15 May

Hi all, hope you are all well and keeping safe.

As you will have seen, the Government gave an announcement last Sunday re the easing of the lockdown. Unfortunately, from a reopening point of view, the guidance means little chance of Horizons opening soon. However, presuming all goes well with the easing of the lockdown, we are now moving in the right direction.

As I said the other week, the executive team have been working on a in-depth risk assessment to cover all aspects of how we can reopen. In the next week you will all receive a letter and consultation document around the risk assessment asking for your views. This will go to all service users/families and stakeholders e.g. social services. Graham has more to say on this in his blog today:

As you will be aware, this week the government has announced the aspiration for more children, in mainstream schools, to return to school sites.  Mainstream schools will be expected to support more children, in years R, YR1 and YR6 from the 1st June.  The guidance for all our schools is different and outlined below.

In relation to Special Schools, the government state:

‘Special schools, special post-16 institutions and hospital schools will work towards a phased return of more children and young people without a focus on specific year groups.’

Special Schools are not expected to work to the same timelines as mainstream schools.  Many of our children have additional and specific needs that need to be particularly considered.   I can assure you that eventual safe re-opening of our schools continues to be our aim – but we need your support to co-produce these next steps.

We have spent the past few weeks working on a comprehensive strategy that relates to our ‘New Schooling’ offer, how this might look and how this will impact children, families and staff. We are hoping that by next Wednesday, we will be in a position to contact all of our families to consult upon this strategy and to get your collective views on how we move forward as a community. It has never been more important to work together to ensure that we get this right for our children.

We will however ensure that our children and young people continue to access our outstanding and personalised virtual learning offer. The Trust is working tirelessly to ensure that any decisions made for the future are the safe and right decisions for our staff, children and young people. Ultimately, our overarching priority continues to be that:

“We will maintain and secure the health and safety of every single child, young person and member of staff.”

We currently continue to have a very small number of young people attending schools that are children of key workers and these arrangements will continue. We are well aware that many other families are experiencing particular challenges. The last thing we want to do is place families under more pressure.  We’ve got to keep you, our children and staff safe.

Take care,

Graham

I met, via video, with Graham this week as part of the directors meeting. Directors had had the chance to feed in to Graham beforehand around any questions or concerns that they might have. We talked about how we could open for smaller groups, reduced days, rotation of staff etc. but we felt that we are not in a position to open yet due to the fact that we cannot keep staff, service users and visitors safe.

The outcome of the meeting was that we will meet with all directors at the beginning of June when the above risk assessment will have been finished, although it is a live document and changing almost daily, and more Government guidelines will have been released. Hopefully we will then be in a position to look at some sort of opening then.

I know that this is not the news you wanted to hear but our priority has to be keeping everybody safe.

Keep safe,

John
Head of Centre