Newsletter 33 – 22nd May 2020

Dear Parents

Arrangements for opening to more children

Thank you very much to all the parents who responded so quickly to let us know whether their children in FS, Year 1 and Year 6 will be joining us when we start to take extra children into school on 2nd June. We are still not certain that this will happen, of course, as the Government might change their minds on 28th May which is the date they have given us for their final decision. But we are working towards having children join us on Tuesday 2nd June if they are in the eligible year groups (FS, Y1 and Y6) or are part of our Key Worker cohort that has been with us throughout the school closures. There is no requirement for parents to send their children in to school at the moment but we are really looking forward to welcoming these year groups back, and have plans for lots of wonderful activities, lots of outdoor learning and lots of fun.

Please note that we are NOT open for any children, including key workers’ children, on Monday 1st June!

In order to comply with the direction for children to be in groups (or Bubbles) of no larger than 15 children, we have had to ask every teacher to teach a group of children once we re-open to the extra year groups on 2nd June.

This means that there is, sadly, no way that staff can engage in their daily real time Moodle activities as they do at the moment. However, we will do our best to keep some distance learning available for children in Years 2, 3, 4 and 5. Teachers will ensure that work and projects are uploaded to Moodle weekly but they will not be able to take submissions or engage with children directly as they will be working with the classes they have in front of them. We are very sorry that our offer on the distance learning has had to be reduced in this way, but you will understand that our teachers cannot be in two places at once. We will be finishing school early every Friday – children leaving school just after lunch – to enable our teachers to try to catch up with some of the Moodle provision and all the assessing, planning and preparation for the week ahead, and to clean everything thoroughly.

Teachers will be working late into the nights to make this system work as best we can under complex and challenging conditions, and I am very grateful to them for their ongoing positivity and commitment to excellence for all our children. We do have the best team in the country!

Sick Children Please do not send your child into school if you have even the slightest doubt about their health. This is one of the primary ways in which we will keep our children, staff and community safe. If you suspect any member of your family may have the virus, you can now go and be tested. Please isolate if you have a suspicion that you may be affected.

Wiltshire has had very low rates of infection and these continue to fall, thankfully.

School Lunches If your child is coming in to school in June, and you wish them to have a school lunch please book through Lataca in the usual way. We can only offer packed lunches as children will be eating in their classrooms in their own Bubbles so as to reduce the number of contacts they have in school.

Drop off and Pick up Each family who has a child coming into school in June will receive a letter today showing the precise times that they need to drop off and pick up their children, and also where this needs to happen. Some groups will be coming in through the big gates on the field, and others through the usual pedestrian gates to reduce contact. Please check where your child needs to be dropped off and picked up. Only one parent can pick up or drop of their child, and they must leave the area quickly as soon as they are finished. Brightly coloured ribbons in the hedge will help you judge the 2m distance you need to keep as you queue to come into school. Please be prompt as you drop off and pick up – there are a lot of children to welcome and we want everyone to be as safe as possible.

Please don’t bring any extra items from home except lunchboxes and water bottles. No reading folders, no books, no PE kit, no toys or equipment. We want to reduce any likelihood of cross contamination. All equipment they will need is here.

Please let your children wear trainers to school and bring sun hats and rain coats since we will be outside for much of every day regardless of the weather.

If this changes Last week, headteachers had over 40 different communications from the Government about opening to more children – things change constantly and it is difficult to forecast what will happen next. We usually hear about significant changes through the BBC before we get official notification, so you will know about any big changes at the same time that we do. If things change dramatically before 2nd June, we shall text everyone and update them on what the new arrangements will be. But for now, we expect to open to the eligible year groups and will enjoy having our school buzzing with children again.

Don’t Forget! Wiltshire Local Authority has set up a Wellbeing Hub. You can make contact with them and they will signpost you to the most appropriate support for your particular needs, whether this is emotional, financial or physical. Their details are:  “Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub”

Email: wellbeinghub@wiltshire.gov.uk or phone 0300 003 4576

Stay at home as much as possible, stay safe and stay well.

Best wishes,

Mercedes Henning

Newsletter 32- 15th May 2020

Dear Parents

VE Day! Our thanks to all our amazing families and staff who took part in the VE Day virtual choir event! And a huge thanks to Patrick Williams who prepared, conducted and edited the video of this wonderful choir, and his wife, Gwynnifer, who accompanied the piece so beautifully.

