News

Update to families – 5th January

Dear Parents/ Carers,

Following the announcement from the Prime Minister last night we have spent today trying to get clarity and to risk assess and prepare for remote learning. There is still no detailed guidance on the expectations for special schools and they need to be proportionate and reasonable to ensure the risk of transmission is as low as possible.

Today we were open for the children of key workers and those students who are most vulnerable for a variety of reasons for not being in college and that will continue for the rest of the week. Families who have requested a place or who have been allocated a place have been spoken to. I am not going to go above 60 students in college until I am clear what the increased transmission risks are and how I can mitigate against them. This is to protect the whole community.

The testing team have successfully tested 57 staff during the course of the day and been observed by the Clinical Nursing Lead for Special Schools doing an excellent job. We will start testing students who are willing to engage in the process tomorrow and where we have parental consent.

The college website has lots of home learning work on it now and it will be continually updated.

Free School Meal packages have been made up and a team of staff will be delivering them tomorrow, these will come with work packages for many students and family.

Staff will be contacting, by telephone or email, all families in the coming days and when we deliver packages or work packs it would be great if we can see the students, a wave through the window is fine or a quick word on the telephone.

Thank you for your ongoing support and cooperation and if there is anything we can do to support please contact us.

Please make sure you stay safe, follow the rules and remember that home is the safest place at this point in time.

Yours sincerely

Phillip

P Potter

Headteacher

Letter to Parents – 5th January

 

 

 

 

Update to Families – 26th February

Dear Parent/Carer,

I hope you are all well.

There are many important and different pieces of information in this letter. I hope that you have all seen my video message from earlier in the week too.

Thrive Federation: Changes to governance arrangements:

The Thrive Federation (Oak Grove, Palatine, Herons Dale and Cornfield School) is changing the governance arrangements to enable us to be more effective in terms of governance and leadership and ultimately to be better able to serve the college community.

As of the 1st April 2021 the Governing Body will move from being the Governing Body of all four schools. What is currently the Management Committee will be the Governing Body.

The Thrive Federation will still be a group of schools working together that do so through a strategic group. This change does not preclude us from any current work or future work as a group of schools.

Improvements:

We are delighted with the new cycle circuit that was put in over half term. Our grateful thanks to HSBC for funding this and to Pentagon for doing such a great job.

 

Some artwork that many students have helped produce has also been put up in the playground. I am sure you will agree it looks fantastic. Thank you to Sarah and Dee for leading this work.

This wonderful work was produced by Animus students and staff and is on display in class CA. Well done to all of them!

Return to full face to face operation for college:

Following the announcements on 22nd February and the publication of guidance around this, there have been a number of clarifications of the guidance from the DfE. These have informed our planning.

The government is clear that the week beginning 8th March for secondary aged students is a phased return and that testing is a part of this process where students opt in and can take part in it.

Our proposal is for a staggered return of classes and one that will happen rapidly. We aim for all students to be in college by Thursday 11th March.

From Monday 8th March we will provide for children of key workers in their normal classes. We will have discussions with families of students who have been in college who are not key workers about their return. Ideally it should be with their class during the week as this will enable the testing programme to go smoothly.

Timetable for return:

Year group/ area of college Day for first Covid test (families will need to bring students in for this 10am -1pm) Return to college
Year 7 Thursday 4th March Monday 8th March
Year 8 Friday 5th March Tuesday 9th March
Year 9 Wednesday 10th March Thursday 11th March
Year 10 Wednesday 10th March Thursday 11th March
Year 11 Thursday 4th March Monday 8th March
Year 7 Koa Thursday 4th March Monday 8th March
Koa Tuesday 9th March Wednesday 10th March
Sixth Form Monday 8th March Wednesday 10th March
Animus Friday 5th March Tuesday 9th March

The timetable will change if the risk and guidance changes.

