Woodlands Secondary School

Learning Together

Covid-19 Updates

Return and Recovery Plans Woodlands School - September 2020


As you are probably aware the Government has announced that all children will return to school in September. However, our experiences this term have taught us that the situation can change very quickly. As a consequence of this we have put together three potential plans for September.

Our intention is that Plan A will go ahead and all children will return in September unless the situation in Luton with COVID-19 changes.


Government guidance published 2nd July:

It is our plan that all children will return to education settings full time from the beginning of the autumn term. Returning to school is vital for children’s education and for their well-being. Time out of an education setting is detrimental to cognitive development, particularly for disadvantaged children. This impact can affect both current levels of learning and children’s future ability to learn, and therefore we need to ensure all pupils can return to their setting sooner rather than later. Attendance will therefore be mandatory again from the beginning of the autumn term. There cannot be a ‘one size fits all’ approach to account for every scenario. Education setting leaders will be best placed to understand the needs of their settings and communities, and to make informed judgements about how to balance delivering a broad and balanced curriculum with the measures needed to manage risk.


Essential measures include:

  • a requirement that people who are ill should stay at home
  • robust hand and respiratory hygiene
  • enhanced cleaning arrangements
  • active engagement with NHS Test and Trace
  • formal consideration of how to reduce contacts and maximise distancing between those in school or college and wherever possible minimise potential for contamination so far as is reasonably practicable


How contacts are reduced will depend on the setting’s circumstances and will (as much as possible) include:

  • grouping children together
  • avoiding contact between groups
  • arranging classrooms with forward facing desks
  • staff maintaining distance from pupils and other staff


The school office is only partially manned over the summer holidays. In order to avoid a huge volume of phone calls all communication will be via the website, social media and Parentmail. A decision will be made as to how we will be proceeding, in the week ending 24th August 2020.  This will be based on advice from the LA and Public Health England.

Parents will be informed by Parentmail, the website and social media should we need to follow Plan B or C.   Your class teacher will inform you whether your child is in week one or week two during the last catch up of the term should we need to instigate Plan B.


For children being transport by the PTU

Buses will be running at capacity so children will not be socially distanced. Transport are looking at how best to do this to keep students within their ‘bubbles’ however, if you can teach your child to wear a face mask it will potentially reduce the spread of infection as we head towards the winter months.







Plan A

  • The virus is in decline nationally
  • The number of cases in Luton falling.
  • The ‘R’ number is under 0.9
  • Social distancing is 1m.

The majority of children will return to school in September.


Children will be in department/class ‘bubbles’.


Lunches will be in classrooms.

Children who are extremely clinically vulnerable will have individual arrangements

Slightly reduced day for the first half term (to be reviewed).

Arrival time 9.00am

Departure time 3.00pm

The ‘extra’ time will be used by school staff to ensure bubbles are set up safely and to allow time for cleaning.

All staff in school.

All children to wear school uniform.

Plan B

  • The virus is increasing nationally or locally.
  • The 2m social distancing rule is reinstated.
  • Partial lockdown, national or local is reinstated.

Children will come into school for a week with a normal length day and then have a week off.


Children will be in department/class ‘bubbles’.


Lunches will be in classrooms.

Vulnerable and Key Worker children will attend full-time.



Autumn 1

Group 1 children will be in school on the week beginning:

7/9, 21/9, 5/10, 19/10


Group 2 children will be in school on the week beginning:

14/9, 28/9, 12/10


All staff in school

All children to wear school uniform.

Plan C

  • There is a second spike in the virus.
  • Full lockdown is reinstated either nationally or locally.

The school is closed to most students.

Vulnerable and Key Worker children will attend full-time.



School will reopen with Plan B when restrictions are lifted.


Staff on a rota.

No uniform required.


