Vranch House is a centre for the treatment of over 2,000 outpatients with physical difficulties, a provider of various therapies throughout Devon and an independent Day School in Exeter for children with significant physical difficulties.

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Last updated: 27/05/2024

Parent's Newsletter - August 2020

Date added: Tuesday 1st September 2020
Latest updated: Thursday 23rd February 2023

Parents & Carers of Pupils at Vranch House


Dear Parents and Carers,

Re: Returning to School - September 2020

I hope you and your child(ren) have been able to make the most of the better weather we had this summer break and that you have all remained safe and well.  I know that many of you may be anxious about the return to school on the 7th September 2020 so, as promised, here is an update on what we are doing at Vranch House to support your children and continue to keep everyone safe.

What we will be continuing upon return in September 2020

Increased cleaning and santising

Since the beginning of the COVID - 19 pandemic, Vranch House has increased its already-high levels of hand washing and regular sterilising of hands, all hard surfaces and equipment.

Wearing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and face coverings.

Whenever practicable, staff will maintain a safe working distance of 2m between themselves and others.  Face coverings will be worn in addition to the standard disposable gloves and aprons worn when attending to all child personal and intimate care routines.

All staff working with pupils deemed ‘Clinically Extremely Vulnerable' by a pediatrician will be wearing face coverings and gloves at all times when working within 2m of these pupils.

If you have particular requirements for use of PPE when staff are working with your child(ren), over the above stated measures, please mention this when we contact you.

School Transport

I have been in regular contact with Devon County Council (DCC) Transport, who will be operating transport routes for pupils, as required.  DCC has provided the drivers and escorts of DCC Transport with PPE and training in safe working practices with regards to COVID - 19 infection prevention.  If you have any concerns regarding your child's use of their usual school transport to return to school, Jenny Milford at DCC Transport will gladly answer any queries you may have.  If you call the automated DCC switchboard on 01392 383000 and say her name you will be connected.  Alternatively, you may wish to contact her by email [email protected] 

Track and Trace protocols

If you, your child(ren) or any member of your immediate family or ‘social bubble' display symptoms of COVID - 19, please stay away from Vranch House, inform Reception and request a free NHS test.  You are advised to self-isolate until your test result has come back ‘negative'. 

Should any pupil or member of staff contract the COVID - 19 virus we will respond in accordance with the guidance stated under the headings ‘What happens if someone becomes unwell at an educational or childcare setting?' and ‘What happens if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus in a setting?' in Coronavirus (COVID-19): implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings', DfE (May 2020).  This document can be found at:


Essential changes to the school from September 2020


Hand sanitising stations

We have installed wall-mounted hand sanitiser dispensers at the entrances to our buildings and at other key points around the school.  Please use these to sanitise your hands before entering our buildings.  Once inside, please sanitise your hands whenever entering or exiting key areas using the dispensers stationed outside:

§  the Nurses station

§  Therapy treatment/Office area

§  the Staffroom / east corridor

§  the Hall / west corridor

§  Cedar classroom

§  The entrance door to the Secondary provision corridor

All of our toilets have antibacterial handwash dispensers and sporicidal hand sanitiser dispensers; please make use of both to cleanse your hands after using our toilets.

School drop-off and pick-up: One-way flow

  • All School Transport Escorts and Parents/Carers dropping-off pupils at school each morning will be asked to enter the building via main Reception in the Lower School building, to the right hand side of the Honeylands building for children in Cedar class (you will be informed if your child is in this class) and via Honeylands Reception for pupils in our Secondary provision. Once you have had a hand-over with a member of staff you will be asked to leave via the fire doors of the school hall or via Reception in our Secondary provision or the same access path to the right of the Honeylands building for Cedar class pupils.
  • Afternoon pick-ups will repeat this flow of all School Transport Escorts and Parents/Carers entering the school buildings and leaving via the designated entry/exit points as per the morning drop-off.

Minimising human traffic around the school - social distancing ‘bubbles'

Staff and pupils will be asked to keep to the most direct and shortest route between classrooms and any other area of the school they may need to visit; we will be asking all visitors to do the same.  Can all parents and carers please enter and exit via Reception points only and keep the shortest route possible between Reception and your child's classroom.

All pupils will be kept in their new ‘class-group bubbles', with the allocated staffing for that groups.  We acknowledge that there may be some situations where a member of staff may need to work in another classroom, but we will endeavor to continue to keep staff movements between classes to a minimum.  Pupils will not be mixing between classes unless absolutely necessary, this includes pupils having their lunches in classrooms rather than altogether in the hall.

The Devon Information and Advice Service (DiAS) has produced some helpful information to address some other concerns around returning to school this September.  I have copied key points from this advice below:

Does my child have to go back to school?

The short answer is yes. During coronavirus the legal requirement for a child to be in school was put aside, but from September it's back. So, by law your child needs to be in school. That means that legally, you could eventually be fined or taken to court if your child doesn't go to school.

Some children will be very anxious about going back and some may refuse to go at all. If you think that your child is likely to find it particularly difficult or you're worried that they may refuse, now is the time to say something. Speak to the head teacher about your concerns as soon as you can.

What can I do to help and support my child as they go back into school?

The most important thing to do is to keep talking to staff at your child's school or college. Tell them how things are and have been at home, what's been positive and what has been a struggle. Stay in regular contact and tell them if your child's needs have changed or you need more support.  Some children and young people may need a gradual return to school to make sure they settle back in as well as possible.  

For a full copy of the DiAS advice, please go to: https://www.devonias.org.uk/going-back-to-school-or-college/

We will be telephoning all parents and carers to catch up and discuss any concerns and requirements you may have around your child returning to school.

Yours faithfully


Ian Norton

Head of Education