Coronavirus Update COVID-19

27th March 2020

CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 UPDATE

Dear Parents and Carers,

I am writing to firstly thank you for the support you have given our schools in this last, most challenging of weeks. You stayed at home and cared for your children which has allowed us more flexibility in finding a solution to providing childcare for those key workers now undertaking crucial work in the response to Covid 19. Please remember when this is all over that you did your part and your part means small numbers in our childcare provision, which is helping keep children safe, staff safe and prevent the spread of infection.

Since my last update to parents (only a week ago) we have been able to offer childcare on all our sites across the Tyne Community Learning Trust and are now, having mobilised in week 1, are refining that offer and looking at solutions for families and how best to utilise our school buildings. This will mean closing down some schools and merging the care offer but if you are currently in receipt of care you will be spoken to directly about this as we develop it further.

I would like to publicly thank the staff in the schools who have gone in every day to look after children. To the Headteachers, cleaners, caretakers, cooks and teaching assistants who have risen to this challenge and have been proud to offer their services I thank each and every one of you. We have had to make rapid decisions and then find ourselves changing them the following day. We have had to introduce social distancing a few days before the guidance was published and we have had to give great consideration to safety for everyone. I have also called across the trust for staff to volunteer to support where the need is greatest and we now have our very own TCLT volunteer list which is helping support staff, and prepare us if staff become ill to keep our childcare running.

We are offering free school meals to those children entitled to it. Arrangements vary slightly school to school but we believe there is a national voucher scheme on its way (Monday we are told) so I will update you soon on that. If you are unsure please email the admin office of your child’s school
admin@highfield.northumberland.sch.uk who will point you in the right direction.

As we move into week 2 we are also giving consideration to how we can help and support our community. We would like to assure you that you can contact us if you think we can help. This can be done through the schools admin email or you can email info@tcltrust.org. Your email will be passed on to the person most able to deal with your query.

The chair of our board, is also compiling a list of all the innovative and amazing things that are happening in the community to offer deliveries to people and to support those businesses suffering most as we fight this virus. If you have any good ideas or know of a supplier who is offering a particular service you can email him at rob.moore@tcltrust and he will collate ideas which will begin to appear on our website: www.tcltrust.org

And as for home tuition!! I too have two young children at home. One of them is finding the adjustment particularly difficult and you will have children at home too, who are overwhelmed by the changes, scared and losing what little control children have of their lives. Teenagers too, so much used to mixing and socialising with their friends will be finding this time so hard. Keep talking to them and explaining what social distancing is, and that we will get through this together – because this is one big collective act. We are staying at home
together, but separately because we are protecting our most vulnerable citizens. We worked hard last week to get some online content out to you and this can be found in the Home Learning section of the TCLT website. Over the coming weeks we will begin to add to this, and we will also signpost many resources that are available nationally. Most importantly reassure your children that feeling overwhelmed is normal and everyone is feeling like that, shield them from too much media, age dependent and we will begin to consider how we can support you with this too.

Please, please follow the rules. It is easy to think I could just pop round, or I have to get this for this recipe so I’ll make a trip to the supermarket. But the point of social distancing is to minimise unnecessary trips out. If everyone sticks to the social distancing rules and considers in advance the impact of their actions (make a substitution in the recipe, shop rarely and only when you need it, don’t drive to have a walk) then there is a chance that we will be able to manage things better. We are doing this for those NHS staff on the frontline, many of whom live in our communities, who are parents and carers of children in our schools. If we do our bit, they will be safer and more lives can be saved. From those of us at Tyne Community Learning Trust, I want to thank you most sincerely for your service to us.

I will continue to update you as we move forward but as the weekend arrives I wish you all to stay safe and
stay home.

With best wishes.

Alice Witherow
Chief Executive Officer
Tyne Community Learning Trust