Monday, September 14th, 2020
Thursday, September 10th, 2020
Dear Parent Wednesday 9th September 2020
The full opening of school has gone extremely well and pupils are clearly very happy to be back in school. Arrival and departure procedures have, though complicated and busy with high numbers of children and adults, gone smoothly. It is going to be important that drivers and escorts stick to the allocated drop off and collection times.
You will be aware from the news that we are once again seeing a significant rise in the infection rate of COVID19 across the country, this is now impacting upon our school with a steady increase in children, family members, staff and household members, displaying symptoms of COVID19. This means such persons have to self-isolate and not come to school, in order to stop others being at risk of infection and reduce its spread. We are understandably extremely worried with the impact that this is having on school now and in the future. If children, staff or household members have the virus, it will result in classes being closed for weeks on end, cause severe disruption to staffing across school and cause people to be unwell.
It appears that the symptoms children could have of COVID19 can be different to that of adults, children may also complain amongst other things, of headaches and tiredness. The main symptoms for us all to be aware of are; a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
As this is such a serious and complex matter, if your child is at all unwell, we ask that you keep your child away from school, seek medical advice and request a COVID19 test. If you are in any doubt about your child’s health, please keep your child off school and seek medical advice. We know that this causes inconvenience to everyone and some of you may feel we are being overly cautious; however, we are simply trying to protect children, families and ourselves from becoming ill.
I also have to inform you that, national guidance instructs us to isolate children or staff with symptoms of COVID19 and we will then contact you requesting you to come into school to collect your child if they are ill. School staff and school transport will not be able to take your child home in these circumstances.
I hope that the information below will be helpful to you, it is taken from the NHS website Check if you or your child have COVID19 symptoms
When to self-isolate and what to do
What is self-isolation?
Self-isolation is when you do not leave your home because you have or might have coronavirus (COVID-19).
This helps stop the virus spreading to other people.
When to self-isolate
You must self-isolate immediately if:
• you have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
• you’ve tested positive for coronavirus – this means you have coronavirus
• you live with someone who has symptoms or tested positive
• someone in your support bubble has symptoms or tested positive
• you’re told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
• you arrive in the UK from a country with a high coronavirus risk – see GOV.UK: how to self-isolate when you travel to the UK
How to self-isolate
You must not leave your home if you’re self-isolating.
When to get a test
Get a test as soon as possible if you have any symptoms of coronavirus.
The test needs to be done in the first 5 days of having symptoms.
Get a test to check if you have coronavirus
Tell people you’ve been in close contact with that you have symptoms
How long to self-isolate
If you have symptoms or have tested positive for coronavirus, you’ll usually need to self-isolate for at least 10 days.
You’ll usually need to self-isolate for 14 days if:
• someone you live with has symptoms or tested positive
• someone in your support bubble has symptoms or tested positive
• you’ve been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
I very much appreciate your support of what we are doing and respect our determination to keep all members of our school community safe.If you require further clarification and discuss this letter with me, then please contact me in person to discuss your situation.
Jonathan Tearle, Executive Headteacher
Friday, September 4th, 2020
Dear Parent Thursday 3rd September 2020
We hope that you have had an enjoyable and safe summer break and that your child is ready for their
return to school on Tuesday 8th September 2020. This letter will highlight some of the key arrangements
we have made regarding how school will operate for the foreseeable future, so that school is a safe as
we can make it. We ask that you carefully read through this letter and that it will address some of the
questions you may have and also understand that the guidance and information which we receive from
the Government does change on a daily basis and is difficult to keep up with.
The Government have asked schools to:
• manage confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the school or college, in line with current
public health guidance – this means a child may be asked to self-isolate for 14 days if they have been
in close, face to face contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus
• ensure that everyone cleans their hands more often than usual, including when they arrive, when
they return from breaks, and before and after eating – this should be done for 20 seconds with soap
and running water or hand sanitiser. (At Mowbray we have purchased additional hand washing
stations so that all class bubbles have direct in room access to handwashing facilities.)
• promote the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach, to ensure good respiratory hygiene
• enhance cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces more often,
• minimise contact and encourage maintaining distance as far as possible and for pupils to where
possible stay within specified separate groups (or bubbles)
• all staff to where possible maintain distance between individuals, this includes pupils and adults.
