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20th March 2020 Bulletin

Dear Parent / Carer

Due to the Government directive, please be aware that The Parkside school is closed to pupils unless you have been contacted directly.

The school will continue to provide resources for home learning and will endeavour to make contact over time, where possible. We will let parents of pupils eligible for free school meals know our plans to provide food shortly.

We will send further information about the plans next week.

Kind regards

Bob Holderness

Letter to parents

Dear parent / carer,

In the light of the Government briefing yesterday, the Head Teachers of the Norfolk Complex Needs schools, will be discussing how we can support our communities over the coming months. Parkside’s risk assessment and contingency planning has a graduated approach; in summary, fully open, partially open and fully closed. The risk assessment considers a great deal of variables such as staff and pupil absence, attending staff members’ specialisms and training, cleaning, medical, transport and catering staff absence. Staff members have been asked to make their own assessment around the safety of them attending work in line with Government advice.

We have moved to the partially open phase of our risk assessment. We will be making daily assessments of the situation as people’s circumstances are likely to change as the pandemic progresses. We are aware that in the light of the Government briefing there will now be staff members who will need to be at home with their own children.  We also identify that there are staff members who fit into the higher risk categories who are currently attending school who will need to self-isolate themselves very soon. We were expecting to move to the fully closed phase next week.

The school leaders are making plans for the school to support our community in the safest way it can.   The measures being discussed include: issuing free school meal vouchers to eligible families, regular telephone contact for families and staff members who might need it, important planned meetings by telephone and remote support for education in the home via our website. We hope to be able to issue some alternative emergency telephone numbers to families soon to aid communication and clarify support arrangements.

Please be assured that we are working to enable people to remain as safe as possible in the coming weeks and months. Decisions made will involve our Governors, the Local Authority, Social Services and colleagues in other complex needs schools. The situation may change rapidly, so we would urge people to check updates on our school website for the latest information.

The Government has asked all schools to try to stay open for children whose parents / carers are in the frontline public services in the context of Covid-19. We would be very grateful if you would let the school know as soon as possible if you fall into this category and would like the school to consider support. As the pandemic proceeds, scientists are telling us to expect a significant percentage of the population to contract Covid-19. If you or a family member contracts the disease, please let the school know immediately. We can then use all of this information when making our risk assessments. [The school can be contacted via:]

We have been contacted by family members concerned that they will be required to send their child to school if the school can remain open in any way. Please be assured that all absences will be authorized.

In order for us to make the necessary plans for our next steps, we will be closing the school on Monday 23rd and Tuesday 24th next week for all pupils. Those staff who can attend will be able to better focus on planning suitable curriculum resources and organising free school meal arrangements, as requested by parents. We will also deep clean the school.

The phrase “unprecedented times” has been used many times when describing the situation in which we find ourselves. We realize that everyone in our community will be feeling anxious. Some will be feeling very confused with so much advice – some of which is conflicting in the context of education and vulnerable children. Please be assured that all decisions made will be with the best intentions of keeping everyone healthy, and will consider Parkside’s particular situation.

Kind regards

Bob Holderness, Head Teacher

Steve Hobbs, Chair of Governors

Educational Resources – general

FREE online education resources
A non-exhaustive list that might help those affected by school closures due to coronavirus, compiled by home educators.
Feel free to share.
Khan Academy
Especially good for maths and computing for all ages but other subjects at Secondary level. Note this uses the U.S. grade system but it’s mostly common material.
BBC Learning
This site is old and no longer updated and yet there’s so much still available, from language learning to BBC Bitesize for revision. No TV licence required except for content on BBC iPlayer.
Free to access 100s of courses, only pay to upgrade if you need a certificate in your name (own account from age 14+ but younger learners can use a parent account).
For those revising at GCSE or A level. Tons of free revision content. Paid access to higher level material.
Free taster courses aimed at those considering Open University but everyone can access it. Adult level, but some e.g. nature and environment courses could well be of interest to young people.
Learn computer programming skills – fun and free.
Creative computer programming
Ted Ed
All sorts of engaging educational videos
National Geographic Kids
Activities and quizzes for younger kids.
Learn languages for free. Web or app.
Mystery Science
Free science lessons
The Kids Should See This
Wide range of cool educational videos
Crash Course
You Tube videos on many subjects
Crash Course Kids
As above for a younger audience
Crest Awards
Science awards you can complete from home.
iDEA Awards
Digital enterprise award scheme you can complete online.
Paw Print Badges
Free challenge packs and other downloads. Many activities can be completed indoors. Badges cost but are optional.
All kinds of making.
Prodigy Maths
Is in U.S. grades, but good for UK Primary age.
Cbeebies Radio
Listening activities for the younger ones.
Nature Detectives
A lot of these can be done in a garden, or if you can get to a remote forest location!
British Council
Resources for English language learning
Oxford Owl for Home
Lots of free resources for Primary age
Big History Project
Aimed at Secondary age. Multi disciplinary activities.
Geography Games
Geography gaming!
Blue Peter Badges
If you have a stamp and a nearby post box.
The Artful Parent
Good, free art activities
Red Ted Art
Easy arts and crafts for little ones
The Imagination Tree
Creative art and craft activities for the very youngest.
Toy Theater
Educational online games
DK Find Out
Activities and quizzes
This is more for printouts, and usually at a fee, but they are offering a month of free access to parents in the event of school closures.

Covid 19 Virus Information

Partially Closure, 19/03/2020

Dear parents and carers. I have made the decision with our Chair of Governors to close the school for the following pupils from tomorrow, 19th March until further notice, due to a risk assessment around current staffing in school:

Jay, Blackbird, Rowan and all Year 3 pupils

I will let you know when we are in a position to welcome pupils back. I am sorry for the inconvenience that this will cause.


Bulletin 16/03/2020

Dear parent / carer

Further to my bulletin on Friday regarding the COVID 19 virus, I would like to assure you that the Senior Leaders and Chair of Governors have been considering carefully the school’s options in keeping everyone safe in our community. Whilst the Government assess that schools should remain open at the moment, we identify that members of our community may have a heightened health risk in relation to this virus. If a parent / carer identifies that their child is particularly vulnerable to viral infection (eg has a compromised immune system) and wishes to keep their child at home, I would be happy to authorize this absence as an exceptional circumstance. In this situation, we would ask that the parent / carer inform the school with this request, and phone the school each day before 9.15 to confirm that their child will be off school. Parents / Carers may also identify that their own personal circumstances may be such that a family member has a significantly higher risk to their health if they were to become infected. In these circumstances, the family should make their own risk assessment and inform me of their intention to isolate themselves. Again, I would ask that the parent / carer phone the school each day before 9.15 to confirm that their child will be off school. The school is preparing general guidance on supporting education at home and will let parents know when this is available on the website.

I have discussed other measures to keep our pupils and staff safe. The following measures are being introduced this week:

  • Cancellation of pupil work experience
  • Cancellation of all pupil trips
  • Cancellation of Year 5/6 parents afternoon [26th March]
  • Cancellation of Horse Riding
  • Cancellation of all non-essential meetings in the school

We make daily risk assessments regarding supervising children each morning. If staff are self-isolating due to their own risk assessment we will be making decisions about how we keep children safe. This may include closing certain parts of the school. We will of course let parents / carers know as soon as possible.

You may find the following links helpful when making your risk assessments:

Advice specific to Down Syndrome

We will be contacting parents frequently, and updating information on our website. Please ensure that the school has your preferred email address.


Mr Holderness

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