25th February 2021

Dear Parents and Carers

Covid-19 update 4, 2021 plus news about Oakley College 

Following the Governments latest announcement we look forward to seeing many of you return to College on Monday 8th March (learners who are self-isolating or shielding because they are following public health advice and learners who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) should not attend College until notified that they can do so safely). If your son or daughter does not fit into this category and will not be returning to College please let us know as soon as possible.

We remain fully committed to those learners who cannot attend College in person for medical reasons at this stage of the pandemic and continue to provide great learning at home with a variety of online sessions, activities, and assignments.

Learners who are returning to College for the first time will have three supervised Lateral Flow tests completed on site and will be able to join their class from the first negative test. It is important that initially the testing is supported by Oakley College staff to make sure learners are competent at testing correctly.

From 8th March we will be sending out home testing kits which will enable the learners to test twice a week – these should be done between 3-5 days apart for best results. In addition to this and above recommended guidelines we will also continue to test learners once a week on site, please take this into consideration when testing at home.

  • Mondays – PfA 3
  • Tuesdays -PfA 2
  • Wednesdays – PfA1, Sensory, Blended

Please let the College know the date and result of your home test. If your result is positive, please inform the College immediately. Testing remains voluntary.

I would be grateful if you could let us know if your son or daughter will join the testing programme or not by completing the  Consent form for COVID-19 testing in secondary schools and colleges (office.com) . If not already done so please note this must be completed before 5th March.  We have put together a short video explain what you can expect from your first covid test  https://youtu.be/1DeTvzFzDOc

It is especially important that if your son or daughter does display ANY of the symptoms of Covid-19 that they do not come to College and you arrange for a PCR Covid test at the earliest opportunity.

I am delighted to report that virtually all our staff received their first dose of the Covid vaccine over half term, with their second dose booked in for early May but as a precaution staff will continue to test twice a week.

As I have said before, the tests are not full protection against the virus being brought inadvertently into College by an asymptomatic person.  The vaccine is not 100% protection either, so it remains vital that all possible precautions are taken including effective and frequent hand washing, maintaining social distancing wherever possible, wearing face coverings if possible, staying vigilant at all times and following all the protocols in place in College. (No learner will be denied access to learning on the grounds that they are not wearing a face mask or being tested.)

If you use Home/College transport it is your responsibility to reinstate this. College hours remain 9.30am – 2.30pm.

For those who attend College on a Friday this provision will re -start on the second Friday after the Easter break –  Friday 30th  April.

In separate news I am pleased to be able to tell you that, following the voting open to all learners, staff and Trustees, the new name for our great college from September will be The Oaks Specialist College.  Our logo, ethos and commitment to our learners and their families remains the same.

Thank you very much for your continued co-operation and support.  Spring is, at last, on its way which is something to look forward too, as is the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions, but please, stay safe and stay vigilant so that we can all return to life and on-site learning safely over the coming weeks and months.

Best wishes and thanks

Gordon Tillman, CEO