Upon the announcement of the governments lockdown, Witherslack Group’s schools and children homes were called upon to remain open and asked to continue to provide vital support to both children and young people with special educational needs and their families.
Throughout the lockdown, we are proud that not only all of our schools have remained open to pupils but that attendance levels have far exceeded the national trend for special schools. While school attendance of pupils with an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) across England and Wales has dropped to 6.7%, schools across our Group have an average over 30% of pupils attending, with this figure continuing to rise. In fact, our Cedar House School, located on the North Yorkshire/Cumbria border has in excess of 50% of pupils attending school, while the Group’s newest school, Queensmead House in Windsor, has attendance figures over 60%.
Our school and home staff teams deserve huge credit for providing the stability, support and safety to enable pupils to still be able to access the education and care they need. Not content on just ensuring that pupils are supported throughout the lockdown, the staff teams across our schools have gone above and beyond by distributing a range of food parcels, packed lunches or food vouchers to make sure that the health and well-being of all families are supported during the pandemic.
Phil Jones, CEO of Witherslack Group, proudly commented: “I am extremely proud that in these very uncertain and fast changing times, one consistent has been the effort and commitment of our staff. The children and young people in our care are some of the most vulnerable children in the country and we remain open to provide them with a routine that helps to regulate their anxieties and improve their mental well-being. My thanks and gratitude to all of our staff for their heroic efforts.”