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Dear Parent/Carers,

I do hope you are all keeping each other safe and well and are enjoying some of the slight lift on restrictions the government has allowed us. Like me, I feel sure you are trying to work out what is happening with schools and a potential reopening at present. There is a great deal of advice to consider and what I am aiming to do is take decisions that may very well change due to circumstances beyond my control. My main concern is ensuring the safety of staff and pupils in whatever decisions are made.

Having taken all things into consideration and listening to what staff are telling me I have decided to take the following course of action. At present we are only looking to get Year 10 back in some capacity and the detail is outlined below; I will be asking for the views of Year 10 parents and carers after half-term as their youngsters are affected first. I will be asking for all of your views over the coming weeks when we have a little more clarity about what September may look like. It is incredibly important that I listen to what you are all telling me as there are a huge number of different circumstances that each and every one of you is impacted by.

We at Woodlands are desperate to have our youngsters back in as soon as we can but only if safe to do so and in a careful and measured way so that we have taken all precautious to limit risk. Please do take some time to read the following, I have tried to make it as clear as possible and am always happy to explain anything on a one-to-one basis if needed.

Next week, the week beginning 25th May – half-term week:
We will remain open on Bank Holiday Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th May. However we will be closed to all staff and pupils from Wednesday May 27th. This is in line with other schools across the county and it is important that staff have a break. Some members of staff have been in every day since the lockdown was announced and I do hope you approve of me allowing them a few days to rest. We will of course be open again on Monday 1st June.

The week beginning Monday 1st June:
This is the date that the government has asked for schools to begin opening in some capacity. From this date there will be no proposed changes here. We may very well have increased numbers of key worker children, those with an EHCP and vulnerable pupils as the government have asked us to actively encourage these groups to return. We have been doing this on a weekly basis since we began so will continue to monitor.
Plan for Year 10 academic meetings the week beginning Monday 22nd June:
Given that it still remains quite a fluid situation the below may well change due to external factors but we are planning to see how are youngsters are as they will, I’m sure, be worried about their
learning and time away from us, not to mention concerns over safety. I am trying to take a common sense approach and do share concerns over safety as well as the time they have spent away from the classroom; safety comes first of course.

My original plan was to have Year 10 pupils in classrooms to get back some routine and to see how we could support in that way. I have had a complete rethink here and at present feel this is not the right approach given all safety concerns. Your children mean a great deal to me and I am making no apologies for putting their safety over learning at this awful time.

Teaching staff will be available to meet on a one-to-one basis with pupils from Year 10 to firstly see how they are coping with the mental strain this has had on all of us. We will then be discussing how they are doing with their remote learning. We need to establish where the gaps are and which subjects pupils are struggling with. We will then pass this information on via email to the relevant subject teacher who will contact them and support them with the issues raised; we will also email you as parents and carers so that you can continue to support them at home.
Each meeting should last no longer than 15 minutes with another 15 minute break in-between to allow for a safe transition. Pupils only stay for one 15 minute session and then go home; they are not expected to be in school uniform. We will ask the youngsters specific questions so that we will get all relevant information. Questions such as:
1. How are you coping in general?
2. What does your daily routine look like?
3. Are you able to access your home learning?
4. Roughly how many hours a day are you spending on the work?
5. Which areas are challenging? Which areas are too easy?
6. Which specific subjects do you need further support and which particular aspect?
7. Is there any way that we as a school can further support your home learning?
Bookings will be made in advance via an electronic system and we will call those without internet access so no one misses the opportunity. Details of the electronic system will be sent to Year 10 parents and carers separately.
All sessions will begin at 10.30am as many youngsters are not quite in their usual routine. The last session will be at 2.30pm to allow for a safe exit as we will have others in the school i.e. children of key workers, those with an EHCP and vulnerable pupils.
Each member of staff is there from 10.30am to 2.30pm with a lunch break for staff from 12.45pm – 1.15pm, so we could meet with 8 pupils each throughout the day. All meetings will be held in the atrium with a maximum of 12 pupils in there at one time and sat at opposite ends of the table, so we can see 96 youngsters each day with this set up. It may be possible that we could see some of our youngsters twice a week as we will run the following from Monday to Friday:
 First pupil – 10.30am-10.45am
 Second pupil – 11.00am-11.15am
 Third pupil – 11.30am-11.45am
 Fourth pupil – 12.00pm-12.15pm
 Fifth pupil – 12.30pm-12.45pm
 LUNCH BREAK FOR STAFF – 12.45pm-1.15pm
 Sixth pupil – 1.15pm-1.30pm
 Seventh pupil – 1.45pm-2.00pm
 Eighth pupil – 2.15pm-2.30pm
We will have to review this as we go along, depending on the needs of the youngsters and how well the meetings work. Having spent a great deal of time listening to staff, discussing with other head teachers and those at the local authority I am trying everything I can to get this right in the best way possible. I feel sure that this approach will not please everyone and I fully accept that some of you will not want your youngsters in Year 10 to even enter the building; I understand your fears having children of my own.
As I have said previously in the letter, and indeed all letters, please do contact me with any questions or concerns. I will be putting out a questionnaire to get all of your opinions after half-term and I am happy to discuss anything.

Should you have any queries or concerns of a safeguarding nature please to contact Hannah Tuna who is our Designated Safeguarding Lead via her email: htu@woodlandsschool.essex.sch.uk I have attached some useful safeguarding details as well.

I have also included, but I am by no means an expert in these areas, I just thought it might help:

How to apply for universal credit: https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit

Guidance on 0 hour contract support: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Basildon council offering support to the community: https://www.basildon.gov.uk/coronavirus-business

https://www.basildon.gov.uk/article/8000/COVID-19-Government-and-NHS-advice-for-the-general-public

Thank you once again for your continued support in this very difficult time. We will all endeavour to our very best by your youngsters and please do contact the appropriate member of staff if there is anything we can help with. The very best of wishes and the kindest of regards.

Yours sincerely,

David Wright

Head Teacher

 

We are continuing to follow advice from Public Health England in respect of Coronavirus.

We have not been put on alert to close and at present we have no plans to close the school for any additional time.

We are working closely with the Local Authority and if we are advised differently by Public Health England and the Department for Education to close, we will inform parents and carers immediately.

At Woodlands School, every pupil will have the foundations laid for a lifelong love of learning, through a fully inclusive and appropriately challenging curriculum, taught by outstanding and highly qualified teachers. Pupils will have all barriers to learning removed, ensuring a safe and stimulating learning environment where all make outstanding progress, allowing them the opportunity to be excellent.

Academic excellence for all is sought to allow each pupil to fully engage in Higher and Further Education. We expect every pupil to work hard and be focused on leading their own learning, motivated by high aspirations and being mentally and physically fit to learn, having built up the resilience to cope with anything.

Through our extensive extra-curricula program we provide opportunities for each young person to enrich and extend their learning, developing confidence through enjoyment.

Pupils are expected to listen, try their best and never give up in their pursuit of excellence. To thrive at Woodlands all must be hard-working, polite and self-disciplined. We have clear boundaries which support all pupils ensuring that they maintain the highest standards in their own behaviour for learning.

We are incredibly proud of our school and as a learning community we work with all stakeholders to allow our pupils to have the highest aspirations, be resilient and seek out all opportunities to be excellent.

David Wright – Head Teacher

 

 


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