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End of Half Term Letter to Families

Dear Parents / Carers,

The first half term of this academic year is rapidly coming to a close.

William:

The loss of one of the college community impacts us all and the death of William leaves a hole which cannot be filled.  All of those who knew and worked with him will have learnt so much from his tenacity, determination, humour and charm. In memory of William, his family are raising money for the Chestnut Tree Hospice, the MPS Society and Oak Grove College. Donations can be made via this link or sent into college in an envelope and we will ensure they are passed on.

Tributes and Donations (love2donate.co.uk)

The thoughts of the whole community are with the family at this time.

New starters:

Year 7 students and those who have joined in other year groups have had a wonderful start to their Oak Grove careers. Families and class teams have done a great job in working together for a smooth transition and the students are making great progress socially, emotionally and academically.

Free School Meals:

Free School Meal eligible families will already have received a link to a voucher for each FSM child for the upcoming October half term.

Students and families that are not eligible for free school meal vouchers will be able to access support for food and essentials, should they be required, via the WSCC Community Hub. The Community Hub can be contacted on 0330 222 7980 and is open 08:00 – 20:00 Monday to Friday and 09:00 – 17:00 weekends and bank holidays. Further information can be found via West Sussex County Council website.

Covid:

I am grateful to the NHS vaccination team for an efficient and friendly Covid 19 vaccination session earlier in the month. This means that a large proportion of students have been vaccinated and this is clearly helping to keep numbers of cases in college low. We have had some disruption and I am grateful to the continued flexibility all are showing.

Other schools, especially where the vaccination programme has not yet happened, are experiencing quite considerable numbers of cases and we still need to all work together to ensure that this risk is reduced as much as possible for Oak Grove. In essence, my aim is to ensure that all students are getting a normal and full school experience as possible. This means that in other areas we need to be stricter; most meetings will still be remotely organised (Annual Reviews, for example), there are still limited off site visits and we have lots of windows open. As the weather gets colder it is vital that students come to college with a coat and jumper. Also please remember that if anyone shows any of the symptoms of Covid (changes in senses, high temperature or coughing) they must isolate and get a PCR test. The LFT tests are only accurate for non-symptomatic cases.

Staffing:

As in many sectors at present, recruitment is difficult.  This is especially the case in relation to tutors to support Covid recovery work and for teaching assistants. This does mean that we need to be flexible in allocating staffing across all classes and students.

Key date for Y10, Y11 subject based learners and Sixth Form students 9th November – Transition Evening

This is a very important event where you will find out what opportunities are available to your child when they leave Oak Grove College.  It is never too early to start informing yourselves.  Providers will be available to discuss what they offer and answer any questions you may have.  Key Stage 4 and Sixth Form staff will also be on hand to discuss the needs of your child and guide you to suitable providers.

A separate letter has been emailed to give further information on how to book on the evening to those students this applies to.

E-Safety

It is vital that families are aware and supervising young people on line. Here is some important information around current e-safety concerns:

What is Squid Game?

Netflix’s Squid Game is set to become the streaming service’s most successful show of all time, with huge numbers of viewers taking to social media to discuss each new episode. The South Korean thriller features some scenes of fairly brutal violence and is rated 15 by the BBFC. It follows a group of adults who compete to win innocent-looking playground games, but who are killed if they do not succeed at the tasks.

An unexpected success in terms of viewing figures, Squid Game’s popularity is beginning to spread across various online platforms. There has been a slew of content created – ranging from memes to apps – that convey the violence of the show, so it is important for parents, carers and educators to understand the basis of Squid Game and the potential risks to young people who might be exposed to it.

What are the hazards for children?

Squid Game’s 15 rating has not prevented clips and images from the show being uploaded onto social media sites such as TikTok, with the #SquidGame hashtag being viewed more than 22.8 billion times. There have been reports of children who have accounts on these platforms inadvertently viewing gory, explicit scenes from the programme, and parents and carers should be mindful of the prevalence of these uploads. 

