May 20th 2020 Update

Dear Parents and Carers

With all the updates, both locally and nationally, you probably could do without another but hopefully this update will give you some clarity regarding information and our approach to a phased return of more of our pupils.

160 Parents/Carers have already indicated they would like their children to return to West Oaks by the end of June with another 60 pupils wanting to return during July.

Currently, 62 parents/carers have indicated that their children are likely to return on September 8th, 2020. We still have some 50 unknown responses and we will continue to link with families over the next few weeks to plan safely for our pupils to return.

Thank-you for your patience and understanding regarding placements at West Oaks; it is a difficult time for everyone and throughout this process, the safety of pupils and staff has been at the heart of all our decision making and all our decisions are kept under constant review.

Yesterday, Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Executive Member for Learning, Skills & Employment and Sal Tariq, Director of Children and Families Leeds, informed me that they would be:

“writing a letter outlining our approach to the re-opening of schools which you can send to your parents. We will make it clear that schools will need to adopt different policies based on the individual circumstances of that school and we will ask parents to be respectful of the decisions made by school leaders.”

Please find below a copy of this letter.

They LA also reminded me that:

“It is possible that with the sheer amount of guidance that came out last week the following point did not receive sufficient emphasis. Vulnerable children and young people – regardless of year group – that have not been attending in the recent period are expected to return to school where this would now be appropriate for them to do so. If you haven’t already done so, please factor this into your plans.”

We are acutely aware of our obligation to our vulnerable learners and everyone associated with West Oaks has worked hard to educate 61 children daily in school and reach 232 pupils through our home learning offer, via google meets, home visits, check-ins etc over the last two months.

You are a truly remarkable group of parents/carers and I am appreciative of the way you have responded and worked with us to keep everyone safe. It is your collective attitude and actions that have enabled us to plan the next phase of our provision for a wider group of pupils.

Cllr Pryor and Sal Tariq also reminded me:

“In deciding what is feasible, schools are being asked to carry out an initial comprehensive risk assessment so that leaders can evaluate potential solutions on how they could safely and effectively accommodate eligible pupils. We would ask schools, in the first instance, to take a phased approach to how many pupils they take back and from when schools are ready”.

We have carried out a comprehensive risk assessment and have decided, in the first instance, that 100 pupils will return to West Oaks on June 1st. Parents/Carers of children returning in this next phase and during June will be contacted soon and pupils will be educated in small groups with consistent staffing.

We have agreed to an increase of 18 pupils at Boston Spa (n=40) and 21 at Woodhouse (n=60) as part of our phased approach. There are several clarifications and actions that are still needed from the Government before numbers returning to school can substantially increase, and we will wait for further guidance.

I am also waiting on clarification around the appropriate levels of social distancing that will need to be implemented, as it is difficult to implement in our special school setting. However, increased control measures will be implemented, see below. It is important that our standards, expectations, and safety measures are always adhered to.

Moving forward, basic West Oaks principles will be, safety first for all pupils and adults. These include:

  • class sizes that are at 50% capacity
  • groups will have a designated area and staffing (“their Bubble”)
  • dining arrangements will be extended to other designated spaces
  • further staff room space will be introduced
  • additional protocols for hand washing and cleaning will be adopted
  • reduced usage of shared areas and more learning taking place outdoors
  • use of PPE for intimate care only as per DfE guidelines.

When we return to school on June 1st, we will operate a fortnightly programme for our groups of children who will continue to be in for four days. Friday will remain in the keyworker timetable from June 1st until 15th June, when, pending a safety review, we will move to a 5-day timetable for all our school groups.

On June 1st we had planned to move to September groups but to ensure consistency, safety and to prevent un-necessary mixing of our groups, we will now review this option on July 1st. Depending on the national situation and government guidance more pupils may be phased back from June 15th, but we will review this.

Our August 3rd playscheme now has over 60 requests and we will provide you with more information regarding the scheme w/c June 1st and whilst there is a £100 charge for the week (£20 per day). Any concern around payment, please discuss with our Family Support Team and we will ensure pupils can access the scheme.

Thanks for your ongoing support.

Please be safe and take care everyone.

