Friday 19th June - Update from Chris Newman, Head of School.
Dear parents & carers,
Throughout this COVID-19 crisis, it has been the aim of the school to communicate with you openly and honestly and, in line with this, I wanted to keep you informed about where Bignold Primary School & Nursery is up to in regard to our extending of pupil numbers and our preparations for the end of term & for the new school year in September.
Pupils Currently in school:
We currently have children from Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 in school. These were the priority year groups which the Government wanted to return to school in June. We also have provision for the children of key workers and other children who were allocated a school space. This group has been in school since the start of ‘lock down’ but has expanded as more people have returned to work.
The number of pupil places that we can offer has been limited by the following factors:
· Social distancing requirements (for adults and children);
· Staffing – we have members of staff who fall into vulnerable groups & who are shielding or must follow strict social distancing;
· Toilet and hand-washing facilities;
· The capacity of cleaners to complete a rolling 1-hour cleaning programme across all the classrooms, toilets and shared spaces in current use.
All this has been monitored against an extensive Risk Assessment which was drawn up with support from Evolution Academy Trust and is reviewed weekly.
Allocating spaces for children not in a Priority Year Group (Years 2, 3, 4 & 5):
We are now very nearly at our total capacity for admitting new pupils into our Key Worker+ groups. We have had several requests for school places and also have a list of children who we are being asked to offer places to for other reasons.
In the interests of fairness, we will review all applications for a school place at the beginning of next week and will contact parents to confirm places on Monday and Tuesday with pupils being invited to join a school group from Wednesday (24th June). If you would like your child to be considered for a school place, please contact the office by 9.00am on Monday 22nd June.
Please can I remind you all that only one parent at a time should come to school to drop-off or pick up children.
Please also follow the one-way system and only use the Wessex Street gate (by Caterpillars Nursery) as an entrance and only use the car park gate (leading to Chapelfield Road) as an exit.
We continue to offer a range of online learning activities each day through Tapestry and SeeSaw. Our teachers will typically be setting three learning activities each day – one Literacy based, one Maths/number based and one topic activity linked to our whole-school themes. Not all activities are screen based and many of our whole-school theme tasks are ones which siblings of different ages can complete together.
Please visit the Home Learning section of our website for more details (you can find it by clicking on the Coronavirus tab under the ‘News & Events’ menu).
NB: As the number of pupils in school increases, more of our staff will be working in class and this will have an impact on our capacity to set and respond to online learning; we may need to use more of the Oak National Academy and BBC Bitesize resources.
However, school staff will continue to respond to all work posted by pupils.
If you are worried that your chid is finding it hard to engage with home learning, please contact us so that we can offer you support. You can use our new email address firstname.lastname@example.org to ask request a call-back etc.
Planning for the rest of the Summer Term
This is going to be an end to the school year like no other before with so many of our milestone events – meet the teacher, Year 6 Leaver’s disco, summer trips and (of course) BigFest – will not take place as normal.
We are keen to offer opportunities for as many of our children as possible to engage with their friends and teachers before the end of July and are exploring ways to make this happen. We will contact you soon with more details but, some of the ideas being considered include sports sessions, reading workshops and socially distanced learning cafes where parents & children can say goodbye to their teachers from this year and meet their teachers for next year – a bit like speed dating but much more educational!
We are also arranging a virtual Year 6 Leaver’s Assembly and other opportunities for our Year 6 pupils to say their goodbyes and make a successful transition to their new high-schools.
Keeping In Touch (KIT) Calls
From this week we will be stopping the regular keeping in touch calls being made by our teachers. I have had a lot of positive feedback about these but am also responding to the many of you who have told us that what your children miss most about school is social interaction with their friends – something we are working hard to address over the coming weeks.
If you do feel that you would like KIT calls to continue for your child, please contact school via our new email address email@example.com
Planning for September
As of the time of writing, I have more questions than answers about what school will look like in September. I can assure you however, that the staff at Bignold Primary School & Nursery remain fully committed to our pupils and our whole school community.
We will keep you updated with our responses to all developments and we remain your school. We are here to support you so please do not hesitate to contact us.
With my best wishes,
Head of School