Dear Parents/ Carers,

Thank you for your amazing support this term. It has been wonderful to see the students getting back into ‘normal’ style learning, working in groups and succeeding with their staff teams.

We have had, at times, to be creative and flexible, to ensure that as many classes are open as possible and we are so grateful for your support in this, even when it has been short notice.

The challenges the Covid pandemic brings have needed, and will continue to require, a real team effort where every aspect of what we all do contributes to the greater success and safety of the whole community.

Friday 17th December 2021

Please remember this is an INSET day.

Return in January 2021

We are required to test before students return to college (where we have consent).

As such we will be closed on Tuesday 4th January and open for families to bring students in for a LFT test.

We will be closed on that day for teaching and learning but we would like as many students as possible to come in for a LFT. Timings are shown on the next page…

9am – Koa

10am – Sixth form

11am – Year 7

12 Noon – Year 8

1pm – Year 9

2pm – Year 10 and 11

This avoids students getting on school transport and if they’re asymptomatic, spreading it around and then spending time in college until they come down for a test.

The Rosie and the Space will be used for testing. The more students who test over the holidays and who take part in the return to college testing programme, the safer and more consistent the return to college will be in the Spring term. I cannot overestimate the importance of regular testing before the return to college in January. The highest level of the current wave is expected to be just after the return to school and we want to ensure we can provide as consistent service as possible.

Free School Meals 

Families entitled to FSM should have been contacted by us to receive their vouchers.

Covid 19 Vaccinations

The government have announced that all 12-15 year olds can have a second vaccination now and that this can be booked via the national booking service.

While the decision to have it or not is clearly that of the family, there will be a collective benefit in college if this happens.

Magic Breakfast

Staff have been working hard to get enough food together to enable many classes to offer breakfast and I know many staff do this for their own classes. We have an agreement with Magic Breakfast (a charity) to fund two years’ worth of breakfasts for every child in college. Exciting! More details to come shortly.

Opti-Beam 

A new addition to a ceiling in a classroom in the sixth form block has been installed and is a wonderful new sensory learning device called “Opti Beam”. As part of the consultation, the sixth form team asked for this to be part of the new build and Mia who has used it before advocated for this.

It is a great piece of kit that will support sixth form and Arts learning in a fun, sensory way. It has cost over £10K which has been funded from the capital budget of the LA.

The new build project really has enabled significant investment in our students and resources for staff to use.

                                                                                    

Winter Wonder Wheels – Dorney Lake, Windsor

It was great to return to Dorney Lake on Sunday 5th December to take part in Winter Wonder Wheels. We have been doing these events since their inception in 2016 and have had great support from families, staff and students who have continued to take part with the home events over the last 2 years.

In this event, 4 families continued to support the at home event and 2 families and 10 students physically went to Dorney Lake. Despite the bitterly cold weather, all had a fantastic time, made lots of new friends and received lots of free goodies.

Look out for details of the summer event which will be taking place on 20th August 2022.

Staff

At the end of this term we say goodbye and thank you to some colleagues: Carolyn Craig is retiring after many years’ service working individually and with class groups with many young people with very complex communication and learning needs. She has been exceptional at supporting the development of teaching assistants and enabling them to be the very best.

Lisa Moore who has spent her teaching career here and at High Down and has led and supported teams exceptionally well and focused on the holistic development of students so well. Her new role in a mainstream secondary school will enable her to put this into practice elsewhere.   Louise Curran, Caroline Gould and Emma Jhass are leaving the teaching assistant teams for new roles. Their hard work and care for individuals has been wonderful.

We wish all of these colleagues well in their new adventures.

I am delighted to have welcomed a number of colleagues joining the staff team this term:

Lisa Steventon, Anabel Rojas Leach, Janie Lewis, Peter Turner, Elizabeth Prince Iles, Abegail Donoghue and Rosie di Giovanni all as teaching assistants and Alison Cooke as a Manual handling Lead.

Sue Baker will be joining the teachers team in Koa and she will join the current class LM team sharing the role with Anne Binder.

Ellie Everson will be extending her teaching days and sharing this role with Jo Lee for the remainder of the academic year with her current Koa class.

The Sand Bay

The Sand Project (who year 10 attend) was evolved and staff attended the launch of their new site called the Sand Bay in November. It was wonderful to see 20 year olds who had attended OGC continuing in their journey of success and holistic development. One the LA officers also commented to me at the transition evening at the creativity of staff with three post 16/19 placements available now being set up by OGC staff.

Christmas Fair and Winter Fair

The fairs were excellent events that enabled students to practice the, much missed, opportunity to interact and use money and communication skills using the products they have produced with families. They all worked so well and visibly developed in confidence.

Thank you to all who supported this. We raised £587.55 at the Winter fair.

Carol Concert

It was wonderful seeing students performing again! It was great to have the opportunity in the cold car park to talk to some families and for them to see their young people performing. The Arts team worked exceptionally hard to provide an inclusive performance schedule that was as safe as possible.

Over £500 was raised to help support the Lion King Jr production.

The Lion King Jr Production

A lot of work is happening behind the scenes for ‘The Lion King Jr’. You should have received a letter to say that your child has a part in the show. Sue Yates has been doing a lot of work on the costumes already and has kindly asked if anyone is able to donate any plain brown, plain black or plain grey long-sleeved T-shirts and leggings or material/sheets in the same colours, it would be very much appreciated. They will be transformed into our wonderful animals.  If you can, please send them into college marked for ‘Arts Team’.

Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Respectful:

Our college approach to behaviour is characterised by the following statement:

“Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Respectful”.

All the community should be used to hearing this!

This “cartoon” is very powerful. I think it describes the feeling of many based on the last 22 months.

Dates For Your Diary – Spring Term

December 17th INSET Day
January 4th Testing Day
January 5th All students return to school
January 24th INSET Day
21st February—25th February Half Term
7th April Puzzle Day
8th April INSET day
11th April— 18th April Easter Holidays

Sussex Mental Healthline

The Sussex Mental Healthline is a telephone service offering support and information to anyone experiencing mental health problems including stress, anxiety and depression. The service is also available to carers and healthcare professionals. You do not need an appointment.  They can be contacted on: Sussex Mental Healthline 0300 5000 101

The rest of this newsletter attached has information and photos of positive learning in college. Enjoy!

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and we all hope you have a happy and healthy new year and get to take time with those you cherish and to rest!

#proudofteamOGC

Yours sincerely

 

Phillip Potter

Headteacher and on behalf of the Governors and staff team

EOT Letter to Families December 2021

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