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 this can then be passed onto teachers who can then give feedback and support planning of future remote learning.

Home Learning –

YouTube Channel –

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.


  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.


  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


Update to Families 210108

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