January 2021 Limited School Opening

Limited School opening - January 2021


School will remain closed to the majority of pupils from Monday 4th January until after half term at the earliest. It is vital that only vulnerable children and the children of critical workers attend school during this time. They will be supported by our teaching assistants and will access the same learning provided by teachers who will be working remotely using Microsoft Teams. This online learning platform offers wider scope for direct interaction between the teacher and child with their peers and will help to ensure children continue to receive a broad and balanced curriculum as far as possible and in line with DfE expectations. Most importantly, it will also keep the class and school community connected as much as possible.



For those children and parents who require paper learning packs, our “self-isolation” packs will be made available from Tuesday 5th January 2021 and will be placed under our notice board in labelled storage trays.


Staff working at school will once again be conducting welfare calls to ensure we continue to offer as much support as possible during this time and I am currently looking at how we can best support our families who have free school meals status.


DfE definitions of ‘critical workers’ and ‘vulnerable pupils’

Critical workers are those who work in:

  • Health and social care
  • Education and childcare
  • Key public services (including the justice system, religious staff, charities delivering
  • key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and
  • journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting)
  • Local and national government (those who are involved in delivering the coronavirus
  • response or essential public services)
  • Food and other necessary goods
  • Public safety and national security
  • Transport
  • Utilities, communication and financial services


Vulnerable pupils are those who:


  • Are assessed as being in need, including those with a child in need plan or child protection plan
  • Are looked after by the local authority
  • Have an education, health and care (EHC) plan


Have been assessed as otherwise vulnerable by the school or LA, including children who:


  • Are on the edge of receiving support from children’s social care services
  • Are adopted
  • Are at risk of becoming NEET (‘not in employment, education or training’)
  • Are living in temporary accommodation
  • Are young carers
  • May have difficulty engaging with remote education at home (for example
  • due to a lack of devices or quiet space to study)


To be a critical worker your job, it is critical to the running of the country and it is essential for your child to attend school during this period. If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading. That is why the government has asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend. The fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in school, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and the safer the provision will be for children, families and staff.


Free school Meals Vouchers at the value of £15 per child, per week will be made available to those parents of children eligible who are learning at home. These will cover the period of school closure. Please speak to the office if you would like to apply!


Thank you for your continued support and patience. We know the news is extremely frustrating for many of you, but please be assured that the staff at St Helen’s’ remain focused on providing the best education we can, whilst playing our part in the national effort to keep each other and the community as safe as possible.



During this time of remote learning, we will be using Microsoft Teams. You should have received your child's log in details. If you need support, you can contact the school office or your child's class teacher. Our remote learning offer is in line with DfE requirements and has been agreed following parental feedback and input and agreement with staff and governors.


Please remember to submit photos and work directly to the teacher through Teams or e-mail. Exercise books and resources are available for those who need them.