Wider Opening
    
Communication Specialist College began their wider opening this week and we welcomed back students into college and into our residential accommodation. It has been great to see the staff and students back on site, enjoying themselves together again. It's very important that our students are getting the opportunity to come back and experience learning and communication in our environment with all the specialist support we have. The team have been sharing photos of what the students have been doing and it was good to see the vocational curriculum back up and running. The team have been brilliant and have adapted really well to new ways of working. 
   
Dickson House Children's Home has remained open right through lockdown and have started to gradually increase pupils back into their accommodation. I know this will help the children begin to return to what they know and support their learning with independence skills. The social aspect of being with their peers and the highly skilled staff team will again promote engagement in their learning programmes.
   
All of our staff teams right across the Trust are working hard to deliver services and ensure that the children, young people, adults and families that we serve have the support they need.
   
Safeguarding 
 
Our safeguarding policy and procedures have been reviewed and updated by our team including the Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs) for each service. The DSLs are monitoring the welfare of those children and young people that need it and they are working with Local Authorities, families and others to offer continuing support. We have had very few concerns which is pleasing to hear. If you do have any concerns then please do contact the relevant service at the Trust.
   
Remote learning
    
For the majority of our children and young people, the remote learning offered has gone well and we have seen some effective engagement and output. I think it will be a major feature of what the learning programme will look like going well into next year. We are looking at how we can develop and improve the remote learning offer and how we can harness what we have learned so far. In our settings, it will not replace existing practice but we will be reviewing what we have learned and how we can use that learning to develop what we already offer. 
    
Thank you to everyone at the Trust for remaining patient, calm and professional in the last 2 weeks as we have opened wider and increased attendance across our services. People have followed the risk assessments and implemented the procedures effectively. We must all remain vigilant and remember the procedures to keep our site Covid secure. I know how difficult it is as when i'm in my office in the main building I have to concentrate and remind myself to follow the procedures! I am constantly washing my hands and opening doors with my elbows. I do like to walk around but as that is non-essential I have cut that right down. We are all having to think about what we are doing which would normally be natural behaviour. It's not easy but we are doing it well.
   
Alexis Johnson
Executive Principal