Statement from the Director: Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic |

Statement from the Director: Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
During this period of heightened pressure and uncertainty, I want to let you know the steps we have taken to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our ultimate priority, in line with other national organisations, is to do whatever we can to provide support to school leaders and trustees on the front-line dealing with this pandemic. All of the staff New Schools Network are here to support our network where we can.

During this unprecedented period, we want to continue to provide programmes of support as far as is possible, without creating any additional burden for school leaders, CEOs, NEDs or Chairs. Given that, we have taken the following steps to respond to this emerging situation:

  • We are launching a simple online platform for our networks to: share the planning and preparation they have already undertaken to mitigate risk; raise challenges and concerns so we can share best practice from other schools; and respond quickly to specific queries unique to establishing and growing new provision. If you are not a free school but would like to share your preparations with us, we would like to hear from you too.
  • We are collating guidance and resources, updated on a daily basis. 
  • We are cancelling all external events, to limit social interaction to protect school leaders, non-executive directors and our staff until 17th April.
  • We are cancelling all school visits, to limit social interaction to protect students, parents, teachers, school leaders and our staff.
  • We are pausing some of our programmes and support services which require communication from our network which would constitute an undue burden at this time. You will be contacted directly if this affects you.

The NSN offices have now been closed, however the team remain committed to continuing supporting free school leaders and trusts where we can. We are fortunate that much of our work can be undertaken remotely, so we plan to operate as usual as is feasible for the foreseeable future. Like every other organisation, we continue to review government guidance and collaborate with other national organisations to determine how we can best support the sector.

We will update our website and networks as appropriate.

This is an incredibly unsettling period and schools are facing multiple and unprecedented pressures. More so now than ever, collaboration and information sharing is key. What NSN can do, we will do, so do not hesitate to be in touch.

I wish you all the very best,

Unity Howard