If you did not see it, here is the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wV-AuY81xIA&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR1Vr8vdR3C1p1LSn_8hJINcLcMy1dn2qdN5nGwn5qz6tRxg9fOqzWJs7pw

The video has been shared nearly 1000 times and has been published on the Diocesan website as an example of a school living out its values.

Have a look at the Sharing part of the Moodle Whole School page for some amazing photos of the cakes and pictures of your VE day celebrations that you have sent in to us. We loved sharing this day with so many of you.  

My thanks to Mrs Twentyman who has done so much to make sure this is a special celebration of a victory long ago, and our hope for another victory soon, this time against the virus.

Hay Festival This is such an interesting event and well worth having a look at the programme with your children.

https://www.hayfestival.com/c-247-programme-for-schools.aspx?genrefilterid=79

Half Term The school will be closed over the half term week (25th – 29th May). The TD days on 1st and 2nd June will be working days once again.

Returning to School You will all know by now that the Government is asking schools to re-open to children in Year 6, Year 1 and the Foundation Stage on Monday 1st June 2020. You will have received a letter from me and from our Chair of Governors, Jeremy Shatford, about this on Monday and Tuesday this week.

Our governors and I are working very hard to ensure that all plans and decisions will be made with your child’s health and safety, and that of our staff, at the very forefront of our minds. We are somewhat constrained by the Government guidance and advice which is being released in bits and pieces each day and which needs to be taken into account as we deliberate. We hope to be able to present our plans to parents on Wednesday 20th May if at all possible. We will notify you if this changes.

The Government is telling us that children must return to school in much smaller groups than previously – no more than 15 children per classroom –  and that they must remain in these groups for their lunch times and playtimes and must not have contact with other small groups in the school. This, they hope, will reduce the risk of transmission of the virus by reducing the number of contacts each child has. They are also telling us that the strict hygiene measures, cleaning and social distancing should be adhered to. Staggered drop off times, pick up times and break times are suggested as the best way forward.  There is no legal requirement for parents to send their children to school at this time.

I assure you that as soon as we have a well formulated plan which will be right for our local conditions, we will make sure our parents are informed. I thank you for your support and patience as we live through these complex and challenging times. We are all determined to do what is best for your child and for the whole school community.

Reminder Please make sure you are monitoring your child’s online activities to ensure that they are safe and that they are not causing harm to anyone else. There are warnings about ‘the increase in incidents of children being “groomed” online as they are spending more time on their devices. Primary school children should never have a device in their bedrooms unsupervised.

Don’t Forget! Wiltshire Local Authority has set up a Wellbeing Hub. You can make contact with them and they will signpost you to the most appropriate support for your particular needs, whether this is emotional, financial or physical. Their details are:  “Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub”

Email: wellbeinghub@wiltshire.gov.uk or phone 0300 003 4576

Message from the school nursing service We are aware that it is a very anxious time and there may be concerns about where to access support whilst schools are closed or you need to self-isolate. As a school nursing service we would like to let you know we are here to support you during this time. We have duty school nurses available at the end of the phone Monday to Friday 9-5pm should you require any support with your school age child. This is available permanently for all parents to access for advice and support. If you would like support please call one of our nurses through our Single Point of access on 0300 247 0090.

Stay at home, stay safe and stay well.

Best wishes,

Mercedes Henning

Newsletter 31 – 7th May 2020

Dear Parents

VE Day! We hope that lots of you have decided to take part in some VE day celebrations tomorrow (Victory in Europe was declared 75 years ago on 8th May towards the end of the Second World War). Within our own living rooms and gardens, we can remember this day and celebrate the hope it gives us in our current situation.

We would love to see photos of your celebrations – bunting, posters, cakes and anything else you have done, and perhaps your garden picnic, or your tea party if you did something like this. We will share as many as we can on Moodle in our Sharing page on the Whole School part of the platform. If you send the pictures in, we will assume you are happy for them to be publicised on Moodle – only to the school community. If you send in photos that do not show identifiable faces, we will post some of those onto the school website and Facebook for the whole world to enjoy.

The Virtual choir made up of children and grown-ups from our school community will be singing “We’ll Meet Again” – this will be on Moodle and also on our school webpage shortly. Thank you very much to all those who took part in this challenge. And huge thanks to Patrick Williams who patiently prepared the music and conductor’s video and then stitched all our singing into a coherent whole.

My thanks to Mrs Twentyman who has done so much to make sure this is a special celebration of a victory long ago, and our hope for another victory soon, this time against the virus.

