Updating during COVID 19 from the Headteacher

March 30, 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

I just thought that I would send everyone this email to check in with you all and pass on a few messages, during this strange and somewhat difficult time.

School remains open as ’emergency childcare’ for very few children of Key Workers. If you are working from home now, your children should be with you.  The message and guidance from government remains the same which is: keep your children at home. They are safest there. We have had varying numbers of children in each day with only 5 children on Friday. Whilst we miss having all of the children in school, it is really reassuring to see so few children in school as it demonstrates that people are taking the appropriate precautions and staying at home and the appropriate families are only bringing their children in if it is absolutely necessary. We really appreciate this!

There were a few things that I wanted to share with you:

Staff Rota

Obviously it is my job as Head Teacher to not only make sure that our children are safe, but also to keep our staff safe as well. In line with advice from the Local Authority and the government, we have devised a rota for our staff to ensure they are in school as little as possible over the coming weeks. This means that they will be in school for some days supporting the group of children who are in school, but then they will be spending time working at home for one week and one week will be a holiday week.  I believe that this is the safest way to organise our staffing as it means that we have less of a spread of people coming in to school over a period of time. Staff are setting work for pupils, developing our curriculum, completing set tasks and taking the opportunity to complete on-line training and professional development.

I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of the staff who have all been so fantastic and expressed how happy they all are to play their part to help our critical key worker families, without even so much as a grumble or moan. It really is testament to what a fantastic and dedicated team of people they are. I would also like to send well wishes to our staff who are self-isolating or staying at home for medical reasons – We know that you are with us in spirit.

Communication

Either myself, Mrs Leach or Miss Tulip are in school each day to coordinate and complete a wide range of tasks to ensure the smooth running of the school, health and safety and a list of many other tasks to ensure vital lines of communication. Where possible please email or send text messages and only telephone if urgent. We check emails and text messages several times each day during the working week. Messages for individual teachers will be forwarded to them and they will respond via Marvellous Me! Alternatively, we will forward any email responses from staff to parents/carers. We ask for your patience in this but your queries will be responded to in a timely manner.

Safeguarding

Please remember that even when our families are at home, we still want to make sure that our children are safe and happy. If you have any concerns or worries about your child, no matter how small, please do not hesitate to get in touch with myself or Mrs. Leach as we are the Safeguarding leads.  If you explain you would like to speak to either myself or Mrs. Leach we will either take your call (0191 4335618) wherever possible or we will return your call as soon as possible. We fully recognise what a difficult time this is and we really are here to help and support in any way that we can.

Free School Meals

If you are entitled to free school meals, we will continue to provide these. We believe the government intends to have a voucher system in place, in the coming weeks. We will update you as we know more.

Critical Key Worker Families

I would like to thank the parents of our Key Workers who have really helped us by informing us as soon as possible about your child care arrangements for the coming weeks.  Please continue to do this as it is really important that we know this information as soon as possible so that we can collate our numbers for staffing.

Learning Packs and Working with Children at Home

The staff worked hard on putting learning packs together with enough to get on with for the coming weeks, and we are obviously adding useful links via our website for each year group with links to some lovely activities. I do believe that this is more than enough and should give parents and carers some good ideas for things to do with their children whilst at home.

 

There is no expectation for families on how much work should be done each day or each week.  Every family’s circumstances will be different and it is important we all try to remain as calm and happy as possible during this uncertain and strange period. Encouraging your child to complete some of the set activities each week and sharing a story or book is more than enough.  The last thing we want is for parents to feel any additional pressures or worries at this time.   For some families, that might mean enjoying doing daily activities from school but for others, they might prefer to do a few pieces weekly instead.  There is no right or wrong way but the main thing to prioritise is reading so, as much as possible, try to get your child reading books at home or from our online links.

 

Take the opportunity to do practical, fun activities together – bake, teach your children to sew or knit, do exercise in the garden, tell stories and just enjoy each other’s company. We know how hard this is for you all and we are here to help and give you ideas for your children at home, not to cause you any additional stress or anxiety.

 

We will be emailing out more learning ideas out after what would have been the Easter break.

 

So I know that it has been a strange week for us all. Even being in school with such a small amount of children has been strange. I think at this point; everyone is just beginning to come to terms with not knowing what is in store. But we are a strong group of people who have pulled together to do what is right and we are most definitely working together as a community.

 

Again, please do not hesitate to get in touch if you need anything from us in school. Currently, we may not be seeing you as frequently as we were, but we are all still here.
Stay safe and well everyone.

 

PM Bailey