Uffculme School will reopen to all students on 7th September
This letter is to confirm plans for inviting all students back in September and to highlight key areas prior to reopening in September.
Following the Governments updates on 2nd July, Senior Leaders at Uffculme have begun to plan for full reopening in September 2020. As you can appreciate there is a great deal of planning for this to happen in a manner which reduces the risk of further transmission of Covid-19 to both students and staff. This planning is further complicated by the expanded bubbles, overseas holidays and transport.
Our current plans are as follows:
1st and 2nd September – School will be closed to pupils. This will enable staff training, risk assessments and if necessary reviewing and adapting plans for opening. Classroom staff will contact parents and carers to ‘check in’ after the summer, and to confirm plans moving forward.
3rd and 4th September – New students to the school will be invited in. Staff have supported our learners in transition in July, however, due to social distancing this was not possible for all students at the time. These two days will enable new starters to the school to begin their time at Uffculme in a secure manner.
Some other students may be invited in based on conversations with parents and carers on the previous two days.
7th September – all pupils are invited back to school.
Bubbles – The small bubbles have been successful this term. In September, in line with Government guidance, these bubbles will be increased to encompass an entire class and the staff working in that class. Senior leaders will be working out timetables for split lunches and breaks to minimise the contact between students.
Whilst most of our students are able to follow adult direction and maintain bubbles, we know that some of the students will struggle with this. We ask that parents and carers support all school staff in our endeavours to maintain high levels of vigilance around the transmission of Covid-19.
Overseas holidays - For those planning to travel overseas during the six week break, I ask you to be mindful of current guidance and consider whether you need to isolate yourself and your child prior to their return to school in September.
This guidance including a list of the countries with agreed travel corridors can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-corridors. It is likely that this guidance will change over the summer so please check if you do go overseas, even if your destination is currently a country with a ‘corridor’.
Transport – Transport continues to be a huge challenge for Birmingham Special Schools. Travel Assist have been working to plan routes that meet all student’s needs, support distancing and consider bubbles. We have been in dialogue with Travel Assist to implement site specific transport. We have come to recognise that maintaining the social distancing on transport is not feasible. As Government guidance is changing regularly, it is still too early to know what exact plans will be put into place for September however, we are committed to finding a solution that supports everyone into school. Travel Assist will be in direct contact with you to confirm the options, however we have agreed to facilitate information gathering through a simple online survey. This information will only be shared between school and Travel Assist and will be held securely for 6 months. The survey can be accessed through this website https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/8NTLY8R . Please take the time to complete this and help the school and Travel Assist to plan effectively.
We have been asked to remind parents transporting students in to school that they can claim for travel/petrol, this is both retrospectively (backdated to March 23rd if your child was in school) and from September onwards. I have had confirmation that if your child has historically been in receipt of transport and you chose to transport them into school in September, they will not lose their place on transport. When you feel it is appropriate for them to ‘pick up’ their place on transport again it will be reinstated.
Attendance – A letter clarifying the Government guidance on school attendance is included with this letter.
This means from September 2020, the usual rules on school attendance apply, including:
- parents’ duty to send their child to school regularly where they are of compulsory school age;
- schools’ responsibilities to record attendance and follow up absence
- the availability of local authorities to use legal sanctions, including penalty notices and prosecution in court.
If you are worried about your child attending school the first port of call is to discuss your concerns with the school directly. The school has specialist staff who may be able to help, and all schools work closely with health and council teams who may also be able to help if needed.
We know from discussions with parents and carers that some of our students have significant anxiety about returning to school. If you, or your child have concerns please take the opportunity to discuss this with your class teacher when they call in September. As you know, we take the emotional wellbeing of our students very seriously and will not penalise them for their anxiety. However, we do want to see all our students back and will work with you and your child/young person to enable this to happen in a way and in a timeframe that suits them.