Covid 19 FAQ
2. Frequently asked questions
- Why are you closed on Monday when the council say schools will be open on Monday?
- ALL schools are closed under the emergency legislation including special schools. Education as such is suspended under emergency powers that is why there are no exams for the first time since 1888.
- ALL pupils and families should be following SOCIAL DISTANCING whether or not they have an EHCP. This is to reduce the spread of the virus and keep families safe and where possible key workers doing their jobs. Key workers are essential to keep you all provided with health care, essential services and food/toiletries and the childcare support for them etc. that is why they have priority places.
- Any offer given to any family in any school is not an education one it is a respite offer of activities. Pupils who come into a school site will not be in classes or doing lessons. They will not be 'taught’, and they will not have routine. They will have activities to keep them occupied for the length of time they are in the setting. Whilst stocks are available schools will also provide a meal
- Most mainstream schools will be working as hubs where staff and pupils from different schools will go to one school which may not be their own.
- Special schools in Bradford agreed that to keep to the prime directive of Social Distancing and that children are safer than at school. We also wanted to try to keep anxieties lowered for both parents and pupils and agreed we would all open rather than all our vulnerable pupils going to hub school. As a result, we hope we will be able to support more families. However, it does mean that each special school has had to make its own plans and get approval from the LA. The council now has local powers to direct schools, and they are working with us all, maintained schools, free schools and academies, to try to keep as many people as safe and well as possible whilst providing as much support as we can.
- However, by opening all special schools it means that we don’t have the shared staff mainstream schools can use to support each other and this has meant we have had to make some very difficult decisions about who we can offer support for, despite knowing that our entire population is vulnerable and everyone is very anxious.
- To prevent confusion, you need to be clear that as special schools we have to work differently from the mainstream schools with EHCP pupils. All councils published information about school’s links to mainstream schools. Each special school has its own plan based on what it can offer. Some have never shut so far or have only partially closed in this crisis and remain open Monday for a limited number of pupils. Some will be able to open Tuesday; some Wednesday and others will open at the latest by Friday. We have an agreed plan with the council and are working with them on transport issues. This is because of our large numbers of EHCP pupils. The LA is fully aware of our situation and we are not allowed to do anything without their agreement.
- If I could open on Monday I would. If I could open to everyone I would but this is impossible. I have less than a third of the workforce over two sites and more staff going off daily. We just do not have enough staff in school to keep pupils safe.
- We currently have a lot of our staff off school and everyone should be we are closed as a whole school until Wednesday due to staff absence. We are not going against the government’s legislation.
- Why are you not providing for all children when the government said pupils with EHCPs would be able to continue to come to school?
- The new legislation and guidance to families and parents says
b. This is due to health and safety, social distancing regulations and what we are physically able to provide.( see 1e) At Chellow we have lost 2/3rds of the workforce over the two sites because they are in short term or permanent isolation due to their own health needs/ pregnancies etc. and virus symptoms. Just about hourly at the moment we are getting more staff having to self-isolate due to symptoms. In addition, because schools are closed and not providing the wrap around care that was expected and, in some cases, not providing at all, we have staff off with their own child, including those with SEND in other authorities
c. Before this, we were already running an oversubscribed school to support families with nowhere else to go but this outbreak means that we have had to make difficult decisions. We do not want pupils in groups of more than 8-10 due to social distancing and because they will not be in familiar groups because or familiar people, they are at risk of having higher anxieties than they would normally have. We have not enough staff to deal with these anxieties or staff having to go off with injuries as a consequence of any anxieties.
Who will get a place at Chellow?
- Both Chellow School sites remain open whilst we can provide child supervision for
- at home. the children of Key workers where they are a single parent or where both partners are key workers
- where it is regarded that it is safer for them to be at school than for them to stay
NB no child will be allowed on site if they have a temperature, cough, cold, runny nose, has been or is sick – even if this is reflux as this will spread any viral infection, has diarrhoea.
At present, we are very sorry, we cannot offer places for anyone else.
What if my child doesnt have a place at Chellow?
- We are hoping to have a ‘hot line’ for parents and carers where the social distancing is causing a major issue especially if they do not have parks etc to go to.
- We are currently looking at whether we can offer some activities for families to come to in school, away from everyone else just to have something to do in a safe environment. This, at the moment, would have to be outside activities as we do not have the space for running indoor activities. This will not be until at least the week beginning 30th March 2020 but may be after the Easter break.
- Please look on our homework page for activities to do at home
- Join our parents and families Facebook group where we are sharing thoughts and becoming an online community of support.
When will we know if we have a place?
- We will let you know if you have a place and what hours/ days your child can come by Tuesday 24th March 2020 at the latest.
Will my child be able to come to school for their normal time/ days?
- We are still looking at numbers and plans – everything changed when a much-extended Key Workers list came out.
- The place pupils are offered in settings may be full time days or part time days and may not be daily - to offer respite for those less vulnerable at home we may have to offer less to those who are very vulnerable. We are not sure yet it depends how many families take up the offer.
How will my child get to school?
- All pupils should travel by taxi/ school bus if they already have this provided to keep social distancing in place and to prevent unessential travel.
- Where pupils do not currently travel on school transport, we have asked the LA for this to be organised if possible to limit our social contacts for staff and try to keep them safe and well to keep the school open.
- It is possible that if no transport arrangements can be made we may have to have an agreement made about how a family can transport their child and hand over whilst keeping social distancing for them and our staff if we cannot agree then we may regard your child’s place as too high a risk
Will my child still get a school meal or will we have to send a packed lunch?
- We are expecting to give all children who attend school a hot school meal whilst our kitchen staff remain well. At the moment what we can provide will depend on what deliveries we can get - if you are worried you can send in a packed lunch or ask if we can provide a sandwich. As long as we can get bread this is an option.
- If our catering team fall ill Bradford catering service will provide us with sandwiches
My child should have free school meals – how will they get them when I am at home?
- We are hoping to offer all families at home who is entitled to a free school meal a sandwich if they want one so that everyone gets fed.
- Anyone with a child in Chellow Heights who regards themselves in food poverty i.e. hasn’t enough money to feed themselves daily even if they don’t have an entitlement to free school meals should contact school and we will try to ensure a sandwich at least for everyone.
Written 21.3.20 and will be updated as more questions are asked.