25 Sep

Graham

Hi all,

I hope you are all well.

This week we have seen the launch of the Parent Apps.

You should have all received the links from your school administrators.

We have really high hopes for this revised method of communicating with you all. We envisage that it will become the “go to” app for everything connected with your child, the staff and the school. We’ve also rolled out to our families at Horizons and those on Future Finders. There are links to all our social media sites. Our websites are next for a re-vamp.

We’d love to hear your feedback.

I’ve got a few of bits of news that relate to the National agenda. As you know, I am a member of the National SEND reference group that meets fortnightly with Government officials and ministers.

Last week we discussed some of the challenges that the re-opening of schools has inevitably given us. I was able to feed back that, from an Oldham and Tameside perspective, we have seen a “mixed bag” over the last week. On Monday we had a confirmed case at the Springboard Project and on the advice of the Oldham Public Health team we had to close the whole building and school. This is on top of losing almost half the children at Spring Brook Upper School the previous week. However, we have seen Hawthorns, Hollinwood, New Bridge and Spring Brook Lower operating at a relatively normal capacity. I was able to report that many of our ongoing challenges relate to our colleagues who have to support their own families. As we have seen many more children being sent home from their own schools and nurseries, it has had an inevitable impact on our staffing solution. There has been a definite challenge throughout the week. It’s really important to remind government our staff have families too!!

On a really positive note we were told that over the last few weeks the Department for Health, Public Health England and the NHS have been working on a (3rd draft) paper regarding AGPs (Aerosol Generating Procedures). This, if it travels through the triple lock of government departments, should offer real clarity and ensure we can return these affected children back into school.

I have signed our schools up for a research project to improve “testing”. Government are interested in how we can improve the testing system (!!). We are being contacted to collate our views on whether having immediate “testing on site” would improve the system and also how we could manage the instant saliva tests. More news to follow. I see testing as an absolutely crucial element in our battle against this virus.

There was a discussion about the roll out of the Government’s technological solution. Our Trust is at the forefront of supporting the Virtual/Remote offer for those children who need to self-isolate. All our children are reasonably well catered for and our “new-schooling” offer has been heralded as a model of good practice. We know we need to do more in relation to accessibility to the iPads for young people who need assisted technology.

Finally, I’d like to talk about the upcoming October half term holiday. Unfortunately, we won’t be in a position to offer our usual holiday clubs. As you will appreciate, ensuring our schools stay open along with the logistics of managing “bubbles” has, and continues to be, a monumental task. The risk of children and young people contracting Coronavirus is just too high and has the potential of closing our schools for more focused learning time. I’m sorry. I hope that by giving you plenty of notice you will be able to make alternative arrangements.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Best wishes,

Graham

You can find all Graham’s previous updates and blog entries here