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The latest Parent/Carer newsletter is here- Parent Carer Newsletter – February 2021
Hard copies of information published on this website can be provided free of charge.
From time to time, you may need to request that your child has time off college. An ‘authorised’ absence is one where we as a college support and agree with the reasons for why your child needs to miss college. The broad guidance we use is that the reason for the absence is so unique, or has such social or spiritual value, that it outweighs the loss of teaching time. ‘Unauthorised’ absences would cover taking holidays during term time, family days out or going shopping. In serious or repeated cases of ‘unauthorised absence’, we may consider the use of a Fixed Penalty Notice (click for more details), but we will talk to you about this first to see if there’s anything we can do to improve matters. Our message is simple – assuming they are well, we would love to see your child in college for every one of the 190 days we are open each year.
Adverse Weather Procedure
In the event of disruption caused by adverse weather conditions (ie heavy snow), the prime concern of WSAPC will always be the safety of the pupils and staff. The decision whether or not to send a pupil to one of our Centres if it remains open to learners during poor weather conditions must be at the discretion of the parents/carers, taking into account factors such as local road conditions and the availability of childcare.
The WSAPC aims to remain open in the event of adverse weather conditions. We feel this is important for those parents who are relying on us to provide for their children in term time. In the event of extreme conditions, we cannot guarantee a normal school day.
However, there are certain factors which may lead to a WSAPC Centre closing, such as whether:
- there are enough members of staff to be able to provide satisfactory care;
- the severity of the weather conditions is on such a major scale that it is unlikely that many people will be able, physically, to make it into the college;
- the college can provide lunch for the pupils;
- the college grounds are sufficiently safe for pupils, parents/carers and staff;
- the college has sufficient heating;
- the college has lighting and hot water across the site;
- external agencies, e.g. police, local government, motoring organisations, etc, are advising against school travel in the relevant region.
- Taxi companies/bus routes are able to operate.
If the Centre your child attends is to be open, we will post this on the website as soon as possible and normally by 7.00am on the day as well as notifying you of this by SIMS InTouch.
If, for the reasons outlined above, the safest or most expedient judgment is to close the Centre your child attends, a ‘Closure Day’ will be declared and we will post this on the website as soon as possible and normally by 7.00am on the day as well as notifying you of this by SIMS InTouch.
Closure notices will also be made available on the West Sussex County Council website:
When checking websites regularly, please remember to refresh for updates.
The series of frequently asked questions below should answer any queries.
Will parents/carers be contacted in the event of adverse weather conditions?
Our website www.apcollege.co.uk should be consulted regularly. Remember to refresh for updates. We will also endeavour to contact parents/carers via SIMS InTouch to ensure a clear message is sent.
Do I need to contact the Centre my child attends?
If the WSAPC Centre is classed as ‘open’ but parents/carers decide not to send their child, please contact the relevant unit to inform them of absence (see contact details on our website).
To travel to school or not?
Parents/carers have to decide whether it is safe and desirable for them to make the journey into the WSAPC.
Will you close all WSAPC Centres?
We will always endeavour to keep all our Centres open but their geographical location may affect the ability to continue teaching in a Centre as weather conditions affect Centres differently. For example, if weather conditions are poor in Crawley and a decision is made to close the Crawley Centre, this does not necessarily mean any other Centre will close. We will ensure information on our website and messages to parents/carers clearly state which Centres are closing and which remain open to students.
What will happen if weather conditions worsen during the school day?
If weather conditions deteriorate during the school day we may take the decision to close the college earlier than usual. This would be communicated to you via the website, SIMS InTouch and telephone call. If pupils travel to their Centre by taxi, changes to taxi timetables will be made by the WSAPC.
If adverse weather conditions are forecast please ensure that you are checking the website and InTouch messages regularly and that you have made available to the WSAPC an emergency contact number so we can advise you of any early closures.
If, in the event of an early closure, parents/carers wish to collect pupils from one of our Centres they are welcome to do so, but please ensure you inform a member of staff before leaving to ensure effective recording. Staff will supervise pupils until parents/carers or taxis are able to get to the college, but please remember that members of staff will be also be anxious to get home if the weather and road conditions are poor.
