understandingthat the Welsh Government and the trade unions cannot reach a common position on the fourthweekand that on Thursday18thJune, via the BBCwebsite,Welsh Government stated that “schools and councils will have the final say on whether the summer term is extended for an extra week”.
We are allacutely aware of the difficulties thisuncertainty will be causing you in your decision making as to whether or not your children will attend school this term and any childcare arrangements you would need to make.
This has put schools and the Council in a very difficult positionasthere is no contractual obligation on staff to work the extra week,and this effectively puts the onus on head teachers and individual staff members which wouldbe unfair andpotentiallyleadto inconsistency across the County Borough as there is no guarantee that all schools will be in a position to adequately staff provision in the fourth week on a voluntary basis.
Itis the view of the Council thatschools requireimmediate clarityso that they can plan on a fixed basis to receive as many pupils as possible during this period; parents and young people in order that they can approach thefewnext weeks with confidence; and for parents to have the opportunity to make alternative childcare arrangements as required in the fourth week. This is not something that can be left to the last minute and the Council is very mindful of its statutory responsibilities both as an employer and in the context of the safeguarding of children and young people.
Our position is that we want all schools, maintained by the local authority, the diocesan authoritiesandfederationschools, to be adopting the same position. We are proud of our partnership approaches as ateam, and work as one.
A consistent approach is deemed essential and the Council would have much preferred to have seen these issues resolved on a national basis at the outset, prior to the original announcement.
Taking into account all considerations,it has been decided that the original term dates will be adhered to andthat theCouncil does not propose to ask teaching and other school staff to volunteer and,therefore,schools in the CountyBoroughwillclose for the summer holidays on 17thJuly.
It is appreciated that the above decision will result in additional work for headteachers and governing bodies in planning provision for the three week period andthat there is a significant possibility that your child’s school will need to contact you to inform you of amendments to any arrangements they have currently made.There is a possibility that schools will need to reduce the number of days your child is able to go to school this term.
Can we emphasise that schools are not in any way responsible for the position that they now find themselves in. It is understood that the removal of the fourth week may cause you as parents/carers inconvenience and concerns. We assure you,the decisionthat schoolsshould not reopen for the week commencing 20thJuly has not been taken lightly but for the reasons outlined above.
Cllr Mark Pritchard Cllr Phil Wynn
Leader to the Council LeadMember for Education
Ian Bancroft Ian Roberts
Chief Executive Chief Officer; Education and Early Intervention