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Schools in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot to reopen Monday for vulnerable and key workers' pupils

Re-purposing of school buildings as staff will be asked to work

Swansea and Neath Port Talbot Councils are gearing up to open some schools on Monday to provide support for the children of key workers.

Swansea Council statement:

"The Welsh Government has instructed all mainstream schools to close by tomorrow (Friday) but the council is working on plans for some schools to be re-purposed.

"As well as offering a safe place for pupils they will also be used to help feed young people entitled to free school meals."

Swansea Council Leader Rob Stewart said:

“Today we are contacting all school staff to clarify the unique situation and demands that are facing us

“From Monday schools are going to be re-purposed to provide support for the children of key workers.

“These are people like NHS staff, those in the emergency services and others and we are awaiting a full list from the Welsh Government.

“Our schools will also focus on our most vulnerable learners and pupils who have safeguarding issues.

“Our teams are busy working through the details and we are asking all staff in schools and from across the council to be prepared to work from our school settings for the foreseeable future.

“In short, schools sites are closing to pupils however education and learning will continue.

“These are unique times and we are confident that all staff, who are fit and healthy and do not have other caring commitments, will make themselves available at this time.”

Not all schools will provide this service and staff may be requested to work from other sites.

Council Chief Executive Phil Roberts said: “There are some challenging times ahead but we have already had a tremendous response from school staff eager to help and I would like to thank them for their support.”

Neath Port Talbot schools will be opening their doors to vulnerable pupils as well as key workers from Monday

A statement from Neath Port Talbot Council said:

"This is our current understanding of essential workers which will be used to admit pupils on Monday: 

  • Health workers – all those employed within the NHS.
  • Blue light / emergency service officers.
  • Social care workers.
  • Supermarket delivery drivers.
  • Prison officers and other prison staff.
  • Probation service staff

“The Council expect  that around 10% of Neath Port Talbot’s pupil population will continue to attend our school on a regular basis.

"For the time being school transport will continue and this will be monitored on a daily basis.

"Rotas will be drawn up so staff can attend according to the numbers attending each school, using questionnaire responses and local intelligence to ensure the provision is only for children of essential workers and vulnerable pupils.”

Vulnerable pupils to be admitted to schools on Monday will be defined as those on the children in need and child protection registers. Where a child is not formally deemed as vulnerable according to the definition, but the school determines that to be the case, the professional judgement of staff will be accepted. 

Cleaning and catering staff will work as usual (apart from those who are self-isolating or those who have an underlying medical condition).  At this present time, the Council expects schools to be open over the Easter period in accordance with the above arrangements. However, this position will be carefully monitored. 

It is understood all childcare facilities, including Flying Start, should operate as usual subject to staffing arrangements. Schools will operate current opening hours for those pupils continuing to attend. 

Meal Vouchers

When it comes to pupils eligible for free school meals Neath Port Talbot Council understands these pupils will be issued vouchers for a set amount per week to cover food and toiletries. Work is underway to put a system in place by Monday. 

However, if this is not the case, these are our plans:

All primary schools will be providing ‘Grab and Go’ bags for eligible pupils, with time slots being advised for when they should attend to pick up their bags. Once they have their bags they will need to return home. Primary EFSM pupils who use home to school transport (Welsh Medium / Faith Schools) should go to their nearest primary or secondary school to pick up their ‘Grab and Go’ bags. Note, they should provide identification. 

These arrangements will be similar for secondary schools. Secondary EFSM pupils who normally use home to school transport should go to their nearest primary or secondary school to pick up their ‘Grab and Go’ bags. 

Initially, we will prepare a few additional bags at each primary facility to allow for this. Demand will be monitored on a daily basis and preparation of meals recalibrated accordingly. 

The ‘Grab and Go’ bags will contain a sandwich made from wholemeal bread (ham / cheese / jam), fruit, biscuit and drink. 

Any unclaimed bags could be distributed to the vulnerable or elderly within the local area. 

 

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