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Dear Parents and Carers,


I am writing to advise you that for Health and Safety reasons, North Lakes School will only partially re-open, on Tuesday 5th January, for the most vulnerable pupils and the children of critical workers. We will provide home learning (online) for all pupils, to reflect the provision and activities happening in the classroom.


Cumbria County Council have written to the government this weekend to request a partial opening for all primary schools. Cumbria Public Health are deeply concerned about the likelihood of further significant transmission of Covid-19, when schools do start. This is due to rapidly increasing cases, currently 571 per 100,000 people in Eden, and 649 per 100,000 in Carlisle [source]. It is also due to the more contagious new strain of the virus, its prevalence among younger age groups, and the fact that North Cumbria’s NHS intensive care capacity is now full.


Unfortunately, the DfE has today refused Cumbria’s request and said schools should fully reopen. Stewart Young, the Leader of Cumbria CC is quoted today as saying, “this is the wrong decision for Cumbria and for our families and communities… we are concerned… about staff and pupil welfare and safety.” He also stated that, “any school that cannot open the school fully in line with the government instruction will have the full support and backing of Cumbria County Council”.


A significant number of staff at North Lakes School have advised us that on the basis of national scientific advice and local data, they do not feel that a full primary classroom is a safe workplace at this time. They do not wish to put themselves, pupils, families and communities at risk by coming into work in a fully opened school, and they are exercising their right under health and safety law, not to do so.


As a result, because of a lack of available staffing, North Lakes School will not be fully re-opening for two weeks.


We are open to the most vulnerable pupils and the children of critical workers



We are carrying out a full review of current pupil needs, using national guidance. We will contact you tomorrow directly if we feel that your child needs a place in the classroom, due to their own additional needs.



Critical Workers are defined as those who work in:

  • Health and social care
  • Education and childcare
  • Key public services
  • Local and national government
  • Food and other necessary goods
  • Public safety and national security
  • Transport and border services
  • Utilities, communication and financial services

National advice on Critical Workers is here.


To apply for a place for your child as a critical worker, please complete the survey on the Frog Parent Portal, which will be available from 10am onwards tomorrow morning (Monday). We are now revising the Critical Worker Survey, and we will notify all those who complete the survey by 4pm tomorrow whether their child has a place from Tuesday morning.


We understand that for a number of families it is essential that their child attends school. At the same time, we do need to limit numbers, both for safety reasons, and to ensure that staff can also manage the home learning for pupils not in school. As a result, we would encourage you to support the children at home with their online learning rather than sending them into school, if possible.



We do ask that if your child is required to self-isolate in January over the coming days, or if there any positive cases in your household, please can you email school tomorrow, so that we can be fully informed of the latest situation in the community.


We are very sorry to have to write to you like this at the very end of the holidays, and we are doing so because of our wish to keep our children, staff and families safe.


Thank you for all your support,


Yours sincerely,


Mike Pincombe                                                                  Dr Martin Duke

Headteacher                                                                       Chair of Governors