1st April 2020
…and we have got to the last day of term, even though it doesn’t feel like it! Never in a million years did I think I would be writing the end of term 4 message in a situation like this!
We have one more day of learning tasks to share and then we will leave you be for a bit with regards to the learning. We will, however, all still be here and your child’s teacher will ‘drop’ by daily to say a hello. So as always if you have worries, concerns or wonderful things to share please keep doing so, although we may not be quite so prompt in answering! You have done an amazing job, but we didn’t think we could just walk away for two weeks, that wouldn’t be fair. We certainly aren’t going anywhere, and this for the moment is the new normal.
Enjoy the last day of ‘school’ for a bit, sun is out again hurrah!
My amazing staff have a treat lined up for you and the children later today, something to help with a smile and to lift your hearts, and make you smile…so be sure to be around at 3.15 to see Mrs Cooke’s post…too exciting!!
30th March 2020
Good morning and welcome to Monday and another school week. Well it’s the final school week of term 4 actually with the Easter holidays due to start on Thursday. Now that is going to be odd!
Obviously the learning packs we sent home will only last these final few days so I will be working with the teachers to see how we go about supporting learning into term 5. We will also discuss how we can still support you over the Easter break, not with tasks but in terms of check ins and generally ‘being there’. I know we wouldn’t normally during a holiday but I am anxious that we do our best by everyone in these most unusual times…it’s not as if we can go anywhere anyway!
At the beginning of last week I talked about the children feeling anxious, worried and frightened. I think that is likely to be true even more so now as we head into the crisis at its predicted worst. As you have no doubt been doing watch when those adult conversations take place, be wary of sensationalist newspaper headlines and accept and answer questions as best you can. CBBC Newsround https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/is a good source of clear child friendly information. Place to be has a guide to helping parents answer questions from their children and to support family wellbeing.https://www.place2be.org.uk/about-us/news-and-blogs/2020/march/coronavirus-information-for-children/
I know you are doing the right things and certainly don’t want to get ‘preachy’…I just want to help.
Well I had best get some breakfast before Joe Wicks turns up! Have a good day, do what you can, and remember to look after you too.
27th March 2020
Welcome to day 5 in the ‘Big Greatstone House’
I hope you all continue to be fit and well. You’ve done a grand job this week, there has been no training for this so just to get to Friday…with a smile… is a bonus!
I saw a lovely idea on social media, the post was this: “Every time we wish we could do something, go somewhere, treat ourselves, see someone we love, visit a new place, invite people to visit us, we’re going to write it down on a slip of paper and put it in a jar. When all this is over this will be our bucket list and we’ll work our way through the jar and be more grateful than ever for the lovely little things in our lives. Until then we’ll enjoy watching the jar fill up with magical things to do.” A simple idea I thought and one that might help the children understand that this is not forever.
I think one of the hardest things as we get to Friday and head into the weekend is going to be making the weekend different. All the things that made the weekend the weekend, have gone. The football training, the swimming lessons, gym practice, the trips to see family, even the weekly shop! It may be a good idea to try and set a weekend routine too, just like you have been doing for weekdays. Just simple, like Saturday night is pizza and film night for example. Little children remember, have no sense of time but they will mark time in events…it may just help.
Wasn’t that applause for the NHS last night incredible?! A real memory maker and a brilliant way to show our support and thanks. Thanks especially to our NHS working parents.
The teachers will once again guide you through the day, if you want it…if you are happy doing your own thing that is fine and right to do so.
I do hope you have a good day
26th March 2020
Welcome to another sunny day, and in case like me you are losing track, it’s Thursday!
Today’s message is the same do what you can. Remember no stress!
At school we use ‘Restorative Justice’ to support behaviour fall outs. It has a strict script of six simple questions:
Why did it happen?
Who has been affected?
How have they been affected?
What are we going to do NOW to put it right?
What are we going to do in the future?
We don’t divert from the script; It stops the answering back scenario, everyone has the same chance to speak and it calms a situation. Sometimes with our older pupils we get them to write their answers down.
I just thought it might help you with any squabbles between children at home.
