Dear Parents and Caregivers
There has been much talk about remote learning both from our point of view and in the press. What seems to be forgotten in all of this is the fantastic job that you are all doing at home.
Once again, you have risen to the challenge of home learning, whether this is through paper copies of work or accessing Google classroom, or even setting your own lessons, all whilst juggling working from home, the needs of different family members and everyday life!
Home learning is hard. Homes are not, quite rightly, set up as classrooms. Many homes do not have enough computers/devices for all children and family members to access provision at the same time and, if they are lucky enough to be able to do so, the internet connection and bandwidth may have other ideas! Many homes do not have access to even one suitable device. Some families do not have an endless supply of books to read or access to basic learning equipment such as paper, pencils, paint and creative resources. There are huge inconsistencies with home learning. Comparisons between what different children are doing cannot be made because everyone’s circumstances are so different. All you can do is try and do your best for your child.
You are all doing this!
It is, of course, our job to link with you to discuss the challenges you are finding, to talk about ways in which we can help and to follow up with the children and you if we don’t think they are working hard enough and accessing the work regularly enough but we do understand. It isn’t always as simple as it is made to sound. There are genuine things that get in the way and make home learning hard. We do understand.
Please talk to us and, if all fails, and you don’t have access to Google classroom, or the internet is playing up, or you forget to pick up the weekly work pack, just read, read and read with your children. Share stories and talk about what you have read. Chant the times’ tables and the related division facts. Talk with them about the world and the events that are happening. Play games, cook, see what creatures you can find in the garden, have cuddles and have fun. They will still be learning.
Take care, everyone, and stay safe,
Tracy and Mike
Communications – a reminder
Our weekly newsletters will be very different from previous ones. We will update you each week on any new developments. Please make sure you read the newsletter. If you know of anyone who can’t access it, please share it with them. This is our only way of communicating with all parents and caregivers.
We will add links to any message posted on the website during the week. It should be your first port of call for whole school matters.
Class Dojo and Google classroom should be your first port of call for all classroom matters.
General questions about whole school queries can either be posted on the Facebook page or you can call the school office. If it is a matter of urgency, please call. Facebook messages may get missed.
Any safeguarding concerns should be directed to the Designated Safeguarding Lead, Mike Lawrence. The contact number for out of school hours is 07751 760627 which is also on the front of the website. During school hours please use the school number, 01458 442979. You may also email firstname.lastname@example.org at any time. Please remember that if you believe a child is at risk of significant harm you should telephone 999. If you are unable to contact anyone from the school the telephone number for Somerset Direct, where you may share any concerns, is 0300 123 2224
Website posts you may have missed:
Remote access – Chromebooks
The Government-funded Chromebooks have arrived. We are still waiting for our own ones but they will be here soon. We now need to get them set up and out to those families in need. Please remember that we will contact you but if you feel that you may benefit from one of the Chromebooks, please let us know either via the class teacher or via the school office. Priority will go to families without any access first. Please be patient.
We also have a number of SIM cards that include 30Gb of data which is valid for 90 days from the activation date. These can be put into a mobile network dongle or mobile WiFi router if you have one. You can also use them in a phone and link this to your tablet or laptop etc. Some laptops and tablets have a slot for data cards. Once the data has been used, if you wish to continue using the card parents and carers will be responsible for topping them up. If you would find this helpful, please contact the school. They will be given on a first-come first-served basis.
Additional ideas for home learning
Online reading library
Kids Kitchen cookalong
For those of you interested, follow the link and have a look: Kids Kitchen Cookalong. Elmhurst cannot be held responsible for the content of external links.
Who’s managing to get their daily exercise in during these crazy times?
Remember daily exercise can really help with your mental health and believe it or not but it will also make you happy
The ESA have set a mission for all families. Who fancies a walk from Lands End to John O’Groats? It’s an amazing 2,299,172 steps!
Details are attached below. Just download the App, fill in your email address and a password which suits you, click on the menu button and click on groups stroll down and you’ll see the ESA group. The details are very easy to follow once you’ve done your walk – just add your steps to the group.
