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College Provision and Partial Closure – Information

During this period of partial closure this college site continues to be open for provision for vulnerable pupils and children of key workers. Visitors to site can only attend by prior arrangement. Annual reviews will happen via conference call. Irrespective of any partial closure the safeguarding of all our children and young adults remains our top priority. At this time, our college will continue as normal in supporting our vulnerable children, on and off site and if anyone has any questions regarding this they are asked to make contact with reception on  01903 708870. Please check the Home Learning page for further details or the Covid 19 page for information relating to the operation of the college, support being offered etc.

Please contact the college on 01903 708870 if you have any queries.

 

Update – 27th March

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.

Sharing work:

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: forwebsite@oakgrovecollege.org.uk . 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.

Easter Provision:

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.

Contact:

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.

Exams:

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.

Medicines:

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.

Anxiety:

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.

Yours sincerely

 

Phillip Potter

Headteacher

Coronavirus Update 20th March – 7:50am

Dear Parents/ Carers,

RE: Important Update: Telephone calls this morning

The guidance on maintaining educational provision came out last night. It is clear:

If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.

The core principles are as follows:

  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.
  5. Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.

In relation to children with EHCPs the guidance is that provision should be provided. However, if we also all need to socially distance then we cannot have the whole community in college.

I have to consider the welfare of all. It is not going to be possible to do everything for everyone. The number of staff who need to self-isolate has again risen.

The guidance is clear:

That is why the government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

Special schools, colleges and local authorities are advised to make case by case basis assessments of the health and safeguarding considerations of pupils and students on an education, health and care (EHC) plan. For some, they will be safer in an education provision. For others, they will be safer at home. We trust leaders and parents to make these decisions and will support them as required.

We had planned for significant opening next week, based on this new guidance that is not now practical or appropriate.

We will provide for the list of key workers:

Health and social care

Education and childcare

Key public services

Local and national government

Food production, sale, distribution and delivery

Public safety and national security

Transport and delivery drivers

This morning every family will be contacted to see if your child can be at home. Any provision we make in college will be care not a full educational programme.

Thank you for your support in this.  Senior Leaders will be available to talk to people on the telephone all through the day.

These are unprecedented time and challenges and I assure you as a community we will continue to work together. We are working in partnership with our Thrive Federation colleagues and all in West Sussex County Council to get this right.

Yours sincerely

Phillip Potter

Headteacher

 

Virus update calls 200320

WSCC School/College Transport – September 2020

WSCC School/college Transport in September 2020 for Students aged 16+ who have an EHCP (current Year 11s.)

 

This September the LA had a number of students who have not had the transport help they were hoping for.

Current Year 11s, whether they continue their placement in the same setting or move on to another setting will have to apply for transport assistance to continue.  The key messages to pass to parent/carers and students who live in West Sussex and making choices for their Post-16 further education are:

  • Apply for transport assistance in May 2020 (even if the student is currently on transport and staying at the same school.)
  • The deadline for applications for September 2020 is Friday 3 July 2020.
  • An application is needed even if the student claims a fuel allowance.
  • There is a contribution which is currently £630 (subject to review, likely to increase) and can be paid in instalments.
  • Families with a low income who qualify do not need to pay the contribution.
  • Financial help is available from schools/colleges’ Post-16 Bursary Fund.

·         Education only funds transport up to the year in which the young person turns 19yrs i.e. he/she must be under 19yrs in the academic year in which they are starting a new course.

·         Train and bus passes which can be organised on a student’s behalf (where cheaper for a parent.) If a minibus/taxi is organised the contribution is annual and not dependant on the amount of times a taxi/minibus is used.

Many pupils are looking around colleges and schools at open days. It is important that they understand the implications of the choice of school/college with regard to transport.

 

The criteria for assistance for students with EHCPs can be viewed at www.westsussex.gov.uk/Post-16transport. In short, the course has to be full time, at the closest suitable school/college offering the course and be over 3 miles walking distance from the home address.

 

If a comparable course is offered at a closer establishment to the home address then it is extremely unlikely that transport assistance would be offered.  The student would then be expected to make their own travel arrangements.

 

A taxi is only offered in exceptional circumstances and is likely to be time limited, with a review, with an expectation that some travel training (where a student is capable) is undertaken.

 

Many young people are working towards independent travel.  Bus and train passes are therefore regularly issued to students with EHCPs when previously they have travelled by taxi.  Plumpton College and Chichester College (Brinsbury campus) run their own college buses, with details on the individual college websites.

