Head's Blog

Welcome back to school!

I really hope that you have all had a lovely summer. We are very pleased to see all of the children and welcome our new Reception children into school.

As I wrote in July, we no longer need to organise our school into bubbles or continue with staggered starts. However, I would like to reassure you that we still have many COVID measures in place and will do everything we can to ensure the continued safety of all children and staff. We have revised our full Risk Assessment which is on our Statutory Information page. We also have a written Contingency Plan should we have 5 or more cases in a group of staff or children who may have mixed closely or if there is a new variant of concern. All staff have taken lateral flow tests prior to returning to school.

As we learn more about COVID, it is clear that good ventilation is an effective measure to reduce the risk of transmission. As we have done previously, we will be ensuring adequate ventilation at all times. The government have announced that they will be sending carbon dioxide monitors to all schools in the Autumn Term to allow us to check air quality. As soon as I know more details of this, I will let you know. In the meantime, especially as the weather is cooler at the moment, please send your child in with an extra layer.

Our plans are all drafted with regard to the following government guidance:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance

Please could I also remind you that attendance in school is now mandatory for all children and we will continue to monitor this closely. All holidays and excursions will be unauthorised and should be discouraged. Full details of our attendance policy and any sanctions are detailed in the attendance policy which is published on our website.

Here’s to a happy new school year!

Our Global Curriculum

The children have all settled back in to school brilliantly and it really does feel like our community is beginning to return to normal. Our routines and structures are certainly not what they were during pre-COVID times but we are getting there! We are very much looking forward to future ‘wider’ events such as trips, residentials and hopefully even a school fete! We are also hoping to begin some ‘bubble specific’ clubs and to reopen the library to a class a week.

Our catch up plans are now well under way and we are very grateful for your support with this. You will now have been contacted if your child needs any aspects of catch up. Please rest assured that we are keeping an eye on the academic and emotional progress of all children. We will contact you if your child needs any additional support or interventions over the next few weeks. You will all have had opportunities to discuss any concerns at recent Parents’ Evenings but if anything does arise, please let us know.Please could I also remind you about the start times for our different classes. These are as follows:
  • Sycamore and Rowan : 8.30am
  • Beech: 8.40am
  • Willow and Oak: 8.50am
  • Maple: 9.00am
There are a number of children arriving a little late, particularly for our earlier 8.30 and 8.40 starts. I do know that most of these times are earlier than previously and the recent road works have not helped. However, for all children, our learning starts straight away. Registration occurs as the children complete their first task of the day; just 5 minutes missed can make a difference! This also applies to catch up sessions happening at the beginning of the day.The start to our term has seen a re-launch of our Global Curriculum and the children are very enthusiastic about it. You may recall at the very beginning of our curriculum journey, we talked about widening children’s perspectives and equipping them with skills for lifelong learning and occupations in an interconnected world. In many of my recent assemblies, we have looked at the meaning of the word ‘global’ and how this may look in school. The children have been amazing in their responses about equality, taking responsibility for their actions, looking after our environment etc. Many aspects of this are linked to the children’s current topic learning but we would also like to encourage the children to adopt positive global attitudes in wider school life.We have been thinking long and hard about what makes a good global citizen and, more importantly, what this looks like from a child’s point of view. To complement our existing SMART values (self-confident, aspirational, motivated, resilient, team player) we have, as a school, agreed the values we would like to instil in our children in a global context. These are to:
  • Take responsibility for their actions
  • Respect and value diversity
  • Recognise that they can make a contribution to the wider community at a range of levels.
  • Be aware of the wider world and how it works
  • Understand equality and fairness.
We have designed a badge to recognise any child’s contribution to these. I have shared this with the children in my assembly this week. We will look to award these at termly special assemblies but are also encouraging the children to write to myself (in an age appropriate way) to persuade me that they deserve a global badge and why! I have already had two letters from a Year 2 and a Year 6 child today!It has been so lovely to write to you all about issues other than COVID! As usual, please come back to me if you have any questions or concerns.

Federation Art Day

On Friday (11th), we will be holding our third Federation Day. This event normally means that the children from both schools get together and work collaboratively; last year it was for sporting activities. This year, we obviously cannot get together in person. We will, however, do so remotely with each year group collaborating over Zoom. Our day will focus on art, specifically around the theme of trees and the colour green.

At the moment, many of the classes are sharing a lovely book about personal and social development called ‘Can I build another me?’ In the section about individuality under the heading ‘I’m no one but me’, it states:

“Grandma once told me that everyone is like a tree. Trees come in all different shapes and sizes. You can’t choose what kind of tree you are, but you can choose how to grow. And you can decorate yourself in any way you like!”

This is a lovely concept that will underpin our art through the day and supports our key values of respecting individuality and celebrating difference. We will look at how trees differ in shape, colour and size and how different artists have represented them. We will then experiment with many different materials to paint and draw trees including paints, chalk and oil pastels, inks and watercolours. Children will also learn how to mix different tones of green. Children will then ‘paint’ their own tree using a material of their choice to then be decorated using collage. All the finished tress will then be displayed in a central location.

During the day, each year group will share their pictures and ideas across each school via Zoom.

The day could get a little messy with so many different art materials and a lot of green! For this day (Friday 11th), if you would like to send your children into school in old ‘non- uniform’ clothes, then that is absolutely fine. We do have art aprons, but probably not enough for the whole school and the ability to share them across classes is now limited.

Finally, thank you for all you amazing support with our flower day. We have yet to total all the donations as the money is currently being quarantined! I will let you know when we have a total but really appreciate your generosity!

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