Dear parents and carers, I wanted to write to you to let you know how all our academies are responding to the most recent government guidance issued to schools in England. The Prime Minister has asked all schools to try and re-open for Year 6, Year 10 and Year 12 pupils (and for those Year 11 students who attend alternative provision) from 1 June 2020. Like all schools and academies across the country, we are working hard to translate what this government guidance will mean for you, your child and our ways of working in our academies. I want to reassure you that at Olive Academies our priority has always been – and will always be – the safety and wellbeing of all the children and young people we support. The impact of lockdown and isolation for our students and their families has been worrying for everyone. At Olive Academies we are determined to keep all our students engaged in their learning despite the current pandemic and will continue to do all we can to support your child as we gradually and carefully welcome more students back into our academy buildings. Our support for you will not stop – whether your child is able to attend their academy or not. Our staff will continue to provide personalised support for each of our students who are staying at home with online learning, work packs and daily phone calls. We will work in partnership with you to make sure your child gets the support they need. Our staff will work with you to address any concerns you have about the new government guidance – for example, around transport arrangements or the particular needs of your child/ family. Our headteachers and their academy teams are busy adapting timetables for next term and working through detailed risk assessments for all our staff and students. Staff from your child’s academy will call you this week to talk through a detailed, individual plan for you and your child for next term. I would like to confirm that all our academies will be closed for May half term. The last day of term will be Friday 22 May and our academies will then re-open for those students who are returning on Tuesday 2 June. During the half term break each of our academy buildings will be deep cleaned and made ready for returning students. All our academy staff will be undertaking special health and safety training during an INSET day on Monday 1 June. Staff will still be available in the academies on Monday 1 June should you need to call or contact them. We will ensure that all our students who qualify for free school meals continue to receive food vouchers or meals during half term. Please let any member of our academy staff know if you need any extra support during the half term break and we will do all that we can to help you and your family. I also want to stress that support for our Year 11 students will not suddenly stop at half term. We will continue to work with our Year 11s throughout the summer to make sure they are well prepared for their next courses and apprenticeships. We will be there to help them settle into their new colleges and onto their new courses. Our students will be receiving the grades and qualifications they have worked for and deserve – even though they won’t be able to sit exams this summer. Please contact your academy headteacher if you would like any more detailed information about how exam boards are awarding grades this year. Year 11s will receive their GCSE exam results as planned on 20 August 2020. A great positive to have come out of this crisis has been seeing how creative and resilient so many of our students have been whilst staying at home. We will build on this over the coming months and help our students adjust to new routines. Thank you for all the messages of support we have received from so many of you. It means a huge amount to all our staff. Please don’t hesitate to ask anyone at Olive Academies for any advice or support you or your family may need. We will continue to do all that we can to support you. Yours faithfully, Mark Vickers, Chief Executive, Olive Academies 20 May 2020
During these challenging times all our staff are working hard to make sure our students stay safe and well. We want to ensure that our students and their families can continue to easily ask us for any support they may need, even when they are staying at home. Our headteacher Collette Hunnisett was interviewed by BBC London News this week about how we are doing this here in Thurrock. You can watch a short clip from the news item (5 May 2020) here: Source: BBC News https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000hz8w/bbc-london-evening-news-05052020 If you or your family need any support or advice please ask any member of our academy staff for advice. You can also visit our academy’s safeguarding advice page. Or you can contact: NSPCC Childline T: 0800 1111 https://www.childline.org.uk/get-support/contacting-childline/ Thurrock Council Children’s Services T: 01375 652 802 “What to do if you’re worried about a child” https://www.thurrock.gov.uk/what-to-do-if-you-are-worried-about-child/what-to-do-if-you-are-worried-about-child
Staff and students have been getting creative on a huge artwork. The project has involved learning about physics, maths and art – and the final artwork will soon be displayed in our academy building. Well done to all involved. We thought you might like a first look….
