Head's Blog

Update from Mrs Brown

It has been a little while since I wrote to many of you although I have been involved in lengthy correspondence with the year groups identified by the government for potential return! It is difficult to turn on the news without some reference to the debate about schools’ wider opening. We are planning to open at Yardley and Denton to the designated year groups and key workers unless we are told otherwise!  The government has not clarified plans for further opening to other year groups. I am so sorry for those families where there are older siblings who cannot come back. I promise I would take them if I could!

As soon as we hear any indications of an even wider opening I will, as usual, let you know. Once we know how this may work, we will share the plans with you. As with the year groups identified in the first phase, we will ask you whether you intend to send your child back and take it from there. Let’s hope we can have that dialogue soon!

From talking to many parents this week, it is clear that many people are working from home or are furloughed. If you have to return to work and your job falls into the key worker category, we can offer a place in school, if necessary on a part-time basis. Do get in touch if this applies to you. Please see this link for clarification of who is defined by the government as a key worker: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision#critical-workers

For the next week (half-term), the teachers will be taking a break from adding curriculum work to the Google Classrooms. I hope that you will be able to take a break too and be able to enjoy the half-term without the pressure of home schooling!  For those of you who want to continue the routine you can work on reading, times tables, maths problems involving money, writing a diary etc. The government promoted oak national academy is still available: https://www.thenational.academy/online-classroom. There is also ‘BBC bitesize’. The government has also produced a document about home learning you may find useful:https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-primary-school-children-continue-their-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Obviously when we get back after half-term we will continue supporting home learning primarily via Google Classroom. We are continually looking for different ways of engaging the children and maintaining interest. Please bear with us initially. With more children returning to school, your child’s class teacher will now, more than likely, be teaching children in school. They will continue to plan the remote learning but it may be another member of staff who responds to work or questions on Google Classroom during the day. Should you be struggling with ICT, please let us know and we will provide you with paper copies or learning packs especially as there are now more staff in school. These would be left outside for you to collect.

Please let me know if you need any help or support. Whilst your children cannot yet come back to school, we want to do everything we can to support learning and emotional wellbeing. I do know there are some lovely Zoom sessions happening amongst class groups. I too can Zoom and phone whenever you need but am having a couple of days downtime at the beginning of next week.

I really hope we can see you all in school at some point soon.

Enjoy the bank holiday!

May update

I hope you and your families are safe and well.

I am really missing all the children at school and seeing parents at drop off and collection times; a ‘normal’ school day seems a long time ago! I am ever hopeful that we will be able to welcome the children back into school at some point soon although I still do not have any further information, other than following the news like yourselves. Today’s press conference did not really ‘shed any light’ on the situation either. I do, however, think that the most likely return will be early June and I am assuming that it will be phased, ensuring social distancing where possible. I am very much hoping that, when the return date is announced, the logistics of that phasing will be made clear. If it is not, as a school, we will manage the return in a manner that will maximise the safety of pupils, parents and staff. As soon as I hear any news or have an indication of the return plans, I will be sure to let you know.

I am sure, like me, you are very keen to get the children back into school. I do know speaking to some of you last week, that the transition between the Easter holidays and the return to ‘virtual schooling’ was particularly tricky, especially if you are having to work from home.

I would reiterate my offer for the teachers or myself to phone the children and I do know that many phone calls have been made this week. Some teachers have begun to have ‘Zoom’ contact with children; Mr Baker had a very successful remote school council meeting last week. This means of communication at least allows for some ‘face to face’ contact and we are more than happy to use it. Please let me know if your children would like a Mrs Brown Zoom!

If your children are struggling with the work set or you feel that they are slipping behind, please be assured that, as a staff team, we are already planning how we can maximise time on our return to fill any gaps and catch up on work missed. The academic progress of the children is ultimately our responsibility; setting work and tasks remotely is no substitute for face to face, direct teaching. You, however, are teaching the children a whole host of skills that we would not be able to practise at school and which are ultimately still contributing to your child’s education. The gardening, crafting, baking, puzzling, bike riding  and playing are, at this time, as important as the reading, writing and maths. Hang on to that when the home teaching is difficult!  

Equally important is your child’s emotional wellbeing. We are still being supported by the Mindmap Charity.. Feel free to use them if you wish. We will certainly be using the stories and ‘feelings flowers’ on our return. If you are concerned about your child’s anxiety levels, please get in touch and we can signpost you to resources or organisations that can help.

I will write again as soon as I have more information about a return to school. In the meantime, please get in touch if you need help or support or would just like a chat! Oh, and look out for a ‘Mrs Brown YouTube’ message from me to the children coming very soon.

Update- 3rd April

I hope you and your families are safe and well.

We are now two weeks into our school closure and it is still taking some adjusting too. This week, as with last week, I am hugely impressed by the amount of work and learning that is going on at home. I do realise how difficult this can be, especially if you are trying to work from home to.

Over the course of what would have been our Easter break, the teachers will be adding less ‘academic’ work to the Google classrooms but will uploading some fun Easter activities; there is no pressure to complete these, just a few ideas if you need them. They will also be suggesting other things you can be carrying on with over the holidays, such as times tables and reading, obviously we will leave how much and how often you do these up to you! 

An aspect of teaching which we have not addressed since the closure is online safety. This is a bit tricky in many ways as we are asking the children to access so much of their learning online. There is still a place, however, for learning about e-safety; with increased exposure, now is probably as good a time as ever to reinforce the importance of staying safe online. To this end, all teachers will be adding some suggestions and resources to the Google Classrooms for you to have a look at over the Easter break.

I have written to the children again this week and sent a certificate this week instead of a SMART star. I would be very grateful if you could personalise it and show both to the children.

It does seem strange that this is the start of the Easter break; the change to routine for us all will not be as marked as usual! I do hope you do get to enjoy Easter though and although trips out will not be feasible, at least get the opportunity to enjoy the sunshine in the garden!

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