Community Update 15/05/20

Dear Parent / Carer,

Community Update 15th May 2020

Well done on your continuing great resilience, fortitude and ability to cope with such a difficult ongoing situation.

You will be aware of the broadcast from the Prime Minister which has been followed by a range of documents and guidance from the government, including one released last night at 7 30pm. I have not written to you before because we have been waiting for all of the guidance. Now on Friday I am still waiting for more of it to come in.

Last week I said to you “What I can promise though is that we will do what is safest for all members of the community and we will continue to do our very best and this will take time to work through”. This still stands.

Currently, we do not anticipate any big change to the off-site or on-site provisions that we currently have in place and additional young people will not be expected back in college on the 1st June. We are working with families to support everyone in the best way possible. We continue to review each student on a case-by-case basis weekly.

There are many issues we need to work through and resolve before any next steps can be taken. These are the issues as of today, I recognise this is evolving all of the time;


  • The need for clinically vulnerable people to stay at home remains
  • The need for everyone to socially distance remains the case
  • Social restrictions to see your friends and family remain in place
  • OGC has a number of staff who are unable to work for 12 weeks due to their underlying medical conditions
  • OGC has one main entrance into college and the other, smaller, accesses are not safe for students to use as part of a drop off system.
  • OGC has lots of students and staff who have to work in a small area.
  • Many of our young people cannot socially distance.
  • Any changes need to be small and gradual.
  • We need to have a guaranteed supply chain for cleaning materials, PPE and resources that children will need.
  • Space in classrooms if we want to try and maintain social distance would mean no classroom can have more than 5 students in it (they really are that small) and this is on the assumption they do not leave that classroom during the day.
  • Guidance states that students should not mix with other groups of students in the day meaning staggered lunch and break times and our building layout makes this very difficult.

Special School Guidance

To support the above, guidance has been issued by the DfE, West Sussex County Council, the professional associations and local NHS services.

Within the guidance there are areas of specific Special School Guidance about the next stage. This says we should “work towards a phased return of more children…. Without a focus on specific year groups”. The planned year groups announced by the government coming into schools does not apply in special schools and it is for me to decide how and if we expand the number of students in college based upon consultation, guidance and risk assessments which must place the safety of all as the primary issue.

Annual reports for students:

Year 11 subject based learners and 14 sixth form reports were issued earlier in the year and we will issue reports summarising progress for the autumn and spring terms for the rest of the college in the near future.

Free School Meals (FSM):

Again I am sorry that this system is proving so difficult for many of you.

Thank you to all families for their patience in negotiating the Edenred FSM website.  As a result of some ongoing issues, the week of 18th May will be the final week that families will be receiving their FSM voucher codes direct to their email addresses.  From 1st June onwards all vouchers from Edenred will be processed by Oak Grove College and posted home.

To ensure that the chosen vouchers arrive safely to the correct addresses please would you email Lesley Crosby at with your address and your supermarket choice from Aldi, Asda, McColl’s, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.  Please remember that, while all supermarket vouchers can be used instore, only Asda and Waitrose can be used online. There will be no vouchers for half term week.

Leavers in Year 11 and sixth form:

Please make sure you reply to the letter sent to you re hoodies as soon as possible at


We have also released today the signed OGC version of “Dancing in the Moonlight” on YouTube. This is well worth a watch!

Use of Oak Grove College grounds:

This has been a great success and so Louise will be taking bookings for Saturday 23rd and 30th May on Please remember to use the Littlehampton Road entrance next to the swimming pool.


Please remember that we need students help in supporting transition for the students joining us next year:

  1. Draw and take a photo of a “welcome” poster
  2. Take a short video with student waving, saying hi or what they most like about OGC

These will be used on or website and transition documents. Please send these to

Please discuss this letter with your daughter/son and make sure they see the videos on You Tube. It will help keep them feeling connected to the Oak Grove community and their future.

Thank you for your continued support of the college community and the ways in which you have been creative with your families at home.

I am available on Monday, all day, to take calls from families about any aspect of the wider reopening of college from the 1st June. Please phone the college and I will be available.

Please continue to stay safe. Everything we are doing is with the safety of all in mind.


Yours sincerely,




Phillip Potter



Update to families 15 05 2020