Quite a lot of information is contained in this update. As always, ask if you need anything clarified.
1. 'Life is not normal' but we are making the best of it - we have been back at school for nearly a month now and things in school are running smoothly and safely but life is not 'normal' and children are acutely aware of that which can cause anxiety, concerns and lots of questions. Children are in their own 'bubbles' in school and don't mix like we normally do and they have breaktimes/lunchtimes in separate spaces and then leave school by different exits and everyone politely avoids each other. They then see people in masks in supermarkets/shops and lots of signage about safety, they pick up on everything (children are good at that) and it is all very different.
The combination of all of these things can lead to worry, lack of sleep, anxiety etc or your child may 'take it in their stride' (or appear to) - all of this can impact on friendships, relationships, concentration and behaviour. We all need to make sure we give the children opportunities to talk about what is happening, what they perceive and what they feel, as a school we try to do this in lots of ways and forest school is a great place to have talk and relax whilst still learning. Children need routine and stability to thrive and to feel secure.
If you are worried or have concerns please contact us (via phone or e-mail) or use other resources like the one below (there are others and we can also help as a school):
The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline remains available to answer questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education and children’s social care. Please listen carefully to the available options and select the most appropriate to your nursery, school, or college’s current situation.
Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline by calling:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm
2. Home learning -
In the event of the need to self isolate or for a 'bubble' to be at home we will revert to the strategy of home learning that we used before with a combination of on-line and physical resources (not everything can be in front of a screen), the vast majority of parents/carers gave positive feedback about the work, resources and contact that teachers provided. It is a complex situation with lots of questions (what if the class teacher is ill and can't provide the work ? We are a large family with one device ? We don't have a printer ? (it turns out not many people do).
In the event of children being at home we will be quite directed in what we ask you to do -
We also give Curriculum Updates with projects related to your child's theme with paper based ideas. We will need to offer a range of learning and experiences as we did before but more direc ted.
Contact - teachers would keep in touch by phone and we are in the process of securing a secure platform to share work and get feedback (more news to follow soon).
All of the above is subject to change depending on the class, situation and if the teacher is ill. We will do our best to make sure learning continues as best we all can.
3. Uniform/forest school clothes
- Children should have plain hair accessories, no jewellery except plain studs and no wrist bands etc.
- Forest school clothes - need to be 'function not fashion' so children are warm and dry. All children need a change of footwear for indoors (PE trainers are good) as the weather may be wet. School provides all children with waterproofs but they need 'proper' layers underneath. Year 4 had a 'perfect' class approach to their forest school clothing last week.
4. Curriculum updates - teachers send out updates as appropriate and dependent on your child's age (Miss Paton sends more for Reception) and Year R and 1 do an update on Madley TV, not all teachers need to do that. Parents/carers have a huge amount of information and we always do what is appropriate for different ages, Year 5 and 6 have diaries as the children are given some responsibility for sharing information in preparation for high school.
5. Values for October - 'Happiness' and 'Fairness' - how do these values show themselves at home ? What does your family do together which makes them happy ? Is life 'fair' at the moment ? What is 'fairness' ? (what would you see, hear, feel if things were fair ?). We sometimes use a photograph or headline to stimulate a discussion.
6. 'Catch up' and 'knowing where we are' - Some schools may of launched straight in with assessments and testing to see where the children are but we have taken a more 'gentle' approach with settling people back in and gradually assessing where the children are. We have a very professional, experienced team of teachers and adults who know what they are doing and what they are looking for. Children need to re-adjust to new expectations, working times and 'getting back into school' and we are unpicking what needs to be done next. We cannot go back to 'fill' the time we missed and we need to be mindful of the whole curriculum as well as things they may have forgotten, there is also a change from 1:1 or small family group to being back in a whole class (independence is something we are working on as well).
After half term (November 17th) you will receive a '3 stars and a wish' report (as we normally do for parents' evening) and this will be followed up with a phone call to discuss your child.
Teachers are still working their way through the children in their class for the initial calls. If you have any immediate questions please phone (01981 250241) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and someone will get back to you as soon as possible (it may not be the same day).
7. Twitter feed - we have had Twitter for a while and we only share learning, we don't allow comments or feedback. We do not use Facebook or Instagram. Our Twitter feed is @MadleyPrimSc if you are interested in having a look but it is now linked to our school website as well.
8. Internet/social media safety - in school we teach the children to use all aspects of the internet and social media safely. Do you know what your child is doing ? Do you know what they are on ? We have incidents where children use social media inappropriately and then the issue comes into school, please make sure you know what your child is doing and they fully understand the consequences of any negative actions both on someone else and with external agencies (lots of people disconnect between 'real' life and their online persona). We expect children to behave, treat others with respect and be aware of their impact (both good and bad).