Best wishes

Andrew

 

LEEDS LETTER TO PARENTS 20 May 2020

 

 

May 13th 2020 Update 

Dear parents/Carers

Firstly, I want to say how proud I am of everyone over the last few months who have tried to make learning accessible for all our pupils, whether at West Oaks or through home learning. My staff, you the parents, carers and especially our pupils have been amazing. I know it is difficult, so thank-you!

You will have all seen recent guidance and media announcements regarding the phased re-opening of schools. West Oaks has met as a Leadership team and held discussions with the LA, our Chair of Governors to decide our next steps.

Having considered DfE next steps guidance that “ vulnerable children of all year groups continue to be expected and encouraged to attend educational provision where it is appropriate for them to do so” and phased back from June 1st, we have decided our phased approach will continue to be 4-day week offer, prioritising Nursery/Year 1 and Reception pupils, Year 14 leavers and any pupil that needs a West Oaks place (including current attendees and pupils of key workers).

We recognise and understand that not all our children are ready to return just yet and are still shielding or have concerns about returning to school due to the pandemic so we do not expect everyone back before September 8th and totally respect those decisions.

West Oaks has had no known Covid-19 cases amongst our 293 pupils and to date, only one staff member contracted symptoms whilst in self-isolation in March. Thankfully, the member of staff now has a clean bill of health, has tested negative and only this week returned to work.

I have always stressed the safety and wellbeing of my pupils, staff, and school community so if anybody exhibits any symptoms of Covid-19 they should self-isolate. We will constantly review our position and only move to the next phase if it is practical, manageable, and safe to do so.

Our phased approach will involve a four-day week for pupils, with Friday being only for Keyworker children. We will also use Friday to plan for the following week pupil admissions, assess next steps considering Government/local guidance and ensure LCC carry out a weekly deep clean.

Staff and pupils will ensure regular hand washing continues to be a priority.

Our plans for the remainder of the year include a two-week Transition/Reintegration programme starting from June 1st and from 15th June we will move to a five-week Transition/Induction programme for pupils attending school and we will move to our September 2020 groups. We will also maintain the link with our home learners during this period.

You will be contacted on Monday by class leads to establish whether you are requesting a phased return for your son/daughter on June 1st, June 15th, July 1st, or September 8th. Once we have this information it will help us plan, safely, the final 7 weeks of a difficult year and consider learning, catering, transport, groupings etc.

Despite having a new roof put on our Boston Spa building and a building work starting on our £10 million Annexe at our Woodhouse campus we intend to offer parents/carers an August 3rd 1-week summer playscheme to try to bridge the gap over the holidays. If you would like a place please contact info@westoaksschool.co.uk and register your interest. More details will follow when we know the demand for the playscheme.

Thank-you for everything you have done since the pandemic started: for your patience and resilience and if you have any issues or concerns, please discuss them with the class leads or contact me or Keeley.

Take care.

Best wishes

Andrew

 

May 1st 2020 Update

Happy May Day everyone!

West Oaks School and College has been closed for a considerable time now due to the Covid-19 lockdown for the majority of our 293 pupils.  However, 53 pupils of Keyworkers have continued to attend, and we are looking forward to the next announcement by the Government regarding a phased re-opening of schools.

The Education Secretary’s statement this week said that he does “expect schools to be opened in a phased manner” and that he intends to give “schools as much notice as possible,” is welcomed.

Realistically, I cannot see any changes being implemented before June so we will plan for May being very similar to the previous weeks.

On a Thursday at 8pm when we clap for the NHS, key workers, emergency staff and carers; I am clapping for my pupils, staff, parents and carers who are also working hard to get through this.  It is not easy, and I am full of admiration for you all.  The work that is going on both in school and at home to support structure and learning is amazing. Thanks for sharing your stories, experiences and successes whilst also dealing with other demands on your time.

Alongside the home learning work we are sending home, you may wish to try using the other resources referenced in our packs or if you find resources you value, please share so we can signpost other parents/carers to them.  We are all in this together and we will see it through together.

The change of routine and staying at home may make this a difficult time for some children and Public Health England has published advice on their website on how to support your child’s wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak.

It was fantastic to re-connect with many of our pupils through Google Meets this week.  It was a great success and it was important for pupils to see their peers again, albeit through video link.  Next week we will add a further session and broaden the scope of the sessions and we will be in contact with you to arrange them.

