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: 17/07/2024

Parent's Newsletter - December 2020

Parent's Newsletter - December 2020

Date added: Monday 7th December 2020
Latest updated: Thursday 23rd February 2023

To Parents & Carers of pupils at Vranch House                     


Dear Parents & Carers,

Re: Christmas at Vranch House and

Free School Meals over the holiday


Christmas at Vranch House

As we come to the end of a calendar year which has been anything but ‘usual', I thought I would let you know which annual events will and will not be happening at Vranch House this Christmas time.  Due to Devon being in Tier 2 COVID - 19 restrictions we sadly cannot put on a Christmas production for parents and carers to come and watch or ‘Carols Around the Tree'.  As Chloe Moore (Beech Class Teacher) has already mentioned in her letter to parents and carers, each class will however be putting onto Earwig a ‘Christmas surprise' so please do check your child's timeline for those.

Father Christmas usually pays a visit to Vranch House and gives each pupil a small gift; this year he has asked our very own Vranch House Elves to be on stand-by in case he is not able to travel or visit us due to COVID - 19 - nobody panic, the presents will still get to the pupils!

If you would like the loan of any school-provided therapy equipment over the Christmas holiday, please contact the school Physiotherapist, Kirsty Scales as soon as possible.

Free School Meals over the Christmas Holidays

Devon County Council (DCC) have now put in place arrangements to provide supermarket vouchers to nearly 15,000 children across Devon who currently receive free school meals, to help their families buy groceries over the Christmas holidays.

From Tuesday 8 December DCC will be sending a unique code per child to all families known to the Local Authority (LA), that are currently in receipt of Free School Meals. 

Each code can be used once on a website called ‘Hawk Select' to redeem vouchers to the value of £30 per child (£15 per week for the two weeks of school holidays) for Sainsbury's, Tesco, Morrison's, Asda, M&S Food and Waitrose.

The website requires families to provide an email address for the vouchers to be sent to once they have chosen their preferred supermarket.  When received, you can save the vouchers to your phone or tablet to use online (depending on the supermarket) or show at the checkout in store.  Alternatively, you can print the vouchers off to give to the cashier.

The Education Helpline is available on 0345 155 1019 for any questions about the distribution of the unique codes.  There are also some useful FAQs on the Hawk Select website along with contact details for any technical support about using the codes and vouchers: select-your-reward.co.uk

Further information about this scheme is available on the DCC website:


If you think your child may now be eligible for free school meals due to a recent change in your family's circumstances, please check to see if you can access this holiday voucher support over Christmas by applying online through the Devon Citizen's Portal: https://oneonline.devon.gov.uk/CCSCitizenPortal_LIVE/en .

This is the quickest and easiest way for you to assess your family's eligibility to be assessed and you will get an instant decision.  Alternatively, you can call the education helpline.  To ensure that you receive the free school meals holiday vouchers for this Christmas period, please make sure you apply before Friday 18 December 2020.


Changes in Speech & Language Therapy at Vranch House

For those parents and carers who joined Vranch House before this September, you will recall our Specialist Speech & Language Therapist, Michelle Weick.  Since the birth of her beautiful baby boy, Michelle made the tough decision to return to Australia so that she could be closer to her family.  Michelle's departure overlapped with the appointment of our newest Speech & Language Therapist, Eleanor (Elle) Spark, so there has been a handover of information and notes for most pupils and communication plans continue to be written, reviewed and updated.

Elle is well versed in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and Total Communication and has continued to cover all the communication needs of our pupils, whilst also serving an Outpatient caseload.  One change to the services we are able to offer though is that any eating, drinking and swallowing (dysphagia) queries will now be referred to the RD&E by the school nursing team as Elle does not hold qualification in assessing dysphagia needs.  If you have any queries regarding your child's communication needs, do please contact your child's class teacher or phone the school and ask to speak with Elle directly.

Dates for your diaries:

Wednesday 16th December: Christmas Jumper Day & Christmas lunch for pupils

Wednesday 16th December - Last day of the Autumn term for pupils

Thursday 17th & Friday 18th December: Level 3 Safeguarding and First Aid Training for Vranch House staff - school closed to pupils

Monday 21st December 2020 to 1st January 2021: Christmas Holidays - school closed to pupils

Monday 4th January 2021: Spring Term starts and pupils return.

On behalf of all the staff at Vranch House, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our families a peaceful and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Let us hope that 2021 sees an end to the Coronavirus (COVID - 19) pandemic and a return to all the ‘Vranch House Family' coming together once again for celebrations and events here at Vranch House.


Yours faithfully


Ian Norton

Head of Education