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June 2020 - Updated School Risk Assessment

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See below for communications sent to parents from Doucecroft School and Autism Anglia -

22nd May 2020

Dear Parents,


This will be a long communication to inform you of the changes we have made in school in response to the government guidance to reduce the risk from Covid 19 to the children, staff and their respective families at Doucecroft.

All parents have been asked if they wish their child to return to school from 1st June and some are unsure. For the first week back we took names of pupils from this Wednesday, 20th May.  Further pupils can be added each week.  We will need a week’s notice to plan staffing and prepare classroom space. Please ensure the class team know by Wednesday each week if you want your child to return the following week or to increase days.

As you will see, a lot of planning and thought has gone into how we can achieve this.  We will be reviewing these actions weekly and as guidance is updated.

If you wish to keep your child at home for now that is also okay.  We will continue to deliver activity packs weekly, make phone calls to those pupils at home and food parcels where they are requested.  This will continue until July or until guidance suggests it is safe for all pupils to return to school.

Returning pupils will be split into bubbles. The idea of this is to ensure that if there is an outbreak of Covid 19 symptoms we are able to isolate the group, keeping numbers affected to a minimum.  In turn this should reduce the need to shut the school.

Each bubble will have at least 2 support staff and a teacher will be available between 2 bubbles.  For the first week bubbles are made up of 2 pupils in the primary school and up to 4 in the upper years.


Opening hours

Please note that in order to make all these changes -

School will be shut to all pupils 1st June to enable us to clear classrooms and set up workspaces and boxes for each child. 

Pupils will arrive at 9:30am. 

Pupils will leave by 3pm taxis to arrive from 2:45pm 

Friday 5th June we will close at 2pm so that staff can review all safety measures and update any risk assessments and amend any practice as this is a new way of working.  This will only happen the first week.




Social distancing

We are aware that this will be almost impossible for most pupils in school so these are other measures we are taking to try and reduce the risk -

Arriving at School


Gayle or Anna will meet taxis or parents dropping off. They will radio for a class member to attend. This will reduce staff waiting and baggage handling.  


2 drop off points will be available. Taxis/ parents will have to queue and wait, this may be slower than usual.


Please can I ask that if you drop your child off at school you remain in your car at all times. We will come to you.


Staff will have individual hand sanitiser to meet pupils with and use throughout the day.   We will write to all taxi companies and ask that their drivers and escorts wear masks but this may not be followed. You as parents may want your child to wear a face covering in the taxi as it is an enclosed space.


Safety measures: ( taken from government guidance)

We will be

  • minimising contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend childcare settings, schools or colleges
  • cleaning hands more often than usual - wash hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with running water and soap and dry them thoroughly or use alcohol hand rub or sanitiser ensuring that all parts of the hands are covered
  • ensuring good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach
  • cleaning frequently touched surfaces often using standard products, such as detergents and bleach
  • minimising contact and mixing by altering, as much as possible, the environment (such as classroom layout) and timetables (such as staggered break times)




Risk assessments in place for all pupils.  These will be updated as guidance changes. Please ensure you read and agree any actions with the class team.

We will need you once agreed to sign and return them promptly



Uniform expectation

Pupils should wear their own clothes. These will need to be washed and changed daily to avoid spread.

Please can we also suggest that when they return home they go straight to the shower and wash their hair. This will reduce any risk of infection transmitting to your home.


School lunches

These will be provided as normal. We will not be using the dining hall, so pupils will eat lunch in either their classroom or their gazebo.

  • break times (including lunch) will be staggered, so that all children are not moving around the school at the same time

KS2 break 10-30-10.45

KS3 break 10;45-11:00

Transition break 11:00- 11:15

  • Lunch breaks will be in classrooms or gazebos

12-12:30 Primary and transition

12:30-1 KS3




We can not guarantee that your child will have their familiar teacher or staff as we have a number of staff on the vulnerable list who will need to continue to work from home for now.  The staff for each bubble will remain the same to avoid risk of cross infection.