I’m sure you are settling into a routine now. I had a go at Joe Wicks yesterday…oh my goodness!!!! I was only successful with the cool down! I took heart from the fact that he was puffed out!
The teachers will be up and manning their classroom dojo doors from 9am again today, although this may be slightly earlier…or later if they too are doing the Mr Wicks workout.
Have a good day everyone. Don’t forget we are at the end of Dojo if you need an ear.
You are all amazing, keep doing what you are doing: Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives.
25th March 2020
Unlocking the gate again on another day. You are all doing a grand job!
Don’t forget you are part of the huge team enabling NHS staff and others to keep the country safe, preserve life and keep food flowing. Mrs Kay and Mrs Roberts had just one child yesterday and Mrs Kay will be at the Marsh again today with just two children. That’s excellent! It means we are really understanding this is EMERGENCY childcare, thank you for understanding the bigger picture; by keeping our children at home we are minimising the spread of coronavirus. Thank you too Mrs Kay, Mrs Roberts and the rest of the staff who will take their turn and eventually join the rota, if it’s needed.
So what will today bring in the virtual GPS school? Joe Wickes? We are all going to be so fit! Don’t forget to keep hydrated, the children have their water bottles at school remember, and are watered frequently JMaybe in the sunshine you will have the chance to get the garden tidy, if you have one, or maybe it’s an opportunity to get some cupboards indoors tidy! Every day at 11am David Walliams is reading one of his World’s Worst Children stories, so that might be something to listen to. https://www.worldofdavidwalliams.com/elevenses/
Of course the teachers will be checking in with you, they are there during school hours if you need anything, and as a group are all in contact with each other and our support staff so can always share concerns. Do what you can from today’s learning menu and if you can’t no problem…remember, no stress.
If you can keep your children’s brains active, keep reading, keep active and stay safe then you are winning!
Have a good day, see you at the gate tomorrow.
24th March 2020
Here we are back at the school gate again, ready for another day.
You’ve done day one, you know you can do it now! Yesterday was a bit of a novelty I suspect, it’s inevitably going to get harder but remember this is a marathon not a sprint. Settle into a routine, take time to readjust and don’t forget there is no right way to do this being at home business!
I hope the teachers were a support to you yesterday, it certainly seemed so. Our aim in this is to keep that Greatstone community alive. To keep you in touch with someone who knows your child and can support you through any wobbles. Don’t get stressed by seeing pictures of what others are doing, remember everything I said yesterday, only do what’s right for your family.
We are lucky we have been eased into this this week with some beautiful sunshine, that has certainly helped lift my mood. It’s also showing the cobwebs and dust that had been hidden in the winter gloom…I’ve certainly got lots of cleaning tasks lined up!
Have a good day
23rd March 2020
I hope you are all well.
Thank you so much for all your kind comments yesterday. They meant a lot.
These are very unusual times. Our children could be scared right now. They will see and hear much, often when we think they don’t. Everything they know as safe at the moment has been completely disrupted, and inevitably they will feel the anxiety of the adults around them. We know this time is going to be very different for them, bear with them if their behaviours change. It’s natural and to be expected, they just need you to help them understand that life is just a bit unpredictable at the moment.
I would hate that any home learning we are providing adds to this anxiety and tension. You, your child, your family do not need extra stress at this time. Please don’t argue and fall out over any of the things we have sent home, they are there as an option. Enjoy the enforced luxury of this time with your children play games, do jigsaws, have a virtual museum tour, build with Lego, junk model, look at old photos, make up stories. Just be. For some children however, they may thrive on the structure and routines, they might be anxious about not learning they may want a daily learning task. You may find your child wants both!
Don’t worry about the academic progress at the moment. Every child in the land is in the same boat. We will fix this when this awful time is over, that’s our job.
Look after your own and your child’s emotional and mental health. This is important, what happens over the next few months will live your child for the rest of their lives, a worksheet won’t. Don’t stress.
You know your child, go with your gut and follow their lead. There is no script for this. Do stay in touch, we can support you. Teachers will be manning their Dojo during school hours, but do bear with them…we are reliant on technology working here!
22nd March 2020
The text from the dojo video sent today.
Wishing you all a very happy Mothers Day.
