The information below demonstrates some of the ways in which the trust and its schools responded to the outbreak of Coronavirus. At every step, we took a measured collaborative approach that was backed up by government and Public Health England guidelines.

Taking reasonable steps to make sure schools are following health and safety policy, procedure and Government or HSE guidance eg through regular discussion at board meetings and liaison with schools.

  • Our Estates Manager researched all the latest H&S guidance in accordance with schools. This was matched to PHE and government guidance for schools.
  • A checklist was created for schools to follow in the absence of key premises staff or a partial/full shut down.
  • Schools were issued with specific guidance on what to do at each stage of the pandemic.
  • Staff new to these procedures were trained on how to follow them
  • A range of policies and risk assessments adjusted to reflect COVID-19 guidance and procedures which included social distancing, behaviour, first aid procedures, use of PPE etc were created for schools to shut and open safely. These were specific to each area of operation – teaching, premises management, cleaning, catering and resources. Future measures include monitoring of measures in place at each school setting to ensure they continue to meet requirements.
  • A rnge of policies and risk assessments adjusted to reflect COVID-19 guidance and procedures which included social distancing, behaviour, first aid procedures, use of PPE.
  • Future measures to include monitoring of measures in place at each school setting to ensure they continue to meet requirements.
  • Protocol to share government legislation and guidance as it changes.

Working in close partnership with the head teacher and senior management team to support sensible health and safety management and to challenge as appropriate

  • Directors and LGBs were regularly updated with guidance and our response as soon as was appropriate.
  • Emergency meetings were convened at both local and director level.
  • There were regular Heads meetings with core members of the central trust team to ensure we made important decisions collectively.
  • The final decision by the Directors and senior trust team to re-open to wider groups from 1st June was considered on a school by school basis, and following the review of a completed operational risk assessment for re-opening a school.

Promote a sensible approach to health and safety advice where required

  • An action plan was created to prepare for each stage of the pandemic.
  • Following PHE, procedures were put in place to enable decisions around staff and pupil symptoms and whether the individual should isolate.
  • A detailed procedure and process for the trust and its schools has been put into place to deal with suspected and confirmed cases. The subsequent actions required minimise the risk of infection within a school setting
  • School closure guidance was created for full or partial closing of schools.
  • Risk assessments were put in place for the wider opening of schools which were then ratified by the central team. This also included consultation with Union Representatives from teaching and support staff unions
  • Wider opening guidance was developed for the whole school. It listed social distancing measures and PPE and the impact on different job roles within the schools.

Vulnerable families:

  • SEND information and risk assessments were completed for all vulnerable children.
  • Where it was appropriate, families were contacted personally and this contact was kept up weekly throughout lockdown.
  • Schools have been in regular touch with any vulnerable families not in school.
  • All child protection and associated meetings have continued and been held remotely.
  • There has been regular contact between school safeguarding leads and Children’s Services throughout the lockdown period.
  • Lighthouse, our early intervention programme, recruited two additional workers to support families and schools through this difficult time.
  • They kept in touch with our moist vulnerable, offered support and collected food and food bank vouchers where appropriate.
  • We have increased capacity at Lighthouse so that each school has access to extra counselling for children and family support as we open to more children.

Ensuring employees have access to adequate training to enable them to carry out their responsibilities

  • Our schools created powerpoint presentations to explain new school processes and procedures.
  • Every school has conducted meetings via Zoom to prepare staff for a return to work. Through these meetings we were able to explain the new guidance, the new social distancing measures and how these would work in daily practice. They were a good method of helping to reassure people with anxieties around returning.
  • Mental Health training from Lighthouse was created to support staff with their own mental health and that of returning children and families. This was delivered to all staff in preparation for the wider opening of school. This was done through the use of YouTube presentations shared with all staff.
  • FAQs were cross referenced with union guidance and sent out to all staff to reassure them and answer questions. These included a focus on emotional support and wellbeing
  • A risk assessment template was created for all staff to complete if they felt vulnerable or anxious so we could assess their needs and provide support.
  • All shielded staff were sent a letter from the trust setting out how they would be protected from a return to work and what would be expected of them whilst they remained at home.

Parents and Pupils

  • Regular updates to schools, staff and parents. – parent letters
  • Created a new online learning platform
  • Daily communication with parents and pupils via our online portal / Twitter/Facebook
  • Schools sent letter / emails regularly to children.
  • Work was prepared remotely and sent out.
  • Videos were created to boost morale and let the children know we were still working hard for them.
  • We still worked through concerns over the phone with parents having anxieties about keeping their children learning at home.
  • Leaflets were created to support parents and pupils in preparing to return to school.
  • Return to school plan designated sections for parents and pupils
  • Signage was procured centrally and sent to all schools
  • Additional sanitizers were purchased for main entrances