I hope all is well. There are no significant changes to schools following the announcements this week as schools will be expected to operate 'normally' until we are told something different. Anything relevant to our school is contained in the information below.
Updates will only happen on a Monday and Thursday as I have no other times available. Things are not 'normal' at the moment and your child will 'pick up on it' (even when you think they don't), they need as much routine, stability and sleep as possible (if you have a 'full on' weekend every weekend then they will come to school tired and there are more likely to be issues), it is hard balance to strike and we all feel a bit guilty at the moment and want our children to feel 'normal.'
'Fact not fiction'
Please could we ask that all parents operate on 'fact and not fiction.' Gossip and mis-information is damaging and takes time to address (and is 99% false), it is happening (for whatever reason) and is unhelpful, thankfully it is a small minority and isn't malicious. The purpose of so many updates is so that you get the correct information from the correct people at the correct time. If issues arise that we feel will affect or give mis-information to a range of people then they will often go on an update (we would never name people on here).
All information is subject to change at very short notice. We are interpreting information all of the time and some of it doesn't seem to make sense but we are 'making the best of it.'
Covid updates and information
1. The school is a 'bubble' but we are even safer by making each class a 'bubble' within the bigger bubble and this is managed well in school by minimal cross over of pupils, separate areas and times for break times/lunchtimes and all staff are acutely aware of managing risk to themselves. Adult cross over is minimal but it does happen, I teach several classes for forest school and so do some other adults - Mrs Richards etc. We are happy to do it and we follow the correct safety procedures, if we didn't your children would have a very narrow school experience.
As I have said before all of the guidance is about school adults keeping themselves safe (all of our staff are acutely aware of that). We have a balance of ensuring the children have a wide and rich curriculum, keep learning and progressing, keeping everyone safe and managing break times/ lunchtimes etc. It is relentless for school adults and will be for a while !
2. At some point the statistical chance of a positive test from a parent, relative or child is fairly high. There are clear procedures and communication channels that will be used if and when that happens. We will need all parents/carers to act in a sensible manner if and when it happens.
3. Expectations are clear (ish !) from the government - if you or a member of your family display one of the three main symptoms of a high temperature, continuous cough or a loss of taste/smell then you must book a test and isolate until you have the result (there is still a delay with testing). There are also the 'normal' coughs and colds around at this time of the year which makes it even more difficult. If you are unsure then phone the school and ask advice.
Children using ICT , internet and phones
Do you know exactly what your child is on ?
How do you manage your child's screen time, access and safety at home. In school we teach them about appropriate use of ICT and phones but it is a parental responsibility to manage it.
Mis-use of social media, texts or on-line bullying is taken very seriously both in school and by external bodies regardless of age.
Newsletters constantly have good safety tips and information (including new apps that may be inappropriate).
Most social media has an age limit for access and very few are for children of primary school age.
'Flow and go'
Attached is a document from Herefordshire Council as some schools are struggling with parents/carers gathering for 'chats' at the gate or around school. Our issue with this is minimal and we ask that you 'drop and go' as soon as possible.
Please be aware of where you park, there is plenty of safe parking in the village that may involve a short walk. We have received complaints from residents about inappropriate parking in/across driveways and even people parking in driveways !! Please don't !
Attendance across the school is good and you are managing communication well, thank you.
We have had to do quite a lot of work with classes about manners and sitting and eating properly.
Our expectations are:
- children sit on a chair at a table and eat correctly using cutlery properly (we have special cutlery for R and 1 to assist their smaller hands and holding).
- You say 'please' and 'thank you.'
- You don't talk with a mouthful of food. Talk in an indoor voice and socialise with people on their table appropriately.
- You leave the space where you eat 'better than you found it' and if you drop something you pick it up.
The 'real' world for school at the moment
As a school the staff, children and anyone else who works here are 'making the best of it' but school still has to function and children have to learn. I have compiled a list of the expectations on school (we don't want sympathy just a realisation of the pressures) on a daily basis -
Standards - children are still expected to learn and make progress despite any anxiety, new procedures or having to learn differently. We have to find out where people are, 'make up for any time lost' and then get the children to the standards expected by the end of that year ! We don't want to spend all our time or energy on testing then focussed work which is why we have the same curriculum expectations as before ('take every opportunity offered and give the children a range of experiences with purpose').
Teachers - have to keep themselves safe, plan differently, deliver differently and communicate with parents/carers. They are working from early in the morning until late at night and they do work in the holidays ! Marking has to be different. All school adults have very limited breaks during the day to keep your children safe, engaged and learning.
Day to day - limited adults in specific places mean that we do not have many margins for illness or absence. Just getting people in and out safely is a logistical puzzle.
It works ............. it is safe ........ it minimises risk .......... we are learning ........ we have lots of opportunities ........... we can flourish ....
PE kit/forest school clothes (really important)
PE kit –
The temperature has dropped so please make sure your child has the correct kit (t-shirt/hoodie or sweatshirt, shorts AND a plain pair of tracksuit bottoms as well as the correct footwear). They may be working inside or outside.
Jewellery - children should only have small, plain studs in their ears and no other jewellery (tape should be provided by parents to cover ears for PE).
Forest school clothes -
Layers are really important as is a good, warm coat and proper warm socks for wellies. On top of that they will be given school waterproofs. They also need a hat and gloves in their bag (they are allowed to bring a bag on forest school days). 'Better to have it to take off than not have it and get cold !' is what we always say to them. If the temperature is down we will have a fire and our new welfare unit gives us access to hot water and warm drinks !
Everything we do and plan has a specific purpose. Some classes have experience of the opportunities below -
Forest school/outdoor learning is about learning outdoors, mental health and intrinsic values.
Dance (Irish or musical theatre) is about focussed release and physical movement.
Learning an instrument - obviously music but also about focus and concentration. It is also about the value of music.
We have many layers to our curriculum but everything has a purpose and expected outcome.
Have a safe and relaxing weekend.