Dear Parents/Carers,

We are very pleased that, nationwide, schools will be opening their doors to all pupils in September. We are very much looking forward to our pupils returning.

At present, we are making preparations for this return, utilising the guidance that the government has published. We will write to you again over the summer to confirm the measures that we have put in place to help keep our pupils and staff safe.

The government has also published a guide to support parents which can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-in-the-autumn-term

This week, we will send you a report that summarises your child’s engagement with home learning since the closure. Please be reassured that this is for information only. We know that everyone has faced different challenges during this time but we also think that it is important that parents and pupils are aware of this information.

In just two weeks, the summer holidays will begin and many of you will, I am sure, breathe a sigh of relief at the end of home schooling. We want to thank you for all that you have done to support your child and us as a school over the past months. Our participation rates have been high and our pupils’ engagement in lessons and extra-curricular activities is something of which we are very proud.

During the holidays, we know that some families may need support due to food poverty. Please be assured that we will still be here to help. If you are in need of food parcels, foodbank vouchers or other community support e.g. collecting shopping or prescriptions whilst isolating or shielding, please contact the following updated email address: foodsupport@stjamesexeter.co.uk. This support will be available throughout the holidays.

As many home circumstances have changed during lockdown, there any many more households who will find themselves eligible for Free School Meals for their children. The government recently announced that they will provide a £90 voucher per pupil for families in receipt of free school meals to help with the costs of food over the summer holidays.  Many families are unaware that they are entitled to this support so below we outline the various reasons why you might be able to apply for this.

Free school meals are available to pupils in receipt of, or whose parents are in receipt of, one or more of the following benefits:

• Universal Credit (provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods)

• Income Support

• Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

• Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

• Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

• The guaranteed element of Pension Credit

• Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)

• Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

It is easy to find out if you qualify, click the link below and complete a simple form or call the Education Helpline on 0345 155 1019.  You will be notified instantly if you are eligible.  If you are, please screen shot or send that confirmation to us and you will then be able to claim these vouchers for the summer holidays and beyond. https://oneonline.devon.gov.uk/CCSCitizenPortal_LIVE/Account/Login?ReturnUrl=%2fCCSCitizenPortal_live. We will also be calling our families prior to the summer to offer any support they may need to apply.

We will write to you again before the summer holidays. In the meantime, if you have any questions about your child’s report, contact their tutor and if you have any general enquiries or questions, email contact@stjamesexeter.co.uk.

Take care and stay safe,

Lindsay Skinner

Headteacher