Dear Parents/Carers

We are coming to the end of our second week back after the Christmas festivities with loved ones. Staff have worked extremely hard during this period of time to balance the ever changing advice and guidance from Government alongside the mental health and well-being of those within our Elmwood Community. You will have received contact from Senior Leaders regarding your decision for your child to take a leave of absence during the National Lockdown as you feel that it’s not safe or in their best interests to access on site provision at Elmwood – this is your decision and school will work in collaboration to support you and your child during this very difficult time. However, if you do feel that the school’s control measures are suitable in maintaining the safety of your child we will work in collaboration to identify what type of provision would best suit your child at this time.

The in school provision will be as close to your child’s academic year timetable, with a focus of seizing this opportunity to build upon the successes during the Autumn Term 2020 and further enhance pupil progress. The home learning will also look to match your child’s curriculum opportunities throughout the week – but as you know the curriculum offer at Elmwood is very special and focusses on each child’s EHCP outcomes and looks to develop them through a variety of enriching experiences that are extremely difficult to replicate within the family home (without the specialist qualification) for instance; Design & Technology; Social Use of Language Programme; Science; Physical Education and Out and About. We haven’t let this obstacle prevent us addressing these important parts of the curriculum and Mr Hawkes has generated 3 key videos to support you and your child in accessing the home learning offer from Elmwood School

Some key facts:

  • 46% of the school population have requested some degree of face to face provision.
  • 51% of the school population are in receipt of face to face provision (this is above the most common percentage (31-40%) achieved by other Special Schools and Alternative provisions in a  recent poll by the NAHT).
  • 88% of Year 11 pupil will receive some degree of face to face teaching to support their examination          
  • 84% of pupils in Pathways Base are receiving some degree of face to face teaching.
  • 46% of pupils in Transition Base are receiving some degree of face to face teaching.
  • 30% of pupils in Nurture Base are receiving some degree of face to face teaching.

We will be reviewing the in school provision on a 2 weekly basis to see if we can increase the in school provision (in collaboration with parents) and will be working alongside the Local Authority making sure that each and every family receives the “Right Help at the Right Time”.

Those pupils identified as the “most vulnerable” will be in school Monday – Thursday 8.40 – 14.25 (a normal school day). Those who have requested some face to face teaching will be allocated either Monday – Tuesday 8.40 – 14.25 or Wednesday – Thursday 8.40 – 14.25. Friday will be for Year 11 pupils only to support them on a 1-1 basis 8.40 – 14.25.

Those families in receipt of Free School Meals will receive appropriate supermarket vouchers (for their requested supermarket) that will be posted on a 2-week rotation. We have taken this decision based on the success of this offer during the first National Lockdown, as well as feedback from parents and pupils regarding the food that is provided within the parcels, and due to sensory needs aligned to their EHCP, wouldn’t be an appropriate response. If families still feel they require additional support with food parcels please contact James Hawkins and Bev Bailey for effective signposting of local provisions who can help further.

For those pupils who are not in receipt of any direct face to face teaching we will be providing weekly purposeful activities (minimum expectation of 30 minutes) that will be pre-arranged with staff to support your child’s mental health and well-being as well as providing appropriate respite for family members. This approach was extremely well received during the first National Lockdown and something we want to build upon further. If you feel that your child would benefit more from sessions like this, then please get in touch and we will see if we can address (maintaining within the guidance and staff capacity).

The Elmwood School community has been tireless in promoting the effective use of the Lateral Flow Test (Rapid Test) and of the pupils receiving face to face teaching we have successfully mass tested 88%, with an effective and appropriate testing protocol to test staff at least weekly and in response to serial testing (as and when required). I want to thank you all for promptly providing verbal and written consent in enabling us to place this additional control measure in place (I know that many staff and pupils do feel more reassured).    If you haven’t yet provided written consent/objection, please do so.  Even if your child is not currently in school, we will have your wishes on record in readiness for their return if testing is to continue.

Please do not hesitate contact School if you need any further advice or support during these difficult times.

Yours sincerely