Please see the latest letter to parents below.
29 March 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
Welcome to the third week of Boris Johnson’s predicted 12 week long action to try to control the spread of Caronavirus. In this brief update letter, I wanted to first of all congratulate the whole school community. None of us saw this coming, none of imagined that this would happen.
Whilst, individually we have no national sphere of influence to change the path of this virus we can at least assess our individual responses to the monumental challenge it has thrown at us. Our families have been fantastic. You have shown class and tenacity in this situation. You may not feel you are doing well, but I’d like to respectfully remind you that you are. Your resourcefulness and resilience is striking. Please remain encouraged. Minute by minute, hour by hour and day by day you will get through this!
Please remind your son or daughter of how much we miss them. Please send them the love and support of the whole school community.
A few reminders:
- our teachers are working hard to hold a once weekly conversation with you and to offer any distant support that we can. Please be creative within that. If you would prefer a FaceTime or WhatsApp video call so our staff can talk to your son or daughter and see them, we can try to commit to that: technology always permitting.
- Many pastoral groups are now setting up WhatsApp family and staff group chats so we can all support each other in small hubs. This is day by day support and can be so encouraging particularly if you are experiencing a pretty lousy day. So please exploit this opportunity too if it is a help to you.
- Our staff have now created an impressive number of resources that you can access online via our website. Please get in touch if you are struggling with ideas. We can try to advise and support over the phone.
- We publish a Daily Challenge every day on our Facebook page. Please have a go at it with your child. It is fun and usually most houses will have the materials needed to do it.
- There are all sorts of YouTube resources available on a daily basis. These range from PE Work Outs with Joe to stories read by David Walliams. See my letter 3 from last week for more details.
- In my letter last week I reminded you all of a few key point. I repeat them here. It is important that we all remember that this is going to be quite a long haul, but on the plus side, we have now entered our 3rd week!
- Please don’t stress about doing school work all the time. That is unrealistic and unfair on your son or daughter. Doing something is good, but please don’t get too precious about it.
- This is not homeschooling. This is an unprecedented international emergency, impacting on the whole world. Let's keep perspective.
- This Coronavirus emergency means your offer is at best, ‘distance learning’. In reality, it sees everyone trying to work it out, because none of us know what we are doing and what's right and wrong here. That includes me ‘making it up as I go’ in so many situations and in the many decisions I am trying to make.
- You are, and always have been, your child's primary educator. If you decide that your child isn't going to engage with anything sent home and is going to spend the entire period playing in the dirt, or baking, or watching TV, then that is your choice. That is your right. There is nothing to stress or feel guilty about.
- We at school don't really know what we are doing either. We had no notice, no preparation time and we were NOT told to 'continue to plan lessons as normal and just send them home' – that’s NOT possible. If it were, we'd all be out of a job!
- It is just not possible to facilitate easy distance learning with a child with special and complicated additional needs, and for you to work from home at the same time. If you're trying to do both really well, please stop now. You can certainly have activities where your child learns, but if your focus is your job, and survival then just make that your focus. Again, this is unprecedented. Stop trying to be superheroes and cut yourselves and your children some slack. You will melt if you don’t!
- Exploit the outdoors if you can as long as you remember the VITAL importance of ‘social distancing’ messages.
An example daily timetable
A possible suggestion for a daily timetables Is pasted below. We are flexible with the timings.
9am – Jo Wicks exercise (YouTube)
9.30 – shower & breakfast
10.00 – MyMaths (School website)
10.30 – reading for pleasure
11.00 – break time. Snack and get outdoors if possible. David Williams is reading a daily story on YouTube every morning at 11.00.
11.30 – touch typing (BBC dancemat)
12.00 – lunchtime. Help to prepare where possible and WASH UP!
13.00 – choosing (sewing, baking, experiments, housework, arts and crafts, colouring, board games, card games, gardening, cooking
14.00 – TV. Educational programme to watch together. Important to talk about it. (Horrible Histories, Nat Geo, Nasa, Museum virtual
15.00 – Afternoon walk. (Use 5 senses, treasure hunt, eye spy)
Then chill out until tea time.
Hope this advice helps you. I’m not trying to lecture you, just remind you/me that we all need to try to relax a bit and remind ourselves to pace our week of activity with our children
We are following Government Guidance carefully. This is changing day by day and has implications for us as a school.
A small number of students are still in school for valid reasons approved by the Department of Education.
We are currently reviewing the changing guidance and MAY consider opening school for a very small number of pupils should it be safe to do so and should we have the staff capacity to do this. We will liaise directly with the families concerned by the middle of this week as the potential for some limited Easter opening even happening becomes clearer.
Government Guidance is clear. Almost all students are instructed to stay at home for the foreseeable future as this is the best way for us to restrict the spread of this virus. The school has the right to instruct families to keep their son or daughter at home. There is NO entitlement to a place in school for any student at this time.
The need for us all to observe this Lockdown well is imperative. Please remember that your/my behaviour will impact on lives and the ability of the NHS to cater for the predicted surge across Calderdale in the the next 2/3 weeks. This is a dangerous time. Please, please, please follow the guidance in ‘social distancing.’ See the graphic below that shows just how easy it is to spread this virus if we don’t follow the guidance!
In conclusion, please rest assured I want to do everything in my power to support each and every family in our community.
I’m available for phone calls, emails and FaceTime/WhatsApp video calls if you feel I can be a help and encouragement to your child and family.
Please let me know and I will try to factor in a call. I’m doing 3 calls today and did 3 over the weekend so please don’t be frightened to ask. Equally, I’m quite busy at the moment, so if you feel you are coping and don’t need my personal involvement then that’s great too.
My contact details
My personal mobile number is 07757289562. I’m a good texter and responder! I will get back to you.
I will write again soon
Please keep your spirits up. We will get there and one day later in this year, this unprecedented challenge will be history!
Lots of love to you and all your family members