PLEASE make sure you read and understand this letter. If you need a translation or a verbal explanation please get in touch soon.

1st July 2020

Dear Parents/Carers,

Once again, a huge ‘thank you’ and ‘well done’ for your sterling efforts to keep in touch with school, continuing to meet your child’s educational and therapy needs and for the amazing success stories you are sharing with us of the progress your children continue to make at home. We are very proud of your successes and are with you in spirit during this crisis.

Just an update on where we find ourselves at this point in time and some early thoughts about September. We now have a regular 50 children successfully accessing school and our new guidelines are working well and the staff and children are enjoying spending some quality time together.

We will be organising a Zoom farewell for our Year 6 leavers, more details to follow, and we are planning some special end of year treats for the children in school which we hope you will also be able to join in remotely.

We are going to send you a simple questionnaire soon asking again for your views for September to aid our planning. We aim to re-open as normal, five days a week back to the usual school hours with some additional measures in place. We will be working with our Health colleagues on individual risk assessments for those children with medical needs before agreeing re-admission. We will be thinking about staggering transport arrival and departure times to avoid major congestion at these busy times in school. We will continue to work in our new class bubbles with specific timetables in place to allow the groups to play separately, have lunch separately but use the new technologies to celebrate assemblies and shared times together via Zoom.

We need to know what concerns you may still have? We need to know if you are intending to send your child back in September? We need to know if you intend to transport them yourself? I can reassure you that despite what you may have heard or read in the media from our Education Minister, we will not be fining any parent who does not feel it is safe for their child to return to school yet. This is your right as a parent to determine the safety and wellbeing of your child and no Government has the right to interfere with your wishes.

I can say that we have taken all of the necessary steps to limit the chances of infection but as you know there are no guarantees.

We are also aware that this year we have a 7 week summer holiday which could not have come at a worse time given what you have already been through. The Local Authority are planning to make their Street Games summer clubs accessible to our families and are also promising to give you an emergency contact number for support. We will also leave our mobile numbers on the school phone system in case you need to get in touch. However, we have all been advised to give the teaching staff a break as you are aware they have been working through the holidays since March and are in need of some down time, rest and recuperation. So the Dojo and phone calls will stop from the end of term, but the Teachers will try and set you up with resources, ideas and links for the summer break.

We are also thinking about making the Rebound Therapy Centre available for parents to use over the summer break and again will be asking if any of you would like to take up this offer?

Other updates.

· You will be introduced to your child’s new Class Teacher and children in class soon remotely, and you will also receive your child’s end of year report.

· You can order your child’s uniform following the link on our website.

· You will receive separate information soon for those of you who receive Free School Meal vouchers for the summer.

· Physiotherapy Clinics are now taking place in school again.

· There is now a Local Authority Risk Assessment for School Transport which you could ask for from the Local Authority.

I will write again before the end of term on the 17th July with more information but in the meantime please feel free to contact school any day from 8:30am-4:30pm.

A reminder to all of those currently attending school, please, please follow these guidelines to help keep all of our staff and children safe.

Please follow the joining instructions for your child returning to school.

· Your child is eligible to attend school on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you do not want all three days please let us know so we can make this day available to other children. School and resources will be deep cleaned in-between your child’s attendance.

· The school day will return to 9:00am – 3:15pm.

· If your child is travelling to school on Local Authority Transport, make sure you let us know of any changes and that you inform Local Authority Transport if your child is unwell or not attending school for any reason.

· If you are bringing your own child please wait in your car until a member of staff collects your child and takes their temperature. No Parent/Carer is allowed into school without consent.

· Please send in a bag of spare clothes that will remain in school.

· If your child has medications please pass them over to staff on drop off or via the escorts.

· Your child must come in clean clothes each day. Do not wear the school uniform unless you guarantee to wash it in-between use. Please send in spare clothes.

· Please ensure your child has clean short fingernails.

· Your child must shower, bathe and change into clean clothes when they return home from school.

· Please ensure your child brings in their own sun protection in a clear bag and a sun hat.

· Make sure your child has washed their hands before coming to school. If you are able to, please take their temperature before journeying to school.

