To all our parents and carers

I hope you are all continuing to fare reasonably well during this ongoing Covid time. I do think the time is beginning to tell on many now, so please let us know if you think there anything we can do. We now have 51 pupils who we are seeing face to face in some form each week, but I remain aware that there are others that would have liked some time in school. I’m afraid however, that whilst we are operating under the current restrictions and risk assessment, I don’t think that it is going to be possible to extend the offer to come into school much further.

What we are starting to look towards is September. We have very little specific guidance for special schools yet from the Government, but I think everyone is clear that if at all possible we would like to get all children back into school in September – we are no different. There are however some things that we need to keep in mind and plan for:

We have 15 pupils who will be new to our school who will not have had any chance to visit and prepare for this big transition

Nearly 100 of our pupils will not have been into school for 5 months.

Many of our pupils will be moving to a new class group, or of staying in the same base room will have different staff and pupils in ot. Usually we would have had a chance again to have transition afternoons, play times etc where they would have got to know what is happening.

As a result, we, like all the other special schools in Norfolk, are planning for a transition back to school period at the start of the year. At the moment we are thinking this will be for a 4 week period when pupils will attend for just 50% of the time. We will hope that all our staff can be back, so having smaller pupil numbers will enable us to get to know the pupils well, support them through any anxiety, and generally help them settle back into their new school routine. If all remains good with regard to Covid-19 both locally and nationally, we would hope to have all pupils back all of the time from 5th October. I am sharing this with you in order to help you prepare for September, but it does come with a word of warning that things could change – this is our best guess at the moment.

School will still not be quite back to “normal”. I am working through a new risk assessment which includes pupils eating in classrooms rather than together in the dining room and having new, larger “bubbles” in which to operate. Each bubble would have either 2 or 3 classes. Children within a bubble could for example meet up for play, but would not have contact with children in a different bubble. Likewise, the staff in each bubble would remain separated from staff in other bubbles. This will mean that some of our shared facilities will not be open for all, but will be accessed on a limited basis by those that need it most – eg hydrotherapy for our pupils with a physical disability. We are still working through issues relating to cleaning and school transport.

What I would like to ask you is when we have only 50% of pupils attending, which way of organising this would suit you and your child best. The alternatives would be either attending for a full week then having a full week at home; or attending for 2 set days each week – either Mon/Tues or Thurs/Fri with alternates Wednesdays. To help with this would you mind completing the form which can be reached via this link:

http://tiny.cc/po8nrz

Can I thank you in advance for your help with this.

Kind regards

Pam

Pam Ashworth

Headteacher

01.07.20