Tuesday 3rd November 2020,
Dear Parents and Carers,
I hope you enjoyed the week off from my COVID update letters! I must admit I was tempted to hit the keyboard on Saturday night after the Downing Street Press Conference but resisted the temptation until today! Instead, I wrote to staff in the absence of any guidance for schools.
I don’t think anyone can underestimate the seriousness of the situation that we find ourselves in. The optimistic days of September are long gone and we must recognise that the measures that we have in place now and from Thursday will be with us for some time to come. I really believe that it is right for us to be open to all children, making the best for them out of a dreadful situation but we mustn’t underestimate the toll that takes on us as a school. We greet families at both ends of the day with smiles and positivity as that is the best way to support our children to have some normality in a world that is confusing and often frightening. However, please do not think for a moment that it is normal for staff in school. Staff have their own pressures at home on top of the challenges of working with so many other people when we are being advised to stay at home. All staff are working significantly longer hours, often unpaid. Staff are unable to meet to socially outside of their bubbles and are isolated within classrooms. There are no additional staff to cover breaks, and any staff absence has to be covered with supply staff at additional cost that is not being funded by the Government. Staff absence (through no fault of their own) requires significant management in the early hours of the morning or late at night to minimise the impact on children and to preserve the rigid control measures. I am not saying all of this to moan, but I am stressing the importance of understanding how hard it is to keep school functioning and to make sure we work together to stay open as long as we can. This is a bumpy ride for us all.
Last term we were able to manage with just one bubble closure. This was not just down to luck, but to the systems that we have in place and the dedication of the people that make up Deighton Gates. It is essential that we continue to be vigilant. As we move into colder weather it is essential that children come wrapped up to be warm. We must have windows and doors open to reduce the transmission of aerosols and yet we still have children coming without coats. Please make sure that your child brings everything they need for the day. Our office staff are not able to visit classrooms to deliver forgotten items except in the case of an emergency.
It is likely that at some point some children will need to move to remote learning and I know it is something that I am constantly repeating, but it will be down to parents at home during a bubble/school closure to support their child and make sure that they don’t fall behind. We all know that being at school is the best place for them to learn, and so many children were running in keenly this morning, as school is the one constant in their life right now. But if we can’t be open, our children need to have the best chance of keeping that learning going. This is not the same as when we closed in March when there was a menu of activities. This will be their curriculum moving online. Children that don’t access the teachers’ planned work will miss out. This will go on for months and we know that already. It is daunting but we will pick our way through this together.
It has been a moving moment today to write the card on the Deighton Gates Remembrance Wreath. After 10 years of leading the schools in the Processions (we were the only ones there for many years!), the wreath will be presented on our behalf this year. I hope you will join with me in the 2 minutes silence on Sunday in honour of this.
Thank you for your support with our Hallowe’en day. The children loved it and hopefully we raised some cash for the school too! The donations have been quarantined and are now awaiting collection!
And to end on a positive note…You may have seen the playground markings that Miss Welsh has organised. We are trying to keep the children moving as much as possible as inside PE sessions are very limited at present. These are being funded by the PE grant. We can’t wait to try them out.
Mrs Claire Harrison