Firstly, a message about contact track and tracing over the Christmas period…  If one of the children or staff have symptoms develop over the next 48 hours (that’s any of the symptoms, and any time over Saturday and Sunday), the test is booked, taken and a positive result is returned, it is really important that you email to inform me personally of this.  I’ll be checking my emails a couple of times a day and I’ll be able to send out an anonymous email to the whole bubble, including staff, to tell them to take the necessary precautions.     I wrote a letter about this with lots more detail (Contact Tracing over the Christmas Break ) but do also use the DfE phoneline, 0800 046 8687, if you have any queries, or the NHS phone line on 119, about booking a test.

Secondly, a thank you… to everyone in our community for everything you’ve done this term to keep us all safe.  It’s been hectic and stressful for everyone, but it’s been made so much easier with the support, rule-following and kind words from our lovely children, parents and wider community.  Thank you!

Finally, what I wrote on the Newsletter…

It’s almost exactly 9 months to the day that I wrote to you all about having to close the school as a result of the Government’s plan to delay the spread of Coronavirus.  Back on the 19th March we’d planned to have a Parents’ Breakfast… Remember those?  We’d sit in the school hall, tucking into a bacon sarnie cooked by staff from The Rock Inn and we’d squeeze together on tiny benches and chairs with multiple families to a table.  Ah those were the days!

Last year’s Christmas dinner was a very similar affair with 100 children crammed into the school hall, and afterwards, whilst I’d look after them on the playground, all our staff would have a Christmas dinner, equally squashed together in a classroom.  None of that this week – children ate in four different locations and the staff had their dinner within their bubbles, or on their own in one of the many staffrooms.

By March 19th we’d cancelled over a dozen items from the school diary, and since then we’ve made an astonishing amount of changes to our school system.  Some of them we’d started to think about anyway, some of them were good but forced upon us, and there were also those that we didn’t like and required a tonne of learning to get them right.

I’ve written countless letters, newsletters and blogs and have even braved a few video blogs for you… oh yeah, they’re vlogs aren’t they?!… (Forced to be ‘down with the kids’!)  All of these were to remind you of the rules expected of schools at the time, others were more reflective but all of them were an attempt to ensure you felt supported by all of us in school, and that, importantly, our children are kept safe, feeling happy and able to flourish.

A professor from Toronto, Dr Aisha Ahmed, talked in September about hitting the 6 month wall.  “We have already found new ways to live, love, and be happy under these rough conditions. This is hard proof that we have what it takes to keep going. Do not despair of the 6 month wall. It’s not permanent, nor will it define you in this period of adversity. Trust that the magic that helped you through the first phase is still there. Take a breath & a pause. You’ll be on the other side in no time.”  This was from the 6 months ‘wall’ back in September when we’d already started back to school.  I’m really proud that the staff here, and also the parents, families and the community, trusted that the ‘magic’ that had helped us through to July was still there!

Three months later and we’ve all been given the great news of the vaccine.  It will, no doubt, involve lots of changes and I’m sure we’ll have to adjust again in some way, but it is, at least, some light at the end of the tunnel and we can look forward to 2021and the prospect of returning to some improved kind of normal!  However, in January, we’ll have to continue doing everything we can to keep everyone safe.  We’ve had to, ‘Learn lots from this crisis,’ (Winston Churchill said something like that) and we’ll continue to learn and adapt, after all, hindsight is 2020.

We are Kind, We are Curious, We are Confident, We are a Community, We are Adventurous, We are Ambitious.  And even though we focus in on one of these each half term, I’m sure we’ll be ALL of them when we come back in January!  Living Life in all its Fullness!