Update to families 17th April 2020

Dear Parent / Carer,

Community Update

Well done on getting through week 4 of this difficult and ongoing situation and the second week of what was known as the Easter holidays!  I hope you all had a good, family centred Easter weekend without overloading too much on chocolate.

Contact detailsemail and mobile telephone numbers:

If your contact details change please let us know by ringing reception.

Summer term:

The summer term starts on Monday 20th April (there is no INSET day now). We are expecting 36 students to be back into college.  All of these are the children of key workers or students who we have risk assessed with social care and families to need some provision. If you have been offered a place you will have had a telephone conversation with staff. It is likely that if we need to offer more respite places that we will have to reduce the number of days that other students are in. The advice is clear and remains the same from the government: if your child can be at home safely; they must be. This is in force for at least another three weeks. This is the absolute, overarching principle we must follow. Maintaining social distance in college is difficult for all students and it is important that any student who has a place is only in college if they need (therefore when family members are not on shift and they could be at home they should be) to be and if they are unwell they must not come into college.

We have occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and our counsellor doing facetime consultations and in exceptional cases visits to homes to support some of those not in college.

We will be putting together more work packs for students which will be delivered as well as adding more to the college You tube channel and on the website. Remember the work and activities are there to help structure time and learning. It is not there to become a source of worry or arguments. If it does not work: don’t use it. If you have better things to do, do them!

When these packs are delivered staff will knock on the door, step back and ideally we want to see the student (at the window is fine!) so we know they are safe and well. This is something all schools are being asked to do.

 

Free School Meals (FSM):

We will no longer be delivering a food hamper for students who have free school meals. Families will be sent (either by email or post depending on what you have asked for) a voucher worth £15 per student per week of term time to support with food costs. This is a national system that is being rolled out by the government and a staff team have spent many, many hours working to get this right. There are glitches in the system nationally and these are being resolved. If there is a problem for you with this system please contact Lesley Crosby: lcrosby@oakgrovecollege.org.uk or Sarah Ellis (Senior Teacher) sellis@oakgrovecollege.org.uk who is leading on this for the college.

It is a new national system that has been set up in two weeks. We can only offer vouchers for Asda, Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and M&S. The government is seeking to expand this offer.

 

Emergency supplies:

If any family has a problem with access to food, supplies, medicine or equipment you need please contact the college office and we will work with you to resolve this. We have been able to deliver emergency food hampers, get extra work to people, get equipment sorted and link with other services.

 

Welfare calls:

Staff will telephone home regularly to check in on families. Who does this will vary. The team who are teaching and supporting in school each week will not be involved in as many of those calls.

 

Bereavement and Loss:

In these times we know that families are experiencing bereavement and loss. However our experiences of this will be different, difficult and happen in a way and at a time that may make things even more unsettling.

On the college website we have information about bereavement and sources of information and support.

If you need support in this situation please ring us and we will organise help for you.

 

Use of Oak Grove College grounds:

We want to be able to support families who may have a problem going out as a family as they need space or to avoid dogs and that is quite difficult at this point in time. As such we intend to trial using the playground for families on:

 

Saturday 25th April slots from 10- 3pm

Saturday 2nd May slots from 10- 3pm

Saturday 9th May slots from 10-3 pm

 

The playground could be used by a whole family who are living together to spend 50 minutes in a large space, able to move around and spend some time outdoors. Or it could be a familiar space for a PA to take a young person. It cannot and must not be used as a way of contravening social distancing rules. Entrance would be through the Littlehampton Road entrance using the gate by the swimming pool. If this proves useful and successful we could explore ways of expanding this over more time at the weekend. Families would have to ensure they arrive on time and leave on time so that there is no social mixing and leave the playground tidy.

If you wish to book a session please email Louise Wilson lwilson@oakgrovecollege.org.uk  who will book you a slot and confirm arrangements for this.

 

Online: staying safe:

Below is a link to a number of pages to support you in managing safer access to social media and Zoom over this time. Zoom is proving for some people a popular and quite straight forward way of staying in contact. All of these are also on the website.

 Online Safety Card Resources

Exercise guidance:

The goverrnment has updated the exercise guidance to be clear that those with autism and/ or learning disabilities do not have to be limited to exercising once per day. This guidance can be found here:

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do#can-i-exercise-more-than-once-a-day-if-i-need-to-due-to-a-significant-health-condition

 

It continues to be really important to discuss this letter with your daughter/son.  It will help keep them remain connected to their Oak Grove community and to feel part of something that is helping to look out for them and for you. Don’t forget to send us photos to forwebsite@oakgrovecollege.org.uk We love looking at them.

 

Thank you for your continued energy, positivity and support to your children and the community at this time.

Please stay safe, wash those hands and ensure you maintain a distance of 2m whenever you leave the house from other people, reduce all non-essential trips and remember if your child can be at home, that is where they must be.

 

With the very best wishes of all in the Oak Grove Community.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Phillip Potter

Headteacher

 

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