In addition Christian (Music), Andrea (PE), Taylor(Animal care), Trevor(Forest school) and Luc (Media) will be assigned to 2 bubbles a day so that pupils can access their curriculum areas.


Although we are trying really hard to ensure familiar staff with each child this may not always be possible.



Each bubble will have a class base, an allocated toilet and a gazebo. This will ensure outdoor learning can take place as there is less risk in well-ventilated areas.

  • Any unused furniture will be removed from the classrooms and desks spaced to allow for social distancing where possible when working


  • Soft furnishings, soft toys and toys that are hard to clean (such as those with intricate parts) will be removed from the classrooms (this must not be to detriment of pupils. If they need these things to regulate they must stay)


  • Each classroom will have a cold water Milton steriliser that all toys and visors can go into at the end of use each day.


  • Each child to have a box for their items and their own pencil case with pens and pencils in.


If at all possible please can pupils not bring in items from home.  We know this may not be possible for some pupils.


Home-school books will not continue. This is to reduce risk of infection on surfaces between home and school.  We still want to communicate so positives for the day will go onto Evidence for Learning ( If you have forgotten your log in or need additional help with this please ask).   Any concerns will go via email or a phone call from the class team.


Each class to have a refillable water holder

Please could each child bring a water bottle to keep in school with their name on. 




Staff have completed a lot of training.   Leaflet’s on recognising Kawasaki disease are to be given to all staff on 1st June.  We will also email a copy of symptoms parents may need to be aware of.



We will make our best endeavour to deliver therapy to pupils, for those at home this will be through Zoom where agreement is given.  In school a therapist will be assigned to a bubble.  It may not be the usual therapist assigned to the pupil however we need to protect the bubbles at the moment.  The team will be communicating with each other and the rest of the staff team.  Our SI suite will not be open at the moment as this is more difficult to reduce risks.  Our therapy team have created a social story that will be sent out to returning pupils to support their return.


Sun cream:


Please can pupils put on sun cream before they leave for school. Long lasting suncream will be best.


Park area


The park area will be open as pupils use this to regulate, only 2 pupils at a time and only one pupil per piece of equipment. The park will be fully cleaned  3 times a day.  Signs will go up to support pupils with this.


Staff will also wipe down park equipment after each use.





Staff will wear visors going forwards rather than masks ( masks currently mean staff touch their face a lot more than normal and so increase the risk of infection.  Visors will enable pupils to see what is being said and facial expression and give some protection.  Pupils will be given the option to wear a mask if they would like.


Full PPE to be worn if dealing with medical or personal care.



If a child or staff member get symptoms whilst at school.


If anyone at Doucecroft setting becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste of smell (anosmia), contact SLT immediately they will be sent home and advised to follow the COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection guidance.


Any symptoms or positive diagnosis need to be recorded on my concern.

If a child is awaiting collection, they should be moved, if possible, to the first aid room where they can be isolated behind a closed door, depending on the age of the child and with appropriate adult supervision if required. Ideally, a window should be opened for ventilation. If it is not possible to isolate them, move them to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people.

If they need to go to the bathroom while waiting to be collected, they should use a separate bathroom if possible. The bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else.

PPE should be worn by staff caring for the child while they await collection if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained (such as for a very young child or a child with complex needs).

In an emergency, call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. Do not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.

If a member of staff has helped someone with symptoms, they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves (and in which case, a test is available) or the child subsequently tests positive (see ‘What happens if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus in a setting?’ below). They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell. Cleaning the affected area with normal household disinfectant after someone with symptoms has left will reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.


Please can parents ensure that they are contactable at all times.


What happens if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus in a setting?

When a child, young person or staff member develops symptoms compatible with coronavirus, they should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 7 days. Their fellow household members should self-isolate for 14 days. All staff and students who are attending an education or childcare setting will have access to a test if they display symptoms of coronavirus, and are encouraged to get tested in this scenario.