As we enter this new week we must face the stark reality that this is probably the week that those who are infected without knowing will cause the spread of corona virus to explode. Please stay home if you have the privilege to be able to do so. This is not over reacting it is the required and absolutely necessary response. The governments ‘key worker’ list has become a bit of a red herring in all this and has, I think, clouded the main issue. It is not compulsory for children of key workers to attend the limited provision we have. It is an emergency childcare provision. If children can be safely cared for at home then this is what must happen. The safest place for children is home. The safest place for you is at home.
My huge thanks go to our parents who, along now with my staff are those critical care workers. Thank you for doing everything you can to keep us safe, fed and well. The rest of us must do our bit and keep ourselves to ourselves. My husband is a transplant recipient. I shall be at home now isolating with him for the 12 weeks he has been told to do so. If between us he and I save one NHS bed, or indeed a life, then we have done the right thing.
On the 14thMarch 2021 it will be Mothers Day again. I want us all to be able to hold our loved ones tight that day and be able to say ‘I’m glad we did the right thing’.
20th March 2020
We have now after 36 hours received a list from the government of Key Workers.Please read the guidance carefully to decide if you are included in this group.
I must stress the governments wish for children to remain at home wherever possible, so requests for childcare should only be made if no other safe supervision of your children is possible i.e children should only be sent to school as a last resort. For us to be able to function, we need parents and carers to follow this, because we have fewer and fewer staff each day able to come in as they quite rightly need to self-isolate themselves.
Please note with effect from Tuesday 24th March our childcare provision will be based at The Marsh Academy, until further notice. Further details will follow once we are aware of the families if any, who are affected.
If you have no alternative, please complete the questionnaire under the forms section ParentMail by the end of today, so that at the very least we can plan next week over the weekend with the staff we are able to get to come in.
We will separately speak to all parents/carers of pupils considered to be vulnerable today , in order to work through the best way to keep your child safe over the coming weeks.
The government have also made announcements regarding children eligible for Free School Meals in a way that is very difficult for a school in the current circumstances to deliver. We will follow up with more information on this when we can so please do not call to ask about this at the moment.
Many thanks for your support.
19th March 2020
Following on from my last update, I’m now writing to let you know thatwe have now been instructed to close the school to almost all children after this Fridayuntil further notice.
The government has advised schools to stay open for the children of key workers however we are currently waiting for clarification of who might be in this category, other than the obvious NHS staff. I will contact you later once that guidance has been received. There is every possibility that such provision may be at another local school, should that be deemed more feasible in terms of staffing.
All other children will need to stay at home, so we ask that you do not send your child into school from Monday onwards.
In the light of this we shall today be issuing the work packs that I spoke about yesterday. There is enough work in these to last until the beginning of the Easter Holiday. The work commences from Monday as school will still be open tomorrow. We shall send home the packs with the children who are in school today along with the rest of their belongings, e.g PE kit.
If your child is absent we shall put the packs and P.E Kits on tables on the playground for you to collect from 3.45 pm. If you would like to nominate another parent (whose child is in school) to collect these for you, they may do so when collecting their own child. There is no need to ring us to make us aware of this arrangement.
18th March 2020
I think it is only a matter of time before we will be closed and it’s hard to know just what to do with regard to work in this very difficult situation. I am mindful that not all households will have internet access, or indeed enough devices should a whole family be in isolation. I also worry that the internet will not be able to sustain the number of ‘homeworkers’ and general social media traffic should we all be confined to our homes.
In the event of school closure, we have decided to use Dojo as our key means of contact. Yes, this is internet based however we are not suggesting that it is used for work, simply as a means of daily contact with a teacher or myself. We know that 99% of our families have access to it and it is used with consistency across the classes.
We will be supplementing this with a paper-based work pack. I am not ashamed to say that we have taken these from an educational site and they will not be bespoke to our curriculum, or individual pupils. However, for us to provide a similar quantity of quality material is a virtual impossibility given that our teachers are still doing an amazing job of teaching day in day out. They are selflessly ensuring that the measures being put in place by the government are actioned successfully. In my eyes they need recognition for this and I would like to publicly thank them, along with the team of support staff that are also working to maintain the school to a safe level.
