28/01 - Update
28th January 2021
After weeks of speculation we finally heard yesterday in the Prime Minister’s announcement that schools will not fully re-open after half term. Like you, we want all of your children back in school with us, but not until it is safe to do so. This week we have seen first-hand how prevalent the virus is with reports of cases in the surrounding community and three staff members testing positive.
Although there is much talk of schools being closed, you know that we have been open throughout all lockdowns to vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. Since our return in January, we have been balancing this with the remote teaching of those children at home.
Whilst we would not have chosen to work in this way, we have so much to celebrate;
We have high levels of engagement and extremely positive working relationships between home and school. Dojo has been invaluable in allowing parents and children to communicate with the class teacher and vice versa. I have seen some wonderful exchanges and fantastic evidence of parents and teachers working together to support the children through this challenging way of learning. It has been truly heart-warming to see the positive relationships I see in school continue online with children thanking their teachers for the tutorial videos they are uploading to the website and the resources they have been providing, whilst teachers offer advice, support and praise. The commitment of the children to work hard and continue to achieve is excellent and I have seen lots of high quality work being uploaded and shared. Thank you all for your efforts at home. We know how challenging home schooling is! Thank you too for your messages of appreciation for the teachers. I know you recognise how hard this is for them too.
At Walbottle we have used the voucher scheme throughout for children in receipt of free school meals. Each child receives a voucher to the value of £15 per week. In addition to this we have applied for various grants in order to support any family who has been affected financially over the last 11 months. Many families have received food deliveries and we have been able to offer clothing vouchers and white goods too. You will remember that I invited those of you in need of support to contact us – and some of you did! Thank you. We may be ‘closed’ but we are still here for you all.
We have applied for laptops and iPads from the government. Many of these have been given out to families so that children can access the online learning. Some of you have told us that paper packs are better for you and your child so these have been made available too.
Of course we have seen some of the negative impact of school closure and this new way of working but largely we are seeing a cohort of children whose characters are shining through as they deal with this. They are demonstrating great resilience and perseverance and we could not be more proud! These skills will serve them well in the future.
As ever I will keep you up to date with any new developments as we hear them. We appear to have reached a point where the Government are giving notice to schools which is helpful to us all.
With love and best wishes
Mrs. A. Oliver