St John's C of E Primary School

"Use your God-given gifts to serve others." 1 Peter 4: 10

School closure

Dear Parents/Carers,


I am so sorry for the lateness of this communication with you. This has been a difficult 48 hours for the teaching profession. I’m sure many of you will have heard in the media, the speculation about whether primary schools will be opening next week.

Teacher’s professional associations are recommending that full opening is delayed and advising members accordingly. Councillor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, has written to the Secretary of State for Education to raise concerns about the return of children to primary schools asking him to reconsider his position around face-to-face learning in Birmingham from next week.


The reasons for this are quite complicated, but basically the situation is this:


  • Daily infection rates are currently higher than they have been since the start of the pandemic.
  • There is a new variant of Covid-19 which is spreading more rapidly than the previous version.
  • The new UK variant is 70% more virulent than the previous one..
  • Children are more susceptible to the new UK variant.
  • Although most children are unlikely to be seriously ill, they can catch it and more easily spread the infection to those they come in contact with (teachers, TAs, parents, grandparents, etc) This was not the case with the original version of the corona virus as children were less likely to catch it.

This would explain why, despite various lockdown tiers across the UK from September, the prevalence of infection has continued to rise. Schools/universities remained open and there is strong evidence that children have been one of the vectors for the spread.

Keeping primary schools open increases the risk of the spread of the UK variant especially from children to teachers and those the children live with. Given that the BAME community has a higher incidence and fatality rate, keeping primary schools open poses a significant threat to the community of Sparkhill. (I would like to thank Dr S Simjee MBBS, BMedSc(Hons), MMedSc, PhD, FRCPath, FISAC for this information)


We will be continuing to consult government guidance and liaise with professional associations and the local authority and will keep you informed of outcomes. 


However, we will not be able to open to all children on Tuesday 5th January.

In order to keep staff and community safe, we will only be opening to children of critical workers and children who are vulnerable.


We need to find out quickly how many of you will want your child to attend this provision as we obviously want to keep numbers as low as possible in order to be able to maintain social distancing, etc. A form will follow this letter on ParentMail – please complete and return this as quickly as possible if it applies to you. The returned form will automatically register against your child’s name, but you must complete a separate form for each child.


If you want your child to attend critical worker provision, you must send the form back by 12pm tomorrow, otherwise you will not get a place.


The official list of critical worker categories can be found at the link below.

These are:

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

A further reminder that school is closed to all pupils for staff training on Monday 4th January 2021.


I am sorry for the disruption, anxiety and uncertainty all of this will cause. We will be sending out information about our remote learning strategy tomorrow.


Best wishes,

Mrs Seymour