09:19AM, Friday 20 March 2020
A head teacher has said the country is living in ‘unprecedented times’ as schools prepare to shut their doors today (Friday) until further notice.
The Government announced on Wednesday that schools will close today and remain closed for most pupils indefinitely as measures are taken to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
All exams in May and June have also been cancelled.
Richard Pilgrim, head teacher at Charters School in Sunningdale, said his pupils had been ‘very stoic’ about the news.
He said he felt ‘sorry for the kids’ who have worked hard towards GCSE and A-level exams.
“This opportunity to prove themselves has been taken away,” he added.
However, Mr Pilgrim acknowledged the ‘unprecedented times’ the country is experiencing and hoped all schools act with ‘integrity’ regarding future plans to ensure children get the qualifications they need.
Many schools in the area had already sent pupils home this week due to staff shortages brought about by self-isolation.
Charters’ pupils in years 10 and 12 were asked to stay away yesterday (Thursday) and today, while Windsor Girls’ and Windsor Boys’ School closed to year nine students yesterday (Thursday) and today.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said schools will remain open to the children of people with vital roles in the NHS, the police or delivery drivers.
Vulnerable children with educational health and care plans can still also attend and a national voucher system for children receiving free school meals will be available.
Cllr Stuart Carroll (Con, Boyn Hill), the Royal Borough’s cabinet member for children’s services, said schools and the council are seeking confirmation from parents about which children can still go to schools.
“Many schools are already providing systems and information for learning at home and we would encourage families to take part in those activities,” he said.
He advised parents to listen to information from local schools, the council and the Department for Education as ‘the situation is changing daily’.
Cllr Carroll added: “I would like to sincerely thank our amazing staff who are doing extraordinary things in extraordinary circumstances.
“They are all stars.”
Council support services, including social care, will work with schools to provide ongoing support for vulnerable young people, he added.
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