Coronavirus Update 04/05/2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
I thought that I would just update you as much has happened over the past few weeks!
Staff have been incredible, going over and beyond to support the children, families and the community we serve. The coronavirus pandemic is a challenge for every person and organisation, forcing us to quickly change and rethink the way we work. But it’s also reminding us of what good work means to us; not only to offer an education to our children, but also a sense of purpose and belonging.
The crisis has forced many changes in how we work and how we can better understand and support our children and staff. All children who attend our school depend on the valuable work staff are doing. Whether this be preparing work, delivering online lessons, making those pastoral calls to staff and families, offering places for key worker and vulnerable children, or providing access to meals - whilst the school gates aren’t open as usual, staff are ensuring school is still very much that place for every child.
All three of our schools have been ‘open’ to children of key workers and vulnerable children since the lockdown began. The main provision has been at St. Luke’s as the numbers were initially greater. Over Easter, St John’s hosted a very successful Easter Sports Camp and children from all three schools attended. We intend to be ‘open’ during the Bank Holiday in May and during half term, whilst at the same time trying to make sure that all staff receive a break.
Due to increased demand, Christ Church opened again on Monday 4th May, to its own children of key workers and vulnerable children as numbers are growing. Staff from all three schools are supporting at each site, really showcasing excellent partnership working.
I have been working with local Headteachers ensuring that our community is supported. Access to food vouchers has been a challenge but we are getting there. Parents have been given hampers, Magic Breakfast provision and vouchers. Staff have delivered paper copies of work to parents unable to access online learning easily. The schools are now identifying those vulnerable learners potentially able to qualify for a DfE device. Children have been expected to continue with their learning at home, either via the internet or paper-based with the support of their teacher.
Much has changed in terms of DfE requirements – no assessments, no data collection. However, we as a school need to think about how we can best support our learners as they transition from nursery to YR, from each year group to the next and from Y6 to Y7. We have contacted new parents and will be supporting those children to enter our schools as smoothly as possible.
The school is looking to improve our online ICT learning platform. Although Class Dojo has served us well, and we will continue to use it for communication to parents and as a behaviour system, in these times we need something more robust for the curriculum. Staff are in the process of migrating to Google Classroom so that work can be posted and accessed more easily. We will send out details to parents in a few days’ time.
The government have issued further guidance today:
There are excellent resources for parents and children on BBC Bitesize at www.bbc.co.uk
and Oak National Academy site www.thenational.academy
Our school staff are currently using some of these resources but if you need more, do access the sites.
You will have heard in the news that the government is thinking about an eventual return to normality. I have also been working with Lambeth to plan and deliver support to all schools and to begin to think about the ‘new normal’ when we eventually return. There will be many decisions to be made with the guidance of Lambeth and SDBE. We may need to consider only certain year groups returning, staggered starts, social distancing, health and safety measures in school, parent collections etc. Please be assured that staff and children will not return to school until we have assurances that it is safe to do so.
As I conclude this letter, I am reminded of Psalm 3.3: ‘You, Lord, are a shield about me.’ Lord, when anxiety surrounds us may your love shield us and our hope sustain us. Amen.
With all best wishes, thoughts and prayers,
Mrs Nicky Zeronian-Dalley