Operational issues for the return to college:

There are a number of points that have changed compared to the last time when all students were in college:

  • Sixth form lunch time to move 12.30pm with use of back field from 1pm.
  • No off site visits
  • No extra curriculum activities are able to be provided to enable us to do the cleaning required and to maintain discreet groups of students.
  • Masks should be worn in college (including classes) and around college by students who can tolerate this
  • Masks should be worn in classes where this does not impact on communication in class by staff
  • Visitors to college can only be by appointment.

Testing in college;

Testing in college remains a voluntary element for students. Staff are having tests twice weekly. As part of the return to school programme, the government wants all those who consent to testing to have three lateral flow tests.

If you wish to take part in this then ideally students will come in with you from 10am-1 pm on the allocated day in the timetable for return and have their first test. Students will be shown how to carry out the test themselves and will have their second and third tests after they have returned to college (at least three days apart). Only attend for your allocated session and we must have received your consent forms in advance (these will be resent next week).

Home testing kits will then be available for those students taking part in the testing programme.

National Careers Week 1st – 6th March 2021

National Careers Week (NCW) is a celebration of careers guidance and free resources in education across the UK. The aim is to provide a focus for careers guidance activity at an important stage in the academic calendar to help support young people leaving education.

To mark NCW, we have included activities on our website https://oakgrovecollege.org.uk/prep-for-life-after-oak-grove/) to help older students in thinking about their next steps and to develop their CV writing skills. To encourage younger students to focus on the world of work, there is an A-Z of job roles research activity which students can develop further by finding out more details about a job of interest to them.

Our Plant Sale army is growing!! Be part of it!

Thank you to everyone who has been in touch and offered to help us in our efforts to keep the Plant Sale going this year. However we still need more volunteers. Can you…..

  • Grow some extra plants in your allotment/greenhouse/garden to donate to us to sell?
  • Contact local allotments / local nurseries to ask for donations?
  • Donate spare seeds for us to grow?
  • Receive plants to sell from your driveway / front garden in May?
  • Receive a growing pack and sell what you grow on to friends and family?
  • Ask friends and family for plant orders that can be delivered to them?

Please get in touch with Carol, Mike or Adrian to let us know what you can do:

cnoble@oakgrovecollege.org.uk         mspain@oakgrovecollege.org.uk

agreen@oakgrovecollege.org.uk

World Book Day

World Book Day is next week and we would like students to choose either a voucher or a book which we will arrange to be delivered to college.

Please click on the link below to let us know what your child would like:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfjDj9yjpM52NmfiIWHI5APmrqBvOv_L1_46Wfk2oAKT2dirg/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1&flr=0

Next week we will be in touch with all families to discuss the return to college plan and to have specific conversations about this.  Well done for all of the great home learning that I have seen this week and those doing so well with the Koa challenges, sports challenges and the Kahoot! Maths quizzes.

Thank you for your hard work, support, perseverance and flexibility.

Yours sincerely,

Phillip

Phillip Potter

Headteacher

update to families 210226

 

 

Family Update Letter – 12th February

Dear Parent/Carer,

Well done to you all for coping with changing circumstances, home learning, unusual college based learning, changes to staff, using technology and juggling everything else that you have had to over the last few weeks.

You have all done amazingly well. It is important that you recognise that and it is important that you know it.

The home learning I have seen this week has continued to be exceptionally good. Well done to all for this.

Free School Meals

The government has allocated money to support students who have Free School Meals over the February half term break and WSCC has asked us to administer the scheme.  This half term the vouchers will each be worth £20.00.

You will shortly be receiving a link via email from schoolvouchers.com or may already have done so.  Clicking on the link will enable you to make your choice of supermarket and subsequently access the voucher.

Should you have any queries concerning this please email Lesley at lcrosby@oakgrovecollege.org.uk.

After half term FSM vouchers resume with the Edenred system.

OGC has received a donation from the Help a Child to Learn campaign run by the Daily Mirror, NEU and Viking and we will use this to supplement the home learning packs that go out to students.