We also realise for some of our pupils, it is hard to get the right level of engagement and interaction, but we will continue to strive to get it right. We will be adding 1:1 sessions and additional content for pupils who would benefit from an alternative input in the coming weeks.

Nationally, schools continue to be closed as it is safer for children to stay at home.  Only 1% of the UK pupil population are attending school right now.  At West Oaks this is nearer 16% as 53 pupils access provision on our two sites.

Several of you indicated you would not be sending your son/daughter back to school until September and that is why we asked the question in our weekly welfare telephone call. Thanks for your honesty and for the information provided regarding shielded children.

We are not proposing any changes now as we are waiting for Government guidance, but we are thinking and planning the next phase.  It will take some organising to get to the “new normal” and social distancing will really challenge SEN Transport and our provision when we fully re-open.

What is clear to me; with your support, we have managed Phase 1 of the lockdown safely at West Oaks, so when we enter the next phase and the final phase we must do so with the same determination and with everyone’s safety paramount.

Please keep sending us information regarding life and learning during lockdown as the content is extremely impressive. The positive messages via email, photographs, class dojo, twitter or telephone help capture the positivity that surrounds our school and college community during these unprecedented times. Keep going everyone!

Final note, please keep the “count on me” full videos or snippets coming in as they are fantastic. We will move to the editing phase w/c 11th May, so you still have time to send in your work. Given the quality of the submissions so far, we will also celebrate the top three submissions in their entirety as it would be wrong to edit.

Have a great weekend, be safe, take care and be happy.

Best wishes

Andrew

April 24th 2020 Update

Dear Parents/Carers

This has been another strange week at West Oaks, and I want to personally thank you for all the work you are doing with your children at home during these exceptional times. Also, thank you for the very supportive messages that have come through via class dojo, email or via our weekly telephone check-ins. I know my staff value this feedback and it is very uplifting.

At the weekend, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said no date was set for pupils returning to school, quashing speculation about an imminent return for many children in the UK.

He also mentioned that when five thresholds in the fight against coronavirus were reached, a date could be set for schools to reopen:

  • the NHS’s ability to cope is fully protected
  • the daily death rate is dropping
  • infection rates are falling to manageable levels
  • there are sufficient supplies of testing and protective equipment
  • there is no risk of a “second peak” of infections

It is a safety-first approach, and we are being asked to back the reliance on medical advice, which of course we would always do. West Oaks would also expect a further “lead in” time, to prepare for a complicated, staged return that enables our pupils to return safely.

It is frustrating for us as it is for you, but I am grateful for the way you have implemented learning in the home and within your family settings. Absolutely brilliant activities going on and clear structures in place, thanks for sharing.

Clearly the home learning packs on our website have also helped as you have worked through those and we will of course deliver a pack if you are struggling to download the resources. This week we delivered 65 packs out to our pupils.

This week we also launched the West Oaks Choir; a collaboration between our 293 pupils, 149 staff and 600+ parent/carers. A fantastic collective either singing, signing, or generally having fun and should be a great piece of work.

How you interpret the Bruno Mars ‘Count on Me’ song is entirely up to you and both singing and signing versions are on our Twitter feed but can also be found here (paste link) –

https://youtu.be/Yc6T9iY9SOU  Singing version

https://youtu.be/uF9mvzhg0-c  Signing version

 

We have set a deadline of two weeks for initial submissions, so please send in full/part pieces to info@westoaksschool.co.uk and a further 31st May (or before) deadline to get a finished song/production completed. The results will be amazing, and I look forward to sharing them with you all.

One recurring theme that has been mentioned this week during our weekly telephone check-in, is that our pupils are missing their friends and whilst some can and do contact their friends outside of school, others find it difficult.

To help re-connect with our pupils and through their home learning, we will be contacting you next week via Google Meets through individual pupil school Gmail accounts.

Their class teacher will contact them/you next week and will let you know via class dojo the email password (if you do not have one) to access a class virtual meet and discussion.

All our pupils have a log in, it is the first letter of their name followed by surname @westoaksschool.co.uk and all in lower case. They will be sent a password which you should then change to one that is personal to you.

Example log in ygough@westoaksschool.co.uk

As the weeks progress we will add more video content including storytelling, bucket sessions and challenges for pupils to access on our website and introduce more Google Meets and virtual therapy sessions, whilst still providing weekly home learning packs for all our pupils in each curriculum pathway.

