Dear Parents/ Carers,
I hope you are well and all your families are safe.
I wanted to let you know about the college plans for the run up to Christmas.
Christmas will be different this year and we will need to be clear about what we can do and what we will need to prepare to do and what we cannot do.
We want students to feel it is Christmas and we recognise that for everyone it will be very different (and therefore strange and make people anxious/ feel flat) this year but that we also want everyone to be safe.
Northbrook Met will not be open in the last week of term so Year 10 students will not be in college on Monday 14th December, they will provide remote learning. The SAND project and Brinsbury are operating as normal in that week.
Christmas lunch will happen on the following days for students (please note this is different from the letters that were sent out as sixth form will be at college).
Tuesday 15th December – Koa (Hall) and Animus (in class)
Wednesday 16th December – Sixth Form
Thursday 17th December – KS3 and 4
We will have a postbox for Christmas cards to go in, the last date these will be accepted is Monday 13th December and then they will be sorted and issued on Thursday 17th December. We need to include the class or surname of the student on the envelopes.
The dates allow for a quarantine period as we wish to discourage students passing cards around.
Koa Enterprise Christmas Market:
This will happen at a class level and they will offer to families and staff the goods for sale and these will be available for people to collect.
Christmas Jumper day:
We will have a non uniform day where students can wear a Christmas jumper or normal non uniform if they want on Friday 11th December. Donations can be made to Save the Children.
Thursday 17th December will also be a non uniform day.
Please see the information at the end of this from the students working with the SAND project.
Following our risk assessment we know that we won’t be able to undertake some activities we normally would like the disco, parties or any mixing of class groups.
We are pleased to announce that we have been successful in achieving the Wellbeing in Schools Award. The award supported us as a college to reflect on the whole culture of the college in relation to wellbeing for all stakeholders – students, staff, families and community.
At Oak Grove College we believe strongly in ‘Everyone Matters Everyday Counts’ and we wanted to use this accreditation to recognise the work which we are doing but also to support to improve our work further.
The lead verifier commented on the strengths of the college and the impact they have had. For families he recognised
‘The college have been proactive in the support they offer families which has been enhanced. They have developed highly effective 2-way communication approaches which enable them to be supportive of parents and responsive to concerns or needs that might be identified.’
Students have a curriculum that is ‘deeply personalised and based on supporting the development of every individual within an environment both therapeutic and learning based’. In addition, this access to ‘personalised support is widely available to all members of the college community and the offer to students, parents and staff is constantly evolving’.
It was great that the verifier acknowledge the impact that all staff have on the emotional wellbeing of our community and that there was a ‘real sense of being a team and of there being teams within teams. Classroom teams felt valued and were cohesive’.
We are proud to share this achievement with all in the Oak Grove College community and recognise there is always further work to be done and we will continue to review and refine what we do as a college in terms of supporting positive mental health and wellbeing.
Thank you for your ongoing support and cooperation.
Advice to All Parents – Single case
Dear Parents/ Carers,
We have been advised by Public Health England that there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the college.
We know that you may find this concerning but are continuing to monitor the situation and are working closely with Public Health England. This letter is to inform you of the current situation and provide advice on how to support your child. Please be reassured that for most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.
The small number of children who have been in direct prolonged contact with the confirmed case will have received an individual letter and will be staying at home for 14 days. This includes students who were on their transport bubble.
The college remains open and your child should continue to attend if they remain well.
What to do if your child develops symptoms of COVID 19
If your child develops symptoms of COVID-19, they must not come to school and should remain at home for at least 10 days from the date when their symptoms appeared. Anyone with symptoms will be eligible for testing and this can be arranged via https://www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.
All other household members who remain well, must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. This includes anyone in your ‘Support Bubble’.
The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.
Household members should not go to work, school or public areas and exercise should be taken within the home.
If you require help with buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, or walking a dog, you should ask friends or family. Alternatively, you can order your shopping online and medication by phone or online.
Household members staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
If you are able, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period.
The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:
- a new continuous cough
- a high temperature
- a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.