On line working:

It is important that we look after ourselves when we are using devices even more than usual. These two graphics from Beacon House give all of us good ideas to help keep us healthy in our use of IT. Don’t forget clear “screen free” time is important for all of us.

bean.jpg

capture.png

 

Contact tracing:

It is important to remember that the college is responsible for contact tracing. We need to know of any student who has been in college in the week beginning 8th February 2021 and who subsequenctly tests positive for Covid 19 over half term up to and including Wednesday 17th February. Please do this by emailing me at head@oakgrovecollege.org.uk

Please make sure this happens as soon as you know.

Growing for Oak Grove

Oak Grove College is asking for help to keep their annual Plant Sale going this year!

We are asking allotment holders to help us out by growing a few extra plants that we can then sell to provide work experience opportunities for our students with learning difficulties plus raise funds for the school. We usually receive donations from nurseries but know this is not possible this year.

The 2 week Plant Sale will run from 17th – 28th May.

We are asking for vegetable plants such as courgettes, beans, peas and annuals such as aster, fushia, bidens, marigolds and geranium cuttings. A full list is available from the school but all donations welcomed!

Contacts at Oak Grove College: cnoble@oakgrovecollege.org.uk mspain@oakgrovecollege.org.uk     agreen@oakgrovecollege.org.uk

Friends of Oak Grove College:

Thank you to those who joined the AGM for the FOGC. This continues to be a great and important way in which people can help the college. Further information about some fundraising from Easter to May half term will come out soon! It involves chocolate so I am sure most of us will be interested in that!

Building work in college:

Some of you will be aware of exceptionally high demand for places in Year 7 for September 2021. This is currently causing some real anxiety for families who do not have places. We are looking at a large year 7 group starting with us. To help with this WSCC are looking at some building projects. A separate Sixth Form Centre, a sports centre and an Arts centre are on my wish list! However there just is no spare land locally or on our site to build these. We will continue to advocate for these and at present we are looking at some high quality mobile classrooms. As soon as I have more details or a plan to share I will do so. It does mean that we will need to use our buildings slightly differently.

Half term:

During half term there is a lot of maintenance and development work happening. Therefore the college is fully closed and the offices will also be closed. If you need to contact the college please do so via email. We will deal with them as soon as we can.

Thank you for your great support, thank you for your great work and doing your best in these difficult times.   #proudofteamOGC

Yours sincerely,

Phillip

Phillip Potter

Headteacher

update to families 210212

Update to families – 5th February

Dear Parent / Carer,

I hope you are all enjoying the lighter days and keeping safe and well. I keep watching the news hopeful for some decent snow to enable us to do something slightly different! Every time I get excited the forecast changes!

The number of community transmission cases of Covid 19 continues to fall and this is good news, the numbers in hospital is falling but not as rapidly so it is clear we are moving in the right direction. Speaking to many of the parents who drop students off it is clear that those working in the NHS are absolutely working their hearts out and our continued thanks and praise goes to them all. The death of Captain Sir Thomas Moore this week reminds us of the impact this virus can have but also reminds us of the impact all of us can have for good and that there should be no barrier to achieving things in life. It is important that we all look for people who can inspire us in life.

We will be increasing, gradually, next week and after half term the number of students in college. At this point in time we seem to be moving confidently to 8th March and full college re opening. The government plan will not be released until after half term.

We are using the time with less students in college and half term to undertake some significant work in college with replacing a boiler, replacing the filtering system for the swimming pool, renewing some flooring and installing a cycle way in the playground. This will mean the pool is closed for the two weeks after half term.

Half term free school meals vouchers will be ordered at the start of next week and these will come through the Wonde system, so this will be different compared to the term time vouchers. The value of the vouchers for half term only will be £20 per student. This is being administered by the college and organised and funded through West Sussex County Council.

Friends of Oak Grove College AGM:

The Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Oak Grove College will be on Tuesday 9th February at 4pm. It will be via Zoom  and the link is below, so all can join to find out how they can contribute to fundraising for the college. We always welcome more families to support us in these efforts. We look forward to seeing many of you there to help us plan for the future fundraising of the college, you don’t have to be able to give up lots of time, a small amount of time would still be really helpful and useful for the group. Please do give it serious consideration otherwise it ends up with a small group of the same people working hard in a voluntary capacity for all our students.

