It’s Children’s Mental Health week next week.  We hope to provide you with some activities over the week where you can express yourselves and do something that makes you feel good; after all, that’s their theme for this year.  I was a little panicked trying to find the date as it’s not National Mental Health Week until May, so at least us parents could have one next week for the children, and then another in May?!

Remote Learning is hard – I would say that, “I should know,” as I have 4 boys stuck at home myself ranging between 7 and 16… but I’m at work all day and only get to see them when I arrive home to microwave my dinner!  But I do hear about their day and talk to them about what they’ve done, and also to my wife about how she’s coped, or not!  I know that it is hard.

Remote Teaching is also hard.  We’ve put in place a remarkable provision and I’m amazed and proud of how the school staff are providing for a group of children in school and then another bunch of remote learners.  ‘Normal’ school days have flexibility where we adjust to many things and focus attention on specific children, or groups, however this lockdown really does lock our way of working down to quite an inflexible approach.  Our school staff are quite brilliant at spinning plates, but they’re doing it with different crockery, in different rooms and with water all over the floor.  Bad analogy – but you get the point! 

We provide work through the week for the children to learn but we also understand that you have other restrictions on your time, and that you’d like to keep your sanity.  We fully understand if you need to do things to keep your child happy, sane and entertained, so we hope that we can provide you with some fun things in next week’s Google Classroom.

Thank you to the families who are coming into school through the week – we’ve again managed to keep our numbers below the threshold that we believe is safe at our school by moving days required.

Don’t forget, critical workers may be able to ask for a school place, but we would like to strongly encourage parents who can keep their children safe at home, to do so.  Our staff are wearing masks around school, but not in their own classrooms and we’re only variably able to manage social distancing with the children.  If children can be safe at home, they should be.  And what we have on offer to those at home is brilliant after all.

Of course, we’d also like to strongly encourage families to be really careful in the community regarding social distancing and all the other rules out there.  Our school staff are in vulnerable positions with limited protective measures and it’s only by doing what you do, that keeps us all safe.  We really appreciate your help.

The Covid-19 tab on our website has several links for further reading and support for you.  In summary… 

  • We provide a rough outline of what a day at home could look like, 

  • We have our Remote Provision Plan giving an overview of what we do for remote learning, 

  • We also have our Google Meet Protocol on there too, which could be something you share with your child detailing what we expect during our daily meetings,

  • There’s a page full of useful links to interesting and helpful web pages, 

  • A menu of activities that Preschool may like to try,

  • A link to the school’s Safeguarding information,

  • The school’s Covid-19 Risk Assessment – lots of detail about how we’re working and what we need to have in place at the moment.

  • There’s also a review of our Remote Learning, a collection of statements about what we’re providing

  • There’s also the NHS letter that stipulates some important things to do – such as what to do in case of symptoms and who to phone if you need a test.

We hope these are useful for you.  The Risk Assessment got updated twice this week and we’re currently working on a couple of other documents too.  

One document that we’ll upload soon is the Governor’s Summary following the surveys we provided last week I’d like to say a big thank you to all the families who completed the surveys and passed us their thoughts.  We provided open text boxes on the survey so that families could write as little or as much as they needed and we really appreciate the time spent on them.  

Until we upload the document to the website, we’ve pasted it here straight into the Newsletter – just at the bottom of this newsletter.   Thanks again.

There are several hoax calls and scams out there, but we’ve heard of one that offers parents some financial support and vouchers for speedier broadband, stationary and home learning resources.  Please be aware… and don’t provide personal details over the phone.  

I’ve placed this in an announcement on the Classroom ‘Streams’ but here’s a link to our Celebration assembly this week! 


Governors’ Report on Remote Learning 

How Are We Doing (More Importantly, How Are You Doing?)

As another week of home learning comes to an end, thank you to all the families who completed the recent Remote Learning Survey.  The results, together with individual feedback to teachers, has given us a great insight into how things are going and helped inform some of the tweaks the team have made in the last week.

