14 May 2020
I hope you are well in these current circumstances, and are managing to keep your families safe. It is so lovely to read the updates from the staff about how everyone is getting on. I am immensely proud of how the staff team is working in these difficult times. Their care and devotion to each and every one of pupils shines through. We are trying to continue you to support your children from a distance and thank you for bearing with us as we iron through some of the teething problems.
As you are aware we have remained open to children whose parents are key workers, and have operated with a reduced staff. Through this time we developed systems in school to support us through the period of sustained transmission, when guidance from the government for education was nonexistent.
This week the government “urged” all children in the vulnerable category (those with an EHCP or social worker) to attend school. This creates a significant issue for us, as all of our 174 pupils have an EHCP! As such we are working to develop systems to support as many of our children as we can, whilst adhering to the guidance which is now available, and most importantly ensure we keep everyone safe.
We will be offering places to everyone who has requested them, although this may be on a week on, week off basis. This helps us to minimise the number of people our staff and students come into contact with at any one time and keep numbers in school low. We have reduced the class sizes down to a maximum of four and we are trying to ensure students stay as much as possible in a particular area. We are also reducing the staff in school to those working directly with the children and a skeleton team of other support.
Since this began, we have been taking childrens and staff temperatures in school each day. New guidance has told us not to do this, but I would ask that you continue to check your child’s temperature before sending them into school, and I will be advising staff to do the same.
We took a belt and braces approach to PPE, but guidance states that PPE is not needed in schools, and indeed if PPE is not used correctly, this causes a higher chance of transmission. As such staff will wear PPE during personal care tasks and when assisting children to eat/drink- this will be gloves, apron and facemask. Staff will also wear face masks if children become symptomatic.
We will ensure all staff regularly wash their hands, and will ensure all pupils to do the same.
We will ensure all staff adhere to the 2m social distancing rule where possible, and will encourage children to do so as much as we are possibly able. However, as you can imagine this brings unique challenges with any children and an increased challenge for a lot of our pupils.
Thank you for those people who have responded to the questionnaire sent out requesting for information about places, this is not intended to cause any pressure to send your child to school, indeed it is entirely your choice- and there will be no penalties of any sort for non-attendance. Also please feel free to change your mind at any time- there is no right answer to this and we all find ourselves as parents with exceedingly challenging decisions to make.
If you do decide to send your child back to school, please be reassured that I will do everything I can to ensure all children and staff are as safe as possible. But I must also follow direction of the government guidance. If you do not choose to send your child to school, we will continue with the home learning/therapy tasks as currently.
For those parents who have confirmed they would like their child to return to school, we will be confirming places for the following week via a telephone call, please only send your child to school if you have received this weekly telephone confirmation. We will also be advising the local authority transport department who will be attending on a weekly basis, it would be useful if you could also confirm with them whether you intend accepting the school place.
If you have any concerns or queries please get in touch with a member of the senior leadership team, or the class team.
We all miss the children greatly and I look forward to welcoming them all back to school, once this is over.
Please take care.
Very best wishes