While everyone is being told to stay at home, it can be hard to know what to do if you or your child are unwell. It’s still important to get medical help if you need it. There are ways to get medical help and prescriptions online or over the phone. If you need to contact a GP, do not go into the surgery in person. You can: visit the GP surgery’s website, or use an online service to contact your GP – find your GP surgery to get its website details call your GP surgery Your GP surgery will then give you advice about what to do. A phone or video call with a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional may be booked for you. You’ll only be asked to visit the surgery if absolutely necessary. Your GP surgery may be very busy at the moment and you may have to wait longer than usual to speak to someone if it’s not urgent. YOU CAN GET MORE INFORMATION AT : https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/staying-at-home-to-avoid-getting-coronavirus/how-to-get-medical-help-from-home/
Dear parents/carers, I wanted to start with an official welcome to the start of the Summer term at Olive AP Academy – Thurrock. This is certainly a very different start to the term to the one we had planned and hoped for. We are really missing seeing all our students together in the academy. Learning for many of our students may be from home at the moment but I want you to know that our academy teachers, support staff and our counsellor are still here for you – and we will remain here for you and your families through these difficult times. We are committed to doing all we can to support you and our aim, as always, is to keep everyone in our academy community as safe and as well as possible. I want to thank you for everything you are doing at home. The partnership between our academy staff and parents/carers has never been more important. Please know that you can ask any member of our academy staff for advice or support whenever you need it – you can always call the academy office or email us and we can call you back. This week the government supported the launch of a new free service called StarLine for any parents/carers who would like confidential advice about helping their children with home learning. They are offering tips, advice and resources on learning, wellbeing, behaviour and mental health. T: 0330 313 9162 W: www.starline.org.uk Here at the academy we are busy every day calling each of our students at home and giving them feedback on their work. The team has also been developing more new, exciting learning programmes and projects for all our students, ready for when we are able to welcome everyone back into the academy building. Those students who have been able to attend the academy this week have worked with staff to bake cakes and treats for NHS staff at Basildon hospital – our donation was hugely appreciated by the hardworking nursing and care teams there. Staff and students have also been making the most of the sunshine and working outside on gardening projects around our academy building. Yesterday the government updated their guidance on “What parents/ carers need to know about schools and education during the coronavirus outbreak”. I thought it would be helpful to share the link to this information: www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers The NSPCC has lots of good advice about how to keep young people safe online at the moment. If you would like any advice or want to understand more about the risks, do have a look at their website: www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/online-safety I wish everyone a happy weekend with plenty of rest. Stay well, look after each other and please do get in touch with us if you need anything. Best wishes Collette Hunnisett, Headteacher Friday 24 April 2020
Dear parent/ carer, I hope everyone is staying well as we try to adjust to these challenging times. I wanted to check in again with you and let you know that the academy is still open every day (Monday to Friday) and will be staying open for what would have been the Easter holidays. The only dates our academy will be closed is on the Bank Holidays, Friday 10 April and Monday 13 April. If you or your child need any advice or support, please do not hesitate to call the academy office on 01708 853781. The office staff can make sure you can reach any teacher or member of our team. All of our students who are unable to come into the academy at the moment will continue to receive a phone call every day from a member of our staff during the Easter break. For those of our students who are eligible for free school meals, we will also be continuing to offer free take-away lunches, Monday to Friday, during the Easter break. Please ask any member of our academy staff for more details about this offer. I know that our Year 11s and their families are keen to hear what the government is planning for those students who will not now be taking exams this summer. The government has promised to update parents, students and schools before Easter and as soon as we have this information, I will share it with those students affected. Please be assured that our support for Year 11s will not stop – and we are already in regular discussions to ensure that smooth transitions into their apprenticeships and college courses continues for all our Year 11s. The government has asked us to highlight new guidance for families about staying safe online. These are some useful links to organisations that can support you and your children whilst online at home: Internet matters– for support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online (internetmatters.org) London Grid for Learning– for support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online (lgfl.net/online-safety/) Net-aware– for support for parents and careers from the NSPCC (net-aware.org.uk) Parent info– for support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online (parentinfo.org) Thinkuknow– for advice from the National Crime Agency to stay safe online (www.thinkuknow.co.uk) UK Safer Internet Centre– advice for parents and carers (www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/parents-and-carers) The full government guidance for all families can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers Remember that you can now also receive free GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service updates via WhatsApp – simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started. As everyone becomes tired and sometimes frustrated with the current ‘stay at home’ government advice, please don’t let you children be tempted to go out with their friends. If we are to lessen the impact of Coronavirus on all of us, it is so important that we all keep to current government guidelines. Remind your children they can talk to academy staff about any worries they have and get advice about how to stay active and well even when we are staying at home. Thurrock