Update 27th March 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

It has been a difficult week for everyone.  I would like to thank you for your support this week. Most of our pupils have been kept safely at home, as per Government Guidance and this has really helped us to organise our provision so thank you!

West Oaks have responded as I knew we would, without fuss, created a plan and then we just got on with it.  I would like to acknowledge the support I have received from Keeley and her team at Woodhouse who have been fantastic and of course Bryony, Liz, Anna and Ian who have equally been awesome at Boston Spa.

Can’t thank the staff enough and a special shout out to Katie and Jemima for all their work supporting our families.  They will be in touch again next week as will other members of staff to check in with you.

We are currently educating 38 pupils on our two sites and have now moved to a rota system for staff.

Key action taken by West Oaks this week

  1. Keyworker group identified and offered places to 60 pupils. Currently 38 attending a 4-day programme (normal hours).
  2. 255 pupils being kept safely at home by parent/carers. We will contact you next week to check in with our pupils.
  3. Families communicated with and updated via our website and Class Dojo. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require advice/support.
  4. Home Learning packs of activities based on each curriculum area on our website and other packs distributed directly to pupils.
  5. FSM system established so children will get their weekly food voucher (17 others are in receipt of a hot meal in school) and we will carry out a welfare visit to deliver the voucher/home packs if necessary.
  6. Audio and Virtual Library work established and launched via Twitter today. This work will enable our pupils to become re-connected to our school and this work will gather momentum in the coming weeks.
  7. Radio West Oaks will be re-launched next week with regular podcasts for our pupils.

Take care and keep safe everyone.

Best wishes

Andrew

Update 23rd March 2020

Dear Parents/Carers

Firstly, I want to thank you for all your support and understanding during this difficult time. As the local and national guidance changes so rapidly regarding Covid-19, we must respond safely and sensibly.
Many parents and carers have contacted the school and have let us know that you will be keeping your children at home and self-isolating for the foreseeable future as this is the safest option. We agree with this approach as it will safeguard our pupils, parents, carers, staff and wider community.
The overriding principle reinforced by the Government is that schools remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend. Most children will be made safer if they remain at home.
Please can you let us know if your child is staying at home as soon as possible via info@westoaksschool.co.uk or Class Dojo as this still seems to be the safest option for everyone.
West Oaks will now only be open to pupils where both parents are critical workers and to pupils where they would not be safe at home. Please can parents submit an email stating your critical worker roles to info@westoaksschool.co.uk. The list of critical workers can be found below. We will need both parent’s names and information of the critical role you do.

Thanks for your support. I will be in touch regarding our distance learning and on-line support package in the coming days.
Best wishes
Andrew

If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision:

Critical workers

Health and social care
This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

Education and childcare
This includes childcare, support and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.

Key public services
This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.

Local and national government
This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response, or delivering essential public services, such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.

Food and other necessary goods
This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery, as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).

Public safety and national security
This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.

Transport
This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.

Utilities, communication and financial services
This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.
If workers think they fall within the critical categories above, they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.

Visuals supports

Please download the Powerpoint below to use at home with your children. It includes a social story and instructions on how to use it.

Visuals and Social Stories – school closure

 

Letters to Staff/Parents/Carers re Coronavirus (COVID-19) 

To all our Parents and Carers 20th March 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

In a week that has been challenging I am writing to thank-you for your ongoing support and share with you the latest advice and guidance we have received regarding COVID-19 and the actions we are taking in school.

Whilst we had 189 pupils in across both our sites today, many of you have indicated that from next week your children will be staying at home for the foreseeable future. This is important information for our planning and is in line with the government’s stance as they have now stated it is not a ‘requirement’ that all children and young people with Education, Health and Care plans attend school during the period of closure.

Section 1.10 of the information for families is clear that decisions should be made locally based on risk assessments of health and safeguarding. The guidance is now clear that some children will be safer at school (or in their usual educational setting) whilst others will be safer at home. Schools, LAs and colleges are advised to make this decision on a case-by-case basis and in consultation with parents and carers.

West Oaks will re-open on Wednesday March 25th for those children who really need to attend by virtue of their vulnerability or because they are the children of keyworkers and those workers cannot look after the children at home. We aim to check in with you over the course of Monday and Tuesday and to ask whether your child intends to be in school from Wednesday 25th March. It is vital that we have this information so we can map a school programme for our pupils who intend to be in school, plan a home/distance learning programme for our pupils who are not in school and also link with transport over pupil travel numbers.

We will also be establishing if you are keyworkers and whether “reduced provision” is required for your sons/daughters over the Easter period and to try and establish what our role could be in helping to provide support.

We note that the Government have indicated that families where one parent is a key worker should be eligible for the provision. I have shared with you the new definition of key workers as set out in the government guidance.

