St Mary's

Catholic Primary School

School Closure - Home Learning and Classes

 School closure update: The school has been open to certain year groups from the  1st  June.  See our news pages for further detail. A good news update for the school - Our Section 48 report has been published. We are very proud of our outcome and I want to thank staff, children, parents and IEB for enabling this outcome. Thank You!

Current News - Week ending 26th  June 2020

 

Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see your beautiful rainbows

 

Click here to see a HUGE 'Thank You' to you all from the staff at St Mary's 

 

 

Dear Parents and Carers,

 

This week was our first full week operating to our full re-opening timetable. The following is an update on our evaluation of the week that has passed:

  • Target year groups: Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and 6 have all been attending for our planned time. The teachers in all mini hubs continue to be very positive about the way the children are adopting physical and social distancing principles and our foot and hand sanitation measures are working well. We also now have a larger compliment of cleaning staff across the school which is making our behind the scenes activities smoother.
  • Key Worker Hubs: Both Key Worker hubs have continued to grow across the week and Mr Dodgson, Mrs Essex, Mrs Keane and Mrs Thomason have been able to look at ways to group and teach groups of children rather than just concentrate on individuals.Currently our Key Worker hub is full on some days and if there are children of new Key Worker parents requiring a school place, it is essential that contact is made with the school at least 48 hours before any place is needed as we can no longer guarantee places at short notice
  • Other year groups: We have reviewed how we can bring further year groups back in to school. For the moment we are still not able to do this with current staffing levels but are looking at other options to see if it is possible in the next three weeks.
  • Teacher feedback: All teachers report the positivity they are picking up from individual contacts with children over the week and we continue to see the positive value in holding class Zoom meetings. Teachers also report the high quality of learning sent to them and we thank all parents and carers for continuing to support this from home.
  • End of term: Parents are reminded that the school will be closed to all pupils (including Key Workers) on Monday 6th July for staff mental health training. The school will be open to all hubs on the last Wednesday of the school year. We will be holding a simple Year 6 leavers celebration on Thursday 16th July 2020. The details of this are outlined below.
  • Keeping Children Safe: An update to keeping children safe at home and online has been added to our Wellbeing and Happiness website page.

Drop-off and Pick-up:

Now that we have reached the point where all our hubs are working to our final time tables, (unless we have arranged specific Drop-off and Pick-up times with you) where there are siblings in school the Drop-off time is with the latest sibling and the Pick-up time is with the earliest sibling. We have done this to avoid parents having to make multiple journeys to the school or wait in the car park.

We have moved drop-off closer together for Nursery and Reception as this will allow siblings to arrive at the same time. It was also our experience that the car park had mostly cleared following the Year 1 and 6 drop off.

As government guidance still recommends social distancing measures remain wherever possible, we are not currently planning to adjust our queuing arrangements. This means the only way we can bring drop-off and pick-up for different classes closer together and closer to a normal school day is by ensuring the car park clears quickly between time slots. Could I therefore please request that parents leave as soon as they have dropped or collected their child / children and that for the smooth navigation of the car park, double parking is avoided.

Thank you in advance for your support with these measures

 

School Spiritual Foundation

I was pleased to make socially distanced contact with Father Millett this week and he reminds all parents that they are welcome to visit St Mary’s Church for individual prayer. The church will be open every day from 11:00 to 12:00. All are welcome.

I have also talked with him about ways we can share worship between the school and the church over the coming weeks and am looking forward to re-igniting this link. I have been in contact with Irene Wilkie and Rowena Brookes who will also be including elements of school communication and worship in the church’s communication.

 

Worship this term

Our theme for the duration of the term is the value of Courage. This week’s story challenged the children to show courage in challenging injustice and in making a positive change to the world. I used the story of David and Goliath to encourage the children to see that no matter how small they are, their actions can make a difference to the world. As a follow up to this I asked the children in Key Stage 1 to listen to the story about the tree mouse who saved the forest and think about their actions that could make a difference. In Key Stage 2 I asked the children to find out about children from recent and past history who have shown courage in their lives or who have had the courage to challenge injustice or overcome adversity.

 

Thank You I would like to say a huge thank you to our wonderful PTA who supplied all children in the school with an ice cream on the year’s hottest day. This was most gratefully received by the children in school.

In addition, I would also like to thank the PTA for their support of the school’s new picnic area. This is located in the place where the zip wire used to be. For the last year and a half, this whole area was a real eyesore and was an area of the school grounds that had been totally out of bounds. This area is once again a useable space. Mr Howe, the school Site Manager has done all the work to transform this area and will soon begin work on a decking area to increase the useable space adjacent to this.

 

School Leadership activities

Just so that you are informed, the last major school leadership activity of the year will be held next week. This activity is a time when all class teachers work alongside members of the school’s leadership team to review pupil progress. Due to the school closure our focus in tracking pupil outcomes will be drawn from assessments at the end of Term 4. We will however also look at the learning undertaken during the school closure and partial re-opening period.

Following these meetings, school leadership will then meet with the IEB to hold an end of year review. I will publish the outcome of this review as part of a self-evaluation update. This will be put on the school website for parents to read once it is complete.

