Longford Park School - CORONA VIRUS updates. We will continue to keep you updated as we receive Government guidance. Detailed information can be found on this website under our Key Information / Safeguarding section.
Yesterday the Department for Education (DfE) released ‘Guidance for full opening: special schools and other specialist settings’. We are delighted that the plan is for all children to return to school full time from Wednesday 2 September. The risk to children and young people themselves of becoming severely ill from coronavirus is very low and there are negative health impacts of being out of school. Returning to school is vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing. Time out of school is detrimental to cognitive and academic development. This impact can affect both current levels of learning and children and young people’s future ability to learn, and therefore we need to ensure all children can return.
The prevalence of coronavirus has decreased and the NHS Test and Trace system is up and running, this enables us to plan for September with confidence. Over the next week we will use the guidance to formulate a strategy and plan for Longford Park so that everyone is clear about the measures that need to be in place to create/maintain a safe environment within our school. I would greatly welcome the opportunity to go through our strategy, risk assessment and plan with parents via Zoom on:
TUESDAY 21st JULY 4PM
We will do our best to answer questions during this session. Please put the date in your diary and details to join the meeting online will follow in advance.
Below is a link to the DfE guidance released yesterday:
Thank you for your continued support as we navigate our journey through lockdown and into COVID recovery. I appreciate your patience as I know how frustrating it is to support your child with very little concrete guidance regarding the future. We are continuing to follow the government’s guidance by “welcoming back as many children and young people as can be safely catered for” whilst prioritising attendance “based on key transitions and the impact on life chances and development… creating part-time attendance rotas so that as many children as possible can benefit from attending…” This process will run until the end of the school year on Wednesday 22 July.
Regarding September my best guess is that infection rates will be managed appropriately via NHS Track and Trace to allow all children to be back in school on a fulltime basis as planned on Wednesday 2 September – this is currently what the government are communicating too. We are hoping to have further guidance from the government over the coming weeks, when this is received I will share with you all at the earliest opportunity. Longford Park leaders are planning our COVID recovery which will have a distinct focus on well-being, communication and socialisation. As a leader of Trafford Teaching School Alliance (TTSA) I am also working in close partnership with the Local Authority and many other local schools to support a borough wide recovery plan. We are all absolutely desperate to have all our children back in school and receiving the support they need.
I will continue to keep you posted
Unfortunately, last night at 9:30pm, I received a letter from Trafford’s Corporate Director for Children’s Services “strongly advising” us to delay our wider opening until Monday 15 June – we are therefore not able to have the number of children in school this week as we had planned. This is due to the much publicised R value in the North West and concerns it is above 1. Therefore, we will need to review our cohort of children we had allocated places to for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week. We will continue to open tomorrow for children of key workers and our most vulnerable. A member of the leadership team will call all the parents of children originally allocated places for this week to inform whether your child will still be in school this week as planned or start back next week. I am very sorry for the late notice and the confusion this causes.
Please see attached an update below from Mr Taylor.
Further update & key messages
Please see the letter below (Trafford Update - Re-opening of Schools) from Jill McGregor who is Trafford’s Corporate Director, Children’s Services - I hope you find this letter informative.
You will note from the letter that Trafford have instructed schools to close to pupils on Monday 8th June and Tuesday 9th June for ‘Teacher Training Days’ to plan, prepare and train staff in advance of some more children attending on Wednesday 10th June (as long as the government measures have been met to prove it is the right time to open schools). The week before (week commencing 1st June) school is closed to all pupils due to the Whit holidays where we are having essential maintenance work and a deep clean carried out.
I appreciate this is a tremendously tricky time for everyone, we continue to be there to support everyone the best we can with home learning and provide school places for key worker children and our most vulnerable.
Preparing to open for more children is highly sensitive and it is taking a large amount of time to risk assess properly – I can assure you when we do open more widely we will follow a strategy and plan that mitigates the risk of spreading COVID-19 as much as possible. You are aware that the criteria for wider opening of special schools are different to mainstream schools. At Longford Park the following children will be prioritised:
• Children who are subject to a Child Protection Plan
• Children within families who require significant support from social care (Children in Need)
• LAC children
• Children whose parent(s) are considered ‘Key workers’
• Children approaching key transitions
• Children most in need from our ongoing risk assessments
Over the coming days we will contact parents from our list drawn up from the above criteria to offer places, it is your choice as a parent to accept the place or not.
I would like to raise with you some crucial information. The media and government have widely communicated that the potential increase in primary aged children attending school will be for nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6. It is very important to note that this is guidance for mainstream schools NOT special schools. The guidance for special schools is a follows:
Government Guidelines for Special Schools
Special schools, special post-16 institutions and hospital schools should work towards welcoming back as many children and young people as can be safely catered for in their setting. They may want to prioritise attendance based on key transitions and the impact on life chances and development, and to consider creating part-time attendance rotas so that as many children as possible can benefit from attending their setting. Special settings should work with local authorities and families to ensure that decisions about attendance are informed by existing risk assessments for their children and young people, which should be kept up to date.
In addition, the government have promoted Monday 1 June as the date for this potential increase. However we have been informed by Trafford Local Authority that schools must honor their set holiday dates. Longford Park’s Whit holidays commence after school on Friday 22 May with a return on Monday 8 June. We do however intend to consult with parents that are key workers and most vulnerable to see if any places are required for children for the four days of the week after bank holiday Monday (25 May – 29 May). School will be closed for ALL children week commencing Monday 1 June for essential maintenance work and a deep clean.
