22 May 2020
Dear Parents / Carers,
I hope you all are well and are enjoying the nice weather.
School Provision for Children of Critical Workers / Vulnerable Children
Thank you all for your support today. Due to all parents / carers being able to keep their children at home today, I was able to close the school and hence further protect our staff and families.
Communication over Half Term
I will not be sending daily updates next week as it is Half Term. However, we want to do what we can to support our students and their families during this period.
If you need to contact us, please click here. The form is also on our website under the 'Contact Us' menu item. I will resume the Daily Updates on Sunday 30 May 2020.
Plans for After Half Term
From 1 June 2020 it will no longer be necessary for parents of eligible vulnerable children to keep them at home if they can. In particular, vulnerable children of all year groups – children with EHCPs or a social worker – are to be encouraged to attend their educational provision where it is appropriate for them to do so.
I wish to stress that parents/carers retain the authority to decide whether school is an appropriate environment for their children. Parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time, and schools will not be held to account for attendance levels.
Thank you to those parents / carers who have let me know that their child will be returning on 01 June 2020. I will contact you directly next week, outlining the provision we are offering, the safety measures we will have in place and our expectations of students. I will be requiring you to sign a home-school agreement which clearly outlines the responsibilities of the school, parents and students.
After half term, I am hoping for more clarity from the Government around the expectations for Year 10. Until then, I will look at different options and await firm Government advice. It is worth noting that our local secondary schools are taking a similar view and none of the schools are planning anything until late June.
Year 8 Options
The deadline for the Year 8 Options choices is today- Friday 22 May 2020. Priority will be given to those students who have completed the options form on time, should we be required limit the numbers for popular subjects. The Options Form can be found at https://tinyurl.com/Curriculum-Deanes
Guidance for parents on supporting home learning
The Department for Education has published new guidance for parents on supporting the home learning of secondary school children. You may find the advice useful.
Mental Health Awareness Week
As it is Mental Health Awareness week, I have added, below, some information from Essex County Council that you may find useful.
... thank you to all the students who have shared their Distance Learning tasks with us. We really enjoying seeing your excellent work. You can view several of pieces of work on our Twitter account: @DeanesSchool.
Have a lovely half term break
Information from Essex County Council on Mental Health
Ways for adults to stay active and healthy
We've gathered resources to help you stay healthy and active while staying at home.
Our staying well page includes information and advice on:
• looking after your mental health when you are social distancing
• online counseling and mental health services
• national and local organisations providing support
• things you can do to stay active at home
• how to work safely and comfortably from home
Do you need support, information or advice?
If you or someone you know is feeling isolated, Essex Welfare Service (EWS) is here to help.
Anyone without help from family, friends, neighbours or the local community can contact EWS. Support is available from specialists in mental health, dementia care and more.
Regardless of your age, health or circumstance, EWS can support you.
If you, or someone you know, needs support you can:
• phone 0300 303 9988
Let’s talk children’s mental health and wellbeing
It’s normal for your child to feel stressed or anxious during these uncertain times. This Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re encouraging parents and carers to have a conversation with their child about how they’re feeling.
We've spoken to Steve Whitfield, a Senior Specialist Educational Psychologist. In this video, he talks about what support is available for parents and carers. This video could help you start those conversations and spot the signs a child is suffering with their mental health and wellbeing.
Remember, you’re not alone – every family matters. For more resources to help you support your child’s wellbeing, visit our website.
Download an app to help your mental wellbeing
The NHS has put together a list of recommended apps which can support you with your mental health. There’s HealthUnlocked, where you can meet people who have similar mental health issues; Big White Wall which connects you with therapists if you’re feeling stressed or anxious; Calm Harm, which helps young people manage emotions and reduce the urge to self-harm; and many, many more.
Browse mental health apps on the NHS website to find one that’s right for you.
Boost your mood with exercise
Would you like to improve your:
✔️ mental alertness?
✔️ stress levels?
Then start changing the way you think about exercise! Don't view it as something you have to do in order to lose weight, but instead as something that will bring countless benefits to your mental health and wellbeing. And it's not all sweat, blood and tears either. Active Essex offers a range of low-impact exercise classes to do at home so you can boost your mood without pushing your limits.
Essex Country Parks now open
All Essex Country Parks reopened on Thursday 21 May.
The parks, car parks and toilets are open to the public. The children’s play equipment, visitor centres and cafes will remain closed, in line with government guidance.
We would ask that all visitors using the Country Parks follow social distancing rules, paying particular attention to these in areas such as the car parks and toilet facilities.
New restrictions will be in place to ensure the safety of all visitors and staff. Please check for up to date information before visiting.