Welcome back to the second week of this lockdown.
This time last week we were busy planning for a very different half term and looking forward to hearing about everyone’s Christmas break.
However, we find ourselves closed to all but Critical Worker and Vulnerable children, with families working out, once again, how to balance their own situations with supporting home learning for their children. This is a very difficult time for everyone. The teaching staff have worked around the clock to change the learning they had planned for into a format that will translate to the home environment. The staff are already, after only four days, adapting this format to best suit the needs of the children and will continue to monitor and adapt engagement as the weeks move on. We all need to get into a new rhythm of working.
To fully support our families with the task of Remote Learning, it would be useful to us to find out the technologies our families are using. You may have heard that schools have access to additional devices to support families – our school was allocated only 2.
We are told that primary schools will be allocated more from the 15th January, but we do not know what our allocation will be, or how soon we will be able to order, receive and set up for families. However, we are already hearing of businesses, including Croda locally, who want to help with access to technology.
It is important for school to prioritise the families who are most in need. Therefore, it would be helpful if you could share with us some information about your current Remote Learning set up by clicking on the link below and filling in the form.
We are mindful of the costs and availability of printing and we are able to provide print outs for families to collect from school. Please request this through your child’s teacher or by contacting the school office. https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=_n5Qb3P0wkK3Cgj_m3wS1jSvJ1_uTh9Cl9KACR7woG5UREYwREszOFdUMUxUUkpKQjY3VDVNRjhWOS4u
Critical Worker and Vulnerable Children
You will be aware that the school is still open for children of Critical Workers and Vulnerable children. Here is the link to the government document explaining which parents and children fit these categories: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision
The purpose of schools closing to all but critical workers and vulnerable children, is to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus in the community by reducing the numbers of families mixing through the bubbles in school.
We are finding out that this school closure is very different to the time we were closed back in March. Many parents are still required to work, placing them in an impossible situation if they have children needing support at home. Our numbers in school are much higher this time round with over a 3rd of our children (80 children) in school this week. The guidance from the DFE is to keep the numbers in each group small, which puts an increased pressure on staffing. We currently have all staff available, in school to support these children while the teachers are on laptops throughout the day providing regular feedback to the learning submitted from children at home.
This is a concerning situation for our school and school leaders nationally who have a duty of care to ensure the safety of staff and children. Although reduced, we still have a significant number of families, staff and children who would be affected by a positive case within the school.
The DFE have since changed the guidance to state that ‘Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school or college if required, but parents and carers should keep their children at home if they can.’
We urge families who have requested places this week to rethink whether their child’s attendance at school is unavoidable. We want to be able to stay open for the families and children who really need us and fear that a priority system will need to be put in place if numbers remain high.
We want to remind families that they should only use the school for times when they are needed to work and not on days or time off. Children do not need to come in for the whole day if not required and we will ask you to tell us your requirements a week in advance.
Here is the link for the form for the week beginning 18th Jan. https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=_n5Qb3P0wkK3Cgj_m3wS1lbd9C7lBUpLrXOdn3oE2hdUMVNNMUUwSTFIMzJISVlVREVSM0o3RzEzMiQlQCN0PWcu
Children who attend school will need to wear their school uniform and will be able to request a school dinner. The above form will close on Friday at 12 noon, and you will receive the dinner menu for the following week once the form has closed and numbers calculated. If the children are arriving and leaving at the normal school hours, they can be dropped off/collected at their classroom door. Otherwise, please use the Main Reception door.
In our generation, there has not been a greater need for communities to come together and support one another. Thank you for all of your kind words for our staff who are working extremely hard.
Also, be kind to yourself. Your best is something to be extremely proud of, and if school can support in any way, please get in touch.