Gardening Whether you have a garden, a balcony or only a little window box on your windowsill, it would be a tremendous thing to encourage your children to grow some of their own food this year. It is a great life skill and a really good activity for them as they isolate at home. They could sow a few bean seeds, or peas, or they might like to grow some tomatoes, courgettes, carrots, lettuces or strawberries. Seeds can be purchased online quite cheaply, or even take a few seeds out of your tomatoes or red peppers and plant them into a little container of soil. You can use a large yoghurt pot as a container if you have no plant pots, or cut a milk bottle in half and use that. Make sure you have punched holes in the bottom so water can drain through. Neighbours might have spare seedlings they can give you, or, if you have lots of spare seedlings, perhaps you could offer to share them with others in our school community?

There is something really special about picking your own fruit or vegetables and eating them, warm from the sun, as you stand in the garden. If you grow peas, you will probably not get any of them through the door for cooking – they are so good to eat straight out of the pod as they are picked! It is not too late to start if you getting going straight away. BBC has a great gardening programme on Fridays, called Gardeners’ World, and they give easy tips on how to grow things if you are interested.

Covid 19 Isolation We await direction from the Government about re-opening schools – probably with smaller numbers of children in the first instance. We do not know what exactly they will tell us to do but we have contingency plans for all sorts of scenarios and are ready to launch the appropriate programme as soon as we know what we are expected to do. Our preparations include ensuring that every child will have their own pack of stationery, with their name on each item so that no child needs to use any equipment except their own, having rigorous cleaning and sterilising protocols and strict hygiene procedures. Any other direction given will be followed scrupulously.

Looking Forward! It will be a wonderful moment when we can welcome more children back into school, even under strict distancing measures. They will enjoy being back with their friends and will appreciate the routines and fun of school activities and we will enjoy welcoming back every individual – each one is missed. It will be a different kind of school but it will be as exciting and rewarding as ever.

Childhood Vaccinations We have been asked to remind parents that young children MUST continue with their programme of childhood vaccinations – the service is still running in the community. The last thing we need now is an outbreak of a preventable childhood disease which can cause such terrible suffering. Please contact your health visitor or the school nurse if you want further information. Phone 0300 247 0090

Help for you and your children The Government has given extra funding to the NSPCC so that they can support our families even more effectively at this time. If you need help with managing the Covid 19 situation or if you are feeling at the end of your tether with your parental role (there is no shame in this), please do contact them. They are experts in the field of helping families. Their details are on the link below:
https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/our-services/nspcc-helpline/

Reminder Please make sure you are monitoring your child’s online activities to ensure that they are safe and that they are not causing harm to anyone else. There are warnings about the increase in incidents of children being “groomed” online as they are spending more time on their devices. Primary school children should never have a device in their bedrooms unsupervised.

Don’t Forget! Wiltshire Local Authority has set up a Wellbeing Hub. You can make contact with them and they will signpost you to the most appropriate support for your particular needs, whether this is emotional, financial or physical. Their details are: “Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub”
Email: wellbeinghub@wiltshire.gov.uk or phone 0300 003 4576

Message from the school nursing service We are aware that it is a very anxious time and there may be concerns about where to access support whilst schools are closed or you need to self-isolate. As a school nursing service we would like to let you know we are here to support you during this time. We have duty school nurses available at the end of the phone Monday to Friday 9-5pm should you require any support with your school age child. This is available permanently for all parents to access for advice and support. If you would like support please call one of our nurses through our Single Point of access on 0300 247 0090.

Stay at home, stay safe and stay well.

Best wishes,

Mercedes Henning

Newsletter 30 – 1st May 2020

Dear Parents

Thank you all for your continued support of your children’s education through logging in to the Moodle site regularly. If children can do a little bit of reading, writing and maths each day, they will be ready to pick up their journey through the national curriculum again when we return. We emphasise that the most important task for families at this time is to stay safe and well, physically and mentally, through this difficult time – so enjoy the learning you manage to do and do not worry about what you have not managed to do. Lots of our families are very much enjoying the projects and find the structure of the day is improved by having some school work sessions built in – and the children enjoy being part of their “class” through the engagement with their teacher and friends at this level.

VE Day Please have a look at the resources on your class Moodle page for our celebrations of VE Day on Friday 8th May. We hope everyone will colour in and hang up some bunting, and perhaps have a little garden picnic instead of a street party. There are some good video clips of that historic day on your class page and also Dame Vera Lynn singing, “We’ll meet again” – a very good song for our situation at the moment. We are going to have a go at being a Virtual Choir with this song – see below! There is a War Time cake recipe – reminding us of the food rationing people had in those days, and a colouring poster. Thanks to Mrs Twentyman who has worked hard to get all these resources together for this whole school project. Do join in with this as much as you can.