The log in details for this are:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84525700939?pwd=RTVISnVESFo4K2F4R0RIOHpORjZVUT09

Meeting ID: 845 2570 0939

Passcode: KD1DNd

Home learning:

I have again been very pleased to see the amount and quality of home learning that students have been undertaking and some amazing research undertaken by students in college.

If you are struggling with technology at home and need access to a laptop please email homelearning@oakgrovecollege.org.uk or speak to your child’s form tutor.

Well done to the students who have been taking part in the Kahoot maths challenges. The passcodes for next weeks challenges are:

Keep up the great work with the home learning and remember to share photos you are happy to be shared at forwebsite@oakgrovecollege.org.uk. Well done to all those students with certificates at the end of the letter.

Vaccinations:

I am aware that there have been some changes to how people are included in the priority list for vaccinations and that this should be a positive move for those of you classed as carers. I am getting clarification on this to ensure I have my facts right before sharing with you.

Testing Centre:

If your student is in college please give careful consideration to them taking part in the testing regime for Covid 19. This helps to keep us all safer in the community.

I would like to thank the family members, governors and staff relatives who are helping to staff the centre at present. As more students come back to college, I will become more reliant on volunteers for this. Lisa Edwards our science teacher and chief tester and her team are doing an amazing job.

Can you be part of Oak Grove College’s    2021 Community Plant Sale?

Each year we run a Plant Sale which raises money that can be used to enrich the experiences of our young people at Oak Grove College. We usually rely on generous donations from local nurseries.  But, as we will not be able to do that this year, we are seeking help from our community in how to run it differently. Rather than receiving a lot of plants from just one place, we are looking at receiving a few plants from lots of different places!

Here are some ways you could get involved:

  • Do you have an allotment? Could you grow some extra plants to donate to us to sell?
  • Would you be happy to contact local allotments / local nurseries to ask for donations?
  • Do you have any spare seeds you could donate to us to grow?
  • Would you be happy to grow plants at home then pass on to us to sell?
  • Would you be happy to receive plants to sell from your driveway / front garden in May?
  • Would you be happy to receive a growing pack and sell what you grow on to friends and family?
  • Ask friends and family for plant orders that can be delivered to them?

 Plant                                        Grow                                Sell

Please get in touch with Carol, Mike or Adrian to let us know what you can do

cnoble@oakgrovecollege.org.uk         mspain@oakgrovecollege.org.uk      agreen@oakgrovecollege.org.uk

As ever if you have any worries or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact the college. I am available from 11 30- 12 30 on Monday to take calls from families if you wish to discuss anything with me.

Stay safe and thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely,

 

Phillip

 

Phillip Potter

Headteacher

update to families 210205

 

 

Update to Families – 29th January

Dear Parents / Carers,

I hope this finds you all safe and well.

I have seen so much great work this week in college, on screens as people join in sessions, work that’s been emailed in and through staff who have done deliveries talking about the work they have seen.

Thank you to all of you for making this happen, for creating structures that work for all of you in your own unique scenarios. Everyone is having to manage so much and juggle things to make it happen; your support and help to the staff team to make this happen is much appreciated.

As the number of confirmed cases of Covid 19 goes down (although there are still over 200 people unwell in local hospitals) we need to continue to ensure that we work to reduce risk and future cases. One of the ways this can happen is if you employ PAs then you can get them registered for the vaccine as a care worker. Independent Lives and other PA support services will be able to facilitate this for you. At present, school staff are not able to get the vaccine on the face they work in a special school so those staff who also support families as PAs could get it through that route.

Home Learning:

https://oakgrovecollege.org.uk/home-learning/

The above link takes you to the website where most of our home learning is based. We now have videos for most areas of the college on there (with more coming) to show you how to access all of our learning and to help you with the expectations and priorities in this.

Alongside this, the Maths team are launching a weekly set of quizzes.

Kahoot! Quizzes:

Revise your maths skills with weekly Kahoot! Quizzes.