 

For advice about how the choice of school or college may affect transport options please contact the Post-16 team on 0330 222 3588 or email Post16Travel@westsussex.gov.uk prior to making decisions about what school or college to attend. Students should discuss the educational content of a course, if they have any queries, with their Post-16 SENAT Preparation for Adulthood Planning Coordinator.

Co-op Local Cause

Shop at Co-op and raise funds for Oak Grove College
Oak Grove College has been selected for the Co-op Local Community Fund, which is running from now until October 2020.  During this time, Co-op Members will be able to chose Oak Grove College as their local cause and 1% of the money they spend on Co-op products will go to the school.  This is great opportunity to raise funds for the school so please encourage friends and family to become a Co-op Member and to choose us as their local cause.

 

Further information on Co-op Local Causes can be found here:

Co-op local-causes

 

Nut Free School

Oak Grove College is a Nut Free School, please see information below on this issue:

Online Safety Card Resources

Attached are some Online Safety Cards for the following apps –

  • Snapchat
  • Instagram
  • TikTok

These outline how to set privacy settings, block other users and report them.

Public Health England – Easy Read Covid-19 Advice

This is the SEND version of Guidance about Covid-19 from Public Health England

Public Health England – Easy Read – Covid-19 – Looking after yourself

This advice and other relevant advice can also be found here:

Covid-19-information & official-guidelines

NW SEND Regional Network Newsletter Special edition: March 2020

Science Year 10 – Home Learning Packs

We have just put up the Science Home Learning Pack 2 Materials.

This can be found here and on the KS4 Subject Home Learning Page under KS4 Subject Based Learning  by following the link button to Science:

Science Year 10 – Pack 2

If you would like printed copies to be sent home, please contact the office on 01903 708870 and we will be happy to arrange that for you.

 

Easter Provision

Dear Parents/ Carers

Easter Provision at Oak Grove College

We have been asked to ensure we provide some provision for what would have been the Easter holidays to help in this situation.

Priority for this is:

  1.        Children of Key workers
  2.        Vulnerable students
  3.        Those whose families who need some respite despite their child being at home.

Our aim is to offer a provision on Monday 6th April –Thursday 9th April and Tuesday 14th April – Friday 17th April from 9am til 3pm.

It is not an educational provision but will be a mixture of fun, learning and relaxation.

Social distancing principles will be followed and students will have to comply with the hygiene rules. Packed lunches will be available for this period but unless you have Free School Meals these will have to be paid for.

If you want to book a place you need to let me know which days by Monday 30th March at 11am by emailing pa@oakgrovecollege.org.uk please ensure it says EASTER in the subject heading. This has to be planned by the end of Monday so that transport can be put in place for it.

Please remember that government advice is still that if your child can be at home, they should be. Most of the Easter holiday will still be in the period of “lockdown”. We are all still required to be social distancing and working as a community to reduce the spread of this virus. All of us must do our bit. I know it is difficult and an anxious time but we really must do our absolute best to follow the guidance all of the time.

Yours sincerely,

 

Phillip Potter

Headteacher

Staying Positive

It is challenging for everyone during these exceptional circumstances, however advice is clear, staying inside and staying positive is the best thing we can do right now.

We have some tips and advice on how to do that when the routines we rely on in our everyday lives have been disrupted.  Please see the read below for some very useful and practical advice on how to stay positive, whilst the structure our lives rely on so much to support us, is interrupted.

Careers Resource for Summer Term

Dear Parent/Carer

Careers resource for summer term

I am enclosing a copy of a careers action plan, which has been sent to schools by the Careers and Enterprise Company who work with us on our careers education programme.

As your child is approaching a transition to college or elsewhere, you might find it useful to help keep them focused on thinking about their future while they are spending time at home in these unusual circumstances. The PDF version contains links to some resources to support research about different jobs and skills, which will help with action planning.

If the resource doesn’t seem appropriate to your child’s needs, you could try adapting it to help structure their use of time while they are at home.

I will continue to send out any useful resources which come my way. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions at workexp@oakgrovecollege.org.uk .

Yours faithfully

 

Mike Spain

Curriculum Lead for Preparation for Adulthood

 

Update – 23/3/20 – For those parents of children still accessing provision at Oak Grove College

Following on from the statement from the Prime Minister this evening (at 8 30pm) it is vital that your son/daughter only comes into college tomorrow if you do not have any other way of caring for them. With most shops being closed, gatherings being limited and further restrictions being enacted for three weeks, we need to ensure college provision is only used where absolutely necessary.

If there is someone at home who can look after your child then they should do so.

Thank you for your support in this time of complexity and uncertainty.

Phillip Potter

Headteacher