Monday 15th June 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
Thank you once again for all your support over the past 12 weeks. It certainly has been strange times, and times that hopefully we will not have to deal with again in the future. As you are aware we have had the complex task of creating small ‘bubbles’ within the school, catering for different year groups and Key Worker families. The ‘bubbles’ are fixed in order to reduce the risk of any transmission of the infection, keeping the children, staff and families safe. Each ‘bubble’ consists of four children and four members of staff, who will help the children with their social distancing.
Government guidelines remain very clear, that special schools will not follow mainstream school expectations regarding year groups, but can carefully plan their own phased return based on their own risk assessment, supporting as many pupils as they are safe to do so. This includes reviewing the size of rooms, staffing available and the particular risks linked to children’s needs (including their particular vulnerability).
“We know that, unlike older children and adults, early years and primary age children cannot be expected to remain 2 metres apart from each other and staff. In deciding to bring more children back to early years and schools, we are taking this into account. Schools should, therefore, work through the hierarchy of controls to reduce the risk of transmission – crucially minimising contact and mixing by keeping children and staff in small consistent groups and keeping groups away from each other.”
I appreciate this is not an ideal situation, but we are still in the midst of the Covid pandemic, with cases being identified every day.
Senior Leaders are continuing to plan for additional pupils to return to school as quickly and as safely as possible. You will be contacted if we are able to place your child in school as of the 29th June. This will be done on a gradual basis and we will be liaising with families direct regarding your child/children.
With this in mind, across this week, we will be contacting more of our families to establish how many pupils and young people will be in school, as of June 29th, and before the end of term. As we are starting to see more children return, our staffing is also increasing too. This means that we can now open up more rooms for the older students, enabling them to return before the end of the summer term. Also, to support as many families as possible, the offer will consist of two days in school each week. This will allow for the ‘bubbles’ to remain at safe levels. Again, we will be leaving Fridays available for family visits and transitions for the new children joining us in September.
For the week beginning Monday 22nd June, we will be largely following our current rota, with the addition of some of our older students joining us, concentrating on those children who are due to leave us at the end of the summer term. This will allow time for us to say our goodbyes to them, and for our students to spend some time with us before moving on to their next educational career opportunity.
Those children returning to school will have access to our Recovery Curriculum. This is based on supporting emotional health and wellbeing. Zoe has provided teaching staff with a variety of Thrive ideas and lessons to support the students on their initial return. We are also incorporating physical activities and sessions, and art sessions in the wider outdoors. This will also include the use of our Forest School site.
Charlotte and Jane are following the Physio programmes and Patrycja is supporting those children who have access to Speech and Language programmes.
Lucy has also been offering on-line Music Therapy sessions for named children.
Lyndsey is continuing the Pupil Premium catch up sessions too. All in all, we are trying to keep as many support programmes in place as possible.
As the weeks progress, we will slowly proceed onto our more formal curriculum, assessing where the children are, in terms of their progress. This year, our assessment outcomes will be based on the progress achieved as of March 2020. This is in line with all other schools across Devon.
Once again, thank you for your continued support. Take care and stay safe. If you wish to know more about any of the above, please feel free to contact the school.