· Obviously do not send your child to school if they are displaying any of the Covid 19 symptoms or if anyone in your household is displaying symptoms.

· Do not send them in with a runny nose, cough or cold, or if you have felt the need to administer paracetamol/ibuprofen or Calpol that morning.

· Do not send in any toys, in particular cuddly, cloth toys, just their medication and/or packed lunch. Please feel free to send in bottles of water or juice if you prefer your child to drink from your own containers, but we will have drinks and a school lunch available to all.

· If you want a cooked school lunch just let us know and pay the usual lunch fees (£2 per day). If you are entitled to free school meals and your child is in school you will not receive a voucher. We can provide a packed lunch for the other two days on request.

· Please let us know the minute your child or anyone they come into contact with has tested positive for the virus or is displaying any of the symptoms. We must be clear that this applies to any single one of the symptoms.

· If anyone in your child’s bubble contracts the virus, all of those children and staff will be asked to stay at home for fourteen days and self-isolate, or until that person has been tested negative.

· Feel free to phone school for daily updates on your child or ask if you want a note sending home with your child. We will do our best to keep you informed.

Yours sincerely

Chris Rollings

Head Teacher

 


 

PLEASE make sure you read and understand this letter. If you need a translation or a verbal explanation please get in touch soon.

8th June 2020

Dear Parents/Carers,

We hope you and your family are safe and well and coping in these unusual circumstances. I  wanted to take this opportunity to ‘thank you’ all for the amazing job you are doing juggling your family needs, supporting your extended family and friends and becoming your child’s teacher and therapist. We know this is not an easy job and we hope you are finding our support helpful and encouraging.

As you are aware we have continued to provide a service to those in need and we are opening to more pupils this week, but we must be clear and upfront and state that we cannot guarantee that your child will be safe from the Covid 19 virus in school. However, we will do all in our power to try to minimise the risks to your child and our staff.

The key issue we have as a specialist provision is that we cannot socially distance from your child or the other children in school. What we have done is to follow the advice from the Department of Education and create small ‘bubbles’ with no more than 6 children supported by the same consistent group of staff in the school building.  The children will remain in these small groups throughout the school day but will still enjoy a great deal of outdoor education and opportunities to learn in our Sports Hall and Rebound Therapy Centre. Again, following advice, we will not be using the Hydro Pool, Soft Play, Library or our Thrive Room for the time being. Children will play in their own discreet play areas across school with children of similar ages.

These groups will be led initially by our Senior Teaching & Learning Assistants with support from the Leadership Team as the Class Teachers are continuing to work from home to provide a remote service to all of our pupils for the foreseeable future. They will still be available to answer any questions, set more homework, phone you weekly to see how we can help, signpost resources and ideas to keep your children entertained and will be providing more remote group learning opportunities.

In terms of risk I think it is important to draw your attention to the latest information from the Independent Sage Report May 28th which clearly states that they do not think it is safe for schools to open now. They suggest that waiting until the 15th June halves the risk to children, as does remaining at home and that a return in September brings the risk levels down towards zero.

However, the risks to children remain relatively low and we must be guided by the level of contagion in our local areas. We understand that Public Health England will alert us to any spikes in our locality and if this happens we will obviously then close to all pupils and staff.

Having said that, the risks to children with complex health care needs is uncertain and the evidence is still very unclear. We do know that youngsters with learning disabilities in residential settings have been very susceptible to Covid 19 and the percentage rate of deaths has been well over 130% which is very worrying. The problem is exacerbated by some children who should have a shielding letter not receiving one and others who have one then having this questioned by Health colleagues. You as parents understand the health care needs of your children better than anyone. This virus is very damaging to anyone prone to respiratory issues, anyone prone to chest infections, anyone who might aspirate, have diabetes, is overweight, etc. One of the problems we are encountering is the mixed messages some of you are receiving from your Health contacts. If you are in this position please contact school and we will talk it through.

As a school we have carried out all the necessary risk assessments and have drafted our own Covid 19 Policy to keep your child and our staff as safe as possible. I cannot state clearly enough we cannot guarantee that your child will not catch the virus from other children or members of our staff. I am deeply grateful to our staff who are agreeing to work with your children despite the fact that we cannot socially distance from your child. They are putting their own health at risk and whilst we will be using PPE for personal hygiene and intimate care they will not be using it during the normal school day to keep things as normal as possible for your children.