We are working to keep our school as safe as possible. You may have heard that testing for those without coronavirus symptoms is happening across the country using new, quicker COVID-19 tests known as ‘lateral flow tests.’
Along with the other protective measures we are taking, these tests will help staff and pupils to remain in school safely. Up to one third of people who have coronavirus experience no symptoms. By testing we will help to stop the virus spread and help to keep our school open as safely as possible. The test is voluntary, but I would encourage everyone to take it.
Since January we have been testing all staff and pupils who agree to participate.
If you are happy for your child to be tested, please fill in the electronic form via THIS LINK. A separate text will sent to the registered mobile number for ease of completion.
Those taking the test will be supervised by trained staff. The ‘lateral flow’ tests are quick and easy using a swab of your nose and throat. The test is self-administered and will be oversee by a member staff known to children. Please see the attached leaflet for information regarding the testing process.
Results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be shared directly with the pupils participating. Parents will informed if results are positive.
We know these tests work – in validation studies conducted by Oxford University and Public Health England, they were shown to be as accurate in identifying a case as a PCR test (99.68% specificity). The tests have lower sensitivity but they are better at picking up cases when a person has higher viral load, hence the need to test frequently.
Testing will be offered free of charge.
What if a pupil tests positive?
Participating staff and pupils who test positive will be informed about their results individually. Pupil will be required to return home immediately should a positive test result be received.
Pupils will need to take a further ‘PCR test’ (similar to those done in local and regional testing sites) on the same day (or as soon as possible). The School will be able to provide these PCR test kits to perform at home or you can go to www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call 119 to book a follow-up test. If ordering a PCR test yourselves, they should choose to visit a drive-through test site if possible, as it is faster than requesting a home test.
During this time while they wait for the PCR result (via text / email) they will need to self-isolate.
If the PCR test returns a positive result you will have to self-isolate and follow the guidance from NHS Test and Trace.
What happens if the test is negative?
They will be able to stay in school and resume their activities as normal. A pupil will only be told if they test positive on a ‘lateral flow’ test, so if you do not hear you can assume it was negative. A small number of pupils may need to repeat the test if the first test was invalid or void for some reason.
What if a close contact at school/college tests positive?
A close contact of someone in school who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be able to return to school if they agree to be tested once a day for 7 days and the test is negative. If they do not want to take the test, they will need to self-isolate as per the national guidelines. This does not apply to household members or close contacts outside of school who will still need to self-isolate. Further details will be provided at the time, but if you would prefer to self-isolate instead of doing daily testing, you can.
What if my child develops symptoms?
This testing programme at school is for people with no symptoms. If your child develops symptoms at any time (such as a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste) they must immediately self-isolate, and book a test by calling 119 (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or 0300 303 2713 (Scotland) or visiting https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
We will support our staff and pupils throughout, but please contact us if you need this information in any other language or format or if you have any questions.
Although we are a large campus in a large geographical county, we aim to provide consistent education and support in all of our centres. Every child is therefore taught the core subjects in English, maths and science as well as a variety of experiences including PE, art, outdoor activities and cooking.
The aim in all of our centres is to work with the pupil on their individual needs, for both their academic and their social and emotional requirements, thus developing their ability to make informed choices for their future.
We seek to understand where the child is academically when entering our college and then set aspirational targets to help them move on to other educational settings, as well as addressing the social and emotional needs that are blocking their pathways to success.
Every child is different and so it can take one pupil a short period of time to address the issues and then move on quickly, and it can take another child longer; depending on the circumstances of the individual. Whatever the case, WSAPC will work with local schools and the local authority to support the child’s next steps in education.
Full details of our curriculum can be found on the Information page, under ‘Curriculum’.
This school believes in providing a varied, balanced and healthy lunch-time meal to all students. At most of our centres, this is done through our Cook and Eat Programme where the young people are involved in every aspect from planning and preparation to cooking and serving of the meal. Please see our Learning pages for more information of accreditation for the programme. All students dine with their peers and staff to support social engagement and relationship building.
