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Mudeford JuniorSchool

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BCP Local Authority - COVID update / communication

COVID update / communication from BCP Local Authority,  Julia Coleman

Service Manager School & Provider Standards & Support 0-19 Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP)

Quality & Commissioning Directorate, Children’s Services



Dear parents / carers,


BCP and Dorset schools have had a tough term. The bulk of rising cases have been in school age pupils and the staff who work with them and we have seen 2 distinct and difficult phases. In half term one we saw high case rates in pupils at about 100 per week across schools all PCR confirmed. This was challenging for pupils and families and there were outbreaks that needed managing down and even a few cases of year group closures to create a firewall to protect others.


However most schools managed with on site isolation of outbreaks and the relatively few staff cases were manageable with support staff or cover. Since October half term, we have seen as many cases per day as we have had in a week before the half term. Although case rates remain high in pupils of most year groups, the educational workforce has suffered from Covid, Covid isolations and other illnesses which has left many schools stretched. Schools have seen, on average, 15-20% staff absence-some have seen far higher rates.


We know that some of you will have been very disappointed that BCP has needed to postpone   nativitiy performances, cancel residential visits  and have asked some schools to switch to remote learning; we do not take these decisions lightly.


These measures have always been taken in consultation and support from the BCP team dealing with Covid and Public Health Dorset. They are also made in light of extra guidance for BCP and Dorset only in England, where we can take more enhanced measures until the end of this term at least.


Despite the excellent work of parents, pupils and staff, cases continue to rise in schools and latterly in the community. Whilst we cannot go into specific details, as well as cases in pupils, we have also seen both Covid and other illnesses taking their toll on staffing. Staff absence in BCP and Dorset is 4 times the national average. There are many other schools facing these sorts of decision at the moment.


There is much that parents / caeres can do to support us over Christmas and the New Year.


What you can do:

  • Keep testing habits going in families over the holidays and awareness of hand washing etc after shopping trips
  • Be vigilant for symptoms and do not send children in after the holidays with any Covid, fever or headachy symptoms
  • Seek PCR tests for family well-being if you get symptoms or are asked to do so
  • Encourage adherence to changing guidelines
  • Follow guidance from track and trace who are following up on Omicron and/or guidance on Day 2 testing and test for return if you are holidaying abroad-current guidance is you cannot return until negative tests are back
  • Be aware that we often have to respond to cases and changes in policy very quickly


What we will try to do

  • Prioritise keeping children in school for learning as much and as safely possible
  • Be aware of outbreaks and be transparent about when and why we need to change things
  • Discuss alternatives with PH and BCP when staff numbers are down or cases are rising


We can assure you we explore all other avenues before we postpone an event or switch to remote learning. Please stay in touch about symptoms and we will access support for you at the start of term.


If you need to take time off in the holidays or in term times, there is support for families still available here with isolation periods.



Thank you and warm regards,


Julia Coleman.

Service Manager School & Provider Standards & Support 0-19 Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP)

Quality & Commissioning Directorate, Children’s Services