Where the child, young person or staff member tests negative, they can return to their setting and the fellow household members can end their self-isolation.

Where the child, young person or staff member tests positive, the rest of their class or group within their childcare or education setting should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days. The other household members of that wider class or group do not need to self-isolate unless the child, young person or staff member they live with in that group subsequently develops symptoms.

As part of the national test and trace programme, if other cases are detected within the cohort or in the wider setting, Public Health England’s local health protection teams will conduct a rapid investigation and will advise schools and other settings on the most appropriate action to take. In some cases a larger number of other children, young people may be asked to self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure – perhaps the whole class, site or year group. Where settings are observing guidance on infection prevention and control, which will reduce risk of transmission, closure of the whole setting will not generally be necessary.


We have access to testing and all potentially affected will be sent for testing.


Thank you for taking the time to read this.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Thank you for your ongoing support

Kind regards


Louise Parkinson

13th May 2020

Dear Parents,

Please see attached guidance for parents

In addition to this, guidance has been published for schools with actions we need to consider.  As you will see. A lot of these will not be appropriate for our pupils so we will have to risk assess how we will keep pupils and staff and their respective families safe going forwards. 

In case you are interested, the list of actions to consider is below

Schools have been told (taken from the government documents) -

  1. Ambition is to bring back ALL children in special schools by the end of June(est.), so all children have a month in school before summer holidays.
  2. No need for PPE – No need for face masks or face covering EXCEPT for those staff that work closely with the children (i.e. intimate care needs) – ARP. Face masks should also be used by staff that are supervising children that are ill/showing symptoms in school while we wait for parents to collect.  Care settings should wear masks.
  3. Shielding children should NOT attend school.
  4. Shielding (clinically extremely vulnerable – those with a GOV. letter) adults should NOT attend school.
  5. Clinically Vulnerable staff (risk-assessed staff, with underlying health conditions) are advised to NOT attend site and should be encouraged to work from home. If they are vulnerable and their role means they cannot work from home, then they should be given tasks to do in a safe part of the school and minimise contact. It is down to the employee if they wish to work closely with others, but conversations must be had with them and they must understand/accept the risks to them first.
  6. If a child or member of staff lives with someone who is shielding (clinically extremely vulnerable – those with a GOV. letter) then they should NOT be in school.
  7. Class sizes – no more than 15 children in any room at any time. They should be with 1 teacher (and 1 TA, if needed).  ( mainstream guidance)
  8. Groups of children must NOT mix together or come into contact, and children within a group should remain 2metres apart, if they can. This is harder to enforce for EYFS and our pupils.
  9. If there is a shortage of teachers, a teaching assistant can lead a group.
  10. If there are not enough classrooms/staffing available, then children might be offered other local schools. If necessary, settings have the flexibility to focus first on continuing to provide places for priority groups and then, to support children’s early learning, settings should prioritise groups of children as follows:
  • early years settings - 3 and 4 year olds followed by younger age groups
  • infant schools - nursery (where applicable) and reception
  • primary schools - nursery (where applicable), reception and year 1
  1. Updated risk assessments need to be done.
  2. Desks and seats need to be separated (2m distance) between them, if possible.
  3. Timetable – Choose which lessons/activities will be delivered. Plan outdoor lessons, where possible. Not the normal curriculum.
  4. Reduce movement around the school - groups are to stick to 1 room during the day.
  5. Stagger break & lunchtimes so they groups are not mixing together/moving around the school at the same time.
  6. Stagger drop-off and collection times – children to arrive/collected at different times.
  7. Drop-off and collection times – protocols for adult to adult contact needs to be minimal. A plan needs to be in place for meeting/collection points and timings for each group.
  8. Toys and equipment should not be used by other groups and should be cleaned between groups.
  9. Unnecessary items in classrooms should be removed and stored elsewhere in the school.
  10. Remove all soft furnishings, toys and soft toys that cannot easily be cleaned every day.
  11. Reduce any unnecessary usage of buses/coaches/taxis for children arriving to school.
  12. No visitors/staff/children/families/contractors can enter the building if they have symptoms.
  13. Only 1 parent/carer can escort a child to school, if they cannot walk to school on their own.
  14. Parents/carers cannot enter site and/or gather at school gates and doors.
  15. Contact all contractors (food, cleaning, maintenance etc) to ensure they are aware of protocols.
  16. Discuss additional cleaning requirements with cleaning contractors and agree additional time/money for this.
  17. Same staff to work with their groups as much as possible. They are, in effect, being reassigned new teachers for the remainder of the year, if possible.
  18. Where possible, let the groups remain in the same classroom for the duration of the term that they are in school.
  19. Hand sanitiser in all classrooms.
  20. Bins emptied throughout the day.
  21. Doors propped-open, and rooms need to be well ventilated. Windows open.
  22. Divider down the middle of the corridor to ensure people only walk on one side of it – a barrier for groups as they walk down the corridor, if possible.
  23. Limited toilet breaks so that children don’t gather at the toilets.
  24. Exercise and breaks – go outside. Each group not to mix and to stagger the times.
  25. Outdoor equipment/apparatus/play equipment/climbing frames should not be used unless school can guarantee it will be cleaned between each group and each evening too.
  26. Dining hall can be used as long as groups are kept apart and do not mix. Otherwise, food to be brought to the children in their classrooms.
  27. Stagger the use of the staff room and the office for staff/children.
  28. Limit children/staff taking things home and then back to school.
  29. Don’t share stationery or resources. Shared areas and surfaces need cleaning daily, and disinfected/bleached frequently.
  30. Encourage children to cycle or walk to school.
  31. If anyone has a cough/temperature/feels unwell at school, they must be sent home. They will need to self-isolate for 14 days, or until tested negative.
  32. If a child is waiting to be collected, they should be kept in a room on their own (or supervised depending on their age) with the door closed and a window open. If this child/adult needs to go to toilet before being collected, they should use a separate toilet and it must be thoroughly cleaned/disinfected afterwards before anyone else can use it.
  33. PPE should be worn by staff working with children displaying symptoms.
  34. If a child or adult shows symptoms and tests positive for CoVid-19, then the whole group that the children was in must be sent home and they must self-isolate for 14 days.
  35. If other cases are then also confirmed at the school, then PHE will advise the HT/school on next steps/possible closure

