School leaders of Church of England schools in the Diocese of Truro have shared their views with the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, in a letter asking for assistance in three key areas.

The chair of the diocesan board of education (DBE), John Keast, wrote indicating that school leaders face “unprecedented times – unprecedented in terms of challenge and in terms of lasting impact”. 
As the county reached the end of the second national lockdown, head teachers, trust CEO’s and other school leaders were asked by the Diocesan Director of Education, “What is the one thing that our Secretary of State for Education needs to know?”
The challenges the schools face coalesced around the themes of inspection, assessment, finance, professional regard and wellbeing.
The letter drew Mr Williamson’s attention to key questions round the resumption of Ofsted inspections in the New Year, formal assessment of both primary and secondary aged children and a recognition of the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on school finances. The letter described all of these as “current and pressing” challenges.
The DBE is seeking public recognition that these themes are recognised at Westminster and are being taken into account by the Department of Education. 

Katie Fitzsimmons, Diocesan Director of Education said: “Clearly we are delighted about the recent assurances regarding inspection moving into the summer term and details about assessment. However, there are ongoing concerns about the impact of Covid-19 on our school staff as they seek to ensure safe and inspiring places for children to learn. We cannot ignore the long term impact of this pandemic. Schools have managed to keep going, despite the challenges, now undertaking contract tracing into the Christmas holidays.” 

“We heard this week that schools will be at the heart of an increased testing regime. I know that all our head teachers will remain focused on ensuring that they continue to work as safely and efficiently as they can. What we hope to hear is clear acknowledgement of the incredible work undertaken by school teams, as well as some practical support for them in the new year.”

So far there has been no response from Mr Williamson’s office to the letter, which was sent to him at the beginning of the month.

Read the letter in full here.