6th January 2021
Dear Parents and Carers
COVID-19 Parental Update
It is with a heavy heart that I am writing to you again following the Prime Minister's announcement last night. It is clear from what was said that this new strain of Covid-19 is much more virulent than the last, and unfortunately necessitates the closing of schools for face to face learning.
I appreciate that this announcement will have created anxiety for some, however I believe we are well placed to ensure that learning is uninterrupted for our pupils. We learnt a lot from the first lockdown and have been able to roll out remote learning quickly to all pupils.
I would like to wish all of our community a Happy New Year still; Whilst it may feel strange saying this at such a challenging time, this lockdown does feel slightly different in that we have the hope of vaccines for COVID-19 being rolled out in ever increasing numbers.
As you will have heard in the Prime Ministers address to the nation on Monday evening, he instructed all schools to close and move to remote provision for learning immediately.
Our staff have been working incredibly hard this week to get systems and processes in place to ensure that as far as possible, we are replicating the school day for children who are learning from home. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in school for their continued dedication and commitment to ensuring that the provision for all of our school community remains consistently high. It’s no small task making an overnight transition to remote learning and I know the many hours, often outside of the school day, that our staff have already committed to ensuring this transition is as smooth as possible.
This 'virtual' way of working is new for all of us, we hope that we won't have too many technical difficulties along the way, but we really appreciate your patience and understanding whilst we are in the early stages of trialing it.
Our intention is to make remote learning an interactive experience through the submission of work by children and delivery of feedback from teachers.
There is a clear expectation that work set is completed and we will follow up with families we have any concerns about if they are not engaging with the remote learning.
It’s important to note that there are differences in the way that different key stages are working.
Years R - 2
Years R – 2 are running daily Zoom lessons. In between these live lessons there is a chance to complete the home learning work shared on the year group pages of our website. Going forwards we aim to make paper booklets of learning activities available for children to work through
They are also posting daily work onto their year group pages on the school website, you can access these via the link below:
Please don’t worry about printing the packs that are posted online, the children can either complete the work on paper you have at home or they can give you their answers verbally if that’s easier. From next week, children will have printed packs to complete at home. These can be collected each Friday from the Imperial Avenue entrance between 10am and 2pm. When you collect a new pack on a Friday, please return the previous week’s pack so that these can be marked by your child’s class teacher.
For all children learning remotely, do encourage them to learn in short sharp chunks rather than sitting at a desk from 9am until 3pm. It is also worth remembering that our school day is made up of a wide variety of activities including playtimes, snack time, PE, dance, drama, music, computing, science, speaking and listening etc so feel free to be as creative as you would like. It's up to you how you best structure your days together to allow for whatever home set up you have got going on.
Years 3 – 6
Work for children in Years 3 – 6 is being set on Google Classroom and daily timetables are being sent home via email so there is a clear structure to the day for your child.. Children are currently completing and submitting their work through this platform but we are very aware that this has caused some issues for some families.
From next week, each if you are struggling to submit work via Google Classroom, you can collect two exercise books from the school, one will be labeled Week One, the other Week Two. You will need to return the relevant week’s book to school each Friday between 10am and 2pm and collect the next week’s exercise books. These books will be marked and returned and should be reviewed with your child so that any follow up work can be completed.
Support with Google Classroom is available on the school website at the following link: https://www.foundrylaneprimary.co.uk/home-learning/
We will be registering children as they attend live Zoom lessons so we can ensure all children are being reached and supported with their remote learning. In the same way that you would if your child was attending school, please call the school office or email firstname.lastname@example.org if your child is unwell. This will ensure we know not to expect them on Zoom calls.
Curriculum support will be available via the year group emails but please bear in mind that you will not get an immediate response to enquiries due to teaching commitments. For more general support requests, please continue to use the email@example.com email address.
Safeguarding & Remote Learning:
The safety of both children and staff when using this technology is paramount and we will be following relevant advice from Zoom, the Children's Commissioner and the NSPCC. We would like to take this opportunity to remind you about the guidelines all parents had to agree to last year as part of our Remote Learning Assessment.
