Posted on: 21/05/2020
Letter to Parents - update on 21st May 2020Dear Parents,
As promised, I am writing to update you on the steps we are taking to reopen the school for Year 6, Year 1 and Reception.
The school is finalising all its Risk Assessments in order that the measures required are in place to safely reopen the school.
We will of course continue to update parents as soon as we have more details and are due to hold another governing body meeting next week to discuss the results and to make a decision on the best way forward. It is my intention that I will write to parents on Friday May 29 with a further update.
In the interim period, I would like to share with you some of the findings of the survey that we have conducted among parents about the reopening of the school.
St Francis Class (13 responses) 66% No 33% Yes
I am not confident that it would be safe for my children to return to school at present. I would prefer to continue with homeschooling.
We believe it is too soon to send kids back to school, and yes we are struggling between our careers and our kid's education, but we are giving our best to succeed at both.
St Bernadette (25 responses) 60% No 40% Yes
Until a vaccine is found, the risk of catching the virus continues. Children clearly don't suffer from the virus as badly as adults so the risk to them is minor. The risk to teachers is likely to be significant and the school must assess this with them. It looks like we will be living with the virus for a long time but we will know more each day about prevention, risk and cures. The risk to society of the virus spreading in schools remains unproven, in my mind, but we are learning all the time. In September we will know a lot more and be better prepared.
I don’t feel comfortable with it. I need to know what measures have been put in place to protect the children from Corona Virus.”
Year 1 St John Bosco (20 responses) 70% No 30% Yes
For schools to reopen in the current climate, rate of infections and deaths need to continue to drop for over a longer consistent period. In addition, staff needs to be trained in spotting symptoms of the new covid-19 related Inflammatory disease that is affecting hitherto well children.
Maintenance of social distancing is near impossible for the children to follow and for the staff to enforce especially at lunch and playtime. Therefore the above two points are key when schools are reopened. Children with underlying health conditions must not be at risk.
Also a concern is the crowding in the morning and afternoon when children are dropped and picked up from school. How is social distancing enforced during these times within the school premises? Without the answers for these queries, it seems premature to throw the doors open in the midst of a deadly pandemic.
I feel this year should be scrapped and they go back in September this would give the school time to make appropriate risk assessment and make adequate safe measures to keep the kids and staff safe in September. Also the school's should be fully decontaminate ready for September. I don't see the rush in sending the kids back for just few weeks and go off again for the summer holiday. They should start in September and this would give us a better picture as to what will happen in this Covid crisis.
St David’s (22 responses) 72% No 27% Yes
We are unsure of sending our daughters back to school in June as COVID-19 is still not fully understood/controlled. Restrictions are being slowly lifted and we await the impact. Until more is known we are happy to continue with home schooling. Perhaps a reassessment for children to return following the summer holidays would be better timing.
We still feel uncomfortable about the safety of returning to the school environment
How can you possibly send kids to an enclosed environment with exposure to so many different households in a time like this?
Year 6 St Patrick’s (20 responses) 65% No 35% Yes
There is no rush considering that the year six are no longer sitting for SATs. The risk outweighs the benefits.
If it is not safe for me to return to work how is it safe for teachers and children? I don't believe that the schools have enough time to think and plan for the social distancing of managing children. Although the rate of infection is slowing down as they say no one wishes to be part of the small minority affected. Simply put, I do not children and staff safety first and not convinced that us the case here.
If we are allowed to meet only one person outside our household in the open space how safe is it for 15 children and their teachers to be in a classroom for long periods of time? With only few weeks of academic year left I don't see the point to reopen now and risk children's and school staff health. The online schooling is going well and we are happy to continue this way.
I would like to thank parents and staff for their contribution to the survey, which we will use to help inform our decisions. It is clear parents and staff still have many questions hence I am sharing the government’s latest guidance:
More information about the protective measures schools are being asked to implement to keep children and staff safe can be found here:
Posted on: 27/04/2020
Letter to Parents - update on 27th April 2020Dear Parents,
As we enter week 6 of school being closed, I just wanted to give you all an update of what has been happening.
From week 1, the school has been open to children of Key Workers. We have had between 5 and 10 children in daily, with 3 staff in attendance, together with staff from the kitchen providing lunch.
Over the past weeks, we have continued to operate independently, catering for our children and not joining with other schools to pool our resources. We thought this decision was the right course of action to keep our children safe in these worrying times.
The children coming in have been from across all year groups. In addition to doing their work in the Computer Suite, they have had PE and Music sessions and engaged in some independent reading. The staff spend their time helping the younger children whilst the older children have been encouraged to work in the Computer Suite on activities set by their teacher.
We as a school have been successful in putting in place a system that is sustainable for the period of closure.
