Dear Parents and Caregivers
Welcome back everyone! It’s going to be an interesting term! (I wonder if there has been a term this year that hasn’t been interesting!!)
For the next two weeks, we will continue with the blend of remote and in school learning. You have all adapted to this so well – we really do thank you for your support and hard work.
Following on from Mr Johnson’s announcement yesterday, we are really excited to be welcoming all children back to school on Monday 8th March. We know that for some children (and families) this will be a welcome requirement but we also know for some children and families it is going to cause anxiety. We do understand. As always, communication is vital – please talk to us if you have any concerns.
Attendance for all children from March 8th will be mandatory – all children will be expected to be in school daily- and schools have been informed that they should follow “normal” procedures for ensuring attendance. Our normal procedure is to work with parents and families and find a way to support a child in their return to school.
The return to school on Monday 8th March will be similar to the return in September. We will all stay in our class bubbles. We will all have different start and end times and different play and lunchtimes. We will follow the same times and procedures as before, with the addition of LFT testing for staff. We will remind parents and families of these times etc in next week’s newsletter, once the risk assessments and paperwork have all been finalised.
We will also be providing hot meals for children who have FSM provision. See details below.
Many parents have also asked about WAP. Please see the message below.
We now have two weeks to prepare for the wider reopening of the whole school. Look out for more details in next week’s newsletter.
In the interim, keep doing all that you are and please keep sending in images of the work your child has completed. It has been amazing to see the variety of learning experiences you have provided.
Tracy and Mike
Communications – a reminder
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:
FSM lunch provision from Monday 8th March
From Monday 8th, we will only be able to offer a hot meal to children entitled to FSM. This will be until Easter in the first instance.
Meals, for the first week, will be automatically ordered for the children based on their dietary information on the school system. Due to the time frame, we do not have the time to ask parents to do this – the meals needed to be ordered by Monday. Parent Pay will be used by parents to book the remaining weeks until Easter.
All these children will eat their lunch in the school hall in their year group bubbles. Under the latest guidance, this is allowed.
WAP from Monday 8th March
“From 8 March, you should work to resume all your before and after-school educational activities and wraparound childcare for your pupils, where this provision is necessary to support parents to work, attend education and access medical care, and is as part of pupil’s wider education and training.”
We appreciate that there are many parents and caregivers who would like to resume using the Wrap Around Provision. Up until Easter (for the next four weeks) we will continue with a similar provision. We do not have the staff capacity to increase numbers significantly at this point in time and any increase in numbers could increase the risk to both staff and children. Our current maximum number is based on the need for social distancing between year groups.
The advice is:
Consistent groups reduce the risk of transmission by limiting the number of pupils and staff in contact with each other to only those within the group.
We would ask all families to make alternative arrangements for before and after school care where possible.
Families who have accessed the provision during the lockdown will continue to be given priority bookings. Any families who had made bookings for January (which were then put on hold) will also be given priority booking. We will contact these families to confirm the bookings asap.
If you do not hear from us before Friday 5th March, please assume that we have contacted all the parents who we are inviting to book in. Any additional bookings, after this, will be considered on an individual basis only – please contact Abi Laffan to discuss if needed. Our response will be based on numbers at the time of the request. All requests should be discussed via email, the week before the booking is needed, with Abbie Laffan (email@example.com) and confirmed BEFORE booking on Parent Pay. All bookings need to be completed before Friday lunchtime ready for the following week.
We thank you all in advance for doing all that you can to secure alternative arrangements and helping to keep the school community safe. We will review the WAP after Easter.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the children, parent and staff surveys. As you can imagine there were many varied responses! One hundred and eighteen children took part, eighty four parents and carers and fifteen members of staff. A total of two hundred and seventeen individual replies!
There were many, many positives about the remote learning provision as well as some very good suggestions as to how we can make it even better. Everyone has their own view of how things could be better so it is now our job to look at the suggestions and see which ones are feasible. It may be that changes do not occur during this lockdown due to timings but we can certainly take some of the ideas on board for any future lockdowns.
Here is just a sample of the thoughts/ ideas from the parents/ carers:
Hold whole school assemblies – tried and will amend to year group version! (Much more succesful!)
Offer some live lessons
Offer one to one phone calls for about 15 minutes each day/ week
Upload the work to Google classroom the night before so that parents have a chance to prepare
Set hand in dates
Share a timetable at the start of the week so that everyone knows what is expected throughout the week.
The children’s surveys were also very helpful and will help the teachers better understand how they, and you, are coping with the work provided. We were really impressed that the vast majority (99.2%) of the children surveyed know how to keep themselves safe online.
All the Chromebooks which have been loaned to families will need to be returned to school on Monday 8th March. They will be cleaned and quarantined and then used in classrooms. We will loan them out again in the future if needed.
The Five Steps of Emotion Coaching
Emotions…we all have them. Everything we do and everything we learn is shaped in some way by the way we feel. Feelings are a natural part of who we are. But how do children learn about emotions? How do they learn to understand their sadness or joy? What is the appropriate behaviour when these feelings are strong? What can a parent do when a child explodes in anger or hides in fear? Parents spend lots of time teaching children important things such as reading or tying shoes. Taking time to help children learn to understand their feelings is important too.
This week: Step 3 Listen to your child – respect your child’s feelings by taking time to listen carefully.
Take your child’s emotions seriously.
Show your child that you understand what he or she is feeling.
Avoid judging or criticizing your child’s emotions.
If you can, focus in on these points over the course of the week. What do you notice?
This will be crucial in the build up to the return to school for some children. Listen to their concerns.
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
Here are a few lovely photos from Ash class Forest school on Monday:
Free tutoring from Flossie Willis
I am a former Elmhurst pupil and am now in year 10 at Crispin. I am currently working towards my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. One element of the award is volunteering. Due to Covid restrictions I am looking to offer some informal tutoring remotely. If you have a child in year 5 that would find it useful to have some free extra help with their schoolwork (outside of school hours) please get in touch with me via my mum on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mrs Katie Twitchen, the school Business manager, will be leaving us next Thursday. A job offer in another school came up which she just couldn’t say no to! Mrs Twitchen, although only with us for a few short weeks, will be missed. We have not been able to appoint a new Business Manager yet due to the current circumstances so please bear with us.
In the interim, all school issues should be directed to Mrs James and Mrs Warden in the school office. All Parent Pay queries should be directed towards Ms Laffan in the first instance.
We are very proud of them all! Will they make it onto the show?