Newsletter 26 – 27th March 2020

Dear Parents

Corona Virus   We urge everyone to abide by the very strict measures that our Government has put in place to help us fight the pandemic, and to stay at home. This is the best way to ensure that fewer lives are lost.

Whilst we are open to children of key workers, we have been very grateful that our parents have heeded the advice to keep children at home unless there is no other option. School provision is used as an absolute last resort even for these key workers, in line with Government direction, since every child who comes into school increases the risk to the child, to their families, to our staff and our community.

We are very grateful to our staff who have responded to this challenge with their usual courage, optimism and generosity and are working hard to care for children on site whilst make sure that learning at home continues as effectively as possible.  We now have staff isolating with symptoms of the virus and we will be risk assessing the situation daily but hope to be able to continue to open, with other staff picking up more of the load. This is our contribution to the greatest challenge we have had to face for several generations and we are proud to be able to play our part in providing this emergency child care where necessary to keep our key workers on the front line.

Easter Holidays Our staff will be offering holiday care for the children of key workers through the Easter break for those who have no other option for child care – we will not be open on the bank holidays. It seems that many of our families with key workers have made arrangements to be home with their children for the second week of the holiday. In the event of just one or two children requiring care in this week, we might signpost those parents to the Local Authority Hub provision where children can be cared for at a different school. Whilst we are open, we will continue to offer school meals (packed lunch) through the holidays. Please order online as usual.

Social distancing – means no play dates! Children cannot really keep the 2m rule when they play, and their hygiene is erratic. Whilst they are probably less likely to be seriously affected by the virus, they can spread it to others who might be made very ill. Please stay at home.

The Learning Continues

Please note: as mentioned last week, children should be doing no more than about 2 hours school work a day, rising to 3 hours for the older children perhaps if they are inspired. If they are unable to complete all the tasks in that time, please do not worry about this, as long as they have had a good go at their reading, writing and maths so that they do not lose their precious learning. They do not have to complete everything set. We do not expect parents to take their children through the national curriculum, just to keep their skills honed and ready for when we return to school. We have seen some wonderful examples of creative and outstanding learning going on in homes.

Please keep an eye on the messages your children send online. Sometimes children can forget to be kind because they cannot see the person they are addressing. If we do have children being unkind we will have to turn off the messaging part of our virtual learning platform – but it is very useful so we hope that children will continue to discuss only their work on the Moodle app, and nothing else.

  • Please ensure that your children are safe online – never let them use a device unsupervised.
  • Please make sure your children spend at least two hours every day in active pursuits – outside in the garden if possible, or clear the sitting room and have a dance/circuit training hour, or use an exercise programme online for children.
  • Please encourage your children to engage in creative activities each day – building dens, junk modelling, Lego, painting, playdough, etc.
  • Please limit the time your children spend in front of a screen or device.
  • Children must follow the same rules as adults when it comes to staying away from gatherings. Please supervise them carefully. Children must not attend places of mass gathering – play parks, parties etc must all be off limits while we fight this threat in our country.

Looking After Yourself   Wiltshire Local Authority has published a little document discussing aspects of looking after yourself as adults and also looking after your children through these dark days. Please find it attached to the email we sent to you – you may find some of their advice and resources useful.

COVID Symptom App  The COVID Symptom App has been launched with researchers at Guy’s & St Thomas’ & King’s College to help slow the spread of #COVID19 and identify at-risk cases sooner by self-reporting symptoms daily, even if people feel well.  You can download the app https://covid.joinzoe.com/ here if you wish to take part in this.

You are also encouraged to share the app and share your “well/ill” status to help provide data for the policy makers to work with.

Admissions to our school for Foundation Stage, September 2020 Primary national offer day is the 16th April. At the present time the Local Authority are on schedule to still make offers on this day. However they will be unable to send out offer letters in the post. Parents and carers who have applied online will be able to log back into the online system and view their place offer. People who have submitted a paper application form will be able to call the Local Authority for their decision on or after the 16th April. They will update their webpage with this information and contact numbers in due course.

Other ideas for home learning There are lots of things to do online – we will suggest a few each week and ask you to feel free to send in to us any sites that are very interesting or worthwhile.

On Moodle, under the Whole School topic, you will find a daily reflection for children (it is very valuable for good mental health to spend a few minutes in meditation or quiet time), and also you will find the First News – a children’s newspaper. Children can browse through and read the captions of pictures if they are younger, or any article that interests them if they are older. Encourage your children to keep reading.

A site which helps children to do some easy yoga exercises – we use it in school with our little ones and they enjoy it. Look at cosmickids.com

https://www.cosmickids.com/category/watch/

Explore the Roald Dahl museum

Virtual Roald Dahl Museum tour

Some ideas for art outdoors – let’s get our children outside!

https://www.tts-group.co.uk/blog/2018/08/22/top-12-outdoor-art-ideas.html

For the older children, some lovely images of artefacts with information about them on every period of history.

https://www.britishmuseum.org/learn/schools/ages-7-11/ancient-britain/virtual-visit-peek-prehistory

When you need a break! Every day at 11am, you can listen one of David Walliams’ World’s Worst Children stories, so sit down and enjoy 20ish minutes of peace! 

Best wishes,

Mercedes Henning

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