School Closure Update | 13th January 2021
Dear parents and carers,
I hope that you are all ok and coping with the incredibly difficult situation that we find ourselves in again.
We are probably all still in shock following the school closure announcement last Monday evening. I would like to start by thanking you all for dealing with this as well as you have. I do appreciate just how difficult this is for so many of you.
Government guidance is being constantly updated and you can access all of the latest updates at gov.uk. If you search for “Education and Childcare” you will find a number of documents that may be useful to you. Link government guidance
As an academy, we are having to adapt and change as new guidance is released. I will do my best to explain the current position and how this may affect you as clearly and briefly as I can.
At the moment, schools and academies are only able to invite pupils on site if they are either classed as vulnerable or their parents are classed as a key worker. For pupils of key workers, children should only attend if their parents are at work and there is no responsible adult at home to supervise them.
If all pupils who have key worker parents came to school every day, numbers in school would become so high that this would not help to prevent the spread of the virus in our community. This is why we have to ask you to only send your children when it is essential. It is easier for us to teach all children in school, but we have to follow the guidance to help to protect everyone.
For the children coming into the academy, the same safety procedures as before the lockdown remain in place e.g. regular handwashing, children only mixing with their own bubble etc.
The Trust has decided that each class must have no more than 15 pupils. Where we have groups larger than 15, we will now need to decide how best to manage this situation. We will let you know.
How we are operating
Every year group has 2 teachers so 1 teacher is coming in to school to teach those children in their year group who are on site whilst the other teacher is working from home to support the rest of the children from this same year group. The teachers will take turns to work on site or at home. Support staff are either working in school with the children in class or working from home supporting with online learning.
Nursery pupils can all attend our nursery at the moment. Parents do not need to be key workers and pupils do not need to be classed as vulnerable. All nursery pupils can attend.
All pupils throughout the whole school start at 9am and finish at 3pm.
Entering and leaving
Nursery pupils – usual nursery entrance door to arrive and leave
Reception pupils – usual Reception entrance doors to arrive and leave
KS1 – KS1 cloakroom doors to enter, Reception classroom doors to leave
Y3 / Y4 – hall doors to enter, playground to leave
Y5 / Y6 – KS2 doors to enter, playground to leave
The government expects ALL children who are at home to complete their home learning every day. This is to ensure that their education continues and suffers as little as possible. We really need all families to help with this. Please do your best to help your children to complete and understand the work set each day.
The government has set the time frames for how much home learning schools must be provided by a school, however, we do understand that completing this amount every day may not be possible for all families.
Government requirements for home learning;;
KS1- average of 3 hours per day
KS2 – 4 hours per day
We do know how hard home learning can be, especially when parents have more than one child to support. We can only ask you to do your best. Having a stress-free home where children are happy and relaxed is also important so try to balance learning with other things too!
Exercise During Home Learning
Please take time to take a break with your children and have some form of exercise. You may prefer a walk around the local area or to your local park or some exercise within your home. Moving around is as important as completing home learning. Please try to fit this in if you can. A little and often may work best.
We really do need all parents to use Class Dojo to find out about home learning and communicate with the teachers. If you aren’t using this yet, please contact the school and we will be happy to help you to set this up. It really does work well and will help with home learning and all sorts of other things too.
Please can parents only message staff during normal school hours as staff shouldn’t be responding in the evenings or at weekends.
Laptops and Internet Connection
A survey was sent to you last week to help us to find out which parents need more help with devices such as laptops or network access. If you haven’t completed this yet, please do this as soon as you can so that we can try to help.
I’m afraid that we do not have a large supply of laptops yet. So far, we have received 8 from the LA and 10 from the government for our whole school of over 400 pupils! Another 38 should be sent to us soon.
We will then need to work out which pupils we can allocate the laptops to. We will use the recent survey to help us and our knowledge of family circumstances eg number of children in the family, number of toddlers / babies in the household etc. We would love to provide a laptop for every child, but I am afraid it isn’t possible.
The government is providing support with home internet access – please click on this link for more information. help with home internet access We will let you know more about this over the next few days.
Paper Packs for Home Learning
We know that some families are struggling with online home learning so all pupils can have a pack of printed resources every week if they need them. Please let your class teacher know on Class Dojo or contact the school if you are not on Dojo.
We only have 1 colour printer in school so printing packs for so many children takes a long time. We can only print once teachers have finished planning lessons. We will do our best to have these ready for you each Monday morning. Once packs are ready, we will text you to let you know and send a message via Class Dojo.
If you don’t really need a paper pack, please don’t ask for one as it takes a lot of time to print them all. If you have requested a pack, please do collect them. A lot of packs were not collected last week which wasted valuable time and money in copying them.
Paper packs won’t be able to show some of the information that is available on Class Dojo and other online sites so sharing some online access in a family can help with the work set in the paper packs. Children may be able to watch a video for example, even if this is on a phone, and then complete the work in the paper packs.
Planning Time for Teachers and Wellbeing for Children
Our teachers legally have to have some time away from teaching to plan their next lessons and prepare the home learning packs. All teachers will usually have a Thursday afternoon as planning time. This means that teachers won’t be available to respond to your messages on Dojo or support children with their learning. However, our fabulous team of support staff will be available to help online.
Thursday afternoons may be a good time to focus on some much needed wellbeing activities or physical exercise. For some well-being ideas, please see the link Mrs Day shared on Dojo. Why not do some family baking or craft activities?
You may want to use this time for some Joe Wicks PE (available on Youtube) or for a walk around the local area or trip to the park. Fresh air and a walk through nature can help so much!
Free School Meals
Our school catering team is able to provide weekly packed lunches for families entitled to benefits-related free school meals, where their children are currently learning from home. If your child is accessing school then they will be receiving their free meal in school and you will not be entitled to also claim a packed lunch.
If you are entitled to the packs but your child is accessing school for part of the week, please collect a pack and then send your child with a packed lunch on the days that they are in school. If you are unable to collect a pack on a Monday, you can let us know that you have asked a friend or relative to collect it for you.
The packs will include five days worth of meals in line with school food standards and will cater for any dietary requirements that the school is aware of.
From Monday 18th January, packs will be available to collect on Monday mornings, between 11am and 12pm from the school hall. If you are also collecting home learning packs from school, you can collect these at the same time.
For this week, packs will be available to collect on Wednesday 13th January between 11am-12pm.
We also have some bagels that are available, regardless of whether you are entitled to free school meals, please let the school know via text message if you would like to collect a pack.
Please be sure to wear a face covering and maintain social distancing on site. Of course, we are trying our best to ensure consistency as much as possible though we may need to make changes. If we need to let you know that anything is different, we will do this by text message. Please make sure that we have your correct mobile number.
If any family is struggling to feed their children before then, please contact us as we will be able to provide some packed lunches.
SATs and Y1 Phonics Check Update
The government has recently announced that SATS tests for KS1 and KS2 and the Y1 Phonics Check have been cancelled for this school year. As an academy, we will continue to carry out our own assessments and we will use these to help us to plan learning and will also share assessments with your child’s next class teacher.
I hope that this letter helps to explain a few things to you. We will keep you updated as best we can. If you have any questions or concerns, please do get in touch with us and we will do our best to help.
This situation won’t last forever. Let’s all try to make the most of it and do our best for our children whilst looking after each other and our families.
Please take care,