Further information can be found by following this link Government information on ‘What parents need
to know about schools in the autumn term’
We continue to implement strict protective measures in school to ensure pupils and staff are as safe as
we can make it from the virus, with strict hand washing regimes, cleaning regimes and as best we can
implement social distancing.
North Yorkshire County Council have provided health and safety risk assessments for us to complete and
use, for the wider opening of school, this ensures that we have in place recommended procedures.
These risk assessments have been agreed with unions and are fully in place.
The latest evidence and advice from the Government is that children aged 12 and over should wear a
mask where social distancing cannot be safely managed and there is widespread transmission in the
area. There is different advice for Primary and secondary aged pupils on the wearing of masks in school;
when they are to be worn; how children should put them on (hand washing prior to putting them on
etc.); if the school is in an area of national intervention and when social distancing is extremely difficult.
Our view is this, if parents feel their child is safer and are able to wear a face mask, then we will
respect their decision to do so.
Our position on the wearing of face coverings by staff has not changed from last term, staff are strongly
encouraged to wear either face masks or visors in the school building.
Transport arrangements to school and on any school trips,
Children’s arrival and departure times are now staggered to reduce congestion in school and reduce
potential risks, your transport operator should have contacted you with specific information relating to
your child, these times are;
08.45 drop off and 14.45 collection
09.00 drop off and 15.15 collection
09.15 drop off and 15.15 collection
NYCC advise where it is possible for SEND pupils to use a face covering that they should do so, but
understand that some pupils will not be able to do this due to the nature of their individual needs.
Government and DFE advice are changeable , the decisions on wearing face masks by staff and pupils is
one which we have the discretion to make and have detailed our decisions in the above paragraphs.
All pupils in school will be taught in their class form groups, these groups are known as ‘bubbles’ and all
pupils have already been grouped by need and ability. The pupil’s will, where possible, work solely in
these groups and spend the whole day working in the class groups with the same staff, this will reduce
the chance of anyone catching or spreading the COVID19 virus. However, specialist teachers in our
secondary department, will be allowed to teach the specialist qualifications to pupils in different
‘bubbles’. Therapist’s, such as Speech and language, Physiotherapists, Occupational therapists and
other visiting health care staff will resume working directly with pupils.
Pupils will have breaktimes, however the timing of these will be staggered so that pupils are as far as
possible not mixing with other pupils outside of their ‘bubbles’. Similar arrangements of staggered
timings will be made for eating lunch and arriving and leaving school. There will not be large gatherings
such as assemblies, whole school breaktimes and lunches will be served and eaten in classrooms.
When pupils return in September, they must wear school uniform and for hygiene reasons possessions
brought into school must be kept to a minimum. Those pupils who are able to use their own
pen’s/pencils etc, are asked to bring them into school and take them home each day, this will reduce the
transmission of the virus.
Currently an additional sick bay is being built opposite the school entrance on the Bedale site, this will
be completed by Tuesday 8th September, this is so we have the capacity to isolate pupils who may be
displaying symptoms of COVID19 and it will in the future be able to be used as either office space or a
Building work on the Ripon site has continued during the holidays, with the first phase of building work
now completed, creating three additional new classrooms, link corridors with learning areas, work areas,
toileting facilities and outside play areas. The second phase of build work to create two additional
classrooms; changing areas, PPA work areas and an office, is well under way. The facilities at the Ripon
site have now been brought to the same high standards as our Bedale site, meeting the needs of both
pupils and staff.
For several months considerable work and thought has gone into how school will fully open and how it
will run, however due to the complexity of arrangements, high numbers of pupils and staff, there may be
some problems and glitches, but we know that they we will be well managed and quickly addressed.
The COVID19 pandemic is something which we continue to live with and as we fully open with the return
of all pupils and staff, there will naturally be an apprehension which pupils, families and staff may feel.
We know from the practices and procedures which we put into place last academic year that we will be
operating in the safest and best way we can. As is very clear when the new school year starts, we
anticipate a great excitement from our pupils, who will be keen to return to school, not just to learn, but
to see their friends and see all of us again. There is no doubt that there will challenges ahead, but
together we will address these and support our pupils, our families and our staff, as we always have
Jonathan Tearle, Executive Headteacher Karen Pickles, Head of School
Thursday, August 20th, 2020
Congratulations to all our pupils on the successes they have had with their qualification and exam results.