Challenge your friends or family. These quizzes can be played online at any time, just enter the game pin on the Kahoot! app or at www.kahoot.it.

We will be uploading a new Kahoot! each week onto our maths home learning page.

Here are the game pins for this weeks’ Kahoot quizzes:

Stepping up: 04577212

Stage 1: 09237686

Stage 2: 08652939

Stage 3: 08381285

Stage 4: 08870479

Stage 5: 02078488

If you are not sure which maths stage your child should be accessing, please email Nina Pearson (npearson@oakgrovecollege.org.uk).

PE Challenge:

Don’t forget the weekly PE challenge goes up on our social media platforms each Monday morning.  An amazing well done to Jolie for being top of the leader board this week.

Koa Challenges:

Don’t forget the daily Koa challenge goes up on social media platforms every day.

Laptops:

We have issued many laptops to families. If you are at home struggling with device access and need a laptop please speak to your form tutor so they can pass the details onto Tyler and we can arrange for a laptop to be organised for you. We can also support you with Wi-Fi routers and data allowances.

Year 9 Options:

https://oakgrovecollege.org.uk/y9-options/

The above link is for Year 9 students in Marvel, Avatar and Da Vinci to work through as they choose their options. There are short videos about each option subject. As you will see, staff clearly had fun making them! Don’t forget the deadline to return the form though: 22nd February. You should all have received a paper copy of the booklet and forms today.

Visits:

Please remember that, at times, we will need to arrange to do a socially distanced visit if we have not been able to contact you over a period of time. These are an expected part of what we do from the Department of Education at this time.

Friends of Oak Grove College AGM:

The Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Oak Grove College will be on Tuesday 9th February at 4pm. It will be by Zoom link so all can join to find out how they can contribute to fundraising for the college. We always welcome more families to support us in these efforts. The log in details for this are:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84525700939?pwd=RTVISnVESFo4K2F4R0RIOHpORjZVUT09

Meeting ID: 845 2570 0939

Passcode: KD1DNd

Full reopening of schools:

The Prime Minister announced this week that the further reopening of schools will aim to start from 8th March. There has been lots of discussion regarding if this is a phased return, a full return or indeed if it will happen.

We have been promised two weeks clear notice of the preferred plan to enable families and schools to get organised. We again, as the transmission rate has decreased locally, increase slightly the number of students we can have in college; we are still working on the basis that we provide for children of key workers and those who have additional vulnerability without being in college.

When we know more about the full reopening plans I will be in contact.  At this point schools have only had the same announcements at the same time that all of us have had.

Thank you for all your hard work, support and care; you are all doing an amazing job. Enjoy the photos and certificates!

Have a great weekend.

Yours sincerely,

 

Phillip

Phillip Potter

Headteacher

update to families 210129

Update to Families – 22nd January 2021

Dear Parents / Carers,

I hope that this finds you all safe and healthy.

This has been a busy and challenging week in college. A number of staff have tested positive and we had our first experience of the NHS Track and Trace app instructing a number of staff to isolate. The staff cases are not linked. This has been followed throughout the week with other colleagues, who have not been at work, being told to isolate having been to the supermarket etc. Alongside that we have had asymptomatic students identified in the testing centre.

No plan this week for on-site provision has survived the full day. That is not because we are not following safety guidance, we are sticking to this and everyone is ensuring that we do our best all of the time. It is however, a clear fact that the new variant is more easily transmittable.

While we will try and support families and offer places where that is needed we can only do that within the operational number of staff I have and using rooms where people can socially distance. It unfortunately can also change at the very last minute. I am really grateful for the flexibility that everyone is showing.

In relation to the new variant of Covid this is not necessarily showing with the classic symptoms initially. People are reporting headaches, feeling very tired and unwell. If a student is due in college but is unwell they should not attend.

It is also essential we have your up to date contact details, email and phone numbers to be able to get through to you.

The rates of infection in Worthing and West Sussex are falling, however they are still high and both local hospitals have over 270 Covid patients in them in total.

We will continue to do everything we can to ensure that we support and provide for all the students and families within our community.

