Dear Parents/ Carers,
Well done on getting through this first week of living in a very different way and with the feelings of the uncertainty and anxiety this brings. I think one of the most important things for all of us to do is work out how we can slow down and work to a different tempo. Rushing around when we are at home for almost all the day will cause arguments and stress. The work we have sent home is to help you structure the time, give ideas and to support you. It is not something that has to be done in a regimented way. To help you achieve this slower pace that works for you please look at the information that was sent out from the counselling service in college earlier in the week or the support information about home schooling (remembering you are doing this without planning, warning or choice!).
I hope you have not felt overloaded this week, there has been quite a lot of work and information that has been important to get out to you. I am sure we are all hoping the pace of change will slow and we will be able to work as a community to deal with the threat that Covid 19 is presenting.
We have launched a new part of the website where you can share photos of work/activities that you are doing with students. If you wish for a photo to be displayed on our gallery (without any names) then please email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org . Any photo you send to this; you are consenting for us to share across the website/ Facebook and our Twitter page. We hope this will be a good way for all of us to still feel connected to the Oak Grove community.
Free School Meals:
We have organised with West Sussex County Council that packed lunch packs will be prepared for us to get to families next week. If you are entitled to free school meals, we will send you a message asking you to collect the box if you are local. We will aim to deliver this to you if you are not so local. However, you must be in for us to deliver it as we cannot do multiple attempts at deliveries.
We will be providing some opportunities for us to look after our students over Easter. This is prioritised for the families of key workers first and then those we have agreed with social care that should have support. Information about that will be sent out separately.
We envisage contacting you frequently to check that all is well and to discuss any issues you may have. If you have any concerns feel free to contact the college reception and they will get the right person to respond.
Contact may take slightly longer than usual; all of the team are also supposed to be socially distancing and therefore we have three teams of staff working at present with two teams off site at home at any one time.
All students in year 11 and many in year 10 would have been looking forward to Entry Level or GCSE exams later on in the year. All of these have been cancelled and the staff are now working through all of the classwork and coursework to be able to make recommended grades to the exam boards. One group who must be praised are those who are completing GCSE Art. They have done their exam, produced some stunning work and they should be proud of this.
We have endeavoured to return to families all medicines, feed and specific equipment for any young person who have them. If you are still waiting for something to be returned please contact Sam Taylor, Assistant Head, via the college office so she can organise this.
Many of us will feel anxious at this time. It is important to acknowledge and recognise this for ourselves as adults and then to acknowledge it to your children. Please discuss feelings in an open and honest way with your children, this helps to reduce anxiety but also consider whether they need to over hear or see the news continuously going on about Corona virus. On our website there is advice for supporting students.
What have we been up to?
During the course of the week the staff team have worked with Worthing Community Chest, McDonalds, the Co-op and Adams Wholesalers to get food parcels to those who need them.
We have delivered medicines and work packs to students.
We have sorted equipment the NHS needs to help manage this issue.
We have contacted students and families.
We have uploaded lots of work to the website.
We have planned and delivered key worker and vulnerable student provision to 43 students.
We have worked with the LA to deliver a free school meal solution.
We have cleaned the college again and again!
The staff team have worked amazingly well and have adopted a completely different way of working in a very short period of time, while at the same time being anxious about their own families. I would like to thank them for their dedication and commitment.
I have attached some of the many great photos that have been sent in over the last few days, they remind us what a great community we are all part of. I am sure you will enjoy looking at them.
It is important to discuss this letter with your daughter/son. It will help keep them connected to the Oak Grove community and understand that the whole staff team is looking forward to seeing them as soon as possible.
Thank you for your energy, commitment 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.