We thought you may be interested in the survey results and the changes that have been implemented as a result.  Fifty-one families responded and the general response was overwhelmingly positive – words ‘fantastic’, ‘great’ and ‘amazing’ were used to describe the provision, with lots of comments about the direct input of the teachers and favourable comparisons to the March 2020 lockdown.  

To specific questions (with yes, no or unsure answer choices):

  • 98% of you felt that learning tasks are clearly explained to children (and parents)

  • 92% of you felt that learning tasks are ambitious enough for your child

  • 86% of you felt that the balance of ‘live lessons’, recorded video and instruction was ‘just about right’ (8% felt that it wasn’t and 6% were unsure)

  • 61% of you felt that your child was receiving enough feedback about work, whereas 20% felt that feedback was insufficient and 20% were unsure or did not respond to the question

  • 90% of you felt the amount of learning provided was sufficient, 10% felt it was not (of which 8% felt there was not enough work and 2% felt that there was too much)

  • 88% of you felt that children are seeing their teacher enough, 4% felt that there was insufficient time with the teacher and 8% didn’t respond

There were a few areas which you highlighted as proving challenging or where you were unsure of the offer:

  • Only 37% of you were aware that you can access learning resources and books from school 

  • And 47% of you said that you have experienced technology issues – mostly related to wifi glitches but in some cases due to understanding of how the various technology tools are being used.

  • And at least 25% of you noted that you were unsure of how to share work with the class teacher or that it had not been easy

What Have We Done?

In the last two weeks the team have made some changes which have streamlined the way technology is used and increased the range of provision offered.  As governors we have been amazed at the adaptability shown by all the team in school – all the teachers and teaching assistants are working their usual timetable in school and managing the delivery of live lessons and pupil interventions/support.  Here are some of the changes you will have seen:

  • Information sheets (for parents and children) are available to explain how to submit work and use the technology in Google Classroom

  • We’ve streamlined the process for handing in (or submitting) work to make it more manageable for the teachers and the children using Google Classroom to submit work

  • This makes it easier to provide quick feedback – where deadlines have been set for core literacy and numeracy tasks the feedback will provided promptly through the Private Comments text box in each Assignment.  

  • Lesson content is being continually refined – we are now providing individual or differentiated work where we think it will support children and we’ve added some additional sessions for the younger children

  • If we do need to discuss something in more detail with you we are trying to reach you by phone before emailing – it is SO much easier to have a chat!

  • Our approach will be slightly different between the four classes – we recognise that remote learning experience for 5 years olds (and their parents) is very different to 11 year olds!  Live lessons (synchronous learning) are offered where suitable and recorded video (asynchronous learning) is offered where we think it will be more beneficial to be able to pause during a lesson.   

  • Sessions for classes have been staggered where possible to account for those of you with children in more than one class!

We are all learning in this together.  As governors we appreciate what a huge ask is being made of you as parents.  This is a huge juggling exercise with many of you working or supporting multiple children at the same time.  The staff at the school are hugely appreciate of all the effort you are making to support the pupils.  Likewise, we can also see the what an enormous task this is for school staff and we are hugely blessed to have such a committed team supporting your children.

One of our new duties is to ensure that remote learning meets the Department of Education Guidelines.  We’ve reviewed them and are confident that it does.  You will all be familiar with the 3-5 hours of provision requirement.  It is hard to measure hours given every child is different but we are confident that the sum of all the live lessons, assignments, topic work, guided reading, stories and additional activities you may be doing (cooking, walking, cycling, reading, learning new technology) all adds up to a rich and varied curriculum provision.    The school has taken a conscious decision to continue to follow the planned curriculum map and this means we have not needed to fall back on Oak Academy or other resources the government have offered.  Where the Oak academy Lessons or BBC Bitesize support and enrich the curriculum plans the team may use them but the teachers are committed to a more bespoke curriculum that matches the type of content the children would have been learning during the Spring term.  This will assist the return to school when it eventually happens.  The approach requires a huge investment of time and energy but the team believe it is worth it and we are appreciate of their commitment to deliver it.

Every family and every child is different and this lockdown is impacting us all in different ways.  Please be assured that the school team and governors are there if you need to discuss anything. In the first instance please speak with your child’s teacher but Mr Thomas is always available to chat through your concerns.