If your child or anyone in the household does develop symptoms, you can seek advice from NHS 111 at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/check-if-you-have-coronavirus-symptoms/ or by phoning 111.
How to stop COVID-19 spreading
There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with COVID-19
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- wash your hands as soon as you get home
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
Further information is available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Dear Parents/ Carers,
Thank you for your continuing support to ensure that staff can provide the very best for all students.
Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGP):
We are delighted that the guidance around AGP procedures was adapted last week. This stepped down the risks and rules around young people who need suctioning. Suctioning can now take place in class, can take place without fit tested masks and can be done in a way that is much more ‘normal’. This is an important step forward for many of our students.
Thank you to all the students and families who are taking in part in the “Superheroes Race Around the World”. Don’t forget to send your mileage to Claire Moyle (email@example.com) . Nationally our team is in second place, as we have been knocked off our first place perch! So lets get cycling, walking and running over the weekend!
We are currently planning for how we will deliver Christmas events in college and we will release this to you as soon as possible. We are aiming to still have Christmas dinner and this will be over the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the last week of term. Don’t forget the last day at college for all is Thursday 17th December as 18th December is an INSET day.
Class at Home
Thank you to all those families who have been supportive in a difficult situation this week and I can confirm that the student concerned has recovered well. We look forward to seeing you all back in college on Thursday.
This week I have had to rotationally close one sixth form class each day. Next week we will continue with this based on the following days when students should not come to college.
Mon – 6VM
Tues – 6AG
Wed – 6KP
Thurs – 6EF
Fri – 6CN
This has worked smoothly to enable us to function as normally as possible and I am really grateful for families being so supportive.
If you do have any stocks of old carriers bags please do send them in!
Please remember that if a student shows symptoms in college we will need to be able to contact you quickly and you will need to come and collect them quickly. It is essential that we have up to date contact details. Also please remember that if a member of your family or support bubble shows signs of Covid 19 then the whole family/ bubble must isolate immediately. Failure to follow this could quickly lead to large scale closure of classes as has happened in other schools. We all wish to avoid this.
Thank you for your wonderful support to all the staff. Please remember to send students in with a coat and I hope you all have a restful weekend.
As always, if you have any concerns or issues please contact me.
Please find attached letter that was sent to all parents via email on Saturday 14th November regarding confirmed case of Covid-19
Dear Parents/ Carers,
This letter aims to clarify some changes that we need to make in relation to the national lockdown, which will be in place from midnight tonight and is based upon guidance that was sent to schools this morning re clinically vulnerable staff and students and guidance sent after school re changes during lockdown.
Sixth form students have been sent a letter about the potential impact on their provision with staff not being available and we have also spoken to all families of students in the sixth form about changes to guidance for adults with Downs Syndrome.
Family drop off and pick up:
Please don’t arrive early and I now need to ask family members to wear a face mask at collection and drop off of students especially at the family gate in the evening.
I have asked staff to wear masks/visors in communal areas from tomorrow.
Year 11 students based in Marvel:
I have had really reflective, mature discussions with the two year 11 form groups based in Marvel. We have agreed that they will wear face masks as they move around the college from tomorrow.
Discussing the lockdown:
Staff have prepared detailed resources to use to structure how we discuss the lockdown and why schools are open for use in most classes tomorrow. This will help frame for all students the way we are discussing the issues and provide a consistent language that all staff will use. These will be uploaded onto our website.
This link takes you to the updated guidance (which does not specifically refer to special schools).
I understand that many families may feel anxious about the lockdown and increasing rates of Covid 19 transmission nationally and we will ensure that we continue to operate as safely as possible for all while continuing to provide the best possible education and care.
Where families have highly specific concerns please speak to me or form tutors so that we can ensure we address them.
Many thanks for your ongoing support.
Re: Sixth Form provision in lockdown commencing 5th November
One of the challenges in planning for the new lockdown is that I am still waiting for detailed guidance in regards to staff who are in the CEV (clinically extremely vulnerable) category.
I have at least seven staff in this group, most of whom work in the sixth form with students who need and rely on an experienced staff who are known and used to those students.
