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January Lockdown

Dear Parents and Carers,

Thank you all so much for your support over the last few days, things have changed frequently but Parkside is ready to go with both remote learning for most pupils and onsite provision for those most vulnerable and those pupils who have parents working as critical workers during this lockdown.

We have taken on board many lessons from the previous lockdown and have decided that keeping that sense of community going needs to be paramount. Therefore we will have a weekly assembly and two social online gatherings a week for all pupils.

I am fully aware that this is a time of immense pressure on families, especially families caring for children with special needs. Please stay in touch and if you need any additional help please let us know.

The remote learning offer has been sent out in another letter, the expectation for this is please do what you can. The main aim of the next few weeks is to keep everyone safe and as happy as possible. If the remote learning is proving too much to handle then please do not pressure yourself or your child. It may be that the remote learning team can offer you more activities to support wellbeing instead.

Parkside will be delivering the soul food boxes again from next week, if you find yourself in circumstances where a food box would be appreciated please let us know. The same with registering for free school meals.

Kindest regards,

Mrs Ellis-Gage


Dear Parent/Carer

Remote Learning

First of all, I’d like to thank you all for working with us at Parkside for the very best possible outcomes for your child. In these challenging times it is important for us all to have a clear idea of what to expect during this lockdown. At Parkside we have been working hard to develop a remote learning offer for your child which is now in place.

Our Offer

During this lockdown this is what you should expect with regards to remote learning:

● Your class teacher is creating and compiling remote learning packs that will be made available to parents/carers immediately according to the type of technology you have available at home. We have conducted a technology audit so that the teachers can tailor the work to what you have available at home. This will take the form of:

1. A physical paper pack, already pre-printed, if you do not have the necessary technology available to access the online learning.
2. A link to the class Padlet where you can access online learning including video links. We will not be doing live teaching as this is not appropriate for our pupils and there are safeguarding concerns around this approach in special schools.

● The remote learning packs are informed by your child’s EHCP outcomes. The remote learning packs will include English and Maths and one other subject as part of your child’s daily learning and a remote learning overview so you can see what is informing the learning.

● Your child’s teaching team will be in daily contact with you either via email or phone depending on what you have available to outline the day’s learning.

● There will be a twice weekly, a zoom circle time to check in with the pupils socially and emotionally and so that they can keep connected to their class.

● The headteacher, Mrs Ellis-Gage will hold a weekly zoom assembly every Friday at 10am for all pupils, here is the link, we look forward to seeing you

Parental/Carer Engagement

It is important that your child engages in home learning and that you give regular feedback via email or school so that your child’s teacher can support you to the best of their ability.

Some tips for learning from home:

● Try to keep to a regular routine and structure for the day, think about start and end times for learning.
● Distinguish between weekdays and weekends, and make it clear when the school day is over at home.
● Plan breaks and exercise into the day to keep your child active.
● Don’t be afraid to modify the learning to what works for you at home you know your child best and what you have available to make the learning engaging and meaningful.

Please keep in touch with us and let us know if you need any further support with remote learning, or if you have any questions. I’d like to thank our teachers who have worked hard to create this remote learning offer as well as teaching full time. This is new territory and we are all learning how to navigate it and develop it for our pupils so any feedback on how it can be improved and what is working well would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your continued support.

Yours faithfully

Mrs Webster-Lee Mrs Ellis-Gage
Assistant Headteacher Headteacher
Curriculum Lead for Remote Learning


View The Parkside Challenge Video here!

Unions and returning to school

Dear Parents and Carers

I am sure you will have seen in the news that there has been a lot of speculation regarding the safety of fully re-opening all schools.  The unions for teachers and teaching assistants have issued advice and guidance for their members to invoke their rights not to return to a workplace they consider unsafe due to rising rates of Covid infection.

Today we have heard from over 30 staff members that are following their union guidance and believe it is not safe for them to return to teaching full classes at Parkside School and we are expecting more letters to come.  The letters have been received from staff across the school, and it affects every year group.  We also have some staff that have received further instruction to shield, have been instructed by track and trace to self-isolate and are off sick due to other illness.

Today there was a meeting between the Chair of Governors, Head Teacher and Deputy to decide on the safest course of action.  The Governors have decided that the safest option is to keep the school open for critical worker and vulnerable pupils only for the next two weeks due to health and safety due to safe staffing levels.  All other learning will be remote.  This will be reviewed with hope that the conditions have improved enough that staffing can return to normal from 18th January.

Vulnerable pupils will be classified as pupils that have a social worker or are in situations where it is not safest for them to be learning from home.  The school will be in touch with these families.  If you are a critical worker and therefore require a critical worker space for your child please email the line to confirm the details of your job/working hours and your child’s name and class.

As I am sure you appreciate, a change of circumstances like this involves a lot of coordination, especially with other agencies such as transport.  Therefore we are closing for an additional inset on Tuesday 5th as well as Monday 4th. This will give us chance to contact all parents/staff etc and ensure on Wednesday 6th we have Parkside as safe as possible for pupils that are attending and remote learning will be up and running for those pupils remaining at home.

Just to clarify the main points:

  • School is closed to all pupils for Monday 4th and Tuesday 5th January to organise both the testing and in-school and remote provision for pupils
  • 6 – 15th January all pupils that deemed vulnerable by Parkside or are children of critical workers will be educated in school.  ALL OTHER PUPILS will receive remote learning
  • 18th January we intend all staff and pupils can return fully.  (However we are aware that this is a fast moving and ever changing situation)
  • Stay and Play will not be running over these two weeks.

I would like to thank the staff for their quick response to their union guidance which has enabled us to plan quickly.

