Update from Dr. Sue

21st May 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,


I hope you and your family are fit and well. We are all thinking of you and hoping you are OK in this really difficult situation. I sure you’ll be concerned and uncertain about a number of things. As promised, this is an update on the situation at The Dales and our plans for next half term.


The situation at Blythdale site is very difficult - we can’t use the school building because there is no heating, hot water or gas in the main school building. That means that we can only offer a limited number of part time places at Ashdale site when we do begin to open to more pupils. We can possibly offer a very small number of places using the school’s house and garden as a base at Blythdale, but this will need to be made safe to use as a classroom before we can do this.


Glynis or Tracy have asked you all whether or not you would like to send your child into school next half-term, and they have made a list of pupils based on your replies. All children have been risk assessed to make sure that we can operate as safely as possible and we have considered each child’s own safety and any risks posed to others. The children who are at lower risk, or who pose lower risk, will be offered places first. This is to make sure that we can keep everyone as safe as possible.


Children coming into school will be in smaller class groups than normal. This is to try to maintain the social distancing of 2 metres that we all need to do. The same staff team will work with the same children in the same classroom for one week at a time. This is to create ‘bubbles’ that will not mix with other class ‘bubbles’ in school. Each staff team will then support their ‘bubble’ of children to work at home the following week by providing work and activities to do at home. A different staff team and children will use that room the next week, and this pattern will continue – one week in school then one week at home, the next week in school then one week at home. Each small class ‘bubble’ will have their own resources to ensure that everything is as clean as it can be. Cleaning will be carried out throughout the day and any shared equipment, like the trampoline, will be cleaned thoroughly between one group using it and the next.


We plan to start this approach from 8th June at the earliest. We need the green light from the Government that schools are to begin to offer places to more children and we know this will happen nearer the time.


During the first week back, from 1st June, we will operate as we have been for the past nine weeks - Ashdale will be open for a small number of children of key workers and those with significant need to be there. We will use this first week back to get ready and to let some parents know that their child has a place in school the following week. We will send out a new home school agreement and information about the new way of working at The Dales to all parents and carers during that week.


All children not attending school will continue to be supported to learn at home from their class team using Facebook or Tapestry. Activity packs, technology or therapeutic support will still be there for all pupils whether or not they come to into school. Free School Meal vouchers will continue as before.


I know that many of you have concerns about transport and I would advise you to speak directly to the transport department at County Hall about your worries. We will help if we can but, as we don’t employ the transport services, we can’t direct them or sort out specific issues. I’m sure staff at County Hall would be able to help you. You can call them on 01670 624 839.


Remember that we are still here if we can do anything to support you. After half term, Glynis and Tracy, and class teachers, will still keep in touch regularly by phone and you can call us if you need to. You can also use Facebook to make contact and we will do what we can to help.


Once again, I must say a big THANK YOU to all staff at The Dales for all they are doing to support the children, their families and each other. You are an amazing team!


With my very best wishes,