Parent / Carer Update: 1st April 2022
We have some updates to share with you...
Communication: Exciting news! We have decided that we need to be more modern and as a result we are going to be moving onto using Instagram (@freemantlesschool) alongside our website for our communications with parents. This will work both more effectively as parents will be able to receive news in a more immediate way and more efficiently as we will be able to post things both on our Website and onto Instagram at the same time. We will be sending out an updated permission form. This could be a lovely way for us to share photos of the fantastic things the children do in school and we very much hope that most parents will be happy to have their child’s photos being uploaded.
As a part of this change, we have decided that it is also time to move away from our previous style of Newsletter and move to a more frequent shorter bulletin which will be able to keep parents informed more regularly and will be available on the website and Instagram alongside any other news that goes up.
We will trial this for the next term and see how parents feel about it as we move forward.
COVID update: As parents will be aware this term we have had a pattern where each half term started very quietly in terms of COVID and as the half terms have progressed the levels of disruption have escalated to a point where we are have had to close a number of classes.
Whilst we informed you of more changes in relation to COVID policy yesterday, staff illness and absence may well continue to influence practice in school and to that end I think it is likely to be useful to hold a further parents Zoom call when we return, where we can discuss this and a number of other current themes mentioned here. This call will be on Wednesday 20th April at 1.30pm. The link will be sent to you after the Easter holidays.
Recruitment Update: We would like to thank families as we have had some good success in our recent recruitment rounds and would like to further encourage parents and families to think about people that they know who they could steer in our direction if they think they would be good members of staff for us. Recruitment remains a national issue for all schools, and for Special Schools specifically, and we are working with Surrey and the other Special Schools to further improve the situation.
National Policy Updates: There has been a lot about education in the News this last week as the Government has published a White Paper on Education generally and a Green Paper on SEND Education. A lot of the headlines may have created questions or concerns for parents, which again we can discuss in the Zoom after Easter.
Secondary Build / Primary Pods: Whilst we are making excellent progress with finalising the plans for the new building we are also aware that the date for Breaking Earth has moved from April and is now more likely to be in June or July, although as we understand it, current estimates for an end date have not changed from being the spring term next year. We are intending to have the plans on display at the parents evening and hope that many of will attend so that we can share them with you.
The primary pods are due to be delivered and set up over the Easter Holidays. They are travelling down from Scotland on two huge lorries and we look forward to sharing pictures of them arriving and in use following their arrival.
The Bourne Education Trust has approached Freemantles to ask us to partner with them in bid to open a new Free school for Children with Autism and Communication and Interaction Needs (High COIN). In order for us to be able to achieve this Julia Pudney is returning part time to work on the project.
Julia has been asked to work on this specific project with Justin and the BET team, so that it doesn’t impinge upon the capacity of the existing leadership team to continue to concentrate upon everything that we are very much aware that we need to do on site here.
The Governors and leadership team have been very clear that their first priorities are, and remain, the children and staff who are in the school now and getting a top quality expansion completed. They will be ensuring that this is the case as we move forward.
The Free School Bid is being led by the Bourne Education Trust and the main responsibilities sit with them, with Freemantles as partners who can offer the Autism expertise. We believe it is important that we share this expertise in the bid in to line with our vision and mission to improve outcomes for children with Autism in Surrey to extend upon what we do at school and through our outreach service. Initially this work will be through until the end of May.
Wishing you a restful Easter holiday and we look forward to seeing the children again on Tuesday 19th April.