I firstly want to thank you for working so well with us and having patience as we try and sort, then re-sort our systems dependent on what the Government throw at us!
The uncertainty has been a challenge to all of us especially those who have to juggle child care with work. The Newdale teams have worked so hard to organise both the ‘critical worker’ teaching offer, as well as an equally high quality online offer for those children who cannot come to school.
Places for children in school
The message is very clear – If you can keep your children at home, then that is the safest option for everyone. The word ‘critical’ means just that. We are only able to offer places for children whose parents are ‘critical’ workers. Please think very carefully about this before you fill in the application form. We are sending the form out weekly. This is because we have to check parents shift patterns and days required and then staff accordingly. It is a logistical challenge, with such a big school. Please note, once the form has closed, we will not be accepting late applications.
As well as trying our hardest to accommodate ‘critical’ worker children, we are inviting more ‘vulnerable’ children into school. This is on a case by case basis and usually involves Mrs. Powell or Mrs. Huda ringing parents individually.
Teachers are investing a lot of time into the online learning offer and we need parents to do all they can to allow their children access. We have lent some laptops out and have some others for children who are really struggling (ring us if this includes you and we will see what we can do!) Again, this is on a case by case basis. Paper packs are really a last resort and are clearly not going to be anywhere near as good an offer as the online live teacher sessions.
We carefully monitor who is accessing the online learning and contact families if we see engagement is not daily and we thank you for your support in this. So far we are delighted in the efforts shown by our children and families… thank you. We understand that some parents are struggling to support children as they are ‘working from home’. Teachers are aware of this and trying hard to make sure the expectation is such that they need little help from you. It is so important that we keep our children learning, so that the gaps in knowledge and understanding do not become wider than they already are.
We have noticed a few children turning to tik tok and you tube as they are couped up at home with a limited amount of things to do. E safety has never been so crucial as it is now. Miss Newport will continue to send tips out to parents, but in the meantime please check your children are not posting videos to the general public. You need to check content regularly and talk to your children about what they are doing online and what to do if they feel uncomfortable. We are very experienced in supporting E Safety and only happy to help should you need advice and support.
Preventing the spread
Anyone who is a critical worker or in fact a resident of Telford and Wrekin, is eligible for free rapid lateral flow tests, even if they are not displaying symptoms. Please follow this link to book you and your family a test: http://rapidtest.telford.gov.uk/ We cannot force you to get tested, but we politely ask that you do consider this on a regular basis, especially if you are sending your children into school. This could prevent an infection rapidly spreading in our school.
Staff in school are accessing this offer and get tested at least once a week to reassure you and their colleagues. Only last week a member of staff with no symptoms at all, tested positive and we were rapidly able to identify the very few direct contacts and prevent further infection. As you know, the biggest risk linked to transmission is not the children, but adults. This is why our procedures when considering interaction with you and other staff is paramount in our fight in keeping the virus at bay.
One effective strategy to help with limiting the spread, is to keep levels of ventilation high. Please ensure your children have their ‘winter woollies’ on when they come to school, as classroom doors and windows are open periodically throughout the day.
Exercise and fresh air are really important when considering children’s mental health. Please find time to get your children out on walks and if you can tune into our school offer… Miss Jones, Mr. Irvine and Mr. Stone are trying their best to outshine Joe Wickes with weekly PE challenges! Please do check these out on the website and get your children to join in: of course you are welcome to have a go too!
Free School Meals
We will be providing school meals vouchers to children who are eligible and working from home. Edenred UK are currently working with the Department for Education (DfE) to deliver supermarket vouchers to those families. Whilst this system is being sorted out, if you are desperate for food we can offer packed lunches in the short term. Please call the office immediately and we will do all we can to help.
I apologise for the number of letters I am demanding you read and in some cases, like today, the length of the letters! We know communication is the key and we know it is important that our parent community is clear as to what we are doing and why we are doing it.
We are hopeful that next week will be a little bit easier for everyone as we settle into our routines. Thank you for your continued support and patience.