I hope this last letter of the half term finds everyone safe and well. I have to admit its been a very, very long 8 weeks. At some points I wasn’t sure we’d all make it to half term- but we have and its been far more successful than I think any of us thought it could be.
Over the weeks we have had to close 7 of our 12 bubbles due to positive cases. We have had 8 positive test results shared with us over this period. Obviously, any positive case is one too many, but most don’t appear to be linked to any school transmission. All of the risk assessments, cleaning schedules, timetabling and planning to keep us safe felt like completing a degree in Health and Safety! However, I think it has helped to manage the situation and keep transmission down. The staff have been unbelievable in their adaptations, efforts and sheer determination to get our children back to where they should be. As I said before, many of them have made big personal sacrifices in order to keep our pupils in school and to keep their learning on track. I would like to give a special thanks to our site manager and our newly extended cleaning staff who are the unsung heroes in all of this. I hope you will share my thanks to them and the wider team.
Miss Edwards and I spent some time this week looking at pupil’s work in books, and we were delighted at how well the children seem to be doing! They are amazingly resilient and have got back into learning in a way that none of us were sure they would! Having said this, we are still mindful that some children will have real anxieties and still be worried about what is going on in the world. All of the staff are continuing to put in place extra well -being time and opportunities to support any pupil who needs it.
Some updates for you:
Foreign Travel Restrictions
Over the half-term break, I think the furthest I will travel to is my back garden, but, there may be families who intend to make the most of half-term and who have pre-planned holidays overseas. If this is the case, I need to remind you of the restrictions that are in place with regard to some foreign countries. Upon arrival back in the UK, depending on where you have travelled from, you may be required to isolate for 14 days. It is important that we abide by this expectation and in these circumstances, students will not be allowed to return to school until this 14 days has elapsed. The list of countries requiring isolation for 14 days is constantly changing so please regularly check the latest version here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travelcorridors
If you believe that this is likely to be the case for your child, please inform us as soon as possible so that we are aware of the time that will be missed.
Staffing in the last few weeks has been, at times, a challenge. I really appreciate the good-will of the staff who have been in school in terms of how they’ve rallied round but also the co-operation and understanding of the vast majority of pupils and their families in this situation. Many staff have children of primary school age themselves, and have had to take time off if their own child’s bubble bursts, as well as our own bubbles bursting. We are very lucky to work with a trusted supply agency and have been able to replace staff in the short term by supply, who we know will have had good training in Covid measures and will adhere to our new rules and hygiene protocols. Most of us in schools are asking both local and National Government to try to support us in this as we go into the Winter months, in order to keep school open and offering the best education we can.
A note of thanks needs to go, from Kingsley to the central team in the city council who support us in all of our covid related decisions. They are on call all day, all weekend to answer any queries I have had, and always offer quick and expert advice. I really don’t know what we would have done without them!
With restrictions in place, we clearly can’t offer the usual parents afternoon that we would normally host in November.
We are currently working out a timetable to free up staff to make phone calls to all parents who want one, in the first two weeks after half term. This will be a short chat, and unfortunately you won’t be able to see your child’s books, but it will give you a chance to ask questions about pupils learning and their progress and allow Teachers to feed back any positive messages or concerns they may have. Look out for this letter after half term.
Highlights of the Half Term!
- The number of children who have said how pleased they are to come back to school.
- The positive and can-do attitude of the staff
- The amazing progress already being made in some classes!
- Our brand new all weather pitch finally getting built after much delay.
- Mr Forde dressing up and taking on the role of Lollipop person, helping children cross the road safely- he loved it!
- But my favourite moment of all, the smiles and excitement I see every morning from y1 children as they skip, run and happily make their way into their classrooms. Definitely has made my term!
Please help us all by remembering that we are in a Tier 3 City- we must all stick to Government protocols which protect ourselves and each other. I have attached a useful chart to help you to understand these rules. Please keep really good hand hygiene, wash your hands well and often.
Most importantly we must all try to avoid mixing with other households. Please do not let your children mix with others this week as this could really help stop the spread of covid in our community. I know this can be difficult, but its so important to help protect our vulnerable friends and family and others in the area.
Covid Reporting Over Half Term.
If you , or anyone in your family receives a positive test over the half term , it is VITAL that you pass this information onto school as soon as possible so that we can make plans, and let others know. The emergency text number for reporting this to Kingsley is: 07715646561. Please note, this is a text only service, and only for covid reporting. Please do not ring it as it will not be answered.
I hope you all have a restful week next week.
School will be open again, for all children on Monday 2nd November.
Mrs A. Whittaker, Head Teacher.