As you will be aware there have been significant problems with qualification and exam results, this has affected us and unfortunately BTEC results from Pearsons have not yet been published, they should be released next week. Also OCR Entry level results are not being released until the 25th August.
From looking at the results which we have, everyone can feel very proud of the results we have received so far and that they reflect our predictions.
Jonathan Tearle, Executive Headteacher
Tuesday, July 7th, 2020
Free recorded concerts for schools and families
We are delighted to share our new Online Video Library for Schools with you. www.livemusicnow.org.uk/lmnathomeschools
This is a set of inclusive, participatory concerts recently recorded by some of the young professional musicians that work with Live Music Now. The videos are inspired by their work in SEN settings and are designed to be inclusive for children with additional learning needs.
Online classroom and family sessions
Live Music Now works has moved some of its work with schools and families online. We are now delivering:
We need music more than ever to help children and young people rebuild confidence and reconnect with peers and staff.
Tuesday, July 7th, 2020
Tuesday, July 7th, 2020
We have a parent governor vacancy, please click on the link for more details.
Friday, June 12th, 2020
Dear Parent and Carer
I hope that you are all keeping well and managing through these challenging times. It has now been 12 weeks since schools went into ‘lockdown’ and we are rapidly approaching some key times in our school year. Significantly, our Year 11 pupils officially leave on the 26th May 2020, it is unfortunate that the final months of their school career will have been spent away from school and we hope that when they are in school for two days on the 25th & 26th June, that they can all get into school and we all say our farewells, this will be an emotional time for us all.
In previous letters to parents I have said how we are increasing the numbers of pupils attending school and this is understandably based the challenges children and families are facing at home. The increase in numbers of pupils is gradual and is limited by school transport and how many pupils can be safely accommodated on our premises, we all need to keep safe through socially distancing from one another. School transport are struggling to provide additional vehicles because they too have to enforce social distancing, this dictates to us the number of children we can bring back into school. An example of this is that they are unable to transport our year 11 pupils into school later this month.
We are re-opening our Ripon site from 29th June 2020 and Mrs Oliver is arranging which pupils will be brought back into the school for the remainder of term. All the Ripon staff will be returning to work at that site, several of whom have during the lockdown period been working at our Bedale site.
I thought it would be helpful to provide the national data on the attendance of pupils across England. The Department of Education (DFE) on the 9th June released national attendance data for the lockdown period, the national average was 7% and 10% for special schools, our attendance is considerably higher at 19% and I am very pleased that we are managing to accommodate so many children in school, in comparison to other schools.
It is difficult to plan ahead how we admit more pupils to school, other than a few weeks in advance, without in particular the rules on social distancing changing and without the means of addressing transport challenges. I share parents’ frustrations, caused by the restrictions on everyday life to control the spread of the COVID19 virus and like all of you, look forward to the restrictions being eased. In the meantime, we must all continue to manage as best we can and as soon as the restrictions change, we too then change our practices.
As we start to think about the end of this term and planning for autumn term, I must remind everyone that school closes for the summer holidays on Friday 17th July 2020 at 3.15pm, not the earlier time of 1pm.
I ask that parents who are facing challenges from your children, which you feel you can no longer continue to manage, to alert school staff and we will look into seeing whether we are able to offer additional support. Yours sincerely,
Jonathan Tearle, Executive Headteacher
Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020
As everyone is probably aware, those schools which were closed during ‘lockdown’, due to the COVID19
pandemic, re-opened yesterday. In my letter to parents on the 22nd May 2020, I explained how we were
extending the opening of our school to additional pupils and that we will continue to steadily increase the number
of pupils who are in school. We are prioritising pupils whose parents are key workers; pupils who are LAC (Looked
After Children); pupils who are extremely vulnerable at home and those parents who need to return to
Staff have completed a ‘situational’ risk assessment on each pupil, this is based on the information we have
gathered from all those persons who have been in communication with you these past few months and with
direct conversations with parents. We are using this information in order to prioritise specific children who we
know, from the information gathered and shared between school staff and parents/carers, to identify who needs
to be in school.
The Government on the 26th May 2020 issued specific guidance to schools regarding Supporting children and
young people with SEND as schools and colleges prepare for wider opening , by clicking on this link you can access
the full document. This guidance asks special schools to work towards a phased return of more children and
young people, without a focus on specific year groups and informed by risk assessments, this is what we have
been doing throughout the COVID19 pandemic and is the approach which we will continue to follow.
