Headteacher School Update -Unity in Community - Thank you!

6th January 2021

Dear Families

I had to send a quick 'hello' so say a massive thank you to everyone! 

I'm amazed with the positive spirit of children, family and staff working together to make the best of this challenging situation we find ourselves in - and wasting no time in carrying the learning on as best we all can - incredible and thank you to everyone for all your efforts. It has been lovely to see so many children and families - logged on to google classrooms for the morning greeting, learning in class or collecting home learning packs - thank you so much to all of you for making this happen and maintaining high learning expectations. We still have a number of packs in the office ready for collection (if requested) - so please pop down tomorrow. 

I did write you an email yesterday but so much changed by the end of the day! Teachers have learning planned until the end of next week while we await clarification on a National plan, now that this has become an official 'lockdown'. We already have ideas about striking the right balance for learning at home and what we believe is essential and achievable learning. We would welcome your views on this as our provision grows so please don't hesitate to email me or class teachers. It is vital for us to work together in UNITY so we do not lose the learning we worked so hard to catch up on last term! This lockdown will feel very different and we will find a way to make it work for every family. Today, I know small groups in different classes have learned via goggle classrooms and telephone calls, receiving targeted learning support from teaching assistants while all teachers have taught small groups in class - well done everyone! 

Online Learning

The recommendation for home learning is 3 hours a day for primary children - we want to provide for this in a way that is flexible to fit in with your individual circumstances at home as I understand the real challenges of juggling more than one child, parents working at home and more than one person needing to be online let alone internet connections! We will seek your feedback and make changes if necessary as we go along.

I am fully aware that this situation is far from perfect for so many reasons. Please read our 'online policy' that we developed for our community last October which acknowledges the complexities of online learning and will hopefully give you some reassurance of the alternatives we have in place. We are already looking into our own funding to source laptops as the reality on the ground is very different to what you hear in the news. In light of many requests, I'm sorry to inform you that I do not have a source of laptops in school - please bear with us while we try to sort this. Some good news, not requiring the internet: 

The BBC is bringing its biggest ever education offer from Monday 11 January:   

@CBBC  will have a three-hour block of primary school programming from 9am. 

@BBCTwo  will cater for secondary students with at least two hours of content each weekday.https://bbc.in/390Znjj

From next week, we will offer two different times for you to choose from (morning or afternoon to hopefully catch more of you) for the daily welcome/check in sessions with class teachers - this is helping to keep everyone feeling connected and for the opportunity to ask any questions about the daily learning. Day 3 Challenge for tomorrow - let's see if we can get more of you logged in! Once achieved, the battles will be over with this! To help: 

LOGGING INTO GOOGLE CLASSROOMS (please see the attached handout) 

I know this has caused some anxiety, we are all on a steep learning curve and will help all we can. I am re-sending this document which contains a step-by-step guide and pictures on how to edit, save and return work on google classroom (see attached). 

Here are step-by-step instructions for accessing the morning video meetings:

  • Log into your child's google classroom account.
  • Click on the 'Class Page' box to enter our class page.
  • Select 'classwork' at the top centre of the webpage.
  • Select 'Google calendar' near the top.
  • Click once on the 'Class register' blue box event which you will find on the time line (eg. 9.00 / 9.30am)
  • Click on the 'Join with Google Meet' blue box and it will open a new window with the video meeting in.

Hopefully we will get to see more of you over the week. Please persevere!

Free School Meals

We will have food packages ready to be collected (from school) on Thursday of this week for families entitled to FSM - this will cover provision for this week and next week. Hopefully a voucher system will have kicked in by then for the following weeks. Thank you for your patience. If you have difficulty getting to school, please let me know and I will arrange to drop it off to you.

New printed packs for next week will be available in the office from Monday (please request this from your own class teacher so we do not waste resources). Please return the previous weeks learning completed so teachers can review progress and celebrate learning. 

More to follow next week with a focus on learning together and the provision we will provide for all children. This became more than a quick hello! 

With best wishes for now 

Susannah Storey