Please bear with us whilst we work through this and find a way to get pupils in safely.

Kind regards

Louise Parkinson

28th April 2020

Dear All,

I hope you are all keeping safe and well.

The government have updated their guidance to say masks should be worn in any type of care setting.  As such, going forwards our staff will be instructed to wear masks when working in school.

Please could you speak to your children about this so that they are not surprised.  

This will start from tomorrow.

Kind regards,

Louise Parkinson

20th April 2020

Dear All,

We hope you have had a good Easter even though it has been odd, at least we had some nice weather.

Firstly thank you to those who are keeping us  updated of your activities on Facebook it is great to see so many of you commenting and supporting one another.  We love seeing what you are getting up to. I encourage you to join if you haven’t already.

We are aware that this is a snap shot of positives and that there are some tough times too.  Please know that our team are here to support where we can and don’t be afraid to ask.

We will continue to phone / FaceTime each week.  This is to keep a link with our pupils and families.  Please don’t feel we are checking to see if you have been completing work.  I hope that you are finding this supportive.  

Our therapy team continue to run sessions through zoom and there are guidelines that we must follow for this to ensure safety. If you haven’t received them, they will be added to our website shortly.  You will also find other useful links and resources  there. 

You may have seen some confusing headlines in the press this week that schools will reopen in 3 weeks.  

