Dear Parents and Carers 8 January 2021
Firstly, I would like to introduce myself properly. My name is Bev Seed and I am the new headteacher at Pennington Infant School. This was not the start to our exciting new journey together at Pennington Infants I wished or hoped for. However, once again we are finding ourselves in the ever changing situations due to COVID-19. I want to reassure you and everyone in the Pennington community that myself and Pennington Infant School are here to support all of our families and that we are always here for you, even if it can’t be face to face right now.
As you can imagine, it has been a very busy week in school, implementing lots of changes and I would like to update you with these.
Following the Government announcement on Monday evening, schools were asked to limit the attendance of children at schools to those children who are considered ‘vulnerable’ and children whose parents are critical workers. Therefore, we are currently only open to Critical Workers and Vulnerable Families. We were very saddened not to welcome back all of our children on Tuesday. However, we all have a duty to keep everyone safe and therefore we must do everything we can to achieve this.
When will the school re-open fully to all pupils?
We cannot say for certain, but the Prime Minister has suggested that this lockdown will last at least until February Half Term. This means that families should prepare to continue with remote education for the next 6 weeks.
What learning will be accessible from Monday 11th January?
From Monday onwards, all children will have access to videos and materials organised by their teachers. Governors have agreed that our ‘Remote Learning Policy’ will not provide ‘live’ lessons due to safeguarding concerns and due to the age of our children and their ability to access this for a sustained period. The learning that is uploaded for your child (including the independent completion of work) should be equivalent in length to the core teaching our children would receive in school. For our children in Year 1 and 2 on average this will be 3 hours a day (including time to complete tasks independently) and it will be less than 3 hours for our children in EYFS.
If you feel that your child may need their remote learning adjusted to meet their needs, whether this be simplifying or extending, please do not hesitate to contact the school office via email email@example.com so that it can be addressed as quickly as possible.
What sort of learning is being provided?
From Monday 11th January each year group will have the following learning activities set each day:
For children in EYFS, these activities will be available on Tapestry. For children in Year 1 and Year 2, these activities will be available on Seesaw. The activities will be available from 5pm the day before:
Day of the week
Day the activities will be available
Sunday from 5pm
Monday from 5pm
Tuesday from 5pm
Wednesday from 5pm
Thursday from 5pm
We have chosen to do this as it provides you time at home, if you wish, to look at the activities and decide how and when you think it would be best for your child to complete them. There is no expectation for you to look at the activities the night before, we just understand how difficult it is at home when you may be having to do remote learning with more than one child and work from home yourself.
We are aware that there have been a few issues accessing the remote education especially with Seesaw. Although it is not ideal, we are looking at alternative remote education platforms that we can use and provide better access (and hopefully less technical issues) than our current set up. We will communicate this with you as soon as we have more information and we appreciate your understanding and co-operation with this.
Your child will have also been sent log in details during the Autumn Term to access the reading platform ‘Rising Stars’. If your child is in Year 1 or Year 2, they will have been given log in details for ‘Times Tables Rock Stars’. The log in details are the same for both of these learning platforms.
We will be communicating with you next week regarding the physical activity learning platform ‘Real PE’.
Does my child have to do the work set by the teachers?
Yes. Despite everyone’s best efforts, there was a significant drop in standards in children’s learning after the first lockdown. Many children are yet to fully catch up. It is essential that children complete the work set so that they can keep up with the rest of the class and with the year group priorities.
Your child’s class teacher will be able to comment and respond to their learning that they submit. The government have suggested that this should be done daily. If you are having any concerns regarding accessing or submitting your child’s learning, please email the school office firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have lost or can’t remember how to log in to Tapestry or Seesaw. What shall I do?
Please email the school office email@example.com with the words ‘TAPESTRY’ or ‘SEESAW’ in the subject title and we will respond as quickly as possible.
We do not have enough devices in our household to enable our children to all do remote learning at the same time. What can we do?
Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org putting the words ‘LOAN IT DEVICES’ in the subject title. We do have some devices that we can loan out to families. We are also exploring other options for us to acquire further devices.
What other support will the school be providing?
Your child may have received extra support within school. These may have been specific Speech and Language programmes, pastoral support or learning interventions, to name a few. We are currently organising how these can continue with your child at home and we will be in contact with you regarding this shortly.
Our Parent Support Worker Mrs Liz Lawrence will also be continuing to support our families remotely and through weekly phone calls. She is looking at organising some virtual parenting workshops. If this is something you feel that you might be interested in or would like Mrs Lawrence to contact you, please email the school office email@example.com.
We feel that it is so important as a school that we keep in contact with all of our children during this time. As such we will be setting up a special ‘Friday Celebration Assembly’. Whether your child is at school or at home, it will be a chance for all of us to join together virtually to celebrate what we have achieved each week. There will also be special certificates for those who have ‘REACH for the STARS’ with their learning that week whether in school or remotely.
What will happen about Free School Meals?
It has been confirmed that there will be continued support for Free School Meals children. We will contact affected families separately as soon as we have further information about this.
My child is still attending school; are there any changes I need to know about within school?
In communication with the Junior school, we feel that we do not need the longer staggered drop off and pick up times. Therefore, from Monday 11th January, if your child is attending school, they can be dropped off between the times of 8:35am and 8:45am and be picked up between 2:55pm and 3:10pm. We ask that you continue to use the one-way system and use social distancing by keeping 2 metres apart from other families. If you have a query or concern regarding the changes to drop off and pick up times, please contact the school office firstname.lastname@example.org and we will happily assist you.
PE will now be scheduled on the following days:
Foxes – Wednesday and Thursday
Rabbits and Hedgehogs – Monday and Thursday
Please can you make sure your child comes suitably dressed to take part in the activities.
How is the school going to communicate with me?
I would like to say that I don’t usually write letters that are this long, however I was also aware that you didn’t want lots of different emails sent daily to you. Usually I would send out a weekly newsletter updating you on the week we have had at Pennington Infants and any other information you may need.
These are our current plans and I would like to assure you that they are constantly under review. I am here to listen to any feedback from everyone in our community and to make any necessary changes to help, support and to make our community as safe as possible. I ask if you have any questions, queries or concerns, no matter how small you may think they are, I urge you to please contact us and we will do everything we can to support you.
Together we can do this!