Coronavirus Update 13th May 2020
Dear Parents & Carers,
Re: COVID19 Updates
We hope this letter finds you and loved ones safe and well. I write to clarify how Oak Bank School and other Special Schools are expected to proceed following recent Government advice.
On Sunday the Government announced their ambition to have mainstream schools re-open to the year groups reception, 1 and 6. They have identified potentially the 1st June 2020 if the scientific guidance around rates of viral infection deem it appropriate. Guidance issued to special schools differs from this.
The Government guidance to special schools, special post-16 institutions and hospital schools are that we ‘should work towards welcoming back as many children and young people as can be safely catered for in [our] setting’. We are asked to ‘prioritise attendance based on key transitions and the impact on life chances and development’.
We are pleased to say we have had this view from the beginning of the imposed lockdown and have remained partially open. Our decisions on attendance are informed by our existing ‘risk assessments’ and we have endeavoured to support our young people and families as best we can. For those not on school site, e-learning has been fully functional for all pupils via our online platforms. Those pupils that have not had access to ICT equipment have been supported with either loans of equipment or paper-based work being sent home weekly.
If the National picture is positive and guidance around pupils attending settings is manageable, we will look to review our attendance onsite in the hope that more pupils can benefit from being in school. This will not be a return to a normal school day, or week, and like other schools Nationally we may have to consider social distancing measures such as part-time timetables, rotas and use of facilities. From the outset we have promised to work to our fullest capacity, whilst protecting the health of all those involved. Our duty of care will remain paramount in our decision making as we plan for the future.
To assist our planning, once again, we ask parents and carers to share their intentions for the summer term and you will be receiving a text in the near future . With an idea of potential numbers of who would be interested in attending in some capacity, we will be able to make decisions on days that could be attended and the structure of these days. Again, we do not envisage this to be a move towards a normal week, yet likely time in school to support current online learning. The number of days and timings will be dependent on the take up and we thank you for your patience.
We thank our Oak Bank Families again for the continued support during these difficult times. With your input we have been able to offer face to face education to all pupils for at least one day a week. Families staying home and keeping safe, where possible, have supported us to provide 5 days a week schooling for our most vulnerable. We are thankful to have been able to increase our offer of places from 25 places a week to 94. It is important to remind all, that families who have chosen to not attend previously, or continue to isolate, will not be penalised by attendance.
Oak Bank School