We are almost there! It has been a long, hard and strange term and we are all limping towards the end of it. If we, as adults, have found it challenging we can only imagine how it has been for the children.
The vast majority of children have done incredibly well. The year 3 children, especially, started a new school without transition visits, without the opportunity to meet their class teacher in situ or have a look around the site. When the class lists were sorted and arranged by Hindhayes, the children, unless parents communicated via social media, etc, had no idea who was going to be in their class with them. They all took a real leap of faith. As did the parents and caregivers. Thank you! They have done remarkably well.
But, it has been an incredibly long term for all the children. They have spent the last 16 weeks, 4 months (!), with the same group of people! They haven’t been able to mix with friends in other bubbles- not even to chat to on the playground. They have spent 16 weeks with the same children. Although the vast majority of them have done this amazingly well, we are starting to see some cracks around the edges. This is completely understandable. The behaviours we are seeing are not acceptable, but they are understandable.
Usually, there is an element of escape. When someone annoys or irritates you (as we are all able to do at times), there is a space to go to get away. With the covid restrictions though this isn’t possible and the children have simply had enough! They want a break. They want to see other friends. They want to be able to meet up socially with their friends. They want to get away from the children who annoy and irritate them. They can’t and they are finding this really hard.
The usual irritations and annoyances become huge issues. They are extra “snappy” with each other. Instead of being able to walk away, ignore it or see it for what it is, a small minority have resorted to name calling, being unkind and, sometimes, being physically aggressive towards each other. We will, of course, deal with this behaviour when it occurs. There are consequences, conducted privately, for all children who cannot follow Elmhurst Etiquette.
They are all so incredibly tired, though, and their resilience is severely depleted. They all need a jolly good break when it comes! We all do.
Tracy and Mike
Important dates next week:
Friday 18th December – the last day of school. THIS IS NOT AN INSET DAY. See you again on the 5th January 2021.
Attendance for the week beginning: 30th November 2020: Well done, everyone! Attendance has been a huge success this term. Thank you!
Whole school – 97.5%
Year 3 – 97.5%
Year 4 – 97.5%
Year 5 – 98.8%
Year 6 – 96.1%
Journey to Bethlehem
It has been so lovely hearing the children sing over the last couple of weeks. We are sorry that we can’t do our usual Year 3 Christmas production with Millfield, but what we have got is the next best thing! Better in many ways, as it includes all the children in the school.
We know that there are some children, though, who have missed out due to being off school. This cannot be helped. We will do all that we can to make sure they are included in future events.
We hope you enjoy the Elmhurst 2020 Christmas Special. Please, as requested previously, do not share the video on social media platforms. Thank you! We will remove the video at the end of January.
Thank you from the Salvation Army
We are so proud to have taken part in the Salvation Appeal this Christmas. Thank you to all the children who made such wonderful Christmas cards for different members of the community. There has been much feedback. People have said that it has really lifted their spirits and that it made them feel less isolated and more part of a community. Have a look at the appeal here:
Children’s Air Ambulance
Apologies for the short notice but this has only just come through:
Free School meal vouchers over the Christmas break
We are in the process of ordering FSM vouchers for the Christmas break. We will be sending them out to parents over the next couple of days. Vouchers will be sent to those families who are already on the system as qualifying for FSM. If you have not heard from us by Tuesday and think that you are eligible, please contact us.
Again, apologies for the delay but the information has only just come in!
Support over Christmas
Christmas tracing – an update
Whilst we hope that everyone has a safe Christmas, we still need to have a plan in place should a child have a positive test result in the first week of the Christmas break.
The guidance says that, where a pupil or staff member tests positive for coronavirus, having developed symptoms more than 48 hours since being in school, the school SHOULD NOT be contacted.
In this instance, parents and carers should follow contact tracing instructions provided by NHS Test and Trace.
If this is the case, you will need to inform the school. We have set up a Google form for parents to complete:
We will check our emails twice daily. Tracy in the morning and Mike later in the afternoon. We will only be responding to test result emails during this time. All other emails can wait until we return to school.
We will then contact any parents and staff who are “direct contacts” in order to inform them of the need to isolate over the Christmas break. We really hope, for everyone’s sake, that we don’t have to make those calls! It is not our wish to have to tell people that they can’t meet up with their family bubbles over Christmas.
The current DFE guidance states that a direct contact is classed as:
The advice is also very clear that any child who is symptomatic during the last week, and we would include any child who feels unwell, should not come into school. If in any doubt, please, if you can, keep your child at home if they are unwell. We all need to look after each other and make sure that we are able to see loved ones over the Christmas break.
We have just been advised that we can, if we wish to, convert the last day, Friday 18th to an INSET day. At such short notice, this is fraught with problems for working families and for the school. We are not going to close the school for an INSET day. This is also in line with other schools in the local area.
We will operate as normal with the children who are in school on that day. Thank you for your support.
These infographics may help!
SEND support over Christmas (but useful for all children)
Now to other news:
School Lunches – the last date for ordering is tomorrow!
All meals MUST be booked and paid for on ParentPay by 11th December 2020 for all meals from 05/01/2021 to the February half term, 12/02/2021.
For parents/carers in receipt of free school meals, bookings must still be made via ParentPay, whereby the balance due will be nil. The system will recognise whether you are eligible. For more information on free school meals and an application, please visit https://www.somerset.gov.uk/education-and-families/free-school-meals/ or visit the school lunches tab.
Please note that bookings for Spring term 1 cannot be made after the deadline of 11th December 2020.
For help with using ParentPay, or if you have any questions regarding the above, please do contact us in the school office or watch this short video:
The menu choices and allergen information for Spring term 1 can be found here: School Lunches
Wrap around provision
From January onwards, WAP will need to be booked and paid for in advance via ParentPay. Letters have been sent to those families who already access the provision.
If you would like to start using the provision at any point, and are not already on ParentPay, please contact the school office for an activation code.
TikTok Update Parental Controls with Family Pairing Feature (SWGfL)
TikTok is used by many teenagers and sometimes children younger than 13 despite its terms and conditions. Using the new Family Pairing feature can allow parents to guide their child’s TikTok experience in a safer way. Features include:
- Search: Decide what can be searched for. This includes content, users, hashtags, or sounds
- Screen Time Management: Sets how long your teen can spend on TikTok each day
- Discoverability: Decide on the account being private (you decide who can see their content) or public (anyone can search and view content)
To find out more information about TikTok’s Family Pairing feature, go to: https://swgfl.org.uk/magazine/tiktok-update-parental-controls-with-family-pairing-feature/
Tis the season of goodwill! Please, in this last week especially, could everyone park considerately? We are still receiving complaints from local residents about driveways being blocked.
Well done to Rider
We are always so proud when we hear of the good deeds that our children perform outside of school. Well done to Rider in Sycamore class! Have a look.
Gallery of work
“Think of the amazing people in your life. Take an hour to write those people a letter telling them why they’re awesome. Wouldn’t you love to get a letter like that?“