Newsletter & important updates about June return

Message from Mr Applegate

Dear parents and carers,

Thank you for your support following Friday’s email about a possible June opening. The details are here, including the form for you to complete by Monday 12pm.

Can I remind you that we are still working on plans, and the government have yet to confirm that we will be opening from June.

From the initial analysis of the survey responses it appears that we will have around 180-200 pupils coming back; around half of those are children of key workers. This is a significant number considering the complications and unknowns in this unprecedented situation. Therefore, for children in Years R, 1 and 6:

— To support the children in school being as safe as possible, I would ask that you keep your child at home if possible. —

Reducing numbers will really support our ability both to educate all children and improve safety. We will still be able to support key worker children and those from Years R, 1 and 6 who must be in because of parental work requirements.

Our main concerns around the ability to provide a safe and rewarding learning environment and effectively support home learning are as follows:

  • I am very concerned about the ability to enforce social distancing. To suggest that we will be able to do this within a class bubble is simply not true, although we will try our best.
  • I am concerned about the impact on children’s mental health; in particular, being in a ‘bubble’ in school, probably without their friends, their known teacher, or their known classroom, for at least 3 weeks. Remember, they will not be able to mix with other classes/bubbles, nor be having assemblies, worship, or be walking around the school. Even toilets are an issue yet to be solved. School will look nothing like what we know it. Yes, the staff will do their best, but it will be very, very different. For younger children, the inability to hug, console, listen, or encourage through appropriate adult touch will be quite damaging.
  • I am concerned about the number of children who we won’t be able to support in their home learning. The more children in school, the more adults required, and thus the much-reduced support for the majority who will be at home. About 75% of our staff will be supporting 25% of children in school. On the flip side, about 25% of staff will be supporting 75% of children at home, but not in a personalised way as we have come to know (should our in-school numbers remain high).
  • Further concerns are: the recent increase in ‘R’ rate; the concern of the British Medical Association (BMA) of schools returning; the lack of transparency around the scientific basis for the government’s decisions; and the lack of proper PPE where intimate care and first aid will be required (a scary thought for children when they are in need!).
  • Even today new information has been released about the loss of smell and taste being symptons of Covid-19. IE the government still do not know the full picture of this epidemic.

What will be offering?

  • Places for all key worker children. The number of key worker children in school is set to rise from low-20s to mid-90s. We are absolutely keen to support them, but only if absolutely necessary.
  • Places for non-key worker children where parents must be at work. I am also very mindful that our opening is essential for some non-key worker parents who must go back to work and who may not get paid if they don’t. Therefore I do want to offer provision to them, but only if absolutely necessary.

I do agree with the government view about children missing out on education, and we are in constant contact with families as you will know. Our home-learning provision is strong. Staff comments, responses, and marking are supporting learning too. We are seeking to provide second hand laptops where we know there are needs, and we are increasing our individual and small group teacher ‘Meets’ to further support learning.

At the end of the day, we will all have gaps in learning, and we will pick those up in good time. But these conditions are not the prime learning conditions.

What do you need to do now?

For children in Years R, 1 and 6, if you share these concerns and are able to keep your child or children at home, then I would urge you to do so. If you have now changed your mind, having already completed the original online form released on Friday, you can complete this Change of Mind Form’

Can I review my decision?

Possibly. It very much depends on numbers and capacity to open, and would have to be considered on a case-by-case basis. As before, the priority of key workers, Years R, 1, and 6 still stands.

What happens now?

In the coming week, we will release more details about the phased reopening. FYI, staggered collection times will begin around 2pm to allow for staff to thoroughly clean the school and prepare for the next day. Friday will finish early lunchtime.

What about July?

It is very difficult to tell. We are still working on plans for June! It is very, very difficult to forsee how all children will be back in July. “One step at a time….”

Thank you for your understanding and patience, and of course for your support in these very challenging times.

Charles Applegate

Go Fund Me – FOSM Top Up Fundraiser

As we can’t run any FOSM events at school, the FOSM team are running a GoFundMe donation page. If you are able to donate, then please click on the FOSM logo. Thank you :)

Our target is £3,500 – we’re getting there.

Google Classroom

We made it through a week! Thank you for your overwhelmingly positive comments.

Remember:

  • Find help, videos and password reset links here.
  • Not able to connect? Make sure it’s the right account on your laptop or phone.
  • Don’t forget to click on ‘Hand In’ when you’ve finished the work and want to submit it.

Only Joking!

  • Did you hear the joke about the little mountain? It’s hill-arious!
  • What’s a banana peel’s favorite type of shoe? Slippers!
  • How does a man on the moon cut his hair? Eclipse it!

Have a good joke? Email them in and we may use them in our next newsletter!

HeartSmart Family

Have a look here for how you can use a daily Boris video to support your child’s emotional health!blank

Email and Contact Details

If you don’t receive the school newsletter and year group emails via email, you can Sign up here!

Remember, if you change your contact details, please let the office know here.

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Achievement Corner

blankA huge well done to Jack in Year 2, who has now solved the Rubik’s cube for the first time. He was set the challenge of solving the cube a few months ago, and has shown much resilience. No Youtube videos involved. We’re impressed!!

Has your child done something recently you’d like to share with us? Let us know!

Writing Competition

This half term, the author, Jae Malone, kindly ran a story writing competition for the Year 6 children. Unfortunately, her planned visit for the end of March has had to be postponed until next academic year. Such is her passion to inspire creativity in children’s writing she decided that although meeting our current Year 6 children in person was not possible, she could still reach out to them through this competition.

Many children put forward their adventure stories where Indiana Jones was on a quest to uncover a very important Maya artefact. We are very pleased and proud to announce that Rhys W and Carolina wrote such compelling stories that Jae was unable to choose and so awarded both these young budding authors the prize of a signed set of books.

This was a great incentive for our Year 6 children to edit their stories to a high standard and it also encouraged risk taking. Well done to all those who entered.

Jae Malone has also very generously donated a lovely set of four books for younger readers for our school library. St Marks are very grateful – thank you Jae!

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UK Blessing

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