|Newsletter 18 October 2021|
You will no doubt be aware of tonight's announcement that primary schools will close for *all pupils with immediate effect, with the exception of key worker and vulnerable children.
*The school's understanding at this point is that as our Nursery cohort falls within our wider primary setting, it will also close along with all other cohorts. If the school's position on this changes pending further DfE guidance then we will of course update you. For now, though, Nursery will also close.
This follows great uncertainty and almost unbearable pressure placed on schools and families over the last few days to make decisions about whether to return to school whilst drawing up contingency plans in the event of last minute changes to the guidance.
Teaching Unions advised their members over the weekend not to return to whole class teaching in schools due to health and safety concerns which prompted last minute partial and full school closures across the country, including in Northamptonshire. Whilst we were ready to fully open tomorrow with a full strength staff team, the school nonetheless finds itself in a position where it must now close.
There is currently no separate DfE guidance for schools which would be helpful in adding clarity to some of the more ambigious statements that Boris Johnson made earlier on and so whilst the detail in this newsletter may be amended slightly as new guidance is released, the main points are accurate.
This latest closure inevitably shifts education from face-to-face to remote learning. The school published it's Remote Learning Policy last term and I have attached it here for your convenience. I have also included below more information on the school's Remote Learning Strategy which was originally circulated in E-newsletter #59 on 22nd October 2020.
Remote Learning Strategy
There is a now a statutory requirement for schools to adopt an agreed approach to Remote Learning in the event of an individual or group of pupils needing to self-isolate or, as is the case here, if school is forced to close.
The school's approach to Remote Learning is based on statutory guidance from the Department for Education, research on effective delivery strategies by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and on the need to implement a single, consistent approach that is manageable for staff, children and families whilst also being fully accessible to all of our school population.
What expectations should parents have of school?
Parents should expect teachers to provide work across a broad range of curriculum subjects that is linked to the current curriculum theme and presented in the form of Learning Skills Grids - these documents and associated resources will be clearly signposted to parents on the Microsoft Teams platform (school website for EYFS) and each grid will contain sufficient work to span a 14 day period. Further links to teaching videos such as BBC Bitesize will be signposted to parents as appropriate.
Teachers will provide feedback (by the end of the next working day) on any work that is submitted to them via Tapestry (EYFS) and Microsoft Teams (Years 1-6) and they will respond to emails within 24 hours (and in many cases much sooner). They will also organise a weekly Zoom meeting for all children in their class.
With the requirement for schools to remain open for key worker and vulnerable children, teachers will inevitably be required to be involved in school staffing rotas for this in-school provision which may impact on their capacity to respond to emails during normal working hours.
For those children with Education, Health & Care Plans (EHCPs), work may be adapted to meet their individual needs and this will be done in full consultation with parents (it is highly likely that pupils with an EHCP will attend school as they fall within the vulnerable pupil group).
What expectations does the school have of pupils?
The school expectation is that work will be completed by pupils and submitted daily, either via Tapestry (EYFS) or Microsoft Teams (Years 1-6). Pupils should communicate any questions about their work to teachers via email who will then be able to support. Any pupil who does not submit work will be contacted by the class teacher via email on the next working day and this may then be followed up by a telephone conversation if necessary.
There is no set order in which work should be completed. Overall, the daily submission of work from individual pupils should demonstrate a good level of engagement with the remote learning process and teachers will be able to offer guidance on this as the self-isolation period progresses and children work towards completing the skills grid.
Educational activities that your child engages in during self-isolation may extend beyond those detailed on the skills grids and we are keen to hear about all of your child's learning experiences during this time.
What expectation does the school have of parents?
The school expectation is that parents will support their child's engagement in remote learning and this includes providing them with safe and supervised access to the Internet, supporting them with their daily work and communicating openly with school.
Pupils from Years 1-6 are already familiar with accessing the various elements of Microsoft Teams and this knowledge was consolidated in school last term. As this will be the chosen platform for setting, submitting and providing feedback on work, please do make us aware of any difficulties you have with accessing it - this request extends to those families who do not have Internet access as paper copies of work can be provided.
As mentioned above, the skills grids are not exhaustive and we would encourage you to read with your child each day and provide other opportunities for learning - during the previous lockdown, we heard lovely stories of children learning to bake, tie their shoelaces and tell the time amongst other things.
Remote Learning documents for all cohorts will be available before the end of the day tomorrow.
Key Worker & Vulnerable Children
Schools will remain open to Key Worker and vulnerable children.
Due to the very late notice of the school closure announcement, school will be closed to all pupils tomorrow (Tuesday 5th January) whilst staff make the necessary adaptations to classrooms, staff timetables and risk assessments whilst also collating key worker registers.
Key Worker and vulnerable child provision will begin on Wednesday 6th January.
If you are a key worker and your child requires a place in school, you must complete and return all sections of the Key Worker form which you can access below. Completed forms must be returned by 12pm tomorrow.
The school assumes that all previous jobs deemed to have key worker status are still appropriate this time around and so the form is unchanged from before. Please do include your employee details on the first form that you submit as our own audit trail may require us to confirm your key worker status with your employer.
I will respond promptly to all submitted Key Worker forms and it is only at this point that your child's place is confirmed. If forms are submitted later than the deadline shown on the form then it may not be possible to accommodate your child - this is simply because numbers of staff in school will be limited to minimise risk of transmitting Covid-19 and unexpected attendees may breach our own risk assessment and safe staff-to-pupil ratios.
School Contact Details
Please do not hesitate to contact the relevant member of staff with any queries.
I am sure you will appreciate that this is an extremely challenging time for schools and that extends to all members of our community - staff, parents, governors and, of course, pupils.
In my opinion, the last few days, culminating in tonight's announcement, represent the most challenging period for schools (and their communities) throughout the whole pandemic. Please be assured, though, that just as we were all preparing for the new term and looking forward to welcoming pupils back to school tomorrow, the staff team will instead respond to this latest school closure by promising to do the very best that we can for the benefit of the children.
Thank you in anticipation of your continued support.
|Grendon Church Of England Primary School
Tel: 01933 663208