As we work together to get through this national crisis safely you can and should ‘Count on Me’ to always strive for excellence for everyone in our school and college community.

If you need anything from me or my team please contact us through info@westoaksschool.co.uk or via class dojo or telephone –

Andrew Hodkinson 01937 844 772

Keeley Murray 0113 323 5871

If you think your son/daughter would benefit from a telephone call from either Keeley or myself, let us know and we will call them at home next week at a time convenient to you.

Take care, be happy and stay safe everyone.

Best wishes

Andrew

April 15th 2020 Update

Dear Parents and Carers

Thanks for sharing your Easter projects and activities with us.  Please keep sending the photos on class dojo or via email as they help our school community to stay connected.

Just to update you briefly and to help you plan for next week.  Currently, the Government advice has not changed regarding Covid-19 so we will continue to be closed to most of our pupils.

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.

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 a request email for a place and for keyworker children an email stating your critical worker roles to info@westoaksschool.co.uk.   Please do not use class dojo to communicate the need for a place.

The information is vital as we continue to plan our provision and we will review our position fortnightly, or in light of any new Government guidance as we adhere to the “stay home stay safe” advice and play our part in social distancing and self-isolating to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The government FSM (Free School Meal) voucher scheme appears over-loaded and we are working hard to get the vouchers to you, whether electronically or we can also deliver to your home address if email is an issue.

The FSM vouchers are for eligible pupils who are currently not in school and please link directly with Anna Stevens regarding access to the scheme on anna.stevens@westoaksschool.co.uk

On Monday we will be uploading our Home Learning resources onto our website for each curriculum area.  We hope you are finding these useful and should you have difficulty gaining access or printing the resources off, please let us know via class dojo and we will deliver packs to your home.

We will re-start our weekly 1:1 “check ins” next week and it will be great to catch up again and we hope to get back to some normality soon as our school community is not the same and we miss our pupils.

As I have stated previously, it has been a real team effort over the last few weeks, and it will be in the coming weeks.  Thanks to every one of you.

Please keep safe, be happy and take care.

Best wishes

Andrew

Principal

West Oaks

Update 3rd April 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

A massive thank you to you all.  The way you have supported the home learning experiences for your son/daughter has been inspiring and reminds me that I am in a very privileged position in leading West Oaks.

Just to update you briefly and to help you plan for after Easter.  The Government advice has not changed regarding Covid-19 so we will continue to be closed to most of our pupils.

After consultation with Keeley Murray, Head of Woodhouse Learning,  we have decided to shut West Oaks for the vast majority of Easter, as it important for us, that we play our part in social distancing and self-isolating to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.  A prolonged break will enable us all to rest and re-charge.

The communication has been brilliant between home and school and we have valued the 1:1 “check ins” this week and it has been great to chat to some of the pupils too. We will ensure this continues after the holiday as we wait for Government guidance on next steps nationally and for our school community.

As previously stated, class dojo communication will be co-ordinated by Bryony Bolland-Wai at Boston Spa and Abby Armstrong at Woodhouse.  Whilst we are shut over Easter, please use dojo to message or email on info@westoaksschool.co.uk and we will get back to you. We are working on the 14th, 15th, 16th April for keyworker children, we can also be contacted on 0113 323 5871 on those days.

Thanks for the feedback regarding our resource packs and should you need the pack delivering after Easter, please contact us.  The Easter home learning project pack will be on the school website later. Again, these are optional activities and will help provide some structure over the next two weeks if you need them.

It has been a real team effort over the last few weeks, and it will be in the coming weeks.  Thanks to every one of you.

Please keep safe, be happy and take care.

Best wishes

Andrew

Principal

West Oaks

Update 30th March 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

We are looking at provision for children during the Easter holidays, we will be open on 14th, 15th and 16th April, to pupils where both parents are critical workers and to vulnerable pupils where they would not be safe at home. The Easter provision will be based at Woodhouse Learning for pupils from both sites.
Please could you let us know if you need provision over the Easter holidays and which days you would need at info@westoaksschool.co.uk.
Please remember that schools should only be available for vulnerable children and children of key workers who are unable to make alternative childcare arrangements.
We don’t know the current situation with transport but will keep you updated with the information we have.
Thanks for your patience during this difficult transitional time.

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