Virtual Choir We are hoping that lots of you will join us in recording and singing, “We’ll Meet Again!” and uploading your recording to our platform for Patrick Williams to edit into a wonderful whole community choir event! You just need your mobile phone to record your singing using the backing track provided. Further instructions can be found on Moodle under “Virtual Choir” on the Whole School page. Do join in. The more people who contribute the more fun it will be. It does not have to be perfect. Just fun. Deadline for submission 10pm on Wednesday 6th May. Your participation assumes consent for sharing the video on our website. Please let us know if you do not want your image to be shown.

Play! Let your children play a lot. Encourage free play without adult intervention. Lego, paints, play dough and clay are great for creative play inside. Old tablecloths, sheets and curtains, with some cushions, can be made into lovely indoor dens or adapted as dressing up clothes. Art work, bug houses, and small world villages can all be made outdoors using natural materials such as sticks, pebbles, leaves and other bits and pieces. On a warm day, fill a bucket with water if you do not have a paddling pool – perhaps with bubble bath – all sorts of games result from this. Always keep an eye on children who have access to water. Throwing balls into containers, or up against a wall helps with hand eye coordination. Children can make their own fancy dress using an old pillowslip – cut holes for head and arms, and let them decorate it. In the end, the final product does not matter at all. It is all about your child doing the activity. Don’t interfere or offer advice. Just let your child play.

Staff Video – Toilet Roll Challenge! We hope that you all managed to have a look at the staff video showing us tackling the toilet roll challenge, which can be found on the Whole School page of Moodle under “Sharing”. We wanted to give our children something to laugh about and to remind them that we are missing them and look forward to getting back together again one day. My thanks to all our staff and especially to Mrs Goddard and her son who did the video editing so beautifully.

Covid 19 Isolation There has been an announcement from the Government that at some point in the future, when schools do re-open, they will not open for all children at once. Exactly what this means, we do not yet know. However, we are preparing for any eventuality and promise that we will do our best to ensure a smooth transition back to school, however that takes place and however the children are gradually sent back to school.

Sharing Do send some of the great things that your child has done this week in to your child’s teacher – a selection of these will be posted on “Whole School” page on Moodle for everyone to enjoy. Have a look – there is a great quiz on there that was sent in by one of our children and you will have fun completing it!

Ten Habits for Good Mental Health Your children know about these ten habits for good mental health – we talk about them a lot at school. Here they are again so that you can remind your child about them. Even if they cannot meet up with friends in person, they can video call them, or write to them, and everything else on the list they should be able to accomplish to some extent. Do encourage them to do these things, daily if possible. Just as we look after our physical wellbeing, we need to directly care for our mental wellbeing. (These habits are just as valuable for adults!)
• Ask for help if you feel anxious, depressed, angry, worried about anything
• Talk about your feelings (How do your thoughts make you feel? Can you control this?)
• Spend time in reflection, quiet time or meditation, focusing on the present moment only
• Eat well – and sleep well
• Spend time everyday doing things that you enjoy
• Keep in touch with people you like
• Stay active – go for a walk or kick a ball or jump on a trampoline
• Do something you are good at
• Actively reach out and care for others
• Be proud of your being

Reminder Please make sure you are monitoring your child’s online activities to ensure that they are safe and that they are not causing harm to anyone else. There are warnings about the increase in incidents of children being “groomed” online as they are spending more time on their devices. Primary school children should never have a device in their bedrooms unsupervised.

Don’t Forget! Wiltshire Local Authority has set up a Wellbeing Hub. You can make contact with them and they will signpost you to the most appropriate support for your particular needs, whether this is emotional, financial or physical. Their details are: “Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub”
Email: wellbeinghub@wiltshire.gov.uk or phone 0300 003 4576

Message from the school nursing service We are aware that it is a very anxious time and there may be concerns about where to access support whilst schools are closed or you need to self-isolate. As a school nursing service we would like to let you know we are here to support you during this time. We have duty school nurses available at the end of the phone Monday to Friday 9-5pm should you require any support with your school age child. This is available permanently for all parents to access for advice and support. If you would like support please call one of our nurses through our Single Point of access on 0300 247 0090.

Stay at home, stay safe and stay well.
Best wishes,

Mercedes Henning