Currently Cook and Eat is not offered at our Burgess Hill centre. A daily hot meal is provided to all students by Chartwells. A menu can be accessed here.
The cost of every meal is £2.30 and, whist there is no expectation to pay, a contribution the cost of the meal would be gratefully received; please contact the school office to make a contribution.
Free School Meals
The school receives extra funding, known as the Pupil Premium; to support students who are eligible for Free School Meals.
From 6 April 2011, children whose parents receive one of the following benefits are entitled to receive free school meals:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance (this benefit was introduced 27 October 2008)
- Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Child Tax Credit (provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit) and the Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
- have an annual income that does not exceed £16,190 (as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs). Note – from 1 May 2009 where a parent is entitled to Working Tax Credit during the four-week period immediately after their employment ceases, or after they start to work less than 16 hours per week, their children are entitled to free school lunches.
|IF I GET?||DO WE GET FREE MEALS?|
|Child Tax Credit
Household income above £16,190)
|Child Tax Credit
Household income below £16,190)
|Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit||No|
|Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit on a four week run on||Yes|
|Working Tax Credit
Household income below £16,190)
|No Tax Credits but income is below £16,190||No – you need to be getting one of the benefits listed above|
To find out more or to fill out the application form on-line click here.
Covid Winter Grant Scheme & FSM Eligible Families- December 2020
In November 2020, the government announced extra targeted financial support for those in need over the winter period to provide direct assistance to families with children, other vulnerable households and individuals. Please see below a letter and supporting documents which provide further details.
Here are some useful resources to help you keep your child safe online-
Parent/ Carer Newsletters
In July last year we wrote to parents and carers explaining that WSAPC was working towards achieving The Rainbow Flag Award accrediting the emphasis which we place on being an inclusive organisation for students, staff and families regardless of sexual orientation and preference. We are amazingly proud to announce that we have worked hard on this throughout the academic year and have been awarded The Rainbow Flag at ‘Outstanding’!
The Rainbow Flag Award encouraged a whole school approach to tackling HBT bullying and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans) inclusion, focusing on the following areas:
Red – Skilled Teachers
Orange – Supportive Governors and Parents
Yellow – Effective Policies
Green – Inclusive Curriculum
Blue – Pastoral Support
Violet – Pupil Voice
By achieving Outstanding in all areas, we have met the following:
- The legal requirement to ensure LGBT inclusion in schools;
- The Ofsted requirement for us to be effective in tackling HBT bullying;
- Our moral requirement to meet the needs of LGBT young people, given the wealth of evidence showing that mental health issues and suicide still disproportionally affect LGBT young people.
During the year, we have posted details on the APC web page, which showed some of the opportunities our young people had to learn and respond to the issues raised. We held an LGBT+ Focus Week when all centres engaged in exploring the subject across areas of the curriculum including maths, English, Science, PE and food tech – some very bright and colourful food dishes were created! The students were amazing and opened some very positive conversations with staff and peers.
Looking towards next year, the steering committee, which led the engagement with the award, will take on a new role ensuring that LBGT awareness and inclusion is monitored and developed further.
We would like to thank Reuben Davidson from Allsorts Brighton who has supported and engaged with us throughout and who has delivered outstanding training for staff across all of our centres.
The organisations below can help individuals with issues around gender identity and sexuality. Do not hesitate to contact them; they will be able to give support and they also offer advice and counselling.
SHARP stands for Student Help Advice Reporting Page. It is a method of confidentially logging a concern you may have and is open to students, parents and carers as well as staff and community members.
Click on this link to go to the SHARP System.
Term Dates 2020/2021
Please follow the link below to view our term dates for the academic year 2020/2021. Additionally there will be INSET days where the college is closed to students, to be announced in due course. These are-
Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th September 2020- All centres
Monday 9th November- Lancing and Worthing only
Tuesday 10th November- Littlehampton and Chichester only
Wednesday 11th November- Burgess Hill only
Monday 4th January 2021 – Secondary Centres only
Monday 15th March 2021- All centres
Friday 23rd July 2021- All centres
Term Dates 2021/2022
Please click here to view the West Sussex term dates for the academic year 2021/2022. Additionally there will be INSET days where the college is closed to students, to be announced in due course.
