Following Graham’s announcement on 3rd June (available here), this is the latest important update for families of all the children and young people attending our schools and colleges. A separate update for young people attending our social care provision, New Bridge Horizons, can be found here.
Dear Parents and Carers,
As you will be aware, over the last two weeks our teams have been carrying out risk assessments to determine a way forward for our ‘New Schooling Offer’. This has been a huge piece of work for our staff and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all for their continued hard work. You will also have been contacted over the past week to complete an individual student risk assessment with your child’s class team. Many of you have already opted to keep your child at home for the rest of this term, but we fully appreciate that some families are keen to explore how our schools can support them further over the coming weeks. We also acknowledge that some families that include key workers, may now require on-site provision where they previously had not.
Since we last updated you, further government guidance has been released and currently, the government are advising that there is no longer an expectation for children and young people to return to school before September. Our extensive risk assessment process supports this position. Additionally, the R rating for the North West has been published and is currently over ‘1’. With this in mind, we are not yet in a position to re-open our schools to more children. We have further work to do to prepare the buildings, we do not currently have the capacity and space to support social distancing for larger groups and we still face many challenges relating to the return to work for our staff teams. Furthermore, our Risk Assessment process has highlighted that there is further work to be done within our current Oldham and Tameside Hubs to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our young people and staff teams.
We have decided to extend our Oldham hub to include the Hollinwood Academy building. Both the New Bridge School and Hollinwood Academy sites will be operational for a small number of vulnerable children or children of key workers from all of our Oldham schools from Monday 22nd June. To enable us to prepare the buildings, classrooms and to clean all spaces and create ‘learning bubbles’, we will be closing our Oldham hub for two days on Thursday 18th and Friday 19th June and will not be offering any on-site provision for any students on these days.
Hawthorns School will remain open for the small number of vulnerable children and children of key workers who are currently attending our Tameside hub.
Test 1 – to carefully track the numbers of Covid-19 cases in Oldham and Tameside (and other areas that may be applicable). We also need to evaluate the “R level” to ensure it is within or around 0.5-0.7.
We currently receive regular information from Public Health England as well as health colleagues within Oldham and Tameside. The latest information is alarming relating to the number of cases within our towns. The table overleaf shows comparative data for Greater Manchester areas of the number of cases in the 14 days up to 4th June.
Test 2 – to be convinced that testing is available to any member of staff, where it is applicable. We also need to be assured that we have an appropriate number of suitably qualified and experienced staff members to support the young people. We will promote the initial roll out of the track and trace application for mobile phones.
Testing is now available to our staff teams, should they display any symptoms of Covid-19, however it can take up to 2 weeks to receive the results of these test. We are still unsure as to the uptake and success of the track and trace service via mobile phones.
Test 3 – to ensure that all our organisations consult upon and instigate a clear strategy and have an implementation plan relating to social distancing. Our premises must be fit-for-purpose and we must be able to provide necessary services.
We have now established clear guidance for staff and students relating to social distancing. This includes the implementation of ‘learning pods’, floor markings and clear signage throughout our buildings. This work will take place during our shut down period next week.
Test 4 – to audit all PPE and be assured of its present and future availability. Where appropriate, staff will have access to relevant training relating to the use of PPE. All staff, children and young people will have training and support on applicable health and hygiene techniques (i.e. hand washing, covering mouth when coughing etc.).
We have all appropriate PPE available to our staff teams on all sites. We have also set out clear guidance on the use of PPE within our schools.
Test 5 – to continue safeguarding and monitoring to protect “vulnerable” staff and students. Our full commitment is to keep all our children, young people and staff safe.
All of our families are contacted regularly and our school teams continue to support our children and families with safeguarding matters.
Vulnerable Children or Children of Key Workers
If you are a key worker who has not previously required a place for your child but who has now requested some on-site provision, your school teams will be in touch with you to discuss your request further. We will not be able to take any additional children before Monday 22nd June and any additional places will be extremely limited and will be determined by the outcomes of our continued risk assessments. Our position remains that children are safer at home at this time.
I would like to assure you all that our virtual learning offer will continue to be personalised and innovative and we continue to explore ways to enhance this work. We are hoping that in the very near future some of our teachers will be able to lead face to face lessons virtually through the technology that is available to us via iPads. As always, your child’s key staff members will continue to be in regular contact and if you have any further comments, questions or queries, please do not hesitate to contact us via the usual channels.
Thank you for your continued support.