I want to share with you the school’s plans as part of Elmwood’s increased opening from Monday 8th March 2021. I appreciate that this has been a difficult time for you all and trying to interpret all of the information on the media probably hasn’t helped. As school we have taken pride in our ability to maintain purposeful relationships with pupils and parents/carers and, through these  safe and well visits, we have seen how anxious some of our Elmwood Community have become at the thought of returning back to face to face education. For some pupils this has been an easy transition and you have maintained your placement positively as well as overcoming the many changes to the curriculum, pupil groupings, different staff and lateral flow device testing.

One trait that we all have to demonstrate during this next part of our journey is “compromise and compassion”.  Since 4th January 2021 we have adopted a modified timetable (4 day provision or 2 day provision) for the “most vulnerable” and this has been extremely purposeful for our pupils social, emotional and mental health difficulties as well as their academic progression; in addition to supporting the mental health and well-being of parents/carers within the family home. This model has enabled us to provide a purposeful and safe environment to our most at risk of becoming unwell from COVID-19 due to them falling within the clinically vulnerable category or members of their family home falling within the clinically extremely vulnerable category; without this compassion a significant number of our community would have further isolated during this period of time.

Therefore, for the remainder of the Spring Term we would like to continue that compassion and compromise for other members of our school community who meet the criteria for a re-engagement plan, (as part of the DfE guidance), due to poor attendance before national lockdown restrictions, significant mental health difficulties (including anxiety driven by COVID-19) and the need for additional support to prevent further prolonged absence. Based on evidence we have identified a selection of pupils who would benefit from this flexible approach and you will individually receive a call from our Family Support Team to talk more in depth about this offer. In order for us to show “Care for Others” we all have to compromise and complete home learning for 1 day a week which will enable these pupils (who for some haven’t been in education since the first national lockdown) to have the dedicated emotional support as well as 1-1 face to face teaching to bridge the gaps (as identified within our COVID-19 Premium Plan).

Regarding lateral flow device testing, we have decided to maintain testing on site (twice weekly) for pupils instead of adopting the home testing kits provided by the DfE as we feel that there are many battles and pressure points first thing in the morning and adding an additional barrier will only escalate behaviours and further jeopardise your positive relationships as parents/carers. However, if you do feel that your child would prefer to commence home testing then please contact myself to discuss.

The Risk Assessment for increased opening has been consulted upon with staff and Trade Union representatives and we are confident that as a school we have reduced risk to the lowest reasonable practicable level possible.  

I trust that I can count on your support and model the behaviours aligned to “The Elmwood Way”.

Your child will receive in the post/e-mail a copy of their individual timetable for the remainder of the Spring Term. If your child receives transport from SEND Transport then this will continue for the days your child is in school.     


Lee Cross