Dear Willow Brook families,

From the contact I have had with parents this evening, I know that Parentmail is struggling under the weight of schools’ communication and this may take several hours to reach you…

Today has been a very long and busy one and we continue to await directives from the government to let us know just we can (and should) support you all beyond the obvious.

Thank you to all those who have responded to my last email and indicated that that you are ‘key workers’. Whilst there is still not a defined list, or advice on how other parents working from home might help us to maintain social distancing as far as possible, you can rest assured that Willow Brook will continue to operate in some capacity to support your essential work. If this applies to you and we have not communicated, please get in touch before 3.30pm on Friday (tomorrow) so that staff and a plan can be put in place for next week.

For our families who receive Free School Meals, we are asking that you also contact us immediately if you need our help. Again, the Government are putting together a national approach to support you by issuing supermarket vouchers, but we may have the capacity to offer you some supplies from the school kitchen whilst it is available, if required.

We thank you for your words of support for our staff over the last couple of days. They have been concerned for you as well as their own families and I can’t tell you how hard they have worked. I don’t need to say what an incredibly unusual time this is. We hope that we get things right over the next few weeks to support our community, as well as being committed to any measures that will speed a national recovery to get us back to normality as soon as possible. Whilst I appreciate that it would be lovely to come into school to change reading books or speak with staff (as some have suggested), I would urge you to respond to advice on social distancing and help us to all stay well and focused on what must be our immediate priorities.

As part of our safeguarding policy, staff are advised not to give you their personal phone numbers, WhatsApp or personal contact details. Again, we hope you understand the importance of that and keep communication appropriate. My email address is always your first port of call and I will respond as quickly as I can should a need or concern arise. Children have work to keep them busy until Easter and thereafter we will have a clearer idea of the timescale of on-going closure and how we can continue to support life and learning.

I will, of course, continue to stay in touch and keep you updated as often as I can.

With very kind regards to you all.

Louise Ballard