Update for Parents and Carers
Dear Parents and Carers,
A belated welcome back to this term. It has been lovely to see all our pupils return and raring to learn as we head towards Christmas.
As you will be aware, the government has announced further restrictions, which come into place tomorrow. These restrictions are similar to those we saw earlier this year. However, the government has been very clear in stating that schools will remain open.
As such, it is ‘business as usual’ here at The Castle School and we are open to all year groups and classes. However, it is important to highlight the potential for disruption in the coming weeks and months so that we are all aware of what might need to happen.
There may be potential closures for some classes and bubbles as we go through the winter. These scenarios are highlighted below:
A pupil or member of staff has a positive test for COVID-19
The first thing I will do, to reduce the chance of further transmission, will be to close the Bubble. If this is during the school day, parents of children in that Bubble will be called and asked to pick their child up.
Staff and pupils in that Bubble will then need to self-isolate for 14 days or until further advice and guidance is issued (families in the household will not need to self-isolate unless their child showed symptoms).
We will then work closely with the local authority and the Health Protection Teams to carry out a risk assessment. Further guidance will then be given as to what happens next.
I am hopeful that we will not face this situation, but we need to be prepared that eventuality may arise.
Staffing levels are not safe
Another challenge that is facing all schools at the moment is that of staffing. Schools, especially special schools with a variety of pupils who have complex needs, require a minimum level of staffing to operate safely. We will work very hard to try and ensure that we always have this level of staffing. However, the reality is that if we have a certain number of staff self-isolating or off ill for other reasons we may not be able to operate safely. If this is the case then we may be forced to close classes or Bubbles when required.
I would like to stress that this would be an absolute last resort, but again, I want everyone to be aware so that we are all prepared to any eventuality.
COVID-19 symptoms and what to do
It is essential that we all work together to ensure the safety for all our pupils and staff at The Castle School. As such, we ask that you follow the guidance below.
As you will be aware, there are 3 main symptoms to look out for. They are:
- a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot longer than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
If your child has any one of the above symptoms, even if it goes away, you should do the following:
- Get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible.
- Stay at home and do not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.
Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also stay at home until you get your result.
You can get a test by going to the NHS website at
- If your child has one of the 3 COVID-19 symptoms mentioned above, please make sure that you contact the school as soon as possible.
- If your child has a negative test result, please contact the school to speak to us before sending your child back.
- If your child has a positive test result then please call the school immediately so that we can start our processes to ensure that other pupils and staff are kept safe
- If your child is self-isolating due to another family member having symptoms, please can you inform us as soon as their test result is received to help us plan for your child’s return to school.
As I have said before, I believe that by working together and supporting each other we can make The Castle School as safe as possible and make sure that we reduce the risk of transmission and, as such, remain open as much as possible.
Thank you so much,
The Castle School