As we reach the end of the autumn term and the Christmas holidays begin, Councillor Anna Keen, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, and Bristol City Council Director for Education and Skills, Alison Hurley, share a joint statement to schools, teachers and parents across Bristol.
“2020 has been a hugely challenging year for schools and education settings across Bristol amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers and staff have had to balance new ways of working, making sure school settings are equipped to keep children safe, and react to incidences and outbreaks of the virus. We’d therefore like to say a big thank you to all our school leaders and staff who have worked tirelessly to ensure children are able to continue their education in a safe, well-managed setting.
“Many schools have had to react quickly to cases or outbreaks of the virus this term, and we recognise that this is no small task. We’re very proud of your efforts in protecting staff and students’ health and wellbeing by complying with self-isolations, year group and school closures when required. Thank you for your commitment to making sure Bristol’s children and young people are not only safe, but are also able to receive their education, whether remotely, or in school.
“We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank parents and carers across Bristol for your patience and cooperation during a term quite like no other. We know that year group and school closures are not only disruptive to your children’s lives, but also yours, with many of you having to adapt quickly to juggling work commitments and child care. We’re hugely appreciative that families have been so understanding of the necessary closures in line with Public Health England (PHE) measures.
“Here at Bristol City Council, we have worked closely with schools and PHE to support education settings affected by the virus. Between 2 November and 16 December (second half of the autumn term), there have been 549 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in students and 394 cases in staff across 150 schools and nurseries in Bristol. In line with PHE advice, four out of the total of 295 in schools in Bristol have had to close during this period, and we thank you all for playing your part in preventing further transmission and protecting each other.
School closures during the second half term include:
- Soundwell Academy in the Patchway ward
- KnowleDGE in the Filwood ward
- The Limes Nursery School in the Easton ward
- Ilminster Avenue Specialist Nursery School in the Knowle ward
“Coronavirus continues to impact our lives, but with the rollout of the vaccine now underway and cases in Bristol beginning to fall in response to lockdown and Tier 3 measures, we are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
“However, with Christmas around the corner bringing the opportunity to spend the festive period with friends and family in your Christmas bubble, now is not the time to be complacent. Please continue to adhere to the restrictions in place across Bristol during the school holidays, follow the Christmas travel guidelines and limit contact with those you don’t live with or are not in your Christmas bubble. This way, we can ensure cases in Bristol continue to fall and we can welcome all of our students back into full time education in January.
“We are working with schools and our public health colleagues on plans for students’ return in January.
“On 15 December, the government announced that all staff in secondary schools and colleges will be eligible for weekly rapid tests as part of an initial rollout. We would like to reassure staff and parents that we will be working closely with schools and Public Health England (PHE) to ensure the tests are deployed to best effect. We will keep you updated on this process.
“Finally, we wish you all a very happy festive period! You all deserve it.”
See the latest COVID-19 guidance and information on support in Bristol here.