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Letter from Mrs Harrison

Thursday 7th May 2020

 

Dear Parents and Carers,

 

Another week has gone by since I last wrote to you and the amount of speculation about schools opening has risen to new heights. Please be assured that I have no further information than you and am disappointed that the Government is not making its plans known today as we were told. Over the past week, the staff and Leeds Education Authority have looked at a vast range of scenarios but to be honest, without clear guidance about which children and when they would return, it is a pointless task. If we have to maintain 2m social distancing in classrooms, we can fit 6 children and 1 adult in one room at any one  time. So I have no idea where that leaves us. Just so you know, we are already thinking about:

  • Social distancing
  • Deep cleaning
  • Staff shortages
  • Children who are taken ill in school/develop symptoms
  • PPE for staff
  • Face masks
  • School meals
  • Care or education
  • Provision of educational activities for children not in school

Above all – safety!

 

These are all questions that Head Teachers raised in a virtual meeting with Council Leaders yesterday. We have asked them to provide guidelines once we know what the Government plans for schools is. That way we can liaise with the high schools too. They will be setting up a working party of Heads to come up with the plans and I have been asked to join them. I will, of course, keep you up to date when I know more.

 

We are closely in touch with high schools so our Year 6s can be reassured that we are giving their transition a high priority. Miss Day has been sorting out the refunds for Herd Farm and other day trips. We are still awaiting information from NST, the travel company, about the Year 5 trip but the Government advice is that it has to be cancelled. Thank you to Miss Day for that and organising the class photos.

 

The Government’s Free School Meal Voucher system has been a logistical nightmare. For those who are entitled, thank you for your patience. Mrs Mulvihill has had to access the Edenred system in the middle of the night and spend hours in the queue to secure the codes. Please make sure that you redeem them as soon as they arrive as they may be lost forever otherwise.

 

I would like to thank everyone who is keeping in touch with their staff team through the class emails or following the blog to see what everyone is up to. The longer this situation goes on, the harder it becomes for everyone. There is still a lot of external pressure on “making sure children don’t fall behind”. The children who will find it hardest when we do go back will not be the ones who have missed some blocks of maths or a topic on the Egyptians. It will be those that have had stressful experiences in some form or other. If you have to work all day or you have limited data or devices, or if your child is reluctant to complete online worksheets, please don’t think that you are being judged. Try to get bits of routine, use the BBC bitesize videos or the Oak Online Academy lessons just for the input. If you can’t do that, just read and talk. The most memorable part of this experience for us as a family of Harrisons has been the evening meal when we have sat down together and talked. It is the healthiest way to de-stress and to open minds in an otherwise closed environment. As teachers and support staff, we will pick up where we left off and tailor learning for each and every child. If you can access the learning activities and keep your child focused on the “new way of learning” then great! It will never go to waste! We have been very impressed with the innovative ways you are engaging with the children!

Some useful websites:

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/dailylessons

 

https://www.thenational.academy/

 

Children with Speech and Language needs https://speechandlanguage.info/parents/activities

 

We would like to say a huge thank you to those of you who have purchased the Whizz Pop Bang Science magazine subscription for your child.  By doing so, you have earned the school free Science resources for the life of your subscription.  This gives us access to resources related to our National Curriculum topics that we can share and use with your children.  For those of you who haven't purchased but might be interested, please see the parent mail which was sent to you that contains further information.  You will need to use the code given (ZDGLS22) when purchasing in order for us to receive further rewards.  Thank you for your support, it is much appreciated.

 

If you do change your email address or phone number, please do update it in the SIMS app or let us know at staff@deightongates.leeds.sch.uk We have had some communication difficulties when changes have not been notified to us.

 

Finally, how about a little challenge? I can’t take the credit as I saw it on Twitter! Please can you ask your child to draw/paint a picture of themselves with their first name on, with their hands outstretched to the edge of the paper? Preferably A4 if you can. I would like to display the children holding hands virtually on the outside of the school until we can be inside school together again. You can post it (c/o Mrs Harrison), pop it through the door if you are walking past or send a copy of it to the class email address and staff will forward it on to me to print and laminate. You never know we might be able to get some of the staff to do it too!

 

One final thank you is to all the staff who are working hard behind the scenes to prepare activities online, check in on pupils, support the children we have in school and plan for a return. This is on top of the challenges that they have at home, many of them having caring responsibilities too. We are lucky to have them!

 

For those who get the bank holiday off work tomorrow, enjoy the sunshine. ( I have heard we are plummeting to winter temperatures next week!) I will be back in touch once we know what is happening. Take care and best wishes

 

 

Mrs Claire Harrison

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