There have been no updates in relation to when we will reopen but the guidance at the moment states that schools will only reopen once there is scientific evidence that it is safe to do so, in the mean time pupils should remain home to be safe unless it is not safe for them to be at home.

The government have issued some additional  guidance on supporting pupils at home

There will be a pack of new resources coming out to you today and teachers will be putting more individual activities together later in the week.

Please do not feel under pressure to complete these,  the main thing is that you are safe and happy as a family.  These are for those children and parents who want to keep busy and continue some form of education during this time.  

Carol has been working on Evidence  for Learning which is a platform that we use to track pupil learning.  You will be getting a link to this if you haven’t already so you can add photos and videos of activities you are doing that will then be recorded on your child’s individual journey.   Teachers will be able to set tasks through this.

BBC have launched their online learning today if anyone is interested the link is here:;_ylu=X3oDMTByaW11dnNvBGNvbG8DaXIyBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg--/RV=2/RE=1587393859/RO=10/

Lastly.  The government announced yesterday that they will be providing fine technology to older pupils.  There is not much detail around this yet, this is expected Wednesday, once we have read the guidance we will be in touch if your child is eligible.

Keep safe,

Louise Parkinson

20th March 2020

A Message from Autism Anglia's Chief Executive

Like many other Charities and Service Providers Autism Anglia is affected by the challenges presented by the Coronavirus. As a provider of 24 hour care and support and a school as well as family and community based support we are working around the clock to ensure that we can continue to provide services that keep vulnerable people safe and well. Everyone should remember that we have a shared responsibility to follow the guidance in order that we can reduce the impact of this virus.

As ever, our staff and managers are showing extraordinary dedication to do everything they can to keep homes and services running. Quite rightly there is a significant focus on health services but it is important for people to understand that school and support staff work through the day and night to ensure that the students and adults with autism we support, often with complex needs, are able to keep attending school or live safely in their homes.

I would like to thank every one of our staff for everything they are doing at this current time.

If the situation continues to get worse we may be looking out for temporary staff, Volunteers or people just to help out generally over the coming weeks. If you think you would like to help us in any way please contact me at [email protected]

Alan Bicknell
Chief Executive Officer

20th March 2020

Dear Parents,

The latest government guidance for schools was published late last night.

As I stated in my letter yesterday, school will remain open in the form of childcare on Monday.

It is very clear though that in order to rapidly reduce risk to everyone that:

Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.

Please, therefore, follow these key principles:

If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.

If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.

Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.

Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

I am particularly concerned given yesterday’s update about children travelling in taxis.

I really urge you to consider keeping your children at home for this time if they are safer.

With this in mind. Please keep us updated if you have changed your mind about sending children in so I can review staffing to keep everyone safe.

Kind regards,

Louise Parkinson

19th March 2020

Dear All,

As you are probably aware the message yesterday from the government that all schools will close on Friday, then had some implications for us as a school.

Our school will remain open on Monday.

There will be a significantly reduced staff team due to some in self-isolation, some in social distancing and some needing to potentially look after their children. 

We are currently being asked to provide care from Monday and not education.  We, however, will try to continue your child’s education as best we can.

We have created a comprehensive pack with a whole range of activities that will be coming home with your children tomorrow should you wish to keep them at home. Please see here for this.

All our pupils have EHCPs so the guidance currently suggests they are entitled to be able to come to school.

In guidance on Tuesday,  we were told that vulnerable groups including those with asthma, diabetes, learning disabilities etc should be social distancing so the message isn’t clear currently.

In addition, we have some children self-isolating and some already choosing to social distance

So that we can support children who will not be returning Monday and those who will please could you respond to let us know if you will be sending your child to school Monday.

We have prepared social stories and supports to help our pupils through this.

If you are a key worker and either a single parent or both parents in the household are key workers please could you let us know.

We currently know that in the key worker list are supermarket delivery drivers, hospital staff, police and care workers for vulnerable and the elderly.  There should be an update to this at around 2:30 today.

