Posted: Mon 14th Dec 2020

Council confirms Flintshire primary schools are ‘considering their position’ to shut early for Christmas

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Dec 14th, 2020

Flintshire council has confirmed that head teachers and governing bodies of primary schools are considering whether they will close early for Christmas and move to blended learning for the final two days of the term. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Head teachers of Flintshire secondary schools have already taken the collective decision to close their schools this week and move pupils to online learning. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Education minister Kirsty Williams later announced that all secondary schools and colleges in Wales will move to online learning this week in a  ‘national effort to reduce transmission of coronavirus.’ ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Following the ministers announcement unions called on the Welsh government to allow primary schools to close early. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Last week a number of Welsh councils took the decision to close their primary schools early ahead of the Christmas break including neighbouring Wrexham. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

As revealed by last week, an email was sent to all primary headteachers by Flintshire council chief officer for education Claire Homard, she said primary schools “can move to blended learning for Thursday and Friday of next week if they wish to.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Any decision to close early will ultimately lies with headteachers and governing bodies “but we think a clear steer from the council will help alleviate anxiety.” The chief officer said. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The email goes onto to say: “Schools will, however, need to make robust provision for vulnerable learners and will also need to continue to provide face to face learning for children of critical workers who do not have other childcare arrangements they can depend on.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“This is particularly important for parents who work in health, social care and emergency services as these are already under strain and further loss of the workforce would be hugely problematic.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

In a statement issued this morning, Flintshire council has confirmed its position and pointed out that any decision to close sits with each head teacher and governing body. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The statement says: “Welsh Government and the Welsh Local Government Association have encouraged primary schools not to alter school closure dates in the run up to Christmas, however many Councils across Wales have now made the decision that primary schools should move to a blended learning approach for the last few days of the autumn term. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Following discussions with representatives of head teachers in Flintshire, the Council has given primary and special school head teachers advice that they can choose to switch to blended learning for Thursday 17th and Friday 18th December. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Ultimately, it is a decision for each head teacher and governing body to make. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The advice comes on the back of increasing numbers of staff and pupils testing positive or having to isolate across Flintshire and will hopefully reduce the risk of families having to isolate over Christmas. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Mrs Homard added that it is important to note that this is not about schools closing early – the delivery of education will continue to the end of term but be online rather than face to face and staff will continue to work within their schools. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The decision is fully supported by the Chief Executive, Colin Everett;  Leader and Cabinet Member for Education, Cllr Ian Roberts and the Chief Officer for Education and Youth, Claire Homard. Head teacher and Governing Bodies are now considering their position and advising the Council and parents as quickly as possible so all the necessary arrangements can be made, including provision for children entitled to Free School Meals.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


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