At the present time I am trying to get clarity with those staff about whether they come into that category or not, and the implications for this. It is clear that the implications on normal running are potentially significant, even though all those staff would want to continue working.
I am writing to warn you that I may need to introduce a rota system for sixth form students where sixth form classes will come into college for reduced provision, as opposed to every day.
As soon as clear guidance is in place and staff have received their letters from the NHS, I will be able to confirm what I need to do. My aim is not to create anxiety but to give you some time to reflect and plan on what would be needed for you in this event.
If you wish to discuss this please contact me or James Winchester, DHT or Lisa Moore, Head of Sixth Form.
Thank you for your continuing support and hard work.
I hope you have had a restful and fun half term and did not get too wet!
You cannot fail to be aware that on Saturday evening the Prime Minister announced that from Thursday England will go back into a form of lockdown. At this point all schools are expected to fully operate and will be completely open to all. This is in line with all the plans and guidance that have been released since September. However, being fully open is dependent on a full staff complement being available for work, suppliers being able to meet deliveries and orders and the transport teams operating normally.
This lockdown is not a repeat of the previous lockdown and will be a very different experience for all who are students or who work in schools. At this point there has been no further guidance released in relation to schools although this is hoped for as people will have anxieties about a number of issues.
There are some things that we need to be aware of immediately that we can tell from the announcement:
- The after-college clubs that were due to start this week based in off site sports clubs cannot now re start.
- Hiring of the college to external groups will cease on Thursday (this will cause us significant financial issues).
- Off site trips will have to be reviewed if they are using public transport and/ or facilities in the community.
Can I also take this opportunity to remind you:
- Students arriving on their own or dropped off by families must not arrive before 8:45am.
- People can only come into college if they have a planned appointment.
- If a student or any member of your household is showing the symptoms of Covid 19 then the student must not come into college. If they have shown symptoms they must only return if they have had a negative test or been off from college for 14 days from the first symptoms (and are now better) or have completed a 14 day period of self-isolation if a family member has shown symptoms.
- Please make sure all students have a coat. Even with the heating on we have windows and doors open.
If you have any specific worries or questions about the new lockdown and the impact on college please contact the college office on Tuesday morning when the senior leadership team and I will be available to talk to you.
Thank you for your continuing support and cooperation.
The half term has gone very fast and I am sure we are all now ready for a half term break. Students have coped with the new routines remarkably well and the adjustments to them that we have made. The current Covid scenario means we are still not able to return to normal, this is especially the case with off site visits to community settings and in whole college events. This means that the run up to Christmas this year will not include our carol concerts at the church or in college, Christmas dinners will be a small group event over a number of days and we will have to continue to ensure we are following good hand hygiene and separation procedures.
There has been lots of discussion in the media over the potential for a fire break half term lasting two weeks. Under all circumstances it is likely that special schools will be expected to remain fully open. However, I will know the details of any changes at the same time they are announced and if I need t contact you over half term I shall do so by email and text.
We have sent to subject based learners over the last week a number of links to work and on line resources with the relevant passwords to use in case we do have to move into a remote learning scenario. If your young person is based in Marvel, Da Vinci or Avatar and you have not had this please check their bags!
Our website has a large home learning section on it and we will launch a new website after half term where the home learning section is better laid out and easier to follow.
Family consultation evening:
Thank you to all of you for taking part in telephone family consultation evenings. It is good to be able to share student successes with you.
Normally in November we would have a transition evening for students and families in Key stage 4 and 5 to come and talk to providers and discuss their offers for post 16 , 18 and 19 education, care and training.
This will not be possible this year, however all the providers are doing on line video and on line prospectuses to help people make choices.
We are also sending links for families to these events and videos where they are being provided to us. Please make sure you are looking at these and if you want to discuss options please contact Carrie Anne Sillence (Senior teacher KS4) or Lisa Moore (Pastoral Lead for Sixth Form). It is important that time is spent looking at these and considering the future.
Please make sure that students bring a coat into college each day and this is named.
Show Racism the Red Card
I am delighted to be able to tell you that we raised £115.55 from last Friday’s charity day. Thank you for your support.
