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Letter to Parents from Headteacher

27th March 2020

Dear Parents

The last week has been a very strange time for our school, our community, our country and indeed the whole world.

We are now all going to have to get used to a very different way of working for the next few months. It is very important that all of our children continue to learn at home and that they access the learning activities that the teachers have been working so hard to put together. These are the home learning packs that your children took home at the end of last week and the home learning that is on our Class Pages of our website.

We fully appreciate that teaching your children is a huge ask but here are a few tips in setting up your ‘new school’:

When teaching children, teachers find that with the children we work with, starting with 'why' is key. It helps the children understand the purpose of the task and enables them to understand why they're being asked to do it. Each household's 'why' will be different: it could be "because when we go back to school, we need to be up to date with the learning," but just make sure you don't use "because I said so, or you're grounded". Let's be honest, we're all going to be grounded for a bit!

After starting with 'why' we give the children an element of choice: we've found this to be a brilliant motivator. An immediate decision they could make is to give your ‘new school’ a name and design its badge. Then, once they've done this, you can begin to have a discussion with them about what's going to be included in the curriculum. Spoiler alert: it's primarily Maths and English.

Include your children in the discussion around the different topics you cover and when you're going to do so.

Now you've managed to get your ‘new class’ on board, it's time to set some school rules. This could include phone use, use of calculators, rules on talking over one another and reinforcing the "absolutely no children in the staff room" rule. Ever!

From our experience, children and adults react well to structure, especially a morning routine. Try to design your learning timetable together and if possible, allocate a specific work space for your new class - their new classroom. This way they can primarily associate this space with their learning, and will find it easier to switch off when in other areas of the house.

To try and maintain some links to their usual school experience, consider setting break and lunch times. Make sure you take into consideration any of your work commitments that may affect this if you aim to align your work with their learning time.

There will be ample opportunity in the evening for some downtime and being firm on breaks will help to reinforce the value of learning time.

You don't need to reinvent the wheel. There is an abundance of free online resources, as well as those that we have signposted you. Keep visiting your child’s Class Page on our website, our teachers are going to regularly update the home learning and there is a class email address that the children can use to communicate with their teacher. Prioritise and plan what you're going to cover, and do your best to execute your plan. Like any new job, the first few weeks will be about finding your feet!

All of you who are eligible for food vouchers, as you receive free school meals, should have received your vouchers. A BIG thank you to our office staff and Miss West for co-ordinating this mammoth job and for getting them to you so quickly. We have issued vouchers to cover you for 10 school days and will send them to you again week beginning 20th April.

Whatever you do and however you do it, always remember that although school is officially closed we are always here to support and help you. The office is always manned from 8.45 – 3.15 every weekday and we will be checking in with most of you from time to time to see if there’s anything else we can do.

Please listen to the Government guidelines and stay safe.