Message from Chris Hilliard

All Schools
Deputy Director for Education

Dear all,

We wrote yesterday to provide an update as far as we could in relation to the national and local picture. The Prime Minister made an address to the nation last night, which has been well reported. That did not bring any further announcements in relation to education provision. As and when there is any further news to share, we will ensure we contact you either through the weekly School News or by separate letter and we will continue to issue the Frequently Asked Question as appropriate. Please do not hesitate to contact us. It does feel in many ways like a single education service to which we are all contributing and the generosity of spirit of Headteachers and those working in and for schools is remarkable…...thank you so much. 

If we can just emphasise from last night’s letter that we would ask Headteachers to:

  • use the normal email address to notify the Council of school closure Schoolclosed@Oxfordshire.gov.uk
  • use a new dedicated email address to advise us of details of any change of status Schoolplaceavailability@oxfordshire.gov.uk We anticipate that this address will be live from Tuesday 24th March in the morning and that it will also seek to coordinate provision of places where schools find they cannot meet demand or have changed circumstances
  • note that our call centre 01865 792422 or e mail contact details can be found here will receive requests from parents for places which cannot be met locally, will link those requests through to a small central team and we will then contact local Headteachers/Trusts to establish whether or not an offer can be made.

Please can I ask that if you are a  ‘Host school’, taking in children from other schools,  you need to ensure that you are fully informed regarding any vulnerabilities the children may have. It is the main school’s responsibility to share all details about the children with you. Any schools which are placing vulnerable children with safeguarding/child protection files in a host school has the responsibility to ensure all the information is shared, including the details of any social workers, early help worker etc that are working with the child and the family. The DSL from the main school also needs to ensure that the allocated worker for the family is aware of the alternative arrangements.

It is also crucial that the main school sends information to children’s social workers informing them whether the child is attending school at this time or not, so Children’s Social Care can work with you to develop a plan to ensure the child’s safety.

DSLs at the host schools should refer to MASH if there is an immediate child protection concern and take advice through LCSS when needed as normal, for the children on their roll and the children from the other school., However if this is about a child who is not on roll at your school you must make the DSL aware from the main school. This would also apply to ongoing lower level concerns too, and a record be kept by host school and added to the child’s file, or shared with the DSL from the main school

Host school: school supporting other schools by offering provision to students from other schools

Main school: school child is on roll with