We encourage all our students in KS3 & KS4 to travel to and from school independently. In the majority of cases this will be via public transport. Transport for pupils who live further than 3 miles from their nearest centre will be provided free of charge as per the West Sussex County Council (WSCC) transport policy available here. We appreciate that, for some, travel to our centres can be difficult and to enable the best possible opportunities for our students we work closely with our colleagues at WSCC to offer modes of transport that are both suitable and . Currently these include:
- Bus and Train passes
- Bus and Train Passes for Primary children and their parents to enable them to escort them to and from school
- Taxi (Limited to special cases only)
- Bike Scheme – WSCC will provide a voucher for singly registered pupils who live between 3 and 5 miles of the school
- Parental transport- in some cases we are able to help with the cost of driving your child to school, and will pay 25p per mile to eligible parents/carers. Please see the attached Parent-Carer Travel expenses form.
More information can be accessed via home to school transport WSCC here.
WSAPC has high expectations of our students and believe a good school uniform presents an image of the highest standards and expectations. Uniform is also an expected standard in most schools across West Sussex and in order to support young people to return to their mainstream school, it’s important that an expectation to continue with this standard is adhered to.
We ask for parent/carers commitment in supporting your child / young person to adhere to our policy.
From September 2017, there will be an expectation for singly registered WSAPC students to wear school uniform. Students who come to us on short stay programmes (60 day placements) should wear their mainstream school uniform.
WSAPC Dress Code / Uniform (Primary & Secondary)
- Black Trousers / Skirt / Shorts
- APC Navy Sweatshirt
- APC Navy Polo Shirt
- Black Trainers / Schools Shoes / Plimsolls
WSAPC uniform can be purchased from Reception. Full details are below:
|Polo Shirt||Age 5-6||£7.00|
There are a number of organisations which provide support for parents, children and teenagers, and information on a variety of issues. Click here to view a Signposting Booklet and click here for help information published in our previous newsletters.
See below for other help and advice which is available.
ParentInfo is a vital resource for parents and carers with easy-to-digest content. The service aims to deliver information on a whole range of parenting themes, the emphasis being on helping parents and carers develop their children’s resilience to the risks and pressures they face in today’s world. The articles and videos cover difficult topics about sex, relationships and the internet, body image and peer pressure, as well as broad parenting topics like ‘how much sleep do teenagers need?’ ParentInfo is a collaboration between the National Crime Agency CEOP Command and The Parent Zone.
Childnet International is a non-profit organisation working with others to help make the internet a great and safe place for children. Find out more about the resources and information available here.
SafeCall is a missing persons’ service which can be accessed by families who are concerned for the whereabouts of a loved one. Follow the link below for more information.
Pegasus card scheme
Sussex Police’s Pegasus scheme is for people who find it hard to communicate with them – they keep your pre-registered information safe on their computer and they can access it quickly if you call them. You don’t need to repeat all your details.
Who can register?
•Anyone who has a disability or illness that may make it hard to communicate with the police in an emergency or difficult situation.
•Registration is free.
Follow this link for more information.
Mental Health Workshops 2019/2020
Coastal West Sussex Mind are holding mental health workshops across the county, offering practical advice and strategies on a range of issues. Please click here to access details of venues and dates.
Make Yourself Heard
If you’re in an emergency situation and need police help, but can’t speak, Make Yourself Heard and let the 999 operator know your call is genuine. Click here for more information.
Wellbeing And Mental Health
Wellbeing is when you feel good, things are going well and you enjoy getting on with your daily life. The attached article gives helpful advice about how to increase your wellbeing in five ways.
New ‘Recipes 4 Wellbeing’ cards have been produced by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, designed to help you support young people experiencing difficulties with their mental wellbeing. There are 15 guides covering a range of support and advice from anxiety, bullying, sexuality, gender identity, transition to schools, loss and bereavement, to name a few.
The Sussex Health and Care Partnership have produced new toolkits, which give top tips on how to look after your mental wellbeing and links to helpful resources andtools: