On this page we aim to share advice and updates that we believe you may find helpful.
Thursday 22nd October
As you may have already heard in the news, the South Yorkshire region, including Doncaster will be placed into the VERY HIGH Tier 3 of the Government’s new Coronavirus risk levels from Saturday.
This means that Doncaster has been placed in this highest category because our rate of infections are rising rapidly and doubling every week.
People in Doncaster must follow the new, stricter guidance:
* No household mixing indoors so keep to your own household or bubble.
* No mixing in private gardens outdoors.
* You can still meet outdoors in some settings (parks, public gardens etc) but the 'rule of 6' still applies. Remember hands, face and space rules are still important outside and should be followed
* Pubs and bars must close unless they operate as a restaurant within the guidelines.
Wednesday 14 October
Tuesday 13 October
Monday 12th October
Doncaster Moves to HIGH LEVEL of Restrictions
As you may have seen this evening, due to our current rates of infection, Doncaster, along with the rest of South Yorkshire, has been placed into the HIGH level of restrictions.
This means that new guidance will be in place shortly to try and ensure we slow the spread of the virus as much as possible locally:
- Households should no longer mix indoors; either at home or at any hospitality venues.
- Different households may meet outdoors (including in gardens) but must continue to stick to the 'Rule of 6'.
- Where possible people should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make.
- 10pm curfews will remain in place for all pubs and restaurants.
Wednesday 23rd September
Letter for parents about COVID-19 symptoms
Public Health England have produced a letter for schools to distribute to parents which explains when a person requires a coronavirus test and what the symptoms of coronavirus are.
The intention of the letter is to help prevent children being taken out of school unnecessarily and answer some of the questions parents may have around testing.
You can view the letter here.
Tuesday 22nd September
Please click on the link below to refer to the latest guidance for parents and carers with children in nursery, school, or college in the autumn term.
This guidance is also available in the following languages.
Thursday 16th July
Please refer to the information flyer regarding Summer Staycations:
Friday 10th July
Here are a few resources that may be helpful over the summer break.
Tuesday 7th July
OPENING ARRANGEMENTS IN SEPTEMBER 2020
Please refer to the letter to all our families from the NEXUS CEO regarding our arrangements for September. There is also a set of Frequently Asked Questions that you may helpful and informative.
Wednesday 17th June
The Duchess of Cambridge to lead an online assembly on mental wellbeing among children
Tomorrow, the Duchess of Cambridge will lead an online assembly for the Oak National Academy during which she will speak about the importance of mental wellbeing among children. The theme of the Duchess’ assembly is ‘spread a little kindness’ and is based on a lesson plan which is available on the Mentally Healthy Schools platform. This platform was developed in collaboration with children’s mental health charity Place2Be and encourages children to explore ways in which they can show kindness and recognise the benefits of kindness to others.
The Mentally Healthy Schools platform can be accessed here:
The assembly will be live on the Oak National Academy website at 11am on Thursday 18 June and can be accessed here:
A recording of the assembly will be available to view on the Oak National Academy website following the event.
Saturday 30th May
Here is a letter from Lisa Suter explaining the latest details and measures regarding the reopening of school to students.
Friday 22nd May
Notice to parents
Doncaster Council have released a statement, at 3.30 p.m. today, in which the mayor is recommending Doncaster schools do not re-open from 1st June.
We have continued to follow the advice of the Government whereby special schools were required to remain open throughout the lockdown.
Heatherwood site has been closed due to family preference.
We want to reassure you that we will be continuing with our opening plans as already communicated to those families requesting a place.
We hope to begin receiving pupils into school from Wednesday 3rd June; as per the telephone calls that have been made to you today.
Again, you do not have to send your child(ren) to school if that is your preference.
Please can we now politely request those families who have requested a place to confirm, as soon as possible, to help us continue with our plans and risk assessments.
Please leave a voice mail on the following number stating your child’s name and if you wish to continue pursuing a place or otherwise.
Thank you for your assistance in this matter.
Wednesday 20th May
£37 million to support children with complex needs
Children with special educational needs and disabilities in England will benefit from £37.3 million of direct support in 2020-21, which is expected to help more than 75,000 families in England.
Families with children that have complex needs and disabilities will receive grants for vital equipment to make their lives easier while implementing social distancing measures, including computers, specialist equipment and educational toys.
£10 million of the total has been committed specifically in response to the unique difficulties presented by the coronavirus pandemic, helping parents educate and look after disabled or critically ill children who are staying at home more than usual.
Family Fund provides grants to low-income families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people, and aims to improve their quality of life by paying for a wide range of items that can ease the daily pressure. Families in England can find out more and apply for grants from Family Fund directly. Please go to:
The printable application form can be downloaded here:
Take a look at the application guidance document if you have any questions about the application form. For more information about eligibility or whether you should apply go to our who we help or child and young person eligibility criteria pages.
Family Fund accept one application per household. To apply on behalf of more than one child, please complete a full application form for one child and then a child details form for each additional child you are applying for.
Here is an information video that explains more about the Grant and the process.
Applying for the first time
Tuesday 19th May
TESTING AVAILABLE TO ANYONE WITH SYMPTOMS
The government has announced that anyone with symptoms of coronavirus is now eligible to book a test, ahead of the rollout of the test and trace service. Anyone experiencing a new, continuous cough; high temperature; or a loss of, or change, in their normal sense of smell or taste (anosmia) can book a test.
A coronavirus test can be booked here:
Essential workers in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland, can apply for priority testing through GOV.UK. A coronavirus test can be booked here:
Monday 11th May
Doncaster Parents Voice
The Parents voice group have a poster explaining some of the work they are doing, some of the sessions you can get involved in and another poster explaining information about their counselling and befriending services. Have a look:
Wednesday 6th May
Support for Families in Financial Difficulties
Here is some links to help families that are suffering financially and require some help with budgeting. Please look at the attached Budget Booklet and follow the links that you may also find helpful.
Tuesday 5th May
BANK HOLIDAY HELPLINE
Department for Education coronavirus helpline – Friday 8 May Bank Holiday opening hours
The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care.
Phone: 0800 046 8687
The helpline will remain open over the early May Bank Holiday weekend for staff, parents and young people as follows:
10am to 4pm – Friday, Saturday and Sunday
The standard opening hours will resume on Monday 11 May:
8am to 6pm – Monday to Friday
10am to 4pm – Saturday and Sunday
Resources and support from Sheffield Hallum University
The situation we find ourselves in as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic is completely unprecedented. As a University we want to do everything we can to support our communities and partners through this challenging time.
We understand that for many families suddenly managing childcare, home learning and working from home is particularly difficult and many people, especially children, will be struggling to cope with the anxiety and fear caused by the situation.
It is also a really challenging time for staff in schools that remain open for the children of key workers and vulnerable children.
That’s why we have developed a series of resources to help support children, families and school workers through this uncertain time.
Through our social mobility partnership, South Yorkshire Futures, we have worked with Trauma Informed Schools UK and Nifty Fox Creative to develop a series of resources offering informed, practical advice on educational activities, reducing anxiety through play and having reassuring conversations with children.
There are also resources aimed at supporting colleagues in school settings and tips to manage mental health.
All the resources have a link to our website where there is further information and resources and links to organisations that can provide additional or specialist support.
We hope you find the resources helpful and useful in supporting colleagues/ schools/ families/ children as well as encouraging you to look after your own health and wellbeing.
We would welcome your feedback to help us to continue to develop further resources to support our partners and communities in the future.
Sheffield Institute of Education
Strategic Lead South Yorkshire Futures
Tuesday 28th April
General Government Guidance
As per the Government’s guidance, detailed above, Heatherwood must endeavour to remain open during these challenging times.
However, as so many of you have exercised your right to keep your children and young people at home; the school site will remain closed this week.
Each week we will check with all families to see if you will continue to shield/distance at home or request a place at school for the following week.
Thank you for your cooperation at this difficult time.
Wednesday 22nd April
Here is a poster that has information about Support for those bereaved during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Thursday 16th April
Coronavirus has taken and impacted on so many lives across the world. The number of people dying is incomprehensible and more and more of us directly know, or know of someone that has been affected. Each day we hear the number of lives that have been lost and it is harrowing.
It is heart-breaking knowing that people have died alone and will have funerals with either none or very few loved ones able to say goodbye and celebrate their lives. Thousands of people that are seriously ill battling to survive are also alone, whilst their loved ones are sat at home in emotional turmoil not being able to be with them and so many keyworkers are putting themselves at risk every day by tirelessly helping others.
We too have all had to make such difficult sacrifices, and very quickly adapt to what will be our new way of living for the foreseeable future. Many of us are unable to see our family, friends or colleagues. Children and young people unable to go to school to see their friends, and so many people have lost their jobs, their homes and their livelihoods.
It is because of these people that we all need to come together and show our sympathy, support, empathy, compassion, solidarity and pay tribute and #LightUpTheSky
To get involved simply get creative and make a star: as big, shiny and as glittery as you wish and put it up in your windows, then flood social media with pictures of your amazing creations using #LightUpTheSky
Let us then bring each star to life and pay our tributes by shining a light from a window or door whilst having a minutes silence on Monday 20th April at 9pm, and commemorate the lives and people affected by coronavirus.
Monday 13th April
Updated handwashing advice
It is essential that everyone washes their hands more often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Hand washing with soap employs mechanical action that loosens bacteria and viruses from the skin, rinsing them into the drain. Drying hands afterwards makes the skin less hospitable to the virus. Hand sanitiser can be effective if soap is not available or the situation makes using soap less feasible (i.e. when outside) but using hand sanitiser provides none of the virus-destroying friction that rubbing your hands together and rinsing with water provides.
Live Well Consultancy
Sarah Wray at Live Well Consultancy has posted a blog on her website and will continue to add blogs and videos regularly on there to support adults and children with their well-being during this period.
You can also sign up to the mailing list on the blog page to keep updated with blog posts and videos.
Follow the link below to keep up with Sarah on her journey with you all through this difficult time.
Thursday 9th April
Doncaster Parents Voice
The Doncaster Parents Voice are offering a range of ways for you to get support from us and from each other as well as informing service leads in the council, health services and schools how families are being affected by this crisis. They will be keeping you updated on how you can get your story told.
They will be keeping families informed with regular updates about activities for them to do and local and national information and news via our open face book page. Please read the newsletter for further details:
Wednesday 8th April
Brighten up your Day
The Local Authority are sharing some good news stories supplied by some Doncaster schools that you might be interested in have a look at the latest entries:
Think u Know
The latest update for online safety at home:
Let's Talk about Radicalisation
With students spending increased time at home, online and potentially unsupervised, online radicalisation is an ever present threat. Here is some advice and support on how parents can help to protect your youngsters:
Here is some advice and information regarding Staying Safe and Domestic Abuse in these very difficult times:
Every Mind Matters
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak means that life is changing for all of us for a while, and you might be feeling stressed, worried or anxious.
But there's some simple things you can do to help you take care of your mental health and wellbeing during this time. The people at Every Mind Matters have pulled together a list of our top 10 tips - have a read.
Tuesday 7th April
Here is a link to the latest Government publication regarding school closures.
Friday 27th March
Week Commencing Monday 30th March
As per the Government’s guidance, detailed above, Heatherwood must endeavour to remain open during these challenging times.
However, as so many of you have exercised your right to keep your children and young people at home; the school site will remain closed next week.
Those parents requesting a place have been contacted.
We will keep in touch, with you all, via our safe and well telephone calls.
We are compiling a list of suggested home learning activities and tasks and these will be shared via the website next week.
Please keep safe and well.
Wednesday 25th March
Stay at Home Guidance
Please read the latest update regarding advice on staying at home and what to do if you suspect someone in your household has COVID-19.
Or watch this You tube video explanation of the key points:
Wednesday 25th March
A Message from Mindfulness in Schools Project
We are waiting to hear how this will pan out for small charities like ours. But in the meantime, we wanted to do something positive whilst the world is now pretty unfamiliar, and for, many frightening. We therefore launched a daily online mindfulness session yesterday, where we can ‘Sit Together’. Meeting at 11am every week day, these sessions are suitable for anyone, whether experienced mindfulness practitioners or absolute beginners, and last about 20 minutes. Children and young people are very welcome if accompanied by an adult. We had 55 attendees yesterday and 158 today, and it has been so heart-warming and inspirational to see so many people gather together to support each other. As well as the practice, just a smile and a wave from so many people is uplifting.
So I am warmly inviting you, your colleagues, staff in your schools and the wider community to drop in and join us. Please find and share details here: https://mindfulnessinschools.org/misp-sit-together/ If you can’t make it tomorrow, just drop in any week day when you can. We’d love to see you there.
Do take care, and sending very best wishes to the whole Doncaster community.
Chief Executive Officer
Mindfulness in Schools Project
Wednesday 25th March
As you know Heatherwood School closed its door on Friday 20th March, as we know it, and will remain closed until we are informed by the Government to reopen.
However, as per the Government’s request, the school opened its doors on Monday morning, 23rd March, as a childcare provider.
With the increasing sense of urgency in the nightly Government briefings, where everyone is strongly advised to consider social distancing and stay at home, we have seen a big reduction in our pupil numbers this week compared to last, and we are expecting no children to attend school for the remainder of this week.
The school site will therefore close.
This is not the same thing as a school closure, as senior leaders and school staff will all be working from home and allocated people will continue to maintain regular contact with you; whilst you keep your children and young people at home and safe with you.
As per last night’s text alert (24th March). We have also asked you to inform school by midday on Friday 27th March if you require a place for Monday 30th March.
The number to message or call is: 07786431175.
IF WE DO NOT HEAR FROM YOU WE WILL ASSUME YOU DO NOT REQUIRE A PLACE
We need this information so that we have time to ensure we have staffing in place to meet need, alongside catering, nursing services etc. If we cannot maintain safe staff to pupil ratios or we do not have a viable number of pupils requiring a childcare place; provision may be offered at another special school if appropriate.
Please keep safe and well during these challenging times, and rest assured, we do accept your decisions as parents and carers to do what is right for your family during this time.
Wednesday 25th March
Please note a member of staff in Heatherwood’s Post 16 Department was confirmed as positive for Covid-19 over the weekend.
The member of staff has been absent from school, for over a week, and following information from Public Health England’s Health Protection Team we understand school does not pose a threat to staff or students coming back into school this week.
Parents of pupils in Post 16 were duly informed. Similarly, all staff and parents of those pupils due to attend school this week were informed (irrespective of class) and given the option to refrain from coming in to school should they chose.
Tuesday 24th March
Therapy Team Update – Covid-19 Situation
Dear Parents and Carers
Given the current situation with Covid-19 (Corona Virus) , the Therapy team based at DRI in Children's Outpatients and Heatherwood school, will imminently be redeployed to the main hospital to work on the wards, where the greatest level of need will be in the coming weeks and months. We will not be in Heatherwood/Northridge school to undertake standing and with school staff varying daily it will not be feasible to train them to do this. Therefore we are asking if you wish for your child's stander to be sent home for use. If you would like this, please call us on the number below by Friday 27th March. NRS will then contact you to arrange delivery of the standing frame. If you require someone to show you how to use this please call us and we will try to arrange this for you as soon as possible.
Please be aware if you are self-isolating due to your child or family member having symptoms, delivery cannot take place until the 14 days isolation has passed.
If there is anything you wish to discuss regarding your child's therapy, or you would like ideas about what therapy you can do at home please contact us as soon as possible and we will arrange a telephone consultation with you.
Thank you for your patience and understanding at this challenging and uncertain time. As soon as our situation changes we will update you as best we can and if you need to contact us over the next few weeks and months please leave us a message on the numbers below and someone will get back to you as soon as they can.
We hope you stay safe and well,
The Children's Physiotherapy and Occupational Team
Therapy Team Phone Number:01302 642636/642637
Saturday 21st March 22:00
SCHOOL CLOSURE GUIDANCE
Please refer to the latest government guidance regarding school closures.
Thursday 19th March 20:00
The wellbeing of our young people is so important at this time. Here are some links and resources that some of our families might find useful. Please consider using them if you feel they are appropriate.
1. This video provides guidance to parents and carers about how they can support themselves and their children during any disruption caused by the coronavirus.
2. A selection of self-care strategies that have been developed by young people to help manage their own wellbeing. During a time when access to regular appointments may be disrupted or anxiety might be heightened, it might be helpful to try one or some of these strategies.
3. Coronavirus and your wellbeing - Mind
4. Calm zone - Childine
Wednesday 18th March 23:00
ASDA Opening Early for Vulnerable Groups
ASDA have kindly said that they want to do all they can to support vulnerable members of our community and so have made the decision that on Friday 20th March, from store opening until 9am, they will make their larger stores available for those vulnerable people – and those caring for them, to let them shop and get what they need.
So – if you’re in a vulnerable group and need to get your shopping – or are caring for someone in a vulnerable group, we’ll do everything we can to support you in stores on Friday morning before 9am. You can find out the opening time of your local store by clicking here.
We believe that other stores may be doing other similar arrangements. We would love to share this information with our families, as and when we can confirm such details.
Wednesday 18th March 17:50
The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.
Watch this short NHS film for guidance:
Wednesday 18th March 11:10
Tuesday 17th March 16:55
Department for Education coronavirus helpline
The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), 10am to 4pm (Saturday to Sunday)
Please note, we are currently experiencing high volumes of calls. We appreciate your patience at this time and apologise for any wait that you may experience. To ensure that we answer your calls as quickly as possible, we have now extended our opening hours to cover weekends and are increasing the number of call handlers available to answer your calls.