Good Morning All
Please find attached an open letter from the Secretary of State for SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities). It explains the guidance schools are working from and that in these extraordinary circumstances the requirements of meeting everything on each child’s EHCP are being relaxed. This does not mean they we are not working hard to ensure as many of the needs of our pupils are being met as possible. One of things things we had hoped to do was to be able to open the school for a few pupils with the highest level of need – either because of key workers in their family or difficult home circumstances – for at least a few days before Easter. I am sorry to say that this is not going to be possible. At each step in planning something else has got in the way, in particular less and less staff available with the changing guidance, and difficulties in getting all the supplies we need to ensure everyone would be as safe as possible on site. Clearly as soon as you bring any people together (which is what everyone is being advised not to do at the moment!) the risk of cross infection increases. For what I am sure we agree are good reasons, most essential supplies are being focused on the health service. We continue to work hard on this and the LA is trying to help.
For pupils who usually receive a free school meal, we continue to hear that some sort of voucher system will be introduced. This is not ready yet though. As a result, what we are planning to do is try to send out e-vouchers as soon as possible (for those that are not on e-mail we will send a physical card). Judy our Business manager is working hard to set up the facility to do this.
We have asked all our teachers to make sure they contact each family by phone or email at least weekly. Please let them know if you are experiencing any difficulties. We are liaising with a number of services in the local area and we may be able to help in some way. If you need some support in between these calls, please e-mail the school at (please do not use the address) or phone the main school number 01493 720158. No-one is now working in the school office on site, but emails and calls are being monitored from home.
To help with our planning for having pupils back on site I did send out a form. I am sorry that my poor IT skills caused this to be sent 5 times before I got it right!! I have now had about 50 replies so thank you. For those who have not yet replied can I remind you to complete only version 5 of the form. We would still like to hear from as many as possible. The form does imply in places that certain children should be coming to school. This is not the case. As you can see again in the attached letter, if children can be cared for at home, they should be cared for at home. As I said we need to minimise contact with others unless absolutely necessary.
I should let you know that we are hearing about some of our pupils who are believed to have the virus – none are confirmed. I am glad to report that although they have been poorly, none have had to be hospitalized and all are recovering at this point. If any had been in school on the last day we were open, the period of time for cross infection has now passed. One of the things we have been organising is a deep clean of the school before anyone returns to it.
I think that is all for now, but I will try and keep you up to date with any developments.
Very best wishes

Minister Ford’s letter can be viewed here