Firstly, I would like to thank you all and acknowledge your amazing efforts over the past 3.5 months since the government announced that schools were to shut down to help control the spread of the Coronavirus. It has been a difficult period of time with so many unknowns, frequently changing information, needing to stay at home, so many shops and services closed, some schools and respite facilities closed and the constant worry about the health of yourselves and those you love.
You have all done a truly amazing job of supporting your families and continuing their education by implementing the learning activities sent out from school.
I am writing to share essential information with you on future plans.
Cherry Oak School will be closed during the summer holiday. Quite a bit of building and maintenance work that was to have been completed at Easter has had to be postponed until the Summer holiday so the school is ready for the start of the new school year. Teachers will cease making their weekly calls to you at this time and will not be able to respond to emails. Our timetable of virtual learning and resource deliveries will finish. The last day of term will be Friday 17th July 2020
If you need advice from other professionals during this time please refer to the contacts details on our website:
Plans for September
The government has announced that all schools will re-open to all pupils in September. We have been advised by the Department for Education, that primary pupils do not need to socially distance. All schools have been advised to operate ‘bubbles’ in their setting. Due to the small size of Cherry Oak School, we have decided that we will be operating as one school bubble. Due to a number of factors, including movement of staff, mixing on transport and unpredictable movement of pupils we would not be able to guarantee that smaller bubbles would be maintained.
Within our school bubble we will be putting arrangements in place to minimise large gatherings and where possible encourage social distancing. We will be avoiding the use of communal spaces, playgrounds will be used on a rota basis, and we will be limiting the number of visitors in school. We will have to adapt to a, hopefully temporary, way of working and will continue to make the most of technology available, for example through virtual assemblies.
We need to focus on children being in school initially and will have to restrict our usual enrichment offer. We will continue to follow government advice and work with community venues to determine when it is safe and appropriate for our children to access spaces and activities outside of school.
We have made the decision to postpone our planned training day on Wednesday 2nd September so that we can start to welcome some pupils back on this date.
Following a review of our risk assessment, we have planned to welcome all children back to school in a staggered approach. This will mean that all children will attend school for one day on either Wednesday 2nd, Thursday 3rd or Friday 4th September. All the staff feel very positive about this approach. By having a third of pupils in each day we will be able to give each child the focused individual attention that they will need. In September there will be many pupils who have not been in school for nearly 6 months. Although a number of children have been accessing school during lockdown, they have not been following their usual routine and things have looked very difficult. We are going to need time to allow all children to respond to being back in school and update their individual risk assessments. By taking this nurturing approach, we are confident that all children will be able to fully return to school as normal from Monday 7th September, unless government advice changes.
You will receive a letter informing you which day your child will be attending school in that first week of September.
We have now been informed that social distancing will no longer be required on school transport from September. If your child previously accessed school transport then they will continue to do so. If you do not wish your child to access school transport and wish to transport them yourselves, then mileage payments will be available. To apply, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
When the children return in September, we will be delivering a ‘recovery curriculum’. We will be focusing on transitioning all pupils back to school, with an emphasis on supporting their mental health and wellbeing. We will also be assessing pupils to determine their knowledge and skill levels after a 5 month break from full education. Our approach to this will reflect the needs of our pupils and respect that our children rely on routine and structure and will need to feel confident that are returning to normality but without any unnecessary pressure. Details of this approach will be shared on our website.
All of this planning is subject to government guidance as it changes in response to the pandemic.
For as long as it is recommended, staff will continue to have access to personal protective equipment (PPE) for situations where they need to work in close proximity to pupils, for example in personal care.
We have 24 year 6 pupils who will be leaving us at the end of this term to start the next step of their education journey. We have been working closely with their secondary schools to ensure a smooth transition and wish them all well.
A small number of staff members are leaving at the end of this school year. We thank them all for their service to the children and families of Cherry Oak School and wish them well for the future.
They are: Imelda Lowe (retiring)
Susan Giles (retiring)
Elizabeth Bradley-Adams (promotion at another Special School)
Next week staff will be coming out to do our final deliveries of the term. If your child is currently accessing a place in school, this will come home with them.
We will be delivering a final resource pack with activities we hope you will enjoy using with your child over the summer. We will also be including a few treats/gifts.
The deliveries will also include some essential paperwork that you would normally receive at this time of year. This will include your child’s school report, information advising you of your child’s class for next year and the dates your child will be returning to school.
I hope that I will see you all virtually on my last assembly of term. This will take place on Friday 17th July at 2.30 pm and can be accessed by zoom (ID and password will be sent out via the app). In the meantime, I would like to wish you all a healthy and happy summer and will look forward to seeing returning pupils in September.
Head of School