15th of January, 2021
Re. Lockdown January 21 – February Half term 2021.
Well…it’s been a further week of change and adjustment, with two year groups being closed; managing large groups of Google Meets in Year 4 and 5, trying to set up more support for children online and more chrome books being given out! The DFE are also now encouraging those children, even of critical workers, who can stay at home, to do so, to reduce risk for everyone.
Overall, we have really appreciated the positive, and constructive feedback that several parents have sent in to school. Parental feedback shows that the new format of home learning is giving good structure to the day for the children, explaining learning well, giving children the opportunity to see class friends and staff online and feel connected. Staff are giving good feedback on learning and we are endeavouring to keep children learning and positive. You may know that I am immensely proud of the staff at HT – and I am. Once again they have rallied and supported one another. For a variety of reasons, we have had 7 staff in various roles who were poorly over the last 10 days, and it has stretched everyone to provide cover and keep systems running. Yes, there have been hitches, but the staff have done brilliantly to step up for one another and I am deeply grateful to all of them. When people send in encouraging emails recognising all their work it is so heartening to be able to pass those on to the relevant staff, that their work is having such a positive impact for the children at home. Thank you.
To move all this on, and learning from some issues that we have grappled with this week, we are making further changes. When everyone is well, teachers will work at home for the vast majority of the time. This means that they have the best opportunity to plan to provide the best learning opportunities that we can in this environment, in line with our vision. They will continue with the Google Classroom and Meets work, with their own class, and they will also have the overview of the year group and work with their support staff. This will involve managing to do some of the intervention and booster work that we had planned to do this term and be able to manage it online. Where this involves your child, they will let you know via Google Classroom. We have also been supporting children who have ELSA and mentoring and will continue with this online and expand it where possible. We have gradually also been moving assemblies to Google Classroom.
This also gives teaching staff an opportunity to plan for the balanced week that we think our children need and can benefit from. As you know, we are providing the same learning opportunities for children in school and at home. Those in school will continue to participate in Google Classroom and Google Meets with their teacher, just as those at home do, so that they understand the work and are being supported for the rest of the day by their year group support staff. Where we can, we are keeping the crossing of bubbles to a minimum, but there are occasions where we are unable to adhere to that. On those occasions please be assured that we are trying to keep distance of two metres or, if less than 1 metre for less than 1 minute. Children will also play only with their own classroom bubble. Children in school have been benefiting from
bringing in their own headphones and if children would like to do this, then that is encouraged, to help concentration in work time.
There are still a few children that we have not yet managed to engage, and we continue to follow those up. Some children are doing the work and not engaging in Google Meets. We’d really like children to stay connected to their class. The office staff have done a marvellous job of talking through many technical issues on the phone and have been a very significant part of the team effort written about earlier.
We are prepared to continue to print work for children where needed, however, we think that this can be refined. Feedback is that some children need, and can benefit from, just having the Maths printed each week. So we have produced a Google form to help to refine this process. Please complete the form to help us to use the right amount of paper and ink in school. Here is the link:
Please remember that we have to keep the school ventilated so please ensure that the children have very warm clothing; a few layers and warm socks!
Please remember that all children coming in to school need a packed lunch. Those entitled to free school meals have received an online voucher for two weeks, i.e. week beginning 11.1.21 and 18.1.21. We now know that until half term, vouchers will continue to be issued. None of us knows for sure what will happen after half term.
Thank you again for your continued support.
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