Please remember that in years to come our young people will remember how they felt during this time rather than the detail so try to keep this as calm as possible for them.  We have created some fun activities to share either at home or school and will be keeping positive for them.

As soon as I know more I will update you.

We will be contacting taxis to ensure if they will still be able to bring children in.

In addition to this if staff numbers decrease then we will have to review if we can open safely,  again we will keep you informed.

Kind regards,

Louise Parkinson 

Head Teacher 

17th March 2020 

Dear Parents and Carers, 

Coronavirus (Covid-19) update 

I am writing to you regarding the evolving situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19). We are responding to daily updates from Government agencies as they are published and we will continue to follow the guidance of Public Health England and the Department of Education as and when developments occur. 

You can be assured that we have been preparing for potential future developments and this letter is intended to provide you with information about the approach we will take going forward. 

Our main channel of communication with parents/carers is via email, we also have an update page on the School’s website. 

Preventing the spread of viruses in School 

  1. Students have been made aware of Public Health England advice where appropriate around washing hands through social stories and there are posters around School to reinforce key messages, including the importance of hand hygiene. 
  2. Please remind your son/daughter to wash their hands thoroughly and frequently, particularly when travelling to and from School. 
  3. Our cleaning and premises staff are working hard to ensure surfaces and handles are cleaned more frequently, we are also doing a deep clean this week and there is a plentiful supply of soap in all toilets and hand sanitiser around school. 

If your son/daughter develops a high temperature or a new persistent cough 

  1. Keep them at home for 14 days (if the symptoms develop on a Monday, the student should not return to school until Tuesday two weeks later). If symptoms develop in school, you will be contacted and the student will be asked to wait in a designated area to be collected. 
  2. Consult the NHS 111 on-line service if symptoms get worse 
  3. Please keep the School informed of any developments. 
  4. This also applies where a student is living in the same house as someone exhibiting symptoms – the whole household should self-isolate for 14 days.

please keep us informed of any of these symptoms or developments.

If a diagnosed case of coronavirus is identified in School 

We do not currently have any diagnosed cases of coronavirus in our school community or in the wider Autism Anglia organisation. The relevant agencies will work closely with us in managing our response and our actions will be taken with community health at the centre of our decision making. 

Other measures 

  1. To reduce the number of people with whom our staff and students make contact, we will be 

completing all EHCP meetings via telephone conference.

  1. We will be cancelling/postponing all out of school trips and activities until further notice. 

Partial closure 

Schools will need to assess on a daily basis whether sufficient staff are available for the school to remain open as usual. If this is not the case, the school may need to close to one (or more) year groups, or shorten the school day. We will, of course, keep you informed should this be necessary. 

Full closure 

Government agencies could, of course, make a more general decision to close all schools and colleges across an area or across the country to minimise the level of ‘spread’. 

Whether the school is partially or fully closed, we will endeavour to provide education for your son/daughter. Teaching staff and the therapy team will provide teaching materials and teachers will continue setting work and checking learning where possible. Pupils will be provided with a social story where appropriate to help them understand.

Further Information 

The DfE launched a new helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education. Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline as follows: 

  • Phone: 0800 046 8687 
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday) 

You can also find the latest information updates on COVID-19: 


We have been advised that ibuprofen should not be used for symptoms as this may make symptoms worse.

High Risk 

Diabetes and Asthma are on the list for high risk, if your child suffers with either of these conditions we support you in considering if it would be safer for your child to stay at home, especially if they are not in control of touching their face or putting items in their mouth.

Currently, the guidance does not say people with these conditions should stay at home however it does advise extra vigilance.

To conclude, I would like to reassure you that Doucecroft School will continue to monitor the situation closely and will act swiftly on the advice of the relevant authorities regarding coronavirus. We have contacted all of our staff and students with the latest advice and will continue to provide this support. May I thank you all again for your trust and calm approach to this unprecedented situation. 

Yours sincerely, Louise Parkinson