I am aware this news will be a relief to some families and a concern to other families.  The decisions we are making as a school are all coming down to health and safety for pupil welfare and ensuring we have safe levels of supervision.  They have not been taken lightly and will be under constant review.

Yours sincerely

Carolyn Ellis-Gage and Stephen Hobbs

Head Teacher and Chair of Governors

Important message from Head Teacher and Chair of Governors about school return

Dear Parents and Carers

I am sure you have seen on the news and in the media that have been some changes to the start dates for Secondary pupils.  I thought I would clarify what this means for pupils at Parkside.

In Norfolk this does not affect Primary aged pupils (year 3 – 6).  All Primary pupils at Parkside should continue to attend full time school as it is still considered mandatory at this point in time.  We can only provide remote learning and authorise absence for pupils in Primary that are self isolating in line with Government guidelines (isolating as they have symptoms, are a close contact or live with someone with symptoms or a positive test.)  I am sorry if you were hoping that pupils from Primary could receive remote learning, but we have to follow what has been set out by the Government at this time.

Secondary (year 7 – 11) and Pathways pupils at Parkside are encouraged by the Government to come into school full time but have the option of requesting a leave of absence for the first two weeks.  If you would prefer your child to stay at home for the first two weeks of the school term due to the steep rise in positive cases in Norfolk, this will be authorised as a special circumstance, in line with the Government’s guidance.  They will not return until 18th January, but will have remote education in place instead for those two weeks.

If you would prefer your child to stay home for the next two weeks please email  with your child’s name and class.  We will contact you regarding the remote learning.  We are unable to offer a mixture of days in or days off;  pupils will need to be in school for the two weeks every day or out of school every day receiving remote education.  If you are a critical worker and would only require a place in school for your secondary-aged child on your working days, please email the same place and explain your requirements and why.  Please let us know if your child is staying home by Monday 4th January so we can organise the remote learning and let transport know.

I do feel it is important to make it clear that as we are in tier 4 we do not have all our staff available in school; some need to shield as per the guidance.  This alongside the higher illness rates means that we already have high staff absence at Parkside.  If it becomes unmanageable and therefore we have unsafe levels of supervision we will have no choice but to close classes in order to keep the pupils safe.  Our intention is to be as fully open as we can safely be, for as long as we can.

We will continue to work with the families of pupils displaying dangerous behaviours such as spitting/purposeful coughing/not sticking to their bubbles in order to limit exclusion but at the same time ensure Parkside is safe for all pupils and staff.  This may include the introduction of part-time tables for example.  Whilst we are aware these behaviours may be an expression of stress, given the circumstances we are in with a global pandemic, we will need to have safety as the bottom line whilst supporting all pupils.

The school is in the process of working out the logistics of the in-school testing for Secondary pupils and we will send out further information at the start of the school term regarding this.

I hope you all had a lovely break and we look forward to seeing pupils back in Primary from Tuesday 5th January and Secondary either from the 5th or 18th January.

Yours sincerely

Carolyn Ellis-Gage and Stephen Hobbs

Head Teacher and Chair of Governors




Dear Parents and Carers 

Coronavirus cases are rising in Norwich and across Norfolk and we know that this is a worrying time for our school community. 

We’ve already put in lots of measures in accordance with the latest Department for Education guidelines to keep pupils safe, including grouping staff and pupils, keeping distance between groups and doing extra cleaning and disinfection.  We are also in close contact with Public Health and the Local Outbreak Management Team to make sure that we have all the necessary Covid-19 measures in place. 

School is the best place for children and young people to learn, build their confidence and support their wellbeing and development.  The rise in cases means that it is more important than ever that we all work together to follow the guidelines and make sure we keep each other and our school safe.

If you need information about what to do if you, your child or someone else in your household has symptoms, is a close contact or has been told to isolate then please visit

You can also find helpful information for your family at

We know you will wish to protect family, friends and our community by self-isolating if told to.  Isolating is such an important part of controlling COVID.   Please remember it is a legal requirement to isolate if you have tested positive or have been told to do so.  If you are asked to isolate at any point and are worried for any reason, help and support is available by contacting 0344 800 8020, this includes financial support and help accessing food and medicine.

Finally, there are things that we can all do to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Wash your hands regularly – for 20 seconds, with soap and running water, especially before and after school. 

Wear a face covering in public places, including shops and public transport and when picking up or dropping off your child from school.

Create space – stay two metres apart from people who are not from your household in public places. Please do not stay and chat at the school gates at drop-off and pick-up times. Remember to keep a safe distance from other people outside your household or your child’s bubble group.

Thank you for playing your part in tackling this virus and keeping your family and friends, the school and the community safe from Coronavirus.

Yours faithfully


Email sent to parents/carers Friday, 6 November 2020


Dear Parents and Carers

As part of the new lockdown schools have been issued new guidance. This guidance states that:

 “In schools where pupils in year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained”.

Our staff have been wearing masks outside of classrooms since September as a precaution and so there will be no change there.

We have encouraged pupils to wear masks on their transport unless they are exempt on health/disability grounds since September.  We will now be encouraging our pupils from Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 to wear their masks in school, around the communal areas such as corridors if they would feel more comfortable.

We have a lot of pupils that are exempt from mask wearing on medical and disability grounds and that will be respected, you do not need to provide evidence of exemption.

Masks will not be worn in the classrooms and when there is teaching going on.  This is in line with our own risk assessment and the guidance from the government.

If your child would like to wear their mask in school please ensure they know about mask hygiene measures; they need a plastic bag to place their mask in when they are not wearing it.  Masks will need to be regularly washed.

If you have any further concerns or questions please contact the Senior Teacher for your child’s year group.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding in these ever changing times.

Kind regards


Carolyn Ellis-Gage

Head Teacher

Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline is available to answer questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline by calling:

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Opening hours:

Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm

Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm

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