• As Zoom is not intended for use by children under 16 this must therefore be their parent's account and kept secure by them - only to be used when the child is supervised by an adult.;
• An appropriate adult must remain in the same room as the child during Zoom calls to monitor and ensure they are safe and using it appropriately.
• When joining any school Zoom meetings you will need to briefly be onscreen with your child so we know that they have an appropriate adult nearby. This will also give us a chance to talk with you if we need to.
• Children must take part in the meet up in a suitable communal environment (not a bedroom) and must be suitably dressed (uniform isn't necessary, but they must be fully dressed in clothing that covers top and bottom half of the body).;
• All members of the household must be aware that the meeting is taking place and make sure they are also suitably dressed and use appropriate language and behaviour when nearby or in the background.
• Zoom has a built in option to use a virtual background - you may feel this is an appropriate feature to turn on.
• You must make sure you and your child have "logged off" the call correctly once it is finished - before turning off any devices.;
• You and your child will not try to contact any staff using these online tools outside of the pre- arranged meet up which will be arranged via Marvelous / emails Screenshots, photos or recordings of Zoom meetings must hot be made and the links must not be shared with others.
With the increased use of digital technologies that comes with remote learning, safeguarding implications need careful consideration. Parents are advised to spend some time speaking with their child(ren) about online safety and reminding them of the importance of reporting to an adult anything that makes them feel uncomfortable online. While we will be doing our best to ensure links shared are appropriate, there may be tailored advertising which displays differently in your household or other changes beyond our control.
In School Provision
As you will be aware, school remains open for children of critical workers and other children identified within Government criteria as eligible to attend school during lockdown.
On Sunday we sent out a Google form asking parents to register their child if they were a critical worker and needed in school support this week. We received an unprecedented level of response to this request and have already reached capacity in Years 3 and 5 and are nearing capacity in other year groups.
Parents who have already received confirmation of a place for their child / children can continue to use this provision as needed but we would ask that you let us know as quickly as you can if this is no longer needed so we can free up a space for others on our waiting list.
Children attending school should wear their school uniform please, PE kit on PE days. School meals are available to anyone who wants one and these continue to be free for children in Years R – 2 and children entitled to Free School Meals. All other meals booked will need to be paid for in the usual way via Scopay. Children are welcome to bring a packed lunch if they prefer this option.
If you are a critical worker and haven’t yet contacted us about a place for your child, please email the firstname.lastname@example.org email with the following information:
As we did in the last lockdown, we have to set a limit on the number of children in a class at any one time so we do have a maximum capacity. Once this capacity is reached, we would appreciate your understanding if we are unable to offer your child a place in school.
Due to staffing levels, if a teacher is unwell and we are unable to cover them it may be necessary to close a class bubble at short notice until they return. We will do all we can to avoid this but it is something that parents should be aware of.
The Government advice is to stay at home so it would help reduce pressure on resources and staffing in school if you are able to support your child learning from home.
Free School Meal Eligibility
City Catering are working to provide grocery boxes covering a 10 day period for children who are entitled to free school meals. Gavin Williamson also announced today that there will be some schools who can apply for food vouchers but we are unsure whether we will be able to do this. We are working with City Catering to secure the provision of grocery boxes and will share further details of this with families who are eligible to receive these in due course.
January INSET Day
As you will; be aware, we had an INSET day planned for 25th January. We are going to reschedule this for later in the term and will advise of the new date as soon as this has been set.
Coronavirus and Your Child
Mrs Baggott has been sent a really helpful infographic about Coronavirus and what you need to know, this is included at the end of this letter.
As always, we are here to support you so if you need us, please do pick up the phone or drop us an email. Please contact us as soon as possible if you don’t think you are receiving the updates that staff are sending out. There is hope and we will move past these darker days and return to a time where we can see our friends and families – what a special day that will be!
Look after each other and we will stay in touch providing regular updates over the coming weeks.
With kindest regards
Mr Taylor Miss Aldred Mrs Loftus
Mrs Phillips Mrs Baggott Mrs Lugg