The Ark Walworth Academy off Old Kent Road has become the first state school in SE1 to announce a partial shutdown due to the COVID-19 emergency. The City of London Academy is also asking one year group to study at home.
"We want to keep the school open for all students for as long as possible whilst government guidance still allows this [and] we are working hard as a school community to maintain as much stability for the students' education as possible," wrote principal Jessica West in a letter to parents on Tuesday.
"However, there are a number of logistical and staffing issues which now make this challenging on a whole school basis. We have, therefore, decided to close the school for Year 8 and Year 9 from Wednesday 18th March 2020 until further notice.
"The reason for choosing these year groups is to ensure we can continue to teach our exam classes and to support families with younger children to remain in work. All other year groups should still attend school as normal. Years 7, 10, 11 and 6th form will continue to have lessons during this time.
"As a further support measure, students in Years 8 and 9 may continue to attend school for lunch each day. We recognise it's tricky for families to get weekly shopping at present and we therefore are happy for Year 8 and Year 9 students to arrive at school in full uniform at 12:30 to use the school canteen, as usual, and they will be dismissed after lunch. Students will be able to pay using their regular accounts and those on free school meals can have their allocated free lunch."
Pupils will be provided with packs of work to complete at home.
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