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Two year groups at Thatcham's Kennet School learning from home following isolated coronavirus cases

School 'reluctantly decides that it has no choice' but to send pupils home

John Herring

John Herring


01635 886633

GCSE Results 2020: Kennet School Thatcham

Two year groups at Kennet School in Thatcham have been sent home until next year following the impact of isolated coronavirus cases. 

In a letter yesterday the school said that a further five cases of Covid-19, four pupils and one member of staff, had been confirmed in the last 24 hours. 

As a result, around 600 pupils from Years 9 and 10 have been moved to remote learning until the end of term owing to the school not having enough staff to cover all lessons.

Kennet has worked with Public Health England, which said that all cases are being identified as single and unconnected, and to identify safeguarding options for its school community. 

Headteacher Gemma Piper said: "We have got an excellent remote learning strategy. It doesn't compare to being in the classroom, but we know they will have work provided by their teachers for every lesson.

"Parents have been absolutely lovely. The community has been so respectful of that and really supportive. The safety of our community is the most important responsibility I have right now and providing education in whatever form, we need to exploit that."  

Mrs Piper said that sending Y9 and 10 home was a knock on affect of having eight isolated cases. 

The letter says: "We have taken a very strict approach to implementing self-isolation periods for any close contacts, including teachers, and, as such, we are grateful to all pupils and staff who are now self-isolating.

"This has a direct consequence on the effective running of the school day and we are now at an operational tipping point which means that pupils have experienced a significant amount of cover this week and starting as early as tomorrow, we will not have enough staff to cover all lessons.

"In a normal scenario, we would put a number of classes in a large open space and a senior leader would deliver the individual cover lessons to ensure pupils can access the learning for the rest of the school day in person.

"Clearly, in the current situation, this is not an appropriate step to take and, as such, we have reluctantly decided that we have no choice but to move Years 9 and 10 to remote learning from tomorrow and until the end of the term".

All other year groups will continue to attend school in person and Kennet said it would communicate any further changes.

It added that moving Y9 and Y10 to remote learning would ensure that pupils could access the work set and have support from their own teachers as a priority from home.

The letter adds: "We realise the extremely short notice may be particularly difficult for you, but we were not expecting the sudden increase in unconnected cases this week, and after looking at all other possibilities we feel this is the only possible option." 

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