News & Events

Newsletter: 19th November 2020

Dear Caregivers,

Last week we talked about how we are seeing a definite change in some children’s behaviour and attitude since they left school back in March. There is no doubt that they are finding life hard at the moment.


We must also acknowledge though, that as adults we are finding the situation challenging. Therefore, we must also acknowledge that our behaviours may have changed.


We are the people our children follow and look up to. They collect their views and actions from us and from the other adults they come into contact with. This can be through family and friends, the internet and social media, television, and radio. This contact can be positive and negative. We have the power to shape the future generation. It is up to us to steer them through these challenging times.


We must show them how to interact with each other, calmly and respectfully. We must show them the importance of listening to each other and of being considerate of each other’s needs. We must show them patience, caring, fairness and tolerance and so much more. 


In school, it is our job to make relationships work. It is what we are paid for. The pressure and stress of the current situation has had an impact on everyone’s wellbeing. We don’t always get it right, especially when we are tired, frustrated with the system, concerned about our health and wellbeing and that of our families. The bottom line, though, is that we are paid to do a job, and do that job we will to the best of our ability.


You don’t get paid to be a parent. There is no contract that you sign or annual appraisal to tell you what you are doing well and what you need to improve on. You don’t always get it right and when you have other worries and concerns on your mind and your child is telling you about the “horrors” of their day, of course, you want to jump in and make it right for them. You don’t know what has actually taken place, though. You aren’t on the playground with them when they fall out with friends or when someone accidentally knocks into them. You aren’t there when they get cross with the teacher because they are struggling with the work, or because they are simply told ‘no’ they can’t do something.

It is too easy to accept what they tell you at face value. You want to protect your child. You want them to know that you are on their side. You want to be there for them and to be their parent, but accepting everything they tell you, without question, can lead to a distorted view of events.


We are in school and can find out if we don’t already know it, both sides of the story – usually there is a level of blame to be awarded, discussed, and resolved from all parties. This is where the process of restorative justice comes in. A calm, open, honest and respectful conversation with all parties having the opportunity to put their views across. Covid and the restrictions have robbed us of these face to face conversations with parents.


Instead, we have seen an unfortunate increase in abusive, confrontational, and, sometimes threatening, messages from a very small minority of caregivers. Is this really the role model we want to give to our children? 


We have always valued our open and honest relationships with our parents and caregivers. Are we really going to let Covid 19 take that from us when it has already taken so much?


There will be challenges and difficulties in school. Children will fall out and be unkind to each other. They will, at times, hurt each other… Sometimes accidentally and sometimes accidentally on purpose. 


Children will do these things because that is how they learn to be their future selves. How they respond to these things is down to us and how we respond? We will deal with the issues as they arise in line with the school behaviour policy (which is available for all on the website). We are all the architects of their future.

We all need to remember to be the role model every child deserves.

Thank you to the many, many adults connected with the school who do this daily. We really do appreciate and value the support we give each other, especially in these challenging times. We are always willing to listen and do what we can to help.


Tracy and Mike

Attendance for the week beginning: 2nd November 2020

Whole school – 97.0% – perfectly on target!

Year 3 – 98%

Year 4 – 97.9%

Year 5 – 98.2% – well done, year 5! You just pipped Year 3 to the top of the leader board.

Year 6 – 93.9%

Non-uniform for Fir and Ash class tomorrow (Friday 20th December)

News items and updates

Parking

Please, please, please DO NOT park across residents’ entrances in Elmhurst Lane. We realise that parking is always an issue, but we need to mindful of other people. It’s a hard time for all, please be considerate.

Start of the day

We have made a slight change to the morning routine at the car park entrance. The timings haven’t changed but we are trialing getting the children in and waiting on the school grounds so that they don’t have to wait in the car park. This will help with concerns regarding the car park and with social distancing.

From now on, children still need to arrive at their allocated time. On arrival, the year 6 children can go straight into class, year 5 can wait in the quiet area for Mrs. Greenwell, and Year 4 can wait outside their classroom until Mr. Mullen lets them in. Year 3 children can come in and wait on the playground (or with caregivers, if needed, in the car park).

It worked quite well on Monday morning despite the lack of notice. Apologies for this, it was a prompt from a parent on Friday which made me think over the weekend! Thank you for the prompt! It is working really well, though.

There are no changes to the end of the day routine, or to the other entrances.

We do understand that some of the children have found the change challenging.

We cannot guarantee that the same adult will be at each of the gates each day. Sometimes there may be no available adult due to other commitments. The children now know the routine and can come in as planned. Of course, if children are struggling, caregivers may continue to wait with them – abiding by social distancing and mask expectations. Thank you.

Reading at Elmhurst

We appreciate that caregivers are busy people but with the lockdown, darker evenings and more time at home, this is a perfect opportunity to increase the amount of reading time with your children.

In school, we are using reading ages and phonics assessments to work out books that the children feel confident reading at home to practise their current reading level and then helping the children to choose from a selection of appropriate books. Please feel free to chat with your class teacher if you feel the book is not at the appropriate level.

We would like all the children to aim for reading at home (with an adult in years three and four; more independently in years five and six) four times or more. This needs to be recorded in the reading records and these will be collected every Friday. After Christmas, we will publish the weekly percentage for each class. An appropriate reward will be given to the class with the highest percentage. Let’s aim for 100% each week.