Year 9 options choices:

At this time of year, students in year 9 would normally attend our Options Evening.

This year we will be posting a booklet to all year 9 students for them to have a look at and read through.  We will also post a booklet that students must complete.

On Wednesday evening, we will publish two videos on our YouTube channel: one will be led by Carrie-Anne, Senior Teacher KS4, explaining the options process and one with a very short explanation of each option subject.

Year 9 form tutors will arrange a time to discuss this with each student and then the final form MUST be sent into college by 22nd February 2021. We need to start planning September 2021 soon!

Any questions about the options process please contact Carrie-Anne at csillence@oakgrovecollege.org.uk

Keeping Active: 

It is really important to keep active and to do some exercise, using whatever space you can.

Alongside all the previous activity videos from the PE team on our YouTube account we will also be starting the Oak Grove Virtual School Games from Monday.

Lockdown Learning: Data issues:

The Oak National Academy is offering their website for free (in data terms) for all those whose have internet connections with O2, Three, Vodafone, EE, BT, Virgin and Sky.

BBC Bitesize is offering their website for free (in data terms) for all those who have internet connections with BT Mobile, EE and Plusnet Mobile.

We are also busy trying to get the 50+ laptops the college has had delivered out to students and their families. Please remember they have to come back to the college once these challenging times are over.

Contact with form tutor:

Attached to this email is an outline of how to download Teams onto your computers/ phones at home so that form tutors can organise form group catch up sessions.

Contact homelearning@oakgrovecollege.org.uk if you need help with this.

Expectations of work during lockdown:

Everyone is in very different situations at home/ school/ work at present and therefore in relation to work it is important you do what you can do. We don’t expect everything we send home to be completed straightaway. It is also important that students are doing life skills work with you at home.

A range of different videos will come out next week for each part of the college to give you a clearer idea on how to structure time and the expectations of work.

Free School Meals:

Lesley in our Finance office has successfully ordered the Free School Meal vouchers! We will deliver a three week voucher to those families on Tuesday or Wednesday next week. Please keep them in a safe place. We will need to hand them over to someone so please make sure you answer the door and enable staff to socially distance.

I am delighted at the number of photos and great work I have seen over the last week. Students are clearly working well and doing lots of great things. You are all doing a fantastic job in crazy times. Thank you for all of your support and team work within our community. Lots of certificates follow this letter!

I will be sending out well done letters for work and hot chocolates to go with them when staff recommend them.

Yours sincerely,

 

PGPotter

 

Phillip Potter

Headteacher

update to families 210122

Update to Families 15th January

Dear Parents / Carers

I hope that you are all well and staying safe.

The media reports on the challenges that hospitals are facing are very sobering and I know we are all grateful to the teams in the NHS who are working exceptionally hard at this time. I spoke to one of our families this week who work in our local hospital and that also brought home the size and complexity of what we are all seeking to do in controlling this virus.

Information from West Sussex Public Health this week, suggests that rates of cases of Covid 19 in West Sussex have been highest in 15-19 year olds since the middle of December and that rates have been increasing rapidly in all age groups in this period of time.

I also had a thorough conversation with the Public Health England Clinical Lead for Schools on Monday which reinforced the key messages of Hands, Face, Space and Stay at home if you can.

There is a video message on the college YouTube account at https://youtu.be/s4kM54MEAvs which talks more about that along with support and information for home learning.

I have further meetings with Public Health and discussions with the DfE arranged for next week, to continue to review the advice, evidence and contradictory information we continue to receive.

The meeting I had on Monday, reassured me about our current approach to managing numbers on site and how we are also fortunate to have our therapy team fully operational on site providing support and remote support. Only three of the special schools are in this position. Counselling provision has also been organised to ensure all of those who receive this can continue to do so remotely or face to face.

In relation to technology:

Laptops – Our allocation of 35 laptops have arrived in college and are being set up and families contacted to arrange the distribution of them.  If there are any issues with the laptops, please email homelearning@oakgrovecollege.org.uk

Mobile data – those families who requested additional data via the DfE have been submitted by OGC and families should check their phones for text messages from their network provider and follow the instructions from there.

