I am writing to update you on the current situation. This is an extremely challenging time and all our staff understand that the parents of children with special educational needs find it particularly difficult and distressing.
The overriding message from the government is to stay at home, and this is because we have infection rates which are probably higher than the first wave, particularly in London where 1 in 30 people are believed to be infected. Unless people follow the advice, this will continue to rise. Approximately 1 in 100 people infected will develop serious illness. Many of our families are likely to have been affected by serious illness and bereavement caused by Covid. We have had several staff whose families have been affected by bereavement related to Covid, and one pupil who was hospitalised for more than 6 months, fortunately now recovering well.
The new strain of Covid does not appear to cause symptoms in most children that are any more severe than the previous strain, although we have a small number of children who are particularly vulnerable because of pre-existing medical conditions, who could become ill if they caught the virus. However, children are more likely to catch it, and spread it than before. This includes people in your family support bubbles. If we were fully open now it is likely the school would be continually closing bubbles, as well as greatly increasing risk to the whole community.
The risk of transmitting Covid in our school is greater than it is in most other schools. We cannot organise children so they have no contact outside the classroom with other bubbles – they are mixed on transport, they mix on the playground and they require a team of staff to work with each group who cannot avoid contact with each other. Our children also cannot be expected to socially distance, or wear masks, though we have worked hard with them to understand the importance of handwashing and good hygiene.
Our staff are not tested routinely, and have not been prioritised for a vaccine. If the government were to do this we feel it would really help us plan to open the school up fully.
We know you want your child to be in school. Our staff do too, they love working with your children, and seeing them learn and develop. However we can only have all children in school when it is safe to do so.
At the moment, by keeping provision only for the children of critical workers and our most vulnerable children who cannot safely be looked after at home, we can reduce the risks and keep our school community safe. We will provide remote learning sessions to all children at home and keep in touch through regular calls. We are updating the web site with more resources them, and parents on the Facebook site are sharing links that they find useful to support each other. If you are not already a member of the parent Facebook page, then search for ‘Parents of St Nicks Purley’ and request to join.
Throughout the coming weeks we are planning to expand on site provision as the risk of Covid reduces. In the first lockdown , we managed to provide rota’d provision for all pupils in the second half of the summer term, and it is our intention to do this again when it is safe enough to do so.
Thank for your continued understanding and support and I hope that you agree that this is the best course of action to ensure we all stay as safe as possible.
If you would like to support the case for teachers being vaccinated, please sign the petition:
The school’s private Occupational Therapist, Aniesa Blore, who currently works with the children in Key Stage 2, has written a new book “Parenting the Conundrum Child: The CAN do approach to uncovering their unique abilities”
It is a fantastic book with loads of advice about how to connect with and support your child with additional needs. It comes highly recommended from staff at St Nicholas. The link to the book on Amazon is below:
If you are concerned about what action to take in the event of Covid related symptoms please follow the flowchart below and also read our latest Covid risk assessment.
We look forward to welcoming pupils back on Monday 7th September.
Based on more recent information, we have made some changes to our COVID risk assessment which we believe will make the school as safe as possible, but make the learning experience for our pupils as normal as possible. The current assessment is based on a low risk of infection, which currently exists in the Croydon area, but may change if infection numbers increase.
The full risk assessment and strategies in place can be found here, but some key areas we are addressing are as follows:
- Frequent handwashing and sanitisation
- Deep cleaning of school on a daily basis
- Fortnightly treating all hard surfaces with a long term anti viral sanitiser that remains active for up to 28 days.
- WeDuc electronic communication to replace Home School contact books.
- Children will be expected to wear school uniform which should be regularly cleaned.
- Social Distancing
Whilst maintaining social distancing with our children is not practically achievable, we are making some changes to reduce prolonged contact between different groups of children:
- Staff to staff contact minimised by use of additional staff areas.
- Distancing in place (where possible) between staff.
- Assemblies streamed virtually to classes hosted in a different class each time.
- Protecting the School Bubble
- All visitors to the school to be checked and vetted on entry, providing contact details for Track and Trace.
- All visiting professionals required to provide risk assessment of their activity and have necessary controls in place.
- Parents bringing children in to school maintaining social distancing and children collected outside from the access path towards the bottom of Reedham Drive.
- If a child or adult shows symptoms of Covid at home household members must self isolate for 14 days or until the symptomatic person tests negative.
- Rapid response to possible outbreaks.
- If a child or adult displays symptoms of Covid-19 they must be kept at home for 10 days unless a negative test result is obtained.
- If they display symptoms in school they will be isolated by staff using PPE and must be collected immediately and tested, or isolate for 10 days.
- If a positive result is obtained, the school must be informed so that Track and Trace procedures can be implemented.
We are not using face masks routinely, but they will be used when dealing with any symptomatic individual, and may be used by staff outside the classroom where social distancing cannot be maintained. We have based this assessment on the fact that it is very important for our children to see facial expressions and feel that they are in a normal learning environment.
As we are now using WeDuc as our principle means of communication with parents, and please ensure you have downloaded the app and set it up using the email sent by the office.
Our fantastic new soft play room has been installed and we’re very pleased with it. Unfortunately, due to current guidance we will not be able to open it to children until September 2020 but we’re sure they are going to love it! It has a chill-out den for children who need it, 2 slides, lots of places to climb, squeeze through, hang on, and peek through. It will offer a great additional learning space where the younger children especially will be able to learn through play in a fun and motivating way.
Thanks to Soft Play Solutions who came all the way from Bristol to complete this for us under difficult circumstances and who have done a great job!
11th June 2020
We are so far very pleased with the way children have come back to school, following the arrangements outlined in previous emails. We look forward to inviting more pupils back on 22nd June.
We anticipate that most re-joining children will be able to go back in their usual class. However some pupils may need to join other classes to keep the numbers below 8 pupils per class. We will not know this until we know the numbers of pupils returning.
If your child has not yet returned and you would like them to have 2 days a week from 22nd June, please respond to the text being sent out today. Please do this even if you have already discussed it with you class teacher, and reply by midday Friday 12th June.