Due to the growing concern caused by the Coronavirus, and after much discussion with Robin Fletcher Chief Executive of the Boarding Schools Association, our Chairman of Governors, The Senior Leadership Team and fellow Heads, I have reluctantly decided to close the school a week early.

Having seen a number of other larger and better resourced Senior schools closing on the 17th March I have decided that The Elms and our staff have given this a very good go indeed and left nothing undone in our efforts to stay open. We will close at 17:40 on Friday 20th March, for a week of home schooling with the Easter Holiday starting on Friday 27th March.

To avoid a mass of congestion on Friday, if you would like to collect any of your children’s belongings from upstairs please do this.

A number of children are already at home, as are a number of staff, and this has meant that it has been difficult to get work to the children already at home due to the pressures of work load on the remaining staff. Thank you for your understanding in this. This decision means that staff have until Friday afternoon either to pass children physical copies of work, or until Sunday to send the work via e-mail, to children whose parents have already decided to keep them at home.

Mr Levings will inform parents as to how best to return work to teachers so that it can be marked.

I recognise that this extended period at home may well cause some practical difficulties at home, please let me know if I can offer any help. My advice would be, where possible, to stick as closely to a child’s timetable as possible. This may help to alleviate the strain of introducing a new routine and will help our boys and girls recognise that this is not an extra week of holiday but a different format for school. Please do try to stick to bed times, wake up times and exercise if you can. Please do enjoy the experience and be aware that the lessons are forty minutes long. If the children have not completed work in that time, it is OK, it can be finished in the next timetabled lesson. Positivity is key and we must remember that for our children this will be a difficult period. Change always is.

As regards next term and the start date we will keep you abreast of information when we have it, but we will continue to be guided by the Boarding Schools Association and Public Health England.

It has undoubtedly been a very trying time, and one has a feeling that there will be difficult times ahead.

We will produce reports and please keep in mind that our teaching staff will be trying very hard to keep on top of their work load in what will by testing circumstances for them as well.

Please can I take this opportunity to thank all Elms staff. They have been stoic in their response to all I have asked of them.

Lastly I want to thank you all. You have been overwhelmingly supportive of us and the difficult decisions we have had to make. Your children have been superb and I know will continue to be.

As ever please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Chris Hattam