This isn’t a race nor is it a challenge to see who can achieve the most steps. It is a free activity so let’s see as a group how far we can get. Please follow and remember the government’s guidelines for exercise and social distancing.
Update – At the time of writing the newsletter, we had just passed 353,000 steps and were approaching Wellington! Great walking everyone. Although a small group, just 11 of us at the moment, we are all keen walkers. Please feel free to join us on our mission, though – the more the merrier! We’ve still got a long way to go!
FSM and PP vouchers
We have now placed the order for the free school meal vouchers via the Department for Education’s Edenred voucher scheme like we did last summer.
Eligible families will receive one voucher per child of £15 on Monday 25/01, another £15 on 01/02 and the last one of £15 on 08/02. This will take us up to half term. At the moment, we have not been asked to cover any vouchers or hampers for half term. If this changes, we will, of course, let you know.
You will receive an email with a 16 digit code that you will need to redeem at the following site https://www.selectyourcompliment.co.uk/dfe. You will then be able to choose your preferred supermarket and claim your voucher.
Further information can be viewed here https://www.edenred.co.uk/reward-recipients/Free-School-Meal-Vouchers/.
In addition to the above, children who are eligible for pupil premium, but not for Free School Meals will receive a one-off voucher of £45.00 to cover the period 25/01 to 12/02. This is to help with the costs of home learning and to support families at this difficult time. We are using Aldi vouchers through a scheme called Wonde, and we will be posting the vouchers to you if you qualify.
We have started the process for all refunds (school lunches, WAP, Hestercombe and Okehampton) and hope to have all monies returned before half term. Thank you for your patience.
Christmas – a reminder
Just a reminder that following GDPR guidance, the Elmhurst Christmas video will be removed at the end of the month. If you are able to download and save it, now is the time!
The video can be found here.
Please may we remind all parents and caregivers that the car park is for staff parking only? Also, Elmhurst is a no smoking site. This includes the entrance and the car parks. Please do not smoke when waiting to collect children. Thank you.
Pupil well being and self-esteem research
Can you help?
Would you like to participate in a Psychology research project that aims to assess the effects of exercise on well-being and self-esteem in primary age pupils during the pandemic?
For more information, please read:
More information and the link to the survey can be found here: Information
Short story competition
We are due for an OFSTED monitoring visit anytime from the 25th January onwards. These visits will take place virtually, in the first instance, and are focused on checking our progress from the previous inspection, how we have responded to the pandemic and the remote learning we have put in place.
Once we hear, we will let you know but as always your views are important.
If you would like to support us, please go onto the Ofsted Parent View website to fill in the questionaire.
If you have something that you are not happy with, we would hope that, as always, you talk to us about it first before putting it on the survey.
We conducted the survey last year just before our Ofsted and we were overwhelmed by your positivity and support. We had over 70 responses. You can see the responses here: Parent view survey
Photos for the website gallery
Please email photos (JPEGs) of any work completed through to me, Tracy Edwards at TEdwards1@ejsch.co.uk. Alternatively, if easier, you can send via Messenger. By sending them in, you agree to share them in the Elmhurst gallery on the website. Thank you in advance.
You can have a look at the gallery here: Elmhurst Lockdown Gallery 2021
And finally: some useful numbers for the fridge!
YoungMinds Crisis Messenger -Provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK if you are experiencing a mental health crisis.If you need urgent help text YM to 85258
- All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors
- Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus
- Samaritans – for everyone, (24/7)
Call 116 123
Provides confidential, non-judgemental emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those that could lead to suicide. You can phone, email, write a letter or in most cases talk to someone face to face.
- Childline – for children and young people under 19 (24/7)
Call 0800 1111 – the number won’t show up on your phone bill
ChildLine is a private and confidential service for children and young people up to the age of nineteen. You can contact a ChildLine counsellor for free about anything – no problem is too big or too small.
- Papyrus – for people under 35
Call 0800 068 41 41 – Monday to Friday 10am to 10pm, weekends 2pm to 10pm, bank holidays 2pm to 5pm
Text 07786 209697
PAPYRUS is the national UK charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide. You can contact them for help and guidance for yourself or for someone else in your care.