Headteacher praises Scarborough parents for keeping children home after schools close

Parents in Scarborough have been praised for keeping their children home this week – and have been urged to keep doing so.

Thursday, 26th March 2020, 9:51 am
Updated Thursday, 26th March 2020, 9:51 am

Headteachers have been relieved that there have been far fewer key workers’ children in schools than had been originally expected, said chairperson of Scarborough Heads Forum, Jenny Hartley.

After speaking to many of the area’s headteachers, Miss Hartley, who is head at Wheatcroft Community Primary School, said most schools have seen student numbers of just a third or a quarter of what they were expecting when schools shut at the end of Friday.

“Everybody in school was scrambling around on Friday trying to put together provision for those children of key workers,” she said.

St Martins School is still open for key workers' children. Terry Ellis takes the class. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter
St Martins School is still open for key workers' children. Terry Ellis takes the class. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

“All the headteachers are relieved that families have kept their children at home where they can, but they’re still worried because some staff are self-isolating and it may be that schools have to keep running over the Easter holidays.

“We’re really pleased that most families have managed to find a solution to have the children safe at home because they are undoubtedly safer there.”

She said bigger schools in the area have had around 50 children in, while smaller schools have only seen around 10.

She thinks that is partly because of the Government stressing the importance of social distancing.

Wheatcroft School is still open for key workers' children. Children enjoy some art. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

She added that some businesses being told to close has also meant that some parents were now able to have their children at home.

In North Yorkshire, approximately five to seven per cent of pupils are still attending school. Presently, 45 schools have closed and the remaining 277 primary and secondary schools, including academies, remain open to provide childcare for the children of key workers.

“The schools are opening with a skeleton staff for a variety of reasons,” said Miss Hartley.

“I want the minimum number of staff here so the chance of contracting it and spreading it is less and to reduce the number of people the children are coming into contact with.”

Wheatcroft School is still open for key workers' children. Headteacher Jenny Hartley. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

Miss Hartley said her school had been receiving photos and messages from families, updating them on what the children had been doing.

“It’s been brilliant to hear from them,” she said.

The Government announced schools would remain open to children of key workers, and those identified as vulnerable or with Education, Health and Care Plans.

Wheatcroft School is still open for key workers' children. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter