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Important information – School Closure from 3.00pm Friday 20th March 2020
As a result of the current situation with regards to coronavirus, it is with deep regret that Brookfields closing from the end of the day on Friday 20th March. The After School Club will remain open on this day until 6.00pm
Currently, we anticipate that we will be open again on Monday 20th April 2020, should circumstances allow us to do so.
This has been a difficult decision to make and has not been taken lightly or easily. However, the health, safety and wellbeing of all our pupils and our staff is a priority.
The decision to close the school has been based on discussions and considerations made with the Senior Leadership Team, and West Berkshire Local Authority.
In addition, school leaders have also been in detailed discussions with our partner schools who make up BASS (Berkshire Alliance of Special Schools)
We have kept parents and families informed over the weeks as we have received information. However, there has been no clear information from central government on what schools such as ours need to do to support our pupils at this time. On 16th March 2020 the governemt published guidance ‘Guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK and protecting older people and vulnerable adults’, in which they included people with learning disability in their definition of vulnerable groups.
The decision to close the school has been made based on the following factors:
- The vulnerability of our pupils due to underlying health conditions and their learning needs. The strategies suggested by Public Health England to keep people safe cannot be rigorously implemented in a setting such as ours. The latest government guidance states;
‘We are advising those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures. This group includes those who are:
- under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (ie anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
- chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis a learning disability or cerebral palsy’
- Colleagues absence. This is impacting on our ability to maintain safe staffing ratios and also to ensure that pupils’ needs are met. Colleagues are having to stay at home to care for their own children, they have been directed to self-isolate, or they are having to follow the 12 week rule. This would make the school unsafe
We recognise the immense impact this will have on our families and have put in the following measures of support:
- Your child’s teacher stay in contact with you and your family at this time via email
- Teachers have prepared ‘Home Learning Packs’ which will be sent home. We have also put a link onto the school website (www.brookfieldsschool.org) which will take you to resources you may choose to use at home.
- Should you need to contact the school urgently during this period of closure, you may do so on 0118 942 1382. The school number will be monitored daily prior to the Easter Holidays.
- Support for our families in receipt of free school meals
For those parents who had asked that their child attend our Easter Holiday Club, I have written a letter informing them that this will not be taking place.
Over the Easter break, members or our Autism and Behaviour Support Team and members of the Senior Leadership Team will also be on duty.
We will continue to monitor the local and national picture, as well as the absence of colleagues, very carefully in order that we can arrive at the decision to open the school when it is safe to do so – hopefully 20th April 2020
We will keep you informed by SchoolComms, Twitter (@brookfieldsSEN) and the school website.
We appreciate that this is a far from an ideal situation. This has been a difficult and complex decision to have made but, as mentioned above, the health, safety and wellbeing of our pupils and staff is priority.
We hope that this decision protects the health of the Brookfields community at an unprecedented time and wish all of our pupils and their families a safe next few weeks.
If you have any questions please call the school on 0118 942 1382