School Update January 2021
Earlier this week the Prime Minister made an announcement about schools indicating that schools will not immediately open after half term but that government's plans for leaving lockdown 'will set out approach to reopening schools'.
He said that, if the top four priority groups are vaccinated by mid-February, they will have developed immunity by March 8 and in light of this “We hope it will then be safe to reopen schools from March 8.”
The Prime Minister also sought to reassure families and schools saying that he would give two weeks notice that schools will be re-opening so that there is ample time for arrangements to be put in place.
In communication this week the government have confirmed that schools will not be required to remain open for critical workers during the half term break meaning that school will finish for half term on Friday 12th February 2021. Lessons will then recommence virtually on Monday 22nd February 2021 with school opening for the children that have critical worker places on the same day.
In light of the above announcement I wanted to write to you all to update you on aspects of school life whilst we continue to work in this different way.
On behalf of myself, the staff and governors, I want to acknowledge and thank all parents and carers for the way you have adapted to the new way of learning for your children. This is not an easy time for parents and carers and I want to personally thank you all for the way you have recognised and embraced the new format of lessons for your children.
Although school remains closed to the majority of our families we are still open to the children of critical workers. The government put together a list of children that should still be allowed to access school due to either vulnerabilities or due to their parent/carer being a critical worker. As a school we have used this list to establish which children should be in school, in comparison to the first lockdown we have five times as many children in school. We understand that some families want their children in school but if they do not meet the criteria, as set out by the government, we have had to refuse the request to ensure we can keep numbers in school as low as possible to help protect the staff and children in school and reduce the risk of transmission amongst our school community.
The message from the government is still very much, “If you can stay at home, stay at home!”
Key Stage One and Key Stage Two Update
The leaders and staff across Key Stage One and Key Stage Two are listening to feedback and we are doing our best to adapt the virtual timetable as we go along to enable us to maximise engagement from children and to help them continue their enthusiasm for online learning.
As a school we are very much enjoying the feedback on Class Dojo about how children are learning and participating in lessons.
To help all children get the best from their learning can we please ask that you support your children with the following expectations for online learning, so that they are best prepared for live lessons.
For safeguarding reasons we must insist that parents and carers do not take any screen shots or photographs of the live lessons as this is not appropriate and would be in breach of our safeguarding policy. We also ask that where parents/carers are in the vicinity of live lessons that appropriate behaviour is used at all times.
We would very much appreciate your support with the above expectations as this will help the live lessons to run more effectively and enable teachers to teach children to the best quality. We are asking for the same standards of behaviour from the children as they would in school.
It would be very much appreciated if you could communicate these with your children and discuss expectations with them so they are aware.
It would also be really helpful if you could:
Early Years Update
The remote learning is running really well across early years. Five lessons are uploaded each day at scheduled times, most of which are recorded videos by the teachers. We are including a 'storytime' in which different staff across early years are filmed reading a book including support staff which is lovely for the children.
Early years home learning relies on parental input and as such we are flexible about when tasks are completed to best suit the needs of your family. Children in early years need time to apply learnt skills in play and depending upon home routines which do not match the child's old school routine, they may now have their optimum concentration time at different times of the day.
Parents across early years are engaging incredibly well with online learning and we are very grateful for all the support you are giving to your children.
We ask that parents/carers register between 8:30am and 9:30am by answering the register question of the day. For safeguarding reasons we must know the child is safe and ready to learn whether they are in school or at home.
The lessons are uploaded as follows:
Phonics lesson at 9:00am
Maths lesson at 10:00am
Literacy lesson at 11:00am
Other subject at 12:00pm
Storytime at 1:00pm
Can we please ask that you upload your child's work to tapestry when it is requested by the class teacher. This is important to help the teachers to plan future lessons and to see how we can further support you and your child.
For safeguarding reasons can we please ask that children in photographs are not wearing pyjamas and that they are fully clothed. Getting dressed, brushing teeth and eating a good breakfast is a great way to start the day for all children.
During this period school still has statutory obligations that must be met, this includes holding virtual governing body meetings to keep governors updated on what is happening in school and in the school community. Our Chair of Governors, Cllr Tariq is currently recovering from COVID-19 and we would like to wish him a speedy recovery. Whilst Cllr Tariq is recuperating our Vice-Chairs, Mrs P Jones-Greenhalgh and Reverend Simon Cook, are covering his duties and supporting the headteacher and leadership of school.
As you will be aware from previous correspondence the School Office remains closed to parents and carers as we are not allowing access to the school building.
The office team are working on a rota basis to reduce numbers in school meaning we have reduced capacity for answering the telephone. If we are unable to answer your call please leave us a message and we will call you back as soon as possible. Alternatively you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and the office team will get back to you.
Office staff working remotely are still making calls to family and it would help us greatly if during the school day you answer calls that show as “No Caller ID".
If you have a query about your child’s work please can this be sent to the class teacher via Class Dojo.
The parent support email is still being monitored daily so if you need to contact Mrs Slater our Parent Support Advisor this can be done by emailing email@example.com.
If you require a device for your child or exercise books please email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of the office staff will get back to you.
Free School Meal vouchers will be arranged for the half term week for all families entitled to benefit led Free School Meals.
Lateral Flow Testing
From Monday staff in school will start to take part in the Lateral Flow Testing scheme. This will mean that asymptomatic staff will be self-testing for COVID-19 twice a week. (Any staff that have symptoms will continue to be tested as normal at a test centre).
Staff will be taking the test on a Monday morning and a Thursday morning before school. Should any of the staff test positive the bubble that they work in will have to be closed down. Families will be notified of any bubble closures via email and Parenthub as soon as possible.
In line with the guidance if a member of staff tests positive using a lateral flow test they must then arrange to have a PCR test at a testing centre. If the result of this test is positive the bubble will remain closed for the remainder of the self-isolation period.
If the result of the PCR test is negative this means the lateral flow test result was a false-positive and therefore the bubble can be re-opened to all staff and children.
Miss M Michael