During the week before we closed, staff were given some training on how to use Google Classroom. Since then, all teachers have been uploading work for their children and the aim of this work has been to follow year group expectations as set out in the National Curriculum. We appreciate this may not always be possible, but we are doing our utmost to put everything in place and to try and ensure the children have minimal gaps in their learning at the end of this difficult period.
On the whole, it has been seamless in its implementation and children have enjoyed this new style of learning. I would like to thank you for your continued support, and we know we would not have such a high level of engagement from the children without your involvement. Please continue to find the system that works best within your household and don’t hesitate to contact the teachers or myself if you are experiencing any difficulties logging on or submitting work.
Free School Meals – Government Voucher scheme
Those OLOG families that have been eligible for the Government Scheme, have received their vouchers. Apologies, if they have come a little late, this is purely due to the high demand nationally.
The school has now received its list of the new EYFS children in readiness for our Reception class for September.
In these challenging circumstances, I have asked the office staff and the Reception team to discuss alternative arrangements for their preparation to ensure this transition will go smoothly. If this affects you, we will be in touch over the coming weeks explaining the details.
Thank you all for your continued support and I look forward to seeing you all in the not too distant future.
Posted on: 1/04/2020
Letter to Parents - update on 1st April 2020‘Stars cannot shine without darkness’
In these challenging times, it is so easy to be negative and get caught up with the Government’s daily statistics and data.
As we approach Holy Week, I can’t help but go out of my way to share some good news and hope in this time of crisis.
I read the other day that our Postmen and Postwomen (who we wouldn’t give a second thought too), have been raising spirits with their outlandish dressing up just to give the old folk something to smile about.
Or the 94-year-old great-grandmother and an 82-year-old grandfather who are amongst the 1000’s who have beaten the coronavirus and returned to their homes.
With social centres closed, we read that whole communities are coming together to look out for those who are disabled or those who are struggling in this time of crisis.
In Naples, people have started anonymously leaving essential food items in public spaces for others to take. In one basket, a note was left saying – "Chi puo metta, Chi non puo prenda" - translated this means: "Those who can, leave something. Those who cannot, take something."
This spirit of togetherness and unity should bring us all hope in these difficult times.
A Priest friend once said ‘Stars cannot shine without darkness’.
Bringing it closer to home, these past two weeks has seen our children shine in different ways.
Many of you for the first time, are playing an active part in your child’s learning and are seeing first-hand how adaptable and resourceful they are. The work from many of the children has been wonderful to see, but this new way of learning has been so positive. The new interactions with their teacher and friends have been the true light in this darkness!
As we begin Holy Week, let us all reflect on our faith and the values that underpins us all.
Please see the link below for you all during Holy Week:
Sunday Liturgy for Families - https://www.tentenresources.co.uk/sunday-liturgy-for-families
As you know, school will finish on Friday 3rd April for the Easter break and there will be no work from teachers being sent home until Tuesday 21st April.
It would be good if you can continue to read with your children whenever possible. Also, feel free to go over previously uploaded work to consolidate their learning, which will remain on-line.
Please note that any work which is sent through to teachers during the Easter break will NOT be marked or commented on.
Posted on: 27/03/2020
Letter to Parents - update on 27 March 2020Dear Parents,
As we near completion of our first week, I want to say a big thank you for all your help and support.
We are all coming to terms with this new way of working and none of us expected this level of intensity and interaction which is taking place. What a learning curve for us all!
As Head, I asked to see all the work being sent out, as well as all the emails back and forth from the children and teachers. It has been humbling to read the kind messages of support between the children themselves and the lovely messages and responses shared with their teachers. The unity of spirit and values of our school have truly been on show.
As the week has gone on, routines have been embedded both with yourselves and with teachers. It seems, from my view at least, it is becoming smoother!
As you will have all encountered there have been a few glitches that have arisen:-
- the use of 1 x PC being shared with sibling
- parents juggling their own work commitments as well as assisting with the teaching of their children
- a few concerns with downloading when teachers have used Word instead of Google Docs
- issues around appropriate communication between children on-line
- teachers trying to mark work when it is submitted sporadically
- finally, with some of the older children not being supervised appropriately and work being submitted which is of a poor standard.
Everything will be fine as we all get used to this ‘new normal’. Please continue to support your children, in whatever way works within your household. They need your support at this very unsettling time to ensure their levels of learning remain high.
After the Easter break and once everything settles down, teachers will be able to facilitate a more flexible schedule but for the time being, we will continue as planned.
Finally, it goes without saying I am missing the melee of school life and like you all, I am praying we can go back to the ‘normal’ sometime soon. If you have any concerns at all, please share with your class teachers and they will pass them on to me if necessary.