The popularity of the programme has also led to online challenges based on various scenes, which see people taking part in seemingly innocent children’s games. On the show, however, characters are executed if they fail in the game – and videos of people pretending to kill each other after competing in Squid Game-style contests are going viral on social media, where they are easily accessible to children. 

What can trusted adults do?

As a parent or carer, keep a watchful eye on the content that your children are viewing. Speak to them openly and chat about how they have been spending time on their devices; let them ask questions, too. Ensure that the parental controls are activated on your child’s device and that age-restricted child profiles are properly set up any on-demand services available through the family TV (such as Netflix, in this case) to prevent inappropriate content being streamed.

If you see your child replicating the challenges from the show or hear them talking about scenes and characters from Squid Game, it would be a timely opportunity to discuss with them that the programme is not intended for children, that much of the content would be inappropriate for their age, and that the violence in the series is very realistic and often upsetting.

Work:

There has been lots of great work over this half term, it has been so pleasing to see students settle back into the more normal rhythm of college life and be thriving in their learning.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank families, students, staff and the governors for their ongoing hard work and I wish you all a great half term.

Yours sincerely,

Phillip Potter

Headteacher

Family Letter 211022

Free School Meal Voucher Scheme – October Half Term

Dear Parent/Carer,

West Sussex County Council has announced that families will be entitled to a free school meal voucher for the October half term, for each eligible child.

It is a simple process to claim your voucher by following the link in the email from vouchers@wonde.com which will arrive early next week.  Please look out for the email and check your spam or junk emails as it may go there.  Please claim your voucher promptly.  Once claimed, the voucher remains valid for 12 months.

The value of the voucher has been increased from £15.00 to £20.00 per child and you will be able to choose from a range of supermarkets.

As the voucher can be used via a mobile phone, we will no longer be distributing paper copies of the voucher. However, if you do not have a smart phone or a printer please email our Business Manager, Hayley Edmondson on businessmanager@oakgrovecollege.org.uk, who can discuss alternative arrangements with you.

If you do not receive the email next week or you have other queries about free school meals and vouchers please email Lesley Crosby on lcrosby@oakgrovecollege.org.uk.

There are some answers from Wonde to some frequently asked questions below.

Kind regards and thank you for your support.

Lesley Crosby

Free School Meal Voucher FAQs from Wonde

I have made my supermarket choice, but I’m yet to receive my voucher.

There may be a number of reasons for this such as:

  • If you selected your supermarket choice after 12pm that day, your voucher will arrive the following day.
  • You made your supermarket choice after 12pm on a Friday. You’ll receive your voucher on Monday.

When do the vouchers expire?
Vouchers expire after 12 months of issue, other than Tesco which is 5 years. Parents can also contact the customer service number on the voucher for an update.

My Asda voucher doesn’t show the full amount when I view it on my phone or email.

You can check your balance by following this link https://cards.asda.com/.

Can I use the voucher online?

Asda are the only supermarket that currently allows vouchers to be used online. This is due the supermarket systems. We appreciate that parents may prefer these to be an option moving forwards, and we are working closely with the supermarkets to try and achieve this. In the meantime, if you’re unable to leave the house then you’re able to forward the voucher onto others who are able to use the vouchers on your behalf.

If I don’t spend the whole voucher, can I keep using it until all has been allocated to a purchase?

Yes, this is correct.  If you would like to spend more than the voucher total in one shop then you can pay the remaining balance by another method (i.e. debit card).

What happens if I have multiple children at the same school?

You will receive a voucher for each child to spend at the same supermarket.

Can I use the voucher on my mobile phone?

Yes, you can.

I’m having trouble using my voucher in-store, what should I do?

Please contact the supermarkets directly who will be able to help you.

West Sussex County Council Community Hub

Those children and families that are not eligible for free school meals will be able to access support for food and essentials, should they be required, via the WSCC Community Hub. The Community Hub can be contacted on 0330 222 7980 and is open 08:00 – 20:00 Monday to Friday and 09:00 – 17:00 weekends and bank holidays. Further information can be found via West Sussex County Council website. Should you require any further information or advice about the scheme, please contact welfarecommunities@westsussex.gov.uk.