The Government guidance, issued late last night, stated that we should follow the following key principles:

  1. If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
  2. If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
  3. Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
  4. Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

Whilst Government advice suggests that parents should keep their children at home, wherever possible, they have also asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend. We will be open for our pupils, we just need to know the numbers of pupils we need to plan for. We will review our planning on a regular basis and are aiming to plan up to and beyond Easter in this first phase. We will of course keep you informed.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch and thank-you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely,

 

Andrew Hodkinson

Principal

West Oaks

 

Key links:

Closure of educational settings – information for parents and carers

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers

Maintaining educational provision

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision

 

Guidance (including list of key workers):

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision

Information for families:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers

If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision:

Key workers

Health and social care

This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

Education and childcare

This includes childcare, support and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.

Key public services

This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.

Local and national government

This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response, or delivering essential public services, such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.

Food and other necessary goods

This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery, as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).

Public safety and national security

This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.

Transport

This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.

Utilities, communication and financial services

This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.

If workers think they fall within the critical categories above, they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19th March 2020

Dear Parent/Carer

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update  

Dear Parents/Carers

As a Special School we have been instructed by the Government to stay open to pupils with EHCPs.

We had intended and planned to continue to support our pupils through this crisis and we are now implementing that plan. Many other UK providers are closing (except for keyworker children/ children with EHCPs) and we will link with the relevant agencies as we move forward.

We have 293 EHCPs in our school and about 35 children who have keyworkers as parent/carers.

Just to give you the context we have been working in during the last three days.

We have remained open and provided a safe and manageable curriculum to our pupils and this is a credit to our staff group. The pupils have been superb and a real credit.

The situation has been difficult as our staffing/pupil numbers decreased daily but currently our provision is still manageable. We will, however, constantly review the situation.

West Oaks Overview

Tuesday 17th March – 36 staff off, 43 children off.

Wednesday 18th March – 37 staff off, 73 children off.

Thursday 19th March – 36 staff off, 98 children off.

As a school community you have been amazing, so thank-you! Many of our vulnerable pupils have remained off school in these exceptional circumstances and this is a very wise precaution.

I hope you will understand, but after tomorrow we will close to pupils for two days and we will re-open on Wednesday 25th March if it is operationally safe to do so. West Oaks will be closed on Monday 23rd and Tuesday 24th March to pupils only, so we can deep clean the school, on both sites after the high number of pupil/staff isolations.

Our key priority is to keep our pupils and staff safe and the two days next week will also enable us to clean the school, review our overall strategy moving forward, plan home school resource packs and respond to any operational changes. I know this is a distressing time for our pupils and I will send home a social story created by Talking House to help explain the current situation.

I know the situation is unprecedented and we will always play our part in educating our vulnerable group, but we need the support of all agencies across Leeds to do so. I have written to the Director of Children’s Services for further assurances and will keep you all updated via our website, twitter and class dojo.

Have a great weekend when it arrives and thanks for your ongoing support and please stay safe.

We look forward to welcoming our pupils back to school on Wednesday March 25th.     Please do not hesitate to contact us at school.

Best wishes

 

Keeley Murray

Head of School

Woodhouse Learning

West Oaks SEN Specialist School and College

 

Andrew Hodkinson

Principal

West Oaks SEN Specialist School and College

 

17th March 2020

To all: Staff/ Parents/Carers

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

I am writing further to my letter dated 13th March to provide you with an update regarding the actions we are taking in school in response to the latest government guidance relating to COVID-19.

There have so far been no cases of coronavirus infection of any staff or pupils in school but there are pupils and staff self-isolating as a result of their vulnerability and underlying health issues. This is a precaution and we are supportive of this action and we will continue to follow the latest guidelines, monitor the situation and update you regularly.

The guidance is now that:

  • if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started
  • if you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill
  • it is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
  • for anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period
  • if you can, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period
  • if you cannot move vulnerable people out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible
  • if you have coronavirus symptoms:
    • do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
    • you do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home
    • testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home
  • plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home and consider what can be done for vulnerable people in the household
  • ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home
  • wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser
  • if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, then use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999

As you are aware, additional measures have already been put in place, that all non-essential meetings have been postponed and all off-site trips and visits and swimming have been cancelled until Easter 2020. New daily routines have also been introduced ensuring touch surfaces and ICT equipment are subject to additional cleaning procedures. To ensure that both sites remain open, I have taken the decision with effect from tomorrow, Wednesday 18th March that:

  • where key staff are absent, classes may be merged and activities be modified to ensure children can remain safely in school
  • there will be no After School Club (we will review this decision after Easter 2020)
  • stay and play session on 28th March is cancelled
  • those with underlying medical conditions are advised to take advice from NHS 111
  • staff who are pregnant have been advised to work from home whilst we await further guidance

I will continue to keep you updated. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch and thank-you for your continued support and understanding.

Yours sincerely,

 

Andrew Hodkinson

Principal

West Oaks