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Happy end of term!

The consensus is that none of us can believe that we have reached this stage in the school year, or the school year that wasn’t to be a year! Despite March seeming to be so long ago, who would have thought that the end of the year would come so soon? The end that is only the beginning…the beginning of the next stage and the start of our holidays. Yes, we owe it to ourselves to treat the next stage like a holiday- no more online learning, no more preparation of resources, no more Sunday nights followed by schoolwork on Monday mornings, or feeling we should be doing something educational or school-related. Yes, ‘school’s out for summer’!

The summer break is also a time of transition. Transition may involve a re-training/ re-programming for many staff and pupils over the coming weeks. For those of us who have spent a lot of time indoors or around our own homes, now may be the time to consider small outings at safer times to build up self-confidence, lower anxieties, regain some of the old structure pre-COVID 19… of course, only if it is safe to do so. For those of us who have been busy with school life beyond our homes, it’s a time for resting. For others it is possibly a time to extend our comfort zones- either way we can all do our best to be ready to transition back into Lisanally life at the end of the break.

It now appears to be the case that schools will reopen at the end of August for some pupils and by September for more. What happens over the summer months will confirm the finer detail of all this in due course. A little guidance on what will be involved for Special Schools would also be welcome and when we know what is happening, when it is happening, then we will of course let you all know. As we have come to learn, things can change, and we don’t need to be worrying about plans until they are firmed up. Let’s all just enjoy our summer holidays.

Last Thursday, 18th June, Principals learned that Ministers proposed that a form of Summer Scheme (later renamed Summer Provision) should be offered to pupils in Special Schools. A week before the end of term isn’t a lot of time to plan and deliver a safe, high quality Summer Scheme/ Provision. For Lisanally students, the Governors agreed that the timeframe was too short and too risky to ensure that everyone could be catered for in school safely at this time. Instead, the good news is that we are devising an exciting plan where some of the children’s favourite entertainment will be offered safely, not in school, but online, over a two-week period during the last two weeks in July: Jo Jingles/ Cookery workshops/ Yoga/ Sports activities/ Music/ Magic and lots more. As soon as we finalise the programme, we will let you know. This online Summer Provision will be free of charge to all pupils. (All money already paid to school for 2020 Summer Scheme will be refunded when school reopens). Even though it won’t be our usual Summer Scheme, we are planning that there will be something exciting to suit everyone at some stage.

What better way to conclude the term than with a video of the Prize Giving winners receiving their awards when the school minibus visited them at home. So ends a strange, surreal, weird school year - one we will never forget. But as I’ve said previously, although physically apart, we have journeyed closely together. So many memories of the weekly checking in on the website for online learning or a photo of another little smiling face, or a very busy boy or girl or the comments of staff who have missed you all so much. Our busy website team will now take a well-earned rest over the next few weeks, so save those photos until after the summer. Staff are going to recharge their batteries, spend time with their precious families, as are our mums, dads and boys and girls. Thank you and well done everyone.

Signing off for the Summer… stay well.

#BackTogetherSoon

Kind regards Sandra