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Important update from RCT

Dear Parent/Carer

Further to my letter to you dated the 31st of December 2021 and to Kirsty Williams’ announcement today, I can confirm that further changes are planned for schools across Wales and more locally in Rhondda Cynon Taf. 

The revised position is informed by the most current medical advice and is aimed at keeping our children and staff safe. The changes are summarised as follows:

  • The 5th of January will remain as a planning day so that schools can prepare for the delivery of remote learning and on-site provision for vulnerable learners and the children of critical workers. This will also provide an opportunity for school leaders to update their risk assessments and plans to keep learners and staff safe. No remote learning will be provided for your child/ren on the 4th and 5th of January.  
  • All schools, including mainstream and special schools, and pupil referral units, must provide remote learning opportunities and wellbeing support for learners from the 6th to the 15th of January. Face to Face education on school sites will only be provided for identified high priority vulnerable learners or for the children of eligible critical workers.
  • All schools, including mainstream and special schools, and pupil referral units, must make school-based provision for high priority vulnerable children during core school hours from the 6th to the 15th of January. Eligible children include high priority vulnerable children that:
  • have additional learning needs; 
  • are looked after; 
  • are young carers; 
  • are in need of care and support; or 
  • have child protection needs. 

Your child’s school should have notified you already of whether your child is a high priority for accessing education during this transitional period. 

  • All schools, including mainstream and special schools, and pupil referral units, must also make provision for the children of critical workers in school settings from the 6th to the 15th of January. This provision will be for core school hours, including breakfast club provision in primary schools.

Critical worker provision will be made available in all primary and secondary schools, special schools or PRUs from the 6th to the 15th of January as schools will not be open to all year groups. 

Eligible critical workers include:

  • Blue light workers, including NHS, Police, Ambulance and Fire Service staff; 
  • Social care workers (including care homes); and 
  • Childcare or education staff. 

This provision will be available for eligible children of all ages in primary, special school and pupil referral unit settings. In mainstream secondary schools, this provision will be made available for mainstream learners in years 7 and 8 only, and for the children of critical workers attending key stage 3 and 4 learning support class provisions only. 

Please only apply for this provision if you clearly meet eligibility and are scheduled to work and have exhausted all possible childcare avenues. All schools have been asked to directly notify parents/carers of their week 1 provision for critical workers on the 4th of January 2021 and to make appropriate arrangements for delivery from the 6th of January onwards. Arrangements for week 2 provision will be shared with families on the 5th of January and placements for the week commencing the 11th of January will be confirmed with families by the 6th of January. 

  • If you were not successful in securing breakfast club provision for the spring term please contact your child’s school to see if there are available spaces from the 6th to the 15th of January.  Please note that breakfast club provision will be for high priority vulnerable groups and the children of eligible critical workers only for this period. Please contact your school if you wish to discuss this further and note that this reallocation of places in breakfast club is for a time limited period only.

A further update will be sent to you later next week once Welsh Government confirm plans for the week commencing the 18th of January. 

Thank you for your continued support in ensuring that your child engages with distance learning in the home. It is appreciated that this pandemic continues to place unprecedented demands on everyone and your input in ensuring continuity in your child’s learning is hugely appreciated. 

With thanks and best wishes,

Gaynor Davies
Director of Education and Inclusion Services