20th March 2020 – Coronavirus Update
Woodlands Secondary School will be closed to all students and staff until Monday 30th March.
We will re-open on Monday 30th March for students in the following groups only:
Both these groups will be required to attend school.
3. Children of Key Workers
Key Workers are those people identified in the Key Worker list identified by the Government advice:
If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision:
Health and social care
This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.
Education and childcare
This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.
Key public services
This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.
Local and national government
This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arm’s length bodies.
Food and other necessary goods
This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).
Public safety and national security
This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.
This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.
Utilities, communication and financial services
This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.
If you are a key worker and need your child to attend school, please complete and return the form below by Tuesday 24th March at 5pm in order that we can plan to safely look after your children.
Please click on the link to submit information
We need to know these names and numbers in order to ensure we have enough school staff available to support the children, to provide school meal, to ensure transport is available for those entitled to it and to ensure we can address medical needs.
Thank you for your continued support at this difficult time.
19th March 2020
Firstly my apologies for the lack of an update today both the website and ParentMail crashed due to the sheer volume of traffic.
I would like to give you the rationale behind our decision to close the school as of Friday 20th March.
A large proportion of our staff are either ill or self-isolating. Those in self-isolation will not be back in school for 14 days. Following a risk assessment yesterday it was decided it was unsafe to remain open beyond the end of the week with the number of staff available and rate people were developing symptoms.
Our children require structure, routine and familiar and well-trained staff to deliver the curriculum. We cannot currently provide this and this has led to an increase in student's anxiety and challenging behaviour. It will not be possible to ‘child mind’ children because this is not what they expect from school.
In our PMLD department children need trained staff to deliver medical interventions and personal care and this is not currently available.
Our students do not understand social distancing and proper hand washing so it is impossible to limit the spread of the virus among the adults working closely with them.
We were hoping for some further information from the DfE tonight but that has not been forthcoming.
Even after the Easter break it is highly unlikely that the school will not reopen fully as we have a number of staff that have underlying medical conditions such as asthma and diabetes who will need to seek medical approval before they can return to the front line. The Government would like all children with an EHCP to be in school but the reality is we need our staff back at work in order to do this.Our greatest priority is to keep our children and young people safe.
Please use the resources on the website daily to support home learning.
We will be working on a phased return starting with the children of key workers and the most vulnerable groups. The school will be deep cleaned and we will work with the PTU and school meals service to ensure that we can return to normal as soon as possible.
We will start working our plans next week and share them with you once they are finalised. We are living in uncertain times and we need to work together to support our children and young people.
Keep safe and well.
19th March 2020
After much thought and soul searching I have decided to close the school from Friday 20th March 2020, initially until after the Easter holidays (Monday 20th April). This may change and we will keep you updated via the website, Parent Mail and social media. We have a training day on Friday 20th so the last day the school will be open will be tomorrow Thursday 19th March 2020.
We are living in extraordinary times and this requires us to make difficult decisions. It is impossible to maintain the standards of hygiene required to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in a special school as our students do not understand social distancing and thorough handwashing. Our students fall into the vulnerable category and it is important we do everything we can to protect their health and well-being during this time of crisis.
The school has developed a Home Learning page on the website and we will continue to add to this during the closure period. There are work sheets, interactive activities, songs, videos and games. Please support and encourage children to access these.
This includes a social story to help our children and young people to understand the current situation. We will also upload videos and messages onto Facebook (Official Woodlands Secondary School).
We will have a skeleton staff in school during term time to pick up messages and respond to questions, coronavirus permitting.
Stay safe and well. Our thoughts are with you all during this difficult time.
A copy of the school prospectus can be downloaded from the website.
Paper copies are available, on request, from the school office.
If you have any other queries, please contact Sam or Natalie in the school office.