 

School Improvement Day (6th July 2020)

All parents should plan that Monday 6th July will continue to be a school closure day. This means that none of our hubs will be open including the ones for Key Workers. On this day all staff will receive training from two specialist social, emotional and mental health specialists.  The purpose of this will be to give staff the skills to support children’s mental health and emotional needs post lock down. We will also be undertaking a class hand over activity so that all teachers have an understanding of their classes next year.

 

Year 6 Leavers Celebration

Mrs McDonagh and I are currently planning a simple celebration for the current Year 6 children. This will be on Thursday 16th July from 17:00 – 18:45. Due to current advice we will need to organise this in our established learning hubs along with inviting any children who have not returned to school to also join us. This will be different to previous years and we appreciate that this will be a disappointment for some children. We will however try to make it memorable.

As outlined above we will continue to apply social distancing guidelines to this event and as such we will limit the number of staff attending and do not feel it appropriate to include parents in the celebration on this occasion. We are sorry for this but the health of all attending during and following the celebration must remain a high priority. Full details will be published next week.

 

Classes next year

We are still finalising our arrangements for classes next year but it is appropriate at this point to inform you that Mrs Warburton will be returning to our Reception Class. We are currently working on “Lock Down” transition arrangements for these children. Letters about this have been sent to any Nursery parents currently on our roll.

We are also looking at transition arrangements for other classes and will be sharing these with you as soon as they are complete. A letter detailing class structure and staff deployment will go out next week once this has been agreed with the school’s IEB.

 

The following information remains unchanged from last week but is included for reference:

 

Home and School Learning
Linked to the above and given that there are so many uncertainties with respect to what the future holds, the following is an update to our learning support arrangements to the end of term. Our priority with respect to this is that those children still at home, do not lose out. We are particularly mindful of this issue, given that all teachers are now supporting learners in school.

Our goal is that:

  • We will continue to base our home and school learning around the lesson content for English and Maths from the Oak Academy. Pick n’ Mix will support the wider curriculum and will be built around activities that can happen in the classroom as well as home. We continue to ask that reading, spelling / phonics and number skills are practiced daily and that each week children provide a minimum of one piece of writing for their teacher to provide feedback on.
  • The Year 2, 4 and 5 teachers will split their classes into two separate groups that can be alternated across weeks between Mrs Gabriel and class teachers. These groups should send their writing every Friday to the specified teacher for the writing feedback. Groups will alternate each week so that every two weeks children receive feedback from their class teacher. It is important that all children complete this task as we see writing as a key skill that is not easily self-assessed.
  • All teachers will check e-mails each day for messages from their classes but may not respond to these immediately or may pass these onto Mrs Smith, myself or the office for action. Where the query can wait until Wednesday, it may only be responded to at this time.
  • During the school closure on Wednesday, teachers will use this time to plan and assess children’s learning. A Zoom class meeting will take place for most classes on this day, with the exception of Kingfishers and Ospreys who have scheduled this for another day in the week. We hope that by doing this we can maintain quality contact with all classes and children.

 

Health and wellbeing
It goes without saying that if you have any doubts about your child’s health and wellness they must remain at home. If their symptoms develop or evolve into a new and continuous cough, a temperature or there is a loss of taste and smell, a COVID 19 test should be booked immediately by calling 111. As you will know from the media and from wider scientific evidence these three symptoms are the most common, but there are others that might indicate the onset of COVID-19. Please therefore exercise caution at all times. Children coming to school who are unwell will be isolated and monitored away from other children. We will send children home if they seem unwell as a precaution and we will ask you to continue monitoring them at home. Any children presenting with a high temperature, a new and continuous cough or loss of taste and smell will be sent home immediately and asked to access a test. Sending an unwell child to school could compromise the entire hub’s attendance as our policy states we will sending the entire hub home as a precautionary measure. This policy is different to current recommendations but we feel it is so important to break transmission chains at the earliest point so that we can protect other families and our school community.

 

Our goal in all instances is to keep as many children in school as possible and it is for this reason we ask anyone in doubt, to just sit it out. Please also let us know why your child is absent and if it is for suspected symptoms, do this as a matter of urgency. 

Face coverings still remain an area of debate. School staff are wearing these and gloves and visors if they are in close contact with children. Current guidance for schools still states that these are not recommended in schools as despite children being indoors for some of the day, physical and social distancing measures can be maintained and hand and respiratory hygiene can be supported. With respect to these we have no objection to older children in particular wearing face coverings should you chose this. You should however ensure your child understands how to wear this, that the front of the covering is not touched and that if they decide not to wear it or wish to dispose of it, you should provide them with a bag in which to place it. Please click this link to see how to wear and make a face covering.

 

These continue to be different and challenging times. I continue to be proud of the measures we have designed and the work staff are doing to make school re-opening successful. I am also grateful to each one of you for your support and patience with our slow and steady actions.

Finally, I hope that you all have a restful and healthy weekend.

 

Yours sincerely,
Paul Bacon

 

 

  Links to government documents:

    Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives.

    Welcome to Term 5 - A little hello from all the staff at St Mary's - click here

    Putting a smile on the faces of the NHS staff working opposite our school - click here

    Show your support for the NHS (and all keyworkers) by displaying a rainbow in your window. You can share your rainbows here by emailing a photograph to your class teacher.