4G routers – We have submitted a request for some routers and families should discuss this with their form tutors if they need one. We don’t know what the delivery time will be on these.

Old Laptops:

We are starting a process to try and get laptops refurbished and out to students in need.

If you, or anyone you know, has an unused laptop (not too ancient!) gathering dust in a drawer or cupboard somewhere, please let us know. We will completely wipe them, reinstall Windows and allocate them to students once we have them ready.

I think there is information on www.bbc.co.uk/makeadifference  that may advise on age of laptops going to charity for use.

Home learning:

We are setting a daily Koa challenge on our social media platforms, using live lessons for students in Animus to ensure they can regularly check in with people and there is a huge volume of work available on the website (see our video where this is explained). Form tutors will also set up Teams meetings with individuals and groups to ensure that we are maintaining our links and communication routes with all.

It has been great to see so many photos and emails of the work that students are doing coming in. Please don’t forget to send photos in that you are happy to be shared to forwebsite@oakgrovecollege.org.uk and any completed pieces of work or questions about logins/technology to homelearning@oakgrovecollege.org.uk

It is important that students get to practice their independence skills so you should be expecting them to help cook and prepare meals. Chef Guy and Chef Hayden have prepared lots of structured ways of doing this on our YouTube account:

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDx8oixEfb3bXU7dPq7ZUUhIkjZ7CE1Gq

Another good skill to practice is signing. It would be great to practice this as a family and develop new skills together. The website has lots of development videos from Mia on it at:

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDx8oixEfb3ahrrJ1BneHRNHTp8il2K65

There are also lots of students who have done amazing work over the last few weeks and some of the certificates that have been sent out are attached at the end of this letter.

Sixth Form re-designation:

We received confirmation before Christmas that the formal re-designation of the Sixth Form has been approved from September 2021.  This means at KS3 and KS4, Oak Grove College will be a generic school and at KS5 we will be a complex needs provision. This is in keeping with the reality in most of other special schools in West Sussex and helps enable the Local Authority to plan for the future provision in a more coherent way.

Free School Meals:

Thank you to everyone who has spoken to the OGC team about free school meals and the food hampers and vouchers. The DfE made it clear that they wanted schools to use hampers and WSCC acted accordingly with that. The DfE have now changed this method and decided that using vouchers is the preferred option.

We will still deliver food hampers to families next week, however, from Monday 25th January 2021 we will be issuing vouchers for families to spend on food of their choice, in the supermarket of their choice.  We will have to use the original Edenred system this time, but we will revert to the Wonde system over February half term. (It was the Wonde system that we used over the Christmas holidays).  Edenred offer M&S and Company Shop Group vouchers, as well as for the usual supermarkets, so please email lcrosby@oakgrovecollege.org.uk by the end of Monday 18th January if you wish to have a different supermarket from the one you chose over the Christmas holidays. We know the Edenred system was clunky and not user friendly for many people so how we practically deliver these vouchers may change!

Please bear in mind that, if your child is in school and is receiving a school meal, even for one day a week, we will not be able to issue a voucher.  However, if your child is in school and is bringing in a packed lunch from home, then we can still supply a voucher.  If you have any voucher queries, please contact Lesley Crosby on lcrosby@oakgrovecollege.org.uk

Thank you for your patience with this and thank you to the staff teams who have worked hard to put together, deliver and organise these.

Testing in College:

Staff are now having weekly testing in college using lateral flow tests and we are bringing our volunteers on line to assist with this (thank you to all of them). Students who are able to swab themselves have also taken part in the testing very well.

We will NOT be offering close contact testing every day for students or staff who have come into close contact with a positive case. We had already reviewed evidence that raised concerns around this and we were advised yesterday, by the West Sussex Director of Public Health, that this was not a suitable way forward.

Wellbeing:

Remember it is a time of anxiety and flux. It is important that we take time, we rest and we enjoy the small things in life, we stay in touch with all those who are important to us and that we look after ourselves.

