...achieving the highest standards of which children are capable in all areas of academic and personal development...
Good morning parents and carers
I hope everyone is still well. It was really lovely to have three groups of children in school last week. Everyone has been happy, glad to be back and has settled quickly despite the rapid change in the weather! Thank you to the children for being so sensible and willing and to all the parents for following our one way system and for being so supportive. We have had some really lovely comments of support which really help. The last few weeks have been particularly challenging and it is really great to hear positive things. It was very emotional on Tuesday welcoming the first of our children back in. I really didn't think we would see any children again this academic year so I am thrilled to see at least some of them.
Please remember we cannot have anyone on site before 8.45am or in any buildings.
Parents of children in school have been asked to commit to three weeks to ensure we can open and operate as safely as possible.We have had a week now to review how things are working. It is clear to us that to maintain the safety of children and staff, the confidence of all and to be able to teach quality lessons, we have to keep to approximately 11 pupils in each key stage 1 class and 10 in year 6. This week we have operated with 8 in year 6 and 16 in key stage 1 overall. We have 30 eligible children in Key stage 1 and 16 in Year 6 therefore if numbers rise considerably we will be looking to alter the way we are running at present, probably implementing a rota system as other schools have done. If any additional Reception, Year 1 or Year 6 children decide they would like to come back (and these remain the eligible year groups and there is no change in government guidance or our school circumstances between now and then) at the moment, they can join from the 22nd June. Please keep an eye on your emails for further information.
Any changes will take some time to plan and implement as I need to be assured that any changes are as safe, manageable and sustainable as possible for the children and staff. The running of our school is still very much dependent on day to day circumstances and is fragile in the respect of limited staffing.
The experience last week felt positive, safe and controlled which made it successful for all and we would want this for all of our children. Please remember that many schools have not yet even opened and we are highly aware of what is happening in the South West - we are still very much in uncharted territory.
There is no guidance at all as yet on the wider opening of school to other year groups. The remaining staff members are currently running our childcare facility.
The 26th June is now NOT an INSET day and school will be open as normal for eligible children.
The children may not have all been in school over lockdown but things have still been happening at school. The swimming pool has been filled in, levelled and ready to be seeded. We will be able to use this area when the grass has grown. Long term, we have plans for a hard surface sports court where we can host matches. Might be a long way off yet!
Judging for the Better Energy School Awards 2020 has now been completed and St Mary’s Primary School's entry ’Plastic - a Poetic Reflection’ was Highly Commended in the Totally Creative category for schools in Wales and western England.
As a Highly Commended entrant, the school will be receiving a cheque for £100 and a special certificate to mark our achievements.
Peter Littlewood, Director of the Young People’s Trust for the Environment, said, "Even with the lockdown in place, we saw some fantastic entries this year and over 28,750 children got involved in submitting projects for the Awards. With this in mind, being Highly Commended is a considerable achievement. "The judges really enjoyed reading the poems. Many of the children had made some really interesting word choices that gave their poetry real resonance and their illustrations were lovely to see too. I am delighted that you will be able to tell some of Year 6 of their success in person and hope that the gradual easing of the lockdown continues successfully at the school." Well done everyone!
It is at this time of year that we normally start thinking about the new class structures for next year. As we do not know (at the moment) how we will be operating in September, it may not be possible to organise classes this side of the summer holidays. I realise this is not ideal and how we would usually want to operate however we are still very much in unknown territory and need to be flexible.
We will also be unable to hold any transition sessions for our new entrants which is also really disappointing. New starter packs have been delivered recently to families. Please ensure we have the appropriate forms returned by the 6th July in order to give us time to put your child's details on the school system. It is more important than ever now that children coming into school can dress themselves and do up their own shoes, are toilet trained and can feed themselves etc, prior to entry into school in September.
You will have received information about school meals going forward and ordering on Parent Pay. I cannot make any changes to the orders once the deadline has passed I'm afraid. Children in receipt of free school meals: packed lunches are delivered to the school at around 11.45am to collect from the school car park from the 22nd June at 12pm if you intend to order them.
The teachers are preparing annual reports. These will include assessments up until the point of lockdown and may include comments on any learning uploaded or observed since that time. The reports will be sent out in the last week of the summer term and you will receive them by email, post (or via a sibling) if your child is not in school.
Finally thank you to our amazing staff team who as usual, are going above and beyond to give the children the best provision possible wherever they are.
I wish you all a lovely week.