I will also provide a suggested timetabled structure to the day, so that you can then blame me when your child thinks they don’t have to work! Class teachers will tell you at the start of the day the pages that are set for the day’s work as well as any other activities that could be completed. Nothing will ever replace that face to face contact daily, we have teachers in front of classes for a reason after all. If it’s any consolation I would have found teaching my own children at home incredibly hard! We are definitely here to support you. Maintaining that feel of our community is I think essential in this uncertain time.
I have added a tab called COVID-19 to our school website. Here I am collating all the information that we have sent out as well as links to relevant sites. If you are using the website on a PC you will need to ensure the web page is stretched wide enough otherwise the tabs cannot all be accessed. I will populate the home learning tab with some web-based activities and useful sites in due course, however, there is no expectation on our part for these to be used.
We are not yet sending packs home for children and families who are currently absent. In this situation please be in contact with your child’s class teacher for screenshots of in class learning activities. In the event of a school closure we shall either send the packs home with the children or arrange suitable collection times. This is still an unknown so bear with us.
Finally, I would like to hope that we have done a good job in teaching the children about keeping safe online as well as how its important to limit screentime. This link may help as a reminder of ways to safeguard your child.
For those families currently absent form school we send you our very good wishes and hope that you are all safe and well.
17th March 2020 -Covid-19 update
As I explained yesterday, in the light of further government announcements, I shall update you daily on the situation at Greatstone Primary school with regards to the coronavirus outbreak
Our position at the moment is to carry on as normal as best we can. Whilst we have a number of families who have made the decision, quite rightly, to self-isolate, we still have enough staff to be in a safe ratio. It seems unlikely, however, that this will continue given new advice on restricting social contact, and requests for more people in specific categories to self -isolate.
This is the most recent Advice from Public Health England:
- if you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill
- it is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community.
The symptoms are:
- A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above)
- A new, continuous cough
If you are reporting an absence please be clear about the absence reasons so that we can monitor safe returns to school. Could you also make sure that if you have recently changed your contact details they have been updated on our system.
Please consult the:
NHS website if you want to know more about the symptoms of coronavirus. If you think you or your child may have the symptoms, use NHS 111online if at all possible before calling 111
Department for Education’s coronavirus helpline: 0800 046 8687, if you have any questions about the government’s response to coronavirus in relation to school.
This link is useful for explaining the virus to our children and is particularly written with pupils with SEND in mind. I hope it may help to answer questions and provide facts in child speak. https://littlepuddins.ie/coronavirus-social-story/
It’s a tricky time and we know you’re worried about the impact this might have on our community. It’s important we keep each other safe and talk about these events, being mindful to avoid scaremongering, to help with any anxiety.
16th March 2020 – Covid-19 update
I thought I would use the start of the week as an opportunity to update you on the situation at Greatstone Primary school with regards to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Government announced last week that we are moving from the Contain phase of the coronavirus action plan to the Delay phase to support the delay of the spread of the virus, the Department for Health and Social Care has asked anyone who shows certain symptoms to stay at home for 7 days, regardless of whether they have travelled to affected areas. This means people should stay at home and avoid all but essential contact with others for 7 days from the point of displaying mild symptoms, to slow the spread of infection.
The symptoms are:
· A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above)
· A new, continuous cough
Please contact the school office as you would for any medical absence if these symptoms appear in your child, please also confirm you are self-isolating for the minimum 7 days. Teachers may not be able to send home additional work for children with illness at this stage, although we will do so if the school is asked to closed.
To support the principle of ‘social distancing’ contained in the Delay phase action plan, I have decided the school will take the following measures this term:
- All assemblies – cancelled
- PTFA Easter Fayre – cancelled
- All parent volunteer helper’s visits – postponed
- External agency Beanstalk (listen to some of our children read) – cancelled
- The recycling project undertaken by Mrs Davis – postponed (we are unable to accept any recycling at this time)
To prevent the spread of germs between children we are removing all plastic cups, therefore your child will need to bring their own water bottle to school with immediate effect!
I hope you will agree that these measures are a proportionate response to the ongoing concerns nationwide. Parents should be reassured that school remains the safest and best place for children to be until national guidance changes.