There is a very real risk of a second wave of the pandemic and we will keep our plans under constant review in partnership with our Local Authority and Public Health England.

The Leadership Team will be in school every day from now on so if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to phone or email. The Admin Team will also be available daily if you have any questions about transport, school meals, free school meal vouchers, medication, etc.

The Nursing Team will be in school each lunchtime to administer medications but will not be on site all day. We will therefore call 999 if we have any medical emergencies on site.

We anticipate the Physios, SALT and OT will also be providing a service in school from the 8th June. Unfortunately we cannot answer questions on their behalf.

Yours sincerely

Chris Rollings
Head Teacher


11th May 2020

Dear Parents/Carers,
Coronavirus – Covid 19 Update

I hope this letter finds you all safe and well? We are very grateful for your continuing understanding and patience as we come to terms with life in these uncertain times.

As you may have watched the Prime Minister’s address to the nation last night, like us, you may be confused as to where exactly that leaves schools?

Ultimately we can only do what we believe to be in the best interests of your children and our staff and that comes down to a judgement of risk rather than any absolute right or wrong decisions.

We have to balance the following factors in reaching a decision on whether or not school is a safe environment for our all of children and staff, not just Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.

  • Is your child shielding or anyone else in the family shielding?
  • Can we socially distance from children and staff?
  • Do we have enough space to do so?
  • Can staff travel safely to and from work?
  • Can the children be safely transported to school?
  • Can they socially distance in transport?
  • Will the nursing and therapy support be in school?
  • Will they be ‘hands on’ with your children?
  • Will suitably trained staff be available to support individual children?
  • Will staff have access to testing?
  • Will we have sufficient staff to run a safe school day?
  • Do we have appropriate PPE resources for staff?
  • Are your children free from the virus? How do we know? Have they been tested?
  • Are you able to take their temperature before they get onto transport?
  • Can levels of hygiene be maintained with higher numbers of pupils accessing the building?

Obviously we are risk assessing these issues and more. The Government’s advice regarding Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children returning to school after June 1st remains vague and we are awaiting more specific guidance for specialist schools to arrive this week.

However, to help our planning we would like an idea of which children you may like us to consider returning to school before the summer. You can do this via email, or phone calls or post if you wish to send your views in to school.

We have been asked to seek parents and your children’s views on whether or not you wish your child to be back in school. This is ALL of our pupils, not just Reception, Year 1 & Year 6.

It would be very helpful if you could include in your answer your reasons for your decision to keep your child safe at home or for requiring support from school.

It would also be very helpful if you could indicate if you are willing, or prefer to transport your child to school and if you want this daily or on a part-time basis?

We appreciate there are many more unanswered questions but a quick response would be very helpful in supporting our planning.

Your child’s Class Teacher will be following up this letter and your responses if we don’t hear from you soon.

For the majority of families the advice from the Government remains to keep your child safe at home if you are able to do so. School is partially open to a small number of children on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays. This is for children whose parents are Key Workers or who are particularly vulnerable. We have risk assessed the whole school population and are in regular discussions with partners in Health, Social Care and the Local Authority to respond flexibly to those of you in greatest need. It is still our judgement that the vast majority of children are safer in their home environment as we cannot socially distance in school and obviously need to be in physical contact with your children. This then puts our staff at risk of exposure to the virus, and whilst they are happy to do so I want to minimise this risk to the lowest degree possible.

As you will know, we are keeping in weekly contact with all of our families and are responding to your concerns on a daily basis. We strongly encourage you all to join the Class Dojo where possible and to make a real effort to answer our calls or get back to us quickly if we have left messages for you.

We will keep posting updates via Facebook and our home to school messaging service and the school website. Can you ensure that we have your latest phone number and can we encourage you to use our Facebook page to share your ideas and support each other at this difficult time.

If you are feeling anxious and would like to talk to one of the Leadership Team we are still here in school for you between 9:00am-3:00pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and available by email at any time. There are emergency contact numbers on our answering machine if necessary.

We all send our love and best wishes and hope that we all come out the other side fit, healthy and well.