I know that parents are raising questions with staff about their child returning to school, if you are unclear about
how we bring more children back into school, then please contact either Mrs Staple (Head of Secondary), Mrs
Oliver (Head of Primary), Mrs Pickles (Head of School) or myself.
We like all of you, are challenged by the restrictions placed on us and in order to keep pupils and staff as safe as
possible, we have introduced recommended additional health and safety measures in school, which I referred to
in my previous letter. The effect of these restrictions, is that we cannot accommodate in the school buildings all
our staff and all our pupils and local authority transport is unable to bring in high numbers of pupils, as they too
have to enforce social distancing on their vehicles. Unfortunately, due to the Government restrictions, a high
number of staff are not able to work in school. The challenges all schools are facing, will not change until we are
allowed to fully re-open by the Government and the threat of the pandemic is substantially reduced.
My thoughts and best wishes are with you all during these challenging times.
Friday, May 22nd, 2020
I hope that you are all keeping well and bearing up to all that is happening around us. I write this letter to you as
an update regarding how we are extending the opening of school and I deliberately am not using the word ‘reopening’ as we have never closed. This letter is also a follow on from my letter to you on 14th May following the
Government’s announcement about the re-opening of schools. There is considerable news coverage about the
safety of children returning to schools and in order for us to make the school as safe as possible, we will be unable
to operate as we did prior to the pandemic and that we have introduced additional hygiene procedures
I mentioned in my letter of 14th May 2020, special schools have been instructed to “work towards a phased return
of more children and young people without a focus on specific year groups.” Our plan is that we will continue to
steadily increase the number of pupils who are in school and prioritising pupils whose parents are key workers;
pupils who are LAC (Looked After Children); pupils who are extremely vulnerable at home and we are now also
adding another risk category, for pupils whose parents need to return to employment. Pupil numbers
June are increasing by 50% and we are planning to continue to bring more pupils into school,
parents of pupils who are returning then have been contacted.
As you would expect there are many new health and safety regulations and other considerations which need to
be put in place. We are taking the approach that pupils will be working in a group, each group using just one
room, this approach is being referred to as working in a ‘bubble’, effectively with pupils accessing one classroom
with one group of staff and one group of pupils, in order for us to minimise contact with others.
Consequently, we have to keep a safe number of pupils and staff on the premises and with the social distancing
guidance remaining that we should keep 2 meters apart from one another, the number of pupils and staff in
classrooms is considerably reduced. Until these guidelines change the numbers of pupils and staff attending
school will remain reduced, we simply cannot accommodate every pupil and every member of staff.
Future plans to bring more pupils back into school
Yr. 11 pupils who are leaving school at the end of June are to return on Thursday 25th & Friday 26th June 2020
(this will be their last day in school), in order for us to help prepare them and to say our farewells as they embark
on the next stage of education.
In the upcoming weeks school will be making transition arrangements for pupils who are moving from our
primary department into the secondary department in September and looking at how these pupils are brought
back into school to do this, as yet this we have not finalised this.
In addition to this we are planning how we can bring Year 10 pupils back into school, prior to the end of term, to
help in their preparation for their final year in school and the qualifications which they will be taking.
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Parents/carers who are going back into work and there is no-one to care for child at home, are to contact
school and then we will assess whether we are able to offer a place for your child. Please understand that we
have very limited places, as we cannot safely accommodate high numbers of pupils and staff in school and we
have a high number of staff who are unable to work in school.
We are requesting that pupils do not come into school with personal possessions, other than what is needed in the
classrooms, this will reduce possible infections as COVID19 is carried on all surfaces.
If pupils have symptoms of COVID19 at home, they must not be sent into school and you must follow NHS advice.
If pupils have symptoms of COVID19 in school, we will isolate them away from others, staff will wear full PPE and
you are to collect your child from school.
Home to school transport– understandably social distancing in transport is difficult to achieve and having to reduce
the number of occupants in vehicles, this does therefor mean that they can transport reduced numbers of pupils.
Parents who are able to or wish to transport their own child to school are encouraged to do so and North Yorkshire
County Council will pay a transport allowance to families.
I have also been asked by school transport to remind parents of current Year 11 pupils, that they must apply on line
for transport to your child’s next place of education (where they are going in September) applications are online
from Monday 1st June on the council website.