School website:


Official Woodlands Secondary School


Update 26th June 2020


Following the Government announcement on Friday 19th June we are looking at the best way to get all our children back into school safely in September. Social distancing is being relaxed to 1m which makes life a little easier. We are working with our colleagues from transport to find the best and most efficient way to get children to and from school safely. Although the timetables may look a little different, our planning will ensure children will be in class groups with consistent staff.  Parents of children with complex health needs will be sent a questionnaire next week asking about provision for September. School is closed over the summer but I will keep you updated via the website and social media with our plans. Obviously all our planning is dependent on the number of cases of COVID-19 declining in Luton.

18th June 2020


Dear Parents and Carers,


We have begun to increase the number of children attending school based on the following criteria:

  • Vulnerable children and the children of key workers

  • Parental requests for a place

  • A thorough risk assessment of the ability of the child to socially distance and follow good hygiene practices

  • The availability of appropriate PPE for staff working with children who cannot social distance.

We are working with individual families to try and tailor support for students who will find the changes in school difficult. Students may not be:

  • in school full time

  • In their usual class groups

  • In their usual class rooms

  • With familiar staff all the time

  • Following the usual curriculum

We are aware this may cause anxiety but much of this is beyond our control.

At this time we are not insisting that any child or young person attends school unless they fall into the vulnerable/at risk category, due to safeguarding. It has been entirely a parental choice.


For those that are in school we have rigorous cleaning protocols in place, temperature checks, social distancing both around school and in the classrooms. All pupils have their own equipment on their desks, no bags/home/school books or clothing is permitted to come into the building. Parents are contacted at the end of the day by email, spare clothing is being kept in school and pupils just bring in packed lunches in a labelled lunch box. Movement around the building is limited, pupils who are brought into school on transport are two/three to a bus and each department has their own entrance and exit. Students brought into school by parents are collected from cars by staff. All meetings are conducted virtually and there is limited access to the school for professionals and parents.


For those pupils unable to attend school school staff have kept in touch with families by telephone every other week, throughout Lockdown, to check in on how the pupils and families are, to supply school work and information about activities that can be carried out at home and to follow up on any issues arising. 

We are of course planning for September but the information coming from the Government at the moment is very unclear and changes daily. Free school meals is a really good example of this, there was a complete u-turn on Monday and vouchers will now be provided over the summer which is great news for a great many families. 

We will have a plan to share before we break up for the summer and we will stick to it unless there is a second spike and schools are forced to close again. It is unlikely that ‘normal’ schooling will resume even in September so we are looking at how best to meet the needs of all our students.


We are at the end of the phone if you need us. I am in school every day and the family workers are available if you need support.


I understand some parents are concerned about the lack of support from the school during this pandemic and I am happy to address individual concerns. Please contact me. Throughout this difficult time we have tried to support families and have individual conversations with parents about when/ how their child can return to school and this has been entirely parental choice, the exception being if they have a shielding letter.

As requested I will send out a weekly update via email and the website.


Kind regards,


Debbie Foolkes

Head Teacher

Many parents are asking if schools will be open after Easter. This is the latest guidance from the Department for Eucation.


Updated guidance for parents and carers on the closure of education settings


1.3 How long will schools and colleges be closed for?

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, schools, colleges and childcare providers will be closed to the majority of pupils until further notice.


Woodlands will therefore following this advice and be closed for the majority of pupils until further notice.


Stay at home and stay safe.

Free school Meal Voucher Update


The week beginning 23.3.20 voucher is coming from a company called Wonde, and they say the email to the parent should go through by the end of the week.


The week beginning 30.3.20, and all future weeks, is coming from a company called Edenred, who are the supplier operating the DfE run scheme. Every school in the country is registering so this may take a little time however our account has been updated to say an eCode is being delivered, so hopefully this will be emailed to the address provided. 


Ten parents requested a physical voucher from the Edenred scheme, those relating to week beginning 30.3.20 were posted first class on Friday.

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:

  1. LAC students.
  2. Students on a CP or CIN plan.

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


Dear Parents/Carers,


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.


Debbie Foolkes

Head Teacher




19th March 2020


Dear Parents/Carers,


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.


Debbie Foolkes















































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.