Parents’ Evening – Thursday 14 October – Online Appointment Booking

I would like to invite you to attend our Parents’ Evening on Thursday 14 October.  This is an important evening and provides you with an opportunity to speak directly with your child’s form tutor and see how he/she is working and getting on.

The college has introduced a new easy to use online appointment booking system. This allows you to choose your own appointment times with your child’s form tutor and you will receive an email confirming your appointments. We are confident this will be an improvement to the previous system and welcome any feedback.

Appointments can be made from now until 4:00pm on Wednesday 13 October.  Should you wish to make any changes after this date please contact the Headteacher’s PA on the telephone number above.

Please visit https://ogc.schoolcloud.co.uk to book your appointments. (A short guide on how to add your appointment is included with this letter.)  Login with the following information:

Student’s First Name:

Student’s Surname:

Tutor Group:                                     

If you have any difficulties please contact the Headteacher’s PA office who will be happy to help you.

Yours sincerely,

Phillip Potter

Headteacher

Parents Evening – parent guide 211005

Covid Vaccination Programme – DATE CONFIRMED Wednesday 29th September

Dear Parent / Carer,

DATE CONFIRMED – Covid Vaccination Programme for 12 to 15 Year Olds

We have been notified today by the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust that they will be coming into Oak Grove College on Wednesday 29th September to administer Covid vaccinations.

Due to the short notice of this programme, it is important that you read the attached information carefully and complete the consent form as soon as possible.  Your child will only receive the vaccination if you consent to it.  If you choose for your child to not receive it, you will still need to complete the consent form to advise of this.

All consents will need to be submitted by 11am on Tuesday 28th September.

If you have any non-clinical issues, you can contact the NHS on 01293 227797. All clinical concerns should be directed to your own GP.

Yours sincerely,

Phillip Potter

Headteacher

The form for consent and the guidance has been emailed separately to families with details on how to access the NHS website  – if you have not received this information call the college office.

All the handling of the consent will be undertaken by the NHS and the the School Age Immunisation Service (SAIS) team will be the primary provider of the vaccination programme and will be legally responsible for the delivery of the vaccine.

COVID 19 Vaccinations – Information Leaflets

The Government and the NHS have produced some information leaflets to support and inform young people and families.

COVID-19 vaccination for children and young people aged 12 to 15 years – Guide

COVID-19 Vaccination Guide for all Young People

COVID-19 Vaccination – What to expect after vaccination

We are awaiting to hear further guidance about how the vaccination rollout will occur in schools and when we hear we will share with you. Like all school-based vaccination programmes, the School Age Immunisation Service (SAIS) team will be the primary provider of the vaccination programme and will be legally responsible for the delivery of the vaccine.

 

Update to families 23rd July

Dear Parents/ carers

Thank you to all of you for your great support and work this year. It has been a roller coaster of a year but your young people have shown themselves to be such resilient, enthusiastic and happy learners.

I hope that you all manage to have a great holiday and a rest.

The start to term, at this point and subject to guidance, will look like this:

1st September            Summer Holiday

2nd September           INSET Day

3rd September           INSET Day

6th September           All Year 7 (all areas of college) & Year 10 (subject based learners)

7th September           As 6th September plus KOA, Year 11 & Animus

8th September           All students

Please note the change for Year 10 and year 11 students from what was previously advised. This is because of the availability of FE college provision.

Covid 19:

In the run up to the return to college it is vital that students, where they can, are continuing to test at home. More testing kits can be ordered on line.

Our website and social media feeds will contain any necessary updates over the summer and there are some transition videos and end of term messages on there now.

I wish you all a safe and happy summer holiday, I hope you all get to relax and see loved ones.

Everybody at Oak Grove College is looking forward to seeing you all in September, ready to connect, ready to learn, ready for adventures, ready to live “Everyone matters, every day counts”.

#proudofteamOGC

Yours sincerely,

Phillip

Phillip Potter

Headteacher

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