Dear parents and carers
Well, we have reached the end of our first week of schooling in January 2021 and what a week it has been for everyone involved!
I think that each and every one of the children, parents and staff deserve to sit back and acknowledge what we have all individually achieved over the past week - whether it has been in school, at home or at your own place of work (which may be outside the home or temporarily in your home), educating children in school or educating children at home.
We know, from the previous lockdowns, some of the different parts of lockdown which can affect us, one of the key priorities being everyone’s mental health and at this point I think we need to acknowledge that we will all have good days, bad days, optimistic days and days which we think will never end (children and adults alike!).
We also know, that the first week or two is always challenging as many of you are having to become the link between school and children as home educators, trying to support the children and use the remote learning school has provided so that children are able to continue with their education if they are not allowed to attend school at the moment. It is stressful and worrying, and there will be moments of joy and pride as well as despair and frustration for everyone, but as a school, we will always try to support you and your children however we can. As a school, there will be things which we have planned that we will need to adapt – sometimes the best laid plans on paper, don’t work in reality! Currently, we are overwhelmed by the support of all of our families and I’d like to say a massive thank you from everyone in school – life is very hard for the staff right now too, many of whom are juggling the same worries and work / home balance that so many of us are facing across the country).
During this lockdown and with a focus on children and their education, the government have made certain aspects for schools law in order to ensure continuity of education for children. This is different to the summer lockdown, when schools had to implement a form of home-learning with no plan or experience. Since September, schools have been developing their remote education plans –some of you may have already had to access ours through children self-isolating in the Autumn term – to ensure that new content is taught to the children to allow them to progress in their learning during this period of lockdown. I have included the government guidance so you are aware of the law in respect to what we, as a school, must provide.
I have had conversations with parents during the week about the level of challenge in the work set (which is the work which they would be learning at school currently); children and parents worrying that they are learning something new (perhaps not something they have already learnt at school); trying to manage and support more than 1 child’s home learning at a time; trying to manage home-learning and working from home; children and adult’s mental health and well-being and many other concerns. As a school, we do not want to add any more demands on our parents, carers, staff and children but we must provide remote education in line with the government guidance which has been put into law and for which we are accountable.
I have also included our updated remote education plan as a quick reference guide. This contains all of the class email addresses so that work can be submitted each day (previously if a child was self-isolating this was on a weekly basis). Unfortunately, if all children submitted work on a weekly basis, the staff would not have time to assess and feedback individually as we are legally required to do and we have a responsibility to check on a daily basis that children are engaging with their work. Our staff are currently working based in school for 1 week and then working remotely for 1 week so there will always be a teacher and support member of staff available to feedback and communicate to parents and children via email every day, Monday to Friday, between 8:45 and 3:30pm. Any work submitted after this time will be reviewed the next day. The school office is fully open as usual so you can also phone or email school. (firstname.lastname@example.org )
We will continue to enable the group pages on Facebook and our school Facebook page for general reminders or general communication between parents, but this is not the appropriate forum for messaging school as it is a public forum, unless you urgently need to notify school of an emergency. We have set up the school emails so that parents are still able to communicate with staff directly in a safe, secure and confidential way. Staff are directed not to respond to school messages outside their directed time as they are not contracted to be available outside their contracted hours – though I know that many of the staff will at times be able to comment on any of the lovely photos parents and carers choose to share on the school Facebook pages (which really do make us all smile). Can I also remind parents and carers that messages should not be sent to staff on social media using their personal accounts as many of our staff have had message requests or friend requests via Facebook and they are not able to accept these, in line with our safeguarding policy.
I will continue to check the office emails at the weekend in case of any emergency contacts from parents with regards to children having symptoms or having returned a positive test. (email@example.com )
School has once again become strangely quieter than we are used to at this point in term, but I know that given the current numbers there really wasn’t any other choice and I hope that all of our children, families and staff continue to be healthy and safe.
Please let me, or one of the staff, know if there is anything you need or any support we can give.