If anyone needs support, help or guidance please contact the college, we are part of a team and a community and we will work to support each other.

Yours sincerely,

 

Phillip Potter

Headteacher

Update to Families 210115

 

 

Update to Families – 8th January 2021

Dear Parents/ Carers,

Thank you for your patience and fortitude this week. I am sure you have felt surprised, confused and unsure of what is supposed to be happening, alongside anxiety to keep your family safe. That is perfectly understandable and indeed shared by all the staff at Oak Grove.

I wish to thank you for all your cooperation and support over this week. I am going to need to ask for your ongoing cooperation over many issues especially as we are getting contradictory messages and advice from numerous sources over expectations. Government advice is late in coming after announcements.  It is also inconsistent, unclear and highly changeable and often useless in relation to special schools.

As a society we are being asked to reduce dramatically our movement and interactions and told that the safest place to be is at home. Alongside this, we are also being told that most students in a special school can go to school. Both cannot be true if we are to keep our Oak Grove community safe.

During the Christmas holidays I was trying to discuss this conundrum with colleagues from Public Heath England and I now have a detailed discussion meeting arranged on Monday 11th January to do this, with further meetings planned for 19th January.

My overriding concern is how, in a busy school, we can reduce transmission, especially with the new variant of Covid 19. Over the holiday period, a number of staff colleagues came down with the illness.  All were unwell but I’m pleased to say that all are now recovering, however, it is not a simple recovery.

The infection rate in West Sussex is currently high and is higher than the national average (to 555.2 per 100,000. This is above the national average for England of 518.5 per 100,000), having been very low in November and December 2020.

This is why I have made the decision to restrict numbers in college until I have some definitive guidance that supports me in making decisions to keep students, staff and families safe.

Home Learning:

There is much home learning available on the college website and we are adding more to the website and You Tube channel all of the time. It is important that no one is getting into arguments about home learning at home, although I would say to Year 10 and 11 that it is important you take care and effort with your work: it may be needed by the exam boards.

If you could send your finished work if possible to homelearning@oakgrovecollege.org.uk this can then be passed onto teachers who can then give feedback and support planning of future remote learning.

Home Learning – https://oakgrovecollege.org.uk/home-learning/

YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaQBPna2t9lhNCnjX_1V-SQ

Using the Xbox or PlayStation to access Microsoft teams:

An alternative method of accessing remote learning during times of lockdown could be by using an Xbox or PlayStation console.

Xbox

  1. Plug a keyboard in to the Xbox USB slot
  2. Go into my games and apps
  3. Find Microsoft Edge and select
  4. Type in: Microsoft teams and login to your account using your username and password.
  5. You can then access all the online content for home learning and watch live sessions.
  6. To move around you use the Xbox controller or plug in a mouse
  7. Use a headset to interact if you have one.

PlayStation

  1. Identify the PlayStation internet browser icon (it is WWW with dots around it)
  2. Press the PlayStation logo on the controller
  3. Go to the library and find options for games and applications
  4. Go into applications and you will find the internet browser
  5. Type in Microsoft teams into the browser and login to your account using your username and password.
  6. You can then access all the online content for home learning and watch live sessions.
  7. Use a headset to interact if you have one.

Check ins:

Staff will be phoning home to check that all is well and to see if there is any further support you require.

Covid 19 testing:

This has been operating really well with staff and some students this week. I am really grateful to the staff who have trained, set up, reviewed and established the testing regime. We are also running the testing scheme for Cornfield School.

Rotation of students on site:

We are looking at ways in which we can provide for all key worker children and separately how we could rota some time for all students in college. This is a real logistical challenge but something we ideally would seek to do with some parts of the college going forward.

Week commencing 11th January:

I am expecting us to continue to provide for families of key workers and those we have already agreed are more vulnerable without time in college. We will look to expand this once we have PHE guidance that is sector specific.

Thank you for your continuing support.

Yours sincerely

 

Phillip Potter

Headteacher

Update to Families 210108

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