SCHOOL CLOSURE CHECK-IN
13th January 2021
What a week it has been for the whole school community! We returned to school last Monday with some trepidation, hopeful that we could continue the very positive learning journey that began in September. Alas, it wasn’t to be. But here we are, with resilience in abundance, ready to continue our learning in a different way.
We have welcomed back children of Key Workers and are now in an established routine, although operating differently. Well done to the children who have adapted to being back in such a different context, but equally well done to all the children for whom we have not been able to offer a place, as I know you too have made an excellent start to learning from home. Parents/Carers working from home and home schooling too, I reiterate that I do not envy your position, but hope that you will call on us if you need any support.
The Government issued a new document at the end of last week ‘Restricting attendance during the national Lockdown: Guidance for all schools in England’ - a curious title - from which some of the information below has been extracted. You can read the full document here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/fil e/950510/School_national_restrictions_guidance.pdf
In addition, find below some more personalised information in relation to Chilcote:
1. Pupils who are isolating or who test positive Despite school being closed for the vast majority of pupils, we ask that you continue to inform us if any pupil/household member tests positive for the virus. This is essential for children who are still attending school.
2. Nursery places during Lockdown – the above guidance also makes reference to Nurseries remaining open. We do know, however, that this decision is being challenged by unions and some Early Years specialists; ultimately there could be a U turn. Whilst we await outcomes of discussions, Chilcote Nursery will re-open from Monday 18th January. A separate communication will be sent to Nursery parents/carers.
3. Refunds – we are aware that some of you may be concerned about payments you have made for activities such as sports clubs. So as not to create any additional work for the office staff, we hope that you are willing for us to retain the funds for use when school resumes. This guarantees your child a place too.
4. Free School Meal provision – similar to the last period of Lockdown, we are now in a position to issue vouchers. Please note that the delay has not the fault of the school. For those who are entitled, you will this week receive vouchers for the period 5.1.21 – 15.1.21. We will operate this system on a weekly basis and await Government guidance/instruction regarding issuing vouchers over the longer term.
5. Lockdown Learning
a. Supporting home learning A quick reminder about the resource ‘Oxford Owl’ (https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk) - this is an excellent online reading resource should you be having difficulty in sourcing reading materials/books. You may also be aware of what the BBC is currently offering. The curriculum-based TV programmes will run alongside the BBC Bitesize collection of educational resources, which will continue to provide online learning at home for pupils in Years 1 to 9, and those studying for GCSEs and Nationals. There will be three hours of primary school programming on CBBC, and two hours for secondary pupils on BBC2 – which the children can watch from the comfort of the sofa!
b. Online safety As your children will be online for longer periods now, just a reminder that you may wish to implement additional safety measures on your home devices to restrict access to certain sites.
c. Remote Learning provision We have been really pleased with the levels of engagement on SeeSaw and acknowledge that some pupils and parents prefer to work on paper copies. For the latter group, please can we ask that you still engage with the videos and the recorded teacher instructions which have been uploaded as these provide clear guidance on how to complete the task. We hope you are all reasonably happy with our remote learning provision so far. Staff have worked extremely hard to ensure that what is uploaded replicates what would have been taught in school and much effort has been made to ensure work is differentiated to meet the needs of all learners. The pre-recorded sessions and voice over instructions already in place have been well received. Whilst we have a Remote Learning Strategy in place, this is currently under review and over the next two weeks we will be looking at ways in which we can improve it, with a view specifically to increasing engagement with pupils. The DFE guidance states schools should provide “recorded or live direct teaching time” We will keep you informed of the planned changes. In planning for this and to help you understand our rationale for the decisions we make, the school has to take into account the following factors:
1. Staff availability – we have been very fortunate to date, but that could change at any point
2. Teachers are teaching on site (on a rota basis for key worker children), yet also have to plan and manage remote learning for those not in school
3. Staff are still entitled to non-contact time (away from on-site teaching or accessing SeeSaw) for planning which equates to approximately 2.5 hours a week. Planning time for remote learning is very much in excess of this. New to SeeSaw and hopefully bespoke to Chilcote, are the daily Mindfulness activities.
I participated in one myself yesterday with the Year 2 group……...and felt wonderful afterwards. Thank you Mrs Carroll – this is just what we all need right now. d. Book of the Month We may be in Lockdown but reading must continue.
Please see the separate attachment for details of the book assigned to your child’s year group. Happy reading!
And finally…… In these ongoing challenging times, let’s continue to support each other as a school community. Reach out if you need us, and as far as remote learning is concerned, our mantra remains the same….’Do the best that you can.’
13th January 2021