BSAT statement: Learning offer – Spring 1 (2020/21)
Following the government’s announcement that the UK has moved into a National Lockdown until mid-February, BSAT senior leaders and Trustees have come together to put the needs of the pupils and staff at our schools at the heart of our response. As such we have agreed for a common approach across our schools.
There is some anxiety amongst our pupils, their families, and our staff across our schools with many families deciding not to send their children to school. We also have a significant number of BSAT staff who is unable to work face to face as they are clinically extremely vulnerable, have Covid, are recovering from Covid, or are isolating due to a positive Covid case within their household.
Ensuring the health, safety, and wellbeing of all our pupils and staff is key. Having all pupils within our schools would lead to very close contact/working; this goes against the whole reasoning of a lockdown i.e. to reduce the spread of the virus.
The need for reduced numbers in schools is clear; to uphold health, safety, and wellbeing. This means that we will not, during this lockdown, be able to offer full-time in school learning for all pupils at the same time. Therefore, we have agreed that the best way forward is to move to a blended learning approach, with many of our pupils learning at home for periods of time. This will enable our schools to have those pupils in school that need to be in; either because their parents are critical/key workers (see government guidance) or they are deemed very vulnerable (as agreed by school and social care).
To enable us to adhere to health and safety guidance, and to try to maintain some social distance, etc. we, senior leaders, Trustees and our Joint Consultative Committee, have agreed that, whilst under the current lockdown, we will keep pupil numbers to 50% occupancy or below. This translates to up to 8 people in one classroom i.e. 5 pupils and 3 staff (or any combination up to 8).
This approach will enable our schools to put in place a learning offer that will meet the needs of each pupil and their families. We aim to be responsive to need within this approach; to the needs of pupils, their families and staff.
Schools are expected to offer learning that is commensurate with that which they would have received in school. We are fully aware that this is different for our learners due to their specific needs; our primary focus will always be on supporting their mental health, wellbeing and communication needs.
The statutory duty to provide the provision to meet a child’s outcomes in their EHCP is still in place and therefore a blended learning approach should include provision and support for meeting our pupils’ EHCP outcomes.
This approach will ensure pupils continue to have access to therapy advice and support, and to the specific support they need.
Additional information about our learning offer, and other Covid-19-related documentation can be found on our Covid-19 page.
Updates will also be shared via our trust Twitter account @BSATLDN