We need to make reading a priority for everyone!  Many thanks for your support with this.

Virtual Author visit

On Wednesday 25th November, Year 5 will be having a ‘Virtual Author Visit’ from Ross Montgomery. They will have the chance to listen to Ross talk about the writing process and how and where he gets his ideas from. Ross will also be answering questions from the children! 


This visit is all possible due to the support of The Wells Festival of Literature, who we have been working with for the last few years, and hope to continue working with in the future. We were lucky enough to do some work with Ross Montgomery a few years ago and he was excellent then; I am sure he will be just as superb, engaging, and inspiring now. Definitely, something for all of Year 5 to look forward to next week.

Hopefully, we may be able to try and organise other similar events in the future.

Flu vaccinations

All children in the school will have the opportunity to have the flu vaccination on Tuesday 24th November. If you have not already done so, please give your permission via the NHS site. You must also inform us, via the site, if you do not wish your child to have the vaccination.

The closing date is this Friday (tomorrow) 20th November.

https://saint.sompar.nhs.uk/flu/2020/east?fbclid=IwAR3nj6E1QAhAJMDRPeV51VQ2bkrjI39nI98zaNPNnnsd89CQrIzuDodFQXE

School lunches

We are hoping to start offering hot school lunches after Christmas. This will, of course, be dependant on current guidance and the necessary risk assessments being in place. We are working on this at the moment.

Meals will need to be booked via Parent Pay (in a change to how we previously did it) and paid for via Parent Pay. Families who qualify for Free School Meals (FSM) will still need to book meals through Parent Pay, but no payment will be needed.

We will send a separate communication out next week with the details.

If you haven’t used Parent Pay before, it may be worth watching this video. Contact Mrs Twitchen in the school office if you need an activation letter.

TT Rockstars

Last week TTRS introduced a mission to find the most dedicated TTRS schools, classes and pupils across the whole of England!

We were invited to compete and show the rest of the country what we are made of by answering the most questions we can on TTRS! 

We had our own Elmhurst competition and Yew class won, scoring a massive 28,127 points! Elm class came 2nd with 23,122 points and Cedar class came 3rd with 21,711 points. On Friday afternoon, it was anyone’s game and the competition really got exciting!

The highest scoring pupil of Elmhurst was Noah Huggins, from Yew class, who managed to score 11,135 points. He was very proud of his achievement in school on Monday and had this to say:

“Hi, this is Noah here and I am the top scorer of the Elmhurst TTRockstars competition. I just went on every day after school and used my mental maths skills to figure out the calculations. The competition was held from  Monday 9th of November till Saturday 14th. My friend Will inspired me to start because he scored 32 points for our class and started me off on my TTRockstars streak. My TTRockstars journey kicked off for me on 10th November at school, when we began to get more points for our class.  It was very exciting to see the leaderboard and watch our score get higher and higher! When I went home that day, I told my mum and dad about the competition and all about me wanting to help my class win. I just never knew I was going to get 1st place in the school and help my class get the top spot. I felt really pleased that Yew class managed to win and I’m sure our tables will be really good now!”

Okehampton May 2021

We are still keeping our fingers crossed that we will be able to take the current year 6 children to Okehampton for a shorter stay in May but it is looking increasingly unlikely. We have, therefore, made the decision to refund any monies paid. It doesn’t seem fair that it is sitting in Parent Pay accounts whilst many, many families could use the funds now.

Should the residential go ahead, it will be at a reduced rate as it is for two nights only. We are currently negotiating the price of this with Okehampton. We will ask for payment once it is confirmed. We will still need to operate under the same system: payment must be received in full by the end of February or the child will not be able to attend.

If you are happy to leave the funds in Parent Pay to cover the cost of the trip, should it happen, this is also acceptable BUT, should you wish to have the funds returned now, we understand. Please contact Mrs Katie Twitchen via the school office who will happily arrange a refund.

We are operating under the assumption that the trip for the current year 5 in September 2021 will go ahead as planned so we would ask Year 5 parents to continue to pay for the trip if you are in a position to at this moment in time. Again, we will keep parents and caregivers posted.

Plans for Christmas

Although different to previous years, we have some tentative plans in progress for Christmas treats this year.

We are currently investigating the possibility of a live stream performance of Aladin from the McMillan Theatre. This will be funded by the ESA and will take place on Thursday 17th December – technology permitting!!

We are also looking at the possibility of some form of whole school socially distanced, and within the singing guidance allowance, performance. This will be recorded and shared with all caregivers via the website. We will also share the link with local care homes we are linked with. We will keep you posted once the link is live. We are aiming for the last week of term.

The ESA are also planning something else but I really can’t share too many details with you at this point -I would hate to spoil the surprise!

We are going to do our utmost to ensure that Christmas for our children doesn’t disappear under the Covid cloud! Watch this space!

Congratulations

Well done to Ava W in Cedar class who has raised £137 for the Little Princess Trust. She had 8 inches cut off!

And finally, can you help?

Remember:

Kindness starts with one. One smile. One compliment. One cup of coffee. One conversation.”

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