COVID-19 update 15.09.20 – increase in cases across the North East

Dear parent

At the start of September, we welcomed back all of our students in our schools and college and have seen a gradual increase in service users attending our day services.  This means that we’ve had the largest number of staff, students and service users in our buildings since March when we closed due to the COVID-19  pandemic.

We are following government guidance to keep everyone as safe as we can and work closely with education, social care and health colleagues in local authorities. As the situation is changing daily, we are all closely monitoring the current changes regarding local lockdowns and will follow any guidance issued on this.

You might have seen in the news or media that there has been an increase in the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the North East in the last couple of weeks and the local authorities have been asking us all to make sure we’re doing what we can to prevent the spread of infection.

This increase is already having an impact on schools, colleges and workplaces across the region.  To minimise the spread of infection, students and service users have been placed in bubbles.  If a student/service user displays any symptoms while in school, college, or day services then arrangements will be made for them to return home and you will need to arrange a test. If the test result returns a negative result, then you can return to services.  If anyone that has been in school, college or day services and is confirmed as a positive case we will contact all parents/service users and follow advice given by Public Health England and we may be advised to close all or part of a “bubble”.

The increase in cases and with government test and trace programme now in place, more people are being contacted and advised to self-isolate.  This is also having a significant impact on our staffing levels, with higher levels of absence than we have previously seen during the pandemic because some colleagues are having to self-isolate with their household even if they don’t have any symptoms themselves, in line with government guidance.

This impact may mean that there are times where we don’t have enough staff or staff with the required training to support students or service users safely.  If this happens, we may need to send them home until the situation is resolved.  We’d take every possible action to avoid this and would only do this as a last resort, but our priority is to keep all students and service users safe. If your child/family member is affected, we will inform you as soon as we possibly can and support with any necessary arrangements. Where possible, home learning will continue as per lockdown, if this becomes a reality.

It’s really important that we all do everything we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Here’s a useful guide to help you know when you should keep your child or family member at home:

Parental Covid-Isolation Guidance 14th September 2020 v2

Thank you for your continued support.

Pick up and drop off arrangements

Hi All
We are busy finalising arrangements for drop offs and picks ups to school. All children transported by the LA will come in the pupil entrance, all pupils dropped collected by parents will come in the main entrance.
We have assigned areas of the carpark dependent upon which bubble your child is in. When you come into the car park you will be directed to an area of the carpark relevant to the coloured bubble. From here, staff will come to the vehicle to collect your child, the same will happen at the end of the day.

Full reopening September 2020

I hope you have all enjoyed this unusual summer break. I know you will have been anxiously awaiting information about the school reopening and we have delayed this as much as possible as guidance changes too regularly.

The video released prior to the holidays still stands, and highlights the measures we are taking to keep everyone as safe as possible.Percy Hedley School – September 2020

Due to the fact that we remained open to over a third of our pupils during lockdown, many of our process have already been tried and tested.

Government guidance states that all children are expected to return to school fully in September and usual attendance procedures will apply. If you feel that your child in unable to return to school full time from next week then I would ask you to contact us to discuss this.

We are more than willing to work together to plan a safe return if a full time return is not possible due to your child’s physical or mental health.

If needed, we will liaise with medical professionals in the same way we did at the start of the pandemic and if it is felt unsafe for your child to return full time, from a medical perspective, then we will devise a phased return. We expect all children to be back in school full time by the end of September 2020.

In addition to the video we also have a Risk Assessment which can be found on the school website and a Foundation wide Risk Assessment which can also be found on the website.

It would be very helpful if you could complete the following form to help us inform our planning for next week:  Return to School form

We look forward to seeing you all on Thursday.

Best wishes



We have finally made it to the summer through this difficult time and I wanted to wish you all a restful and peaceful summer break. We are planning to welcome all of our pupils back in September and have robust plans in place to keep us all safe.

I am immensely proud of the staff team and how they have risen to the unique challenges through this time. Their flexibility and determination to do the very best for all of our pupils has been evident throughout.

Whilst we have not seen all of our pupils face to face it has been lovely to read how they too have been rising to the challenges through this pandemic.

I look forward to welcoming you all back face to face in September.

Take care and staff safe