Dear Parents and Carers,
Almost there ! We hope you all have a safe, restful and calm half term and we will see what happens during and after as I am sure there are more announcements to come. Even if there is a 'circuit break' primary schools will remain open I am sure but we will need people to be extra sensible and safe and be away from school quickly (as you have done for the first half term).
1. Isolating/testing - there has been an increased number of parents/children/relations going for tests or isolating. We are expecting someone to test positive soon and we are prepared for when that happens. You will see from the Hereford Times that a number of schools in Herefordshire have cases. Please keep to our procedures and expectations around school and be mindful of others.
Attendance last week = 97.5% (this is way above the local and national average).
2. Christmas and the next half term - who knows what lies ahead but as we have done with all things we will try to make 'the best of it' and not cancel Christmas ! Forest school Christmas 'parties' are something we have done before, Santa may visit but be socially distanced and Christmas dinner may happen but in their class bubbles. We will find a way to make things work positively.........
3. ICT/safety and Seesaw -
Seesaw - this will only be used to post work (from school to home and home to school) for your individual child and will not involve photographs or 'live' work. We do not use platforms that require children to access a web cam as this raises the risk.
Seesaw will only be used for children who may be self isolating or in the event of a class needing to isolate. Teachers may set a piece of homework after half term as part of their training. if a child or class isolates we will also continue to use our other resources such as Spelling Shed, TT Rockstars etc as well as practical 'hands on' work so that it isn't all on-line.
During lockdown we used the school website and Parent mail then parents sent work to admin and on to the teacher. When teachers weren't in school (they were working alongside supervising key worker children) this process was easier but, as I am sure you can appreciate, the process and time involved would be unmanageable alongside a daily teaching commitment if people were isolating. Seesaw is used by a number of schools and we have spent time training with Mark Sanderson who works alongside the council on all things to do with school ICT.
No personal information except a child's first name is shared and children will only be able to access their own space via a QR code (generated by the teacher) for their class. Each child is also given an avitar and no photographs are shared. If parents wanted to share photographs we would ask this to be done through our e-mail and they may then be used in your child's learning journey.
There will be strict protocols communicated from school about parental messaging if we use the platform.
Should you have any questions please feel free to ask me - I am usually at the front of school at the beginning and end of the day.
Nothing will happen until after half term when your eldest child will bring home a paper copy of the QR code and other information. Teachers will have trained, practised and experimented with the website over the next few weeks. Once we have this in place we will be set to 'go.' If a class needs to self isolate after half term (extremely unlikely as there will have been a break) then we will send out the information via Parentmail.
4. Independence (the on-going challenge)
- We expect all children to carry their own lunchboxes/book bags into school and out of school regardless of their age. The small things matter and have a big impact on mindset and good habits.
5. Community growing project (Comet's Meadow) - the response and offers of help have been amazing. A vision for a project that we thought could take 5 years could be 'up and running' in a few months with the offers of help, potential funding streams and resources. Amazing and a real project of 'hope' in a time of uncertainty. Thank you and we will keep you informed.
6. Longtown Outdoor Centre Madley family day - many of your children have enjoyed their Longtown Outdoor Centre experience so we thought we would talk to the centre about a potential family day just for Madley parents/carers. It would all be organised through the centre, not us, and there would be a cost for your family. We are just finalising some ideas then we will get something out to you.
7. Drop off/parking - a number of parents (especially in Year 5 and 6) have started stopping at the gate, dropping off then driving away. The cones are there to stop parking and 'dropping off' so please do not do it, we do not operate a 'drop off' system. You are putting other road users and parents/children at risk.
In the last few days I have personally witnessed a number of near misses and 'close shaves' with drop offs, pulling in and doors being opened into the road.
8. Poppy appeal - poppies, slap bands, rulers, reflector poppies and button hole poppies (they fit around a normal button and hang down) will be available after half term for a minimum donation of £1. Mrs Giles will go to the doorway of each class in the morning and children will put their money in the collecting pot, take their purchase and then bring it home.
If you do send in money for the poppy appeal please reinforce why we do it, we will have assemblies etc in school as well.
Management of slap bands etc - every year the children are told to manage them properly or they will be removed. If chjldren are using them as a distraction in the classroom they will be removed and the children told not to have them in school.
9. School residentials - at the current time residentials are not allowed. In February Year 5 and 6 normally visit Stackpole National Trust Outdoor Centre but we don't know whether that will happen yet and the centre is currently closed. The National Trust are due to make an announcement in early November. Rather than asking parents to start paying (the normal cost is approximately £220) we are holding off to see what happens. Personally I think it is extremely unlikely the residential will happen this year (despite the centre only being for our school in that week). In the event of the residential not happening we will plan some other events in partnership with Longtown Outdoor Centre. More news to follow after half term.
10. Finally a big 'thank you' to all of the staff who have 'gone the extra mile' to keep everyone safe and secure, make school a calm and happy place and to give classes extra opportunities and experiences alongside the 'normal' learning. All of that takes lots of energy, time and creativity and they all deserve a rest before we start again next half term.
Have a good half term