4. Archive Newsletter 28.02.18
After 18 years of headship I have discovered that there are a number of things that it is better not to say. One phrase which has come back to haunt me is that we never close! The extreme weather conditions (for the UK, at least) has impacted on a significant number of schools in Kent and a considerable number in the Sevenoaks area have been required to close.
At SPS, we will always do our utmost to remain open but in making the decision, my primary responsibility has to be the well-being of the children and staff.
It is a challenge to make the right decision as I am reliant on the latest weather forecasts, which can change by the minute. The afternoon closure yesterday was due to anticipated heavy snow, which did not materialise (at least not for the entire afternoon). Other factors which need to be taken into consideration in making my decision, include:
- Safety of the site
- Condition of the roads and pathways leading into school
- Ensuring we have sufficient staff to cover the classes (we have a considerable number that live some distance from the school)
- Sufficient catering staff to provide school meals
We were able to open today because the forecast was favourable. Although we are significantly down on staff, we have sufficient numbers to cover every class and similarly enough members of the catering team to provide the lunches.
We were also able to open because of the incredible commitment of the staff team. We are blessed with spacious grounds but it does present an additional challenge when we are required to clear the pathways etc.
In the absence of staff, we have also been required to redeploy certain teachers, TAs and other support staff to other classes. Everyone has stepped up to this challenge superbly and it has been a really enjoyable day, which has included snow fights on the top field!
I would also like to thank you for your patience and understanding during this rather challenging week.
Advanced weather warning!
The weather forecast for the next two days is less favourable and the MET Office currently indicates that we will have further heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures during the school day. If that is the case, I will not be able to guarantee the safety of the children and staff, nor will there be sufficient numbers of the latter to look after any children that were able to make it into school.
I still intend to make the final decision tomorrow morning as to whether we shall be open but I wish to advise you that there is a strong possibility that we will be closed.
If that is the case, I will reassess again on Friday but there would need to be an improvement in the conditions for the school to reopen.
World Book Day
Due to the absence of children and staff and the possibility of closure tomorrow, I have made the decision to postpone World Book Day and the book sale until Thursday 8th March. If we are open tomorrow, we will distribute the World Book Day vouchers but we will save the dressing up etc. until the following week.
School Lunches this week
We were very fortunate that the catering staff were able to serve a great number of lunches to pupils, before they were collected yesterday. However, we are unable to ascertain exactly which children had eaten. Many left the premises before or during their allocated lunch slot.
Each morning the kitchen staff are provided with food orders following registration at 8:50am, after which point they begin to prepare and cook the lunches.
Given the rapid deterioration in the weather, we judged it inappropriate to delay the school closure until after lunch service. This means that for Key Stage 2 children, the school will need to charge for all meals ordered, whether they had been eaten or not.
We trust that parents/carers will appreciate the position we are in this week and that, given current school budget constraints, we are not in a position to cover the cost of any missed meals on this occasion.
As always, if you have any issues with regard to your child’s lunch account, please do not hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org