Have a good weekend and I will provide further updates next week
Prime Minsters Address
I’m sure you will have watched the Prime Ministers address yesterday. I’m also sure it will not be as simple as opening school for reception, year 1 and year 6 children on 1 June whilst continuing to have key worker and most vulnerable children in school.
Over the coming days my priority will be to:
- gain a better understanding of the details of the government’s plan
- seek a clearer picture of the scientific evidence the government has based this plan on
- listen to staff, parents, colleagues, unions and Local Authorities to agree on how best to support our whole school community
- identify a plan that best suits the context and needs of our school
Please bear with us, we will get this right but will need time gather the correct guidance and use this guidance according to the resources we have available
I will keep you informed
These are challenging times, if you require any assistance, here are some useful numbers:
- School – 0161 912 1895
One of our leadership team will be available during school hours.
- Thrive Trafford -0300 330 9073
Trafford Council have set up a central helpline for people who need community support
- Trafford Children's First Response - 0161 912 5125 during office hours (Mon - Fri 8:30 - 4:30)
or 0161 912 2020 out of hours (Emergency Duty Team)
- StarLine home learning helpline: 0330 3139162
Trafford Local Authority have set up a link on the Council website to support parents who require assistance to locate a provision in light of a school closure. Queries should be raised on-line via the Family Information Service (FIS) and the link is https://www.trafford.gov.uk/residents/contacts/secure/family-information-service.aspx The FIS will liaise with officers to provide a solution
Support for Families and School Places Update 23 April 2020:
Good afternoon everyone
I wanted to communicate some key messages to all our families. Firstly, I really hope everyone is doing OK in these very trying circumstances, it is a challenge for everyone. With this in mind I am in discussions with our staff team, Trafford SEND Team and Children’s Social Care on a daily basis to risk assess the needs of all of our families. The COVID-19 situation is a challenge that constantly changes for everyone and is hugely impacting on our daily lives and wellbeing – this is the case for us all!
Therefore, it is important to stress that we are there to support in any way possible. Our capacity to have children in school is extremely limited as we balance the governments lockdown and social distancing measures with providing places for our key workers children and most vulnerable, again as per government guidance.
These ongoing risk assessments have enabled us to provide places for our children that are in greatest need, we have enabled capacity to help families as circumstances change, we will continue to do this wherever we can. Unfortunately, guidance from the government is conflicting for the education of our children as all have Education Health and Care Plans and have varying levels of vulnerability, however if we were to have all of our children in school we would not have safe staffing levels and we would not be able to provide adequate social distancing and hygiene measures to safeguard our whole community from the spread of Coronavirus. This is the same for all of the local special schools who are working at similar levels of pupil attendance as ourselves. Please help us with our ongoing risk assessments by communicating daily with our teachers on Class Dojo. Also, you can call the school office on 912 1895.
IMPORTANT FREE SCHOOL MEALS UPDATE
FREE SCHOOL MEALS INFORMATION
We are using the national free school meals voucher scheme. We are hopeful the government will process our application over the coming days and those of our families eligible will receive an email supermarket voucher. It has also been announced that families will receive a voucher that covers the Easter holidays.
NEW APPLICATIONS FOR FREE SCHOOL MEALS:
If your circumstances have changed recently, you may be eligible for free school meals. To make a new application follow this link https://www.cloudforedu.org.uk/ofsm/sims-trafford
There are many scams at the moment, parents should be warned to be vigilant and that the school will never ask for bank details to organise these FSM vouchers for them
There are 5 community hubs across Trafford which are up and running to support people through the COVID-19 outbreak. They are located in Altrincham, Gorse Hill, Partington, Sale and Urmston but anyone needing local support must be directed through the dedicated helpline to avoid overcrowding at hub venues.
This is the council’s official information about it:
The centres are available to those living in the area who are self-isolating or vulnerable and are being run by volunteers from across Trafford. They have been set up and coordinated by Trafford Council, Trafford Housing Trust, Thrive, Trafford Stronger Communities Board and other local community groups who were already helping to support local residents when social distancing measures were first put in place. The centres officially opened on Monday 23 March and their exact location in Altrincham, Gorse Hill, Partington, Sale and Urmston will be given to residents who need support or those volunteering to assist when they call the dedicated helpline 0300 3309073. To avoid overcrowding the centres and preventing further unnecessary spread of the virus, their exact location is being kept quiet to enable social distancing to be maintained.
The Governing Body takes seriously its responsibility under section 175 of the Education Act 2002 to safeguard and promote the welfare of children; and to work together with other agencies to ensure adequate arrangements within our school to identify, assess, and support those children who are suffering from harm. We recognise all adults have a role to play in protecting our students from harm and that the child’s welfare is our paramount concern. All staff believe that our school should provide a caring, positive, safe and stimulating environment that promotes the social, physical and moral development of the individual child.
All staff are fully aware at time of induction and regularly refreshed on the statutory guidance provided by the government. Parents and stakeholders can access information on Keeping Children Safe in Education by the Department for Education by clicking the link below.
More information regarding safeguarding can be obtained through our policies section of the website.
Any concerns should be raised in the first instance, please contact our designated officers at school on 0161 912 1895 or use the contact form below.
Our Designated Child Protection Officer is:
Andrew Taylor HEADTEACHER
Our Deputy Designated Child Protection Officers are:
Zoe Fernandez HEAD OF SCHOOL
Angela Nealon ASSISTANT HEADTEACHER
Steph Meadows ASSISTANT HEADTEACHER
Please use to contact our designated child protection officer.