Take care,

Chris Rollings
Head Teacher


13th April 2020

Dear Parents/Carers,

Coronavirus – Covid 19 Update

Many thanks for your understanding and patience as we all wrestle with these uncertain times and juggle with making the right decisions to safeguard the wellbeing of our children and our staff.

The advice from the Government remains to keep your child safe at home if you are able to do so. School is partially open to a small number of children on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays. This is for children whose parents are Key Workers or who are particularly vulnerable. We have risk assessed the whole school population and are in regular discussions with partners in Health, Social Care and the Local Authority to respond flexibly to those of you in greatest need. It is our judgement that the vast majority of children are safer in their home environment as we cannot socially distance in school and obviously need to be in physical contact with your children. This then puts our staff at risk of exposure to the virus, and whilst they are happy to do so I want to minimise this risk to the lowest degree possible.

As you will know, we are keeping in weekly contact with all of our families and are responding to your concerns on a daily basis. We strongly encourage you all to join the Class Dojo where possible and to make a real effort to answer our calls or get back to us quickly if we have left messages for you.

We understand that some of you are having difficulty using the School Meals Voucher. If this applies to you, let us know quickly and we can send you an ‘e voucher’ which may well work better.

We will keep posting updates via Facebook and our home to school messaging service and the school website. Can you ensure that we have your latest phone number and can we encourage you to use our Facebook page to share your ideas and support each other at this difficult time.

Our Admin Team will keep in touch to explain how families can access Free School Meals support.

If you are feeling anxious and would like to talk to one of the Leadership Team we are still here in school for you between 9:00am-3:00pm.

We all send our love and best wishes and hope that we all come out the other side fit, healthy and well.

Take care,

Chris Rollings
Head Teacher


24th March 2020

Dear Parents/Carers,

Coronavirus – Covid 19 School Closure to all children

We know and understand how precious your children are to you and your family, as they are to us too. We have therefore reached the difficult decision to remain closed after much soul searching and deliberation. We were asked by the Department for Education to make decisions on a case by case basis and having consulted with you all by phone we have come to the conclusion that for the safety and wellbeing of your children and our staff we will remain closed until the Government says it is safe to re-open.

We have followed the advice of our colleagues in similar specialist schools who have undertaken risk assessments and are adhering to social distancing recommendations of 2 meters. We understand our responsibilities to families that are Key Workers and vulnerable children, however our concerns regarding social distancing of 2 metres, not only between staff and pupils, but also keeping children at a safe distance from one another; alongside meeting the medical needs of some pupils by staff who are potentially untrained and unfamiliar with your child and the physical contact in supporting children who will inevitably be distressed or dysregulated all contravene Government advice and has informed our decision.

As you will appreciate our children require personal intimate assistance which would require our staff to physically interact with your children which is against all advice. Already we have over 32 staff absent from work and this number is likely to significantly rise over the coming days ahead. We are unable to guarantee that the staff we do have available at any one time are trained for children’s individual medical needs. The Children’s Nursing Team, although available to support health needs in the community, are not able to provide additional training for staff and it would be therefore unsafe for this group to be in school.  It would be inadvisable to set up a service that is also likely to change in the short-term as we move into lock down.

We do understand your anxieties and your child’s Class Teacher will be in contact with you on at least a weekly basis, more if you require it. They will be checking you are ok? They will check you have access to the internet and signpost you to our website and Facebook for ideas and support for your children.  They will encourage you to join your Class DoJo for updates and to keep in touch. They will check your children are not going hungry and offer practical help. They will ask if you require access to school equipment over the weeks ahead. We can liaise on your behalf with Social Care and Health colleagues.

We will keep posting updates via Facebook, Twitter, and our home to school messaging service and the school website. Can you ensure that we have your latest phone number and can we encourage you to use our Facebook page to share your ideas and support each other at this difficult time.

Our Admin Team will be in touch to explain how families can access Free School Meals support shortly.

If you are feeling anxious and would like to talk to one of the Leadership Team we are still here in school for you between 9:00am-3:00pm.

We all send our love and best wishes and hope that we all come out the other side fit, healthy and well.

Take care,

Chris Rollings
Head Teacher