Council has set up a helpline this week for anyone in the community who needs help, support or advice during the coronavirus pandemic. Thurrock Council staff will be on hand to answer questions and help vulnerable residents get access to food and medicines. To make an enquiry, residents can go to the Thurrock Coronavirus Community Action web page (www.thurrock.gov.uk/forms/thurrock-coronavirus-community-action) or call the helpline on 01375 511 002. The helpline will be open Monday to Sunday, between 9am and 5pm. I will stay in touch with you and write to you again soon. We are continuing to regularly update our academy website (www.apthurrock.oliveacademies.org.uk) with news and information for you. Please do not hesitate to contact any of us at the academy if you need any help or advice. We are always here for you and your family. Yours sincerely, Collette Hunnisett, Headteacher T: 01708 853781 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear parent/ carer, Our academy is still open every day (Monday to Friday) if you are need of any advice or support. You can call the academy office on 01708 853781 if you need help or want to reach a member of our staff. All of our students who are unable to come into the academy at the moment will continue to receive a phone call every day from a member of our staff. During this call your child can share any concerns, ask for advice and let us know if they are having any problems with using the online learning. These phone calls will continue, Monday to Friday, for the foreseeable future (including during the Easter break). For those of our students who are eligible for free school meals, we will be continuing to offer free take-away lunches, Monday to Friday, during term time. Those students who are eligible for free school meals and would like to collect a lunch should come to the academy between 12.15 and 1pm. We are also able to make some food deliveries to students who are unable to leave their homes at the moment. Please let any of the academy staff if you need this support. Please be assured that for those of our students (identified by the government as being part of a priority group) and those staff who are still coming into our academy building, we are all practicing physical distancing and maintaining careful hygiene procedures to keep everyone safe and healthy. The number of social interactions in our academy has been hugely reduced, with few students attending and classroom physical distancing being practised. The scientific advice shows that education settings are safe for this small number of children to continue attending – but asking others to stay away will help to slow the spread of coronavirus. You can see the latest government advice for families at www.gov.uk/coronavirus. You can also receive free GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service updates via WhatsApp – simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started. I also wanted to let you know about a website called On My Mind (www.annafreud.org/on-my-mind) which has lots of advice and simple strategies to help young people when they are feeling low or anxious. There is also an urgent help page on the website with a list of organisations that offer 24hour support via text, phone and email. Please encourage your children to stay in touch with friends using social media, make a new daily routine at home, make time for exercise (it really helps wellbeing) and don’t let them be tempted to go out and meet their friends at the moment. Remind them they can talk to academy staff about any worries they have. Remember – if you need to contact a member of the academy staff urgently during academy hours, you can call the normal academy office number on 01708 853781. We are actively monitoring emails; you can always email any member of the academy team at email@example.com I will stay in touch with you and write to you again next week. We are continuing to regularly update our academy website with news and information for you. Please do not hesitate to contact any of us at the academy if you need any help or advice. We are always here for you and your family. Yours sincerely, Collette Hunnisett, Headteacher
All parents and carers will receive a letter this afternoon (Friday 20 March) and be contacted by academy staff about the plans we have in place for each student from Monday. Our academy will be open from Monday 23 March 2020 only to those students who have been identified by the government as part of designated priority groups (including the children of key workers). We have had to adapt our normal academy offer to reflect changes in available staff levels. The academy will only be open to small numbers of our students. Those students who are part of designated priority groups will have received a new timetable which will come into place from Monday. We want to reassure you that our support for you and your child will not stop even if your child is unable to attend the academy. Every student who is continuing their studies and learning from home will receive a daily (Monday to Friday) phone call from a member of academy staff. During this call your child can share any concerns, discuss their home learning, ask for advice and let us know if they are having any problems with using the online learning system (Century). If you need to contact a member of the academy staff urgently during academy hours, please call the normal academy office number on 01708 853781. We will also be actively monitoring emails; you can always email any member of the academy team at firstname.lastname@example.org For those of our students who are eligible for free school meals, we will be continuing to offer free take-away lunches, Monday to Friday, during term time. Those students who are eligible for free school meals and would like to collect a lunch should come to the academy between 12.00 noon and 1.00pm. We thought it would be helpful to share a few links to support and advice for you and your family which may be useful in the weeks ahead: Local Foodbank: www.thurrock.foodbank.org.uk T: 01375 416200 Local Authority website: www.thurrock.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/government-and-health-information Citizens Advice: www.citizensadvice.org.uk NSPCC Childline: www.childline.org.uk T: 0800 111 The Department for Education also operate a helpline for any parents, children or staff members who would like further advice. T: 0800 046 8687 (available Mon to Fri 8am to 6pm and on Saturdays and Sundays 10am to 4pm). More information for parents is also here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers We will be staying in regular contact with you throughout these challenging times. We will also continue to regularly update this website with news and information for you. We will make sure to pass on any further advice we receive from Thurrock Council, Department for Education or Public Health England.