Superheroes Race Around the World
The Oak Grove College Community are signed up to Race Around the World as part of the Superheroes Winter Wheels Challenge. Starting on 5th November and finishing on 6th December 2020, we are trying to contribute to the Super Team’s total of 40,750km. Our Super Hero is Adam Hills and we are committed to complete at least 1,000km. So walk, run, push, cycle, swim, skateboard, or any other exercise you fancy. Everybody can take part: staff, governors, Friends of Oak Grove College, parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles! Just submit your weekly mileage to firstname.lastname@example.org and at the end of challenge a prize will be awarded to the family or individual who has completed the most distance. Get fit, keep fit and most of all have FUN!
What if a student is tested positive for Covid 19 over the holidays?
If over the half term a student tests positive for Covid 19 it is vital that you inform us. Please do this by emailing me on email@example.com as we must still discharge our track and trace responsibilities. Please do not wait to email us, please do it straight away.
Development work over the half term holidays:
Over the half term we will have some building work undertaken with new doors fitted in to the West and East block and some installations of new therapy equipment for students to use. A thorough clean of the college will also be undertaken.
Thank you for your ongoing hard work, support and cooperation in what continues to be changing times and a unique situation. I would also like to thank the entire staff team who have worked tirelessly to keep all students happy, learning, focused and safe during this time. To keep groups of students separate and have split lunches and breaks means that all staff have had shorter and fewer breaks and I know you would want to thank them for all they are doing.
Final ask of the half term:
If you have a store of carrier bags you no longer need. We will happily take them off of you and use them in college!
Sixth Form Consultation:
Thank you to families for attending the consultation meeting or contacting me to discuss the potential changes. You will all have received a letter from me outlining the current sixth form consultation that West Sussex County Council is currently leading. Please ensure you read the consultation document (which is on the website) and complete the feedback questionnaire at: www.westsussex.gov.uk/oakgrove
The consultation closes on 5th October and the Cabinet Member for Education in West Sussex, Nigel Jupp, will make a decision whether to proceed shortly after that.
The end of the day routines take longer to ensure we keep groups from different parts of the college separate, and we want to avoid this taking even longer in wet weather. If anyone has any old, working golf umbrellas you no longer need please send them in with your young person. Alternatively if anyone works for a company that wants to pay for 20 of them for us, that would be really appreciated.
Swimming Pool Reopened:
The swimming pool has now reopened and is fully open for use. I am sorry that it has taken much longer than was originally planned as much more work was needed to be done. I am also able to start reopening the pool in a small way at the weekends for hiring. Last financial year we earned £77,000 from hiring facilities in college but, due to Covid 19, we have earnt nothing this financial year. We will only hire facilities when we know there are adequate control measures in place, and when it does not compromise the safety of all members of the college community.
I am delighted to be able to thank Highdown Church for a £1,000 donation to the Friends of Oak Grove College.
To keep the college community safe it is important that families only come into reception if they have an appointment to meet someone. Appointments will be limited to times when there is little student movement, not at the start or end of the college day, and only if we have an appropriate room that can be used and cleaned after the appointment. Please do not just turn up to reception. If there is something we can help with please email us or telephone us.
Parents Evening in October:
Normally in October we would hold face to face parents/ carers evening with form tutors. We will not be able to do this on a face to face basis this year, and we are currently working through the way in which we can do this. It is likely to be spread over a number of sessions with remote or telephone appointments.
When schools were asked to plan for a full reopening, we did so with the hope and expectations that we were moving back towards a more normal situation. That is currently not likely and further restrictions have been placed on the community. These do not apply to college, however we do need to ensure we are taking a safe and pragmatic path for all. This means that we will start doing a very limited number of off-site activities at the end of the month, but no visits will take place to supermarkets, shops or cafes.
If you drop your young person off in the morning, please keep clear the coned off part of the disabled parking spaces so that we can ensure fast and safe unloading of the minibuses. Please do not arrive before 8.45am. Please also ensure all students have tissues with them so they can ‘catch it and bin it” any sneezes or coughs.
Please ensure that all students have all of their belongings labelled.
Update to families 200925