I hope that everyone is as well as can be expected.
It has been amazing to see the high levels of engagement from the pupils in their remote learning. Thank you for supporting them - I know this isn't the situation any of us want to be in. There are many campaigns taking off to provide more used IT devices to young people. We have been able to lend some devices out but if you are struggling, please let us know and we can put your name forward for any further devices that come up in the Sherborne area. I'd like to thank the staff for their continued hard work and commitment - our IT infrastructure is sometimes a challenge!
In school, we continue to support children of critical workers and vulnerable pupils only. Vulnerable pupils are identified by Dorset County Council. As we know, it is vitally important to keep these numbers as small as possible to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus. We thank everyone for their support with this. Staff are now carrying out self testing by lateral flow test twice weekly to identify any asymptomatic cases. If positive cases arise, bubbles will be closed according to PHE guidelines of close contact.
If you are worried about your child then please do contact one of the Educational Psychology helplines emailed earlier this morning. The services are very good and can provide you with really helpful resources to support your children.
Over Christmas, the EYFS play space was given a facelift by removing the play bark and installing astroturf which makes the area much bigger and usable.
Also on Christmas Eve, I gained a new member of the family. Prince - a now 12 week black labrador joined us from a therapy farm, in Devon. He lives in my office during the day and isn't allowed anywhere the children play/learn - strictly 'backstage' - we are still a no dog site in that respect. In time, if Prince's temperament is right and we are able to access the right training, the plan is for him to become a therapy/reading dog. He will still stay in my office but pupils can come and spend time with him. Of course full parental permission for this would be gained beforehand and all risk assessments in place. This is a long way off, not least because of Covid19 but also because he needs to be fully grown.
Mrs Pennock has informed me she will be leaving the staff on the 19th February. Mrs Pennock has been a valuable member of staff leading breakfast club and acting as a Teaching Assistant and Lunchtime Supervisor - she will be sorely missed. Jenny and her family are planning to move to Buckinghamshire later in the year. We wish them all the very best. Martin Pennock has also been on the governing body for some years and has been a committed parent governor supporting the work of the school - thank you both.
As we currently have no guarantee when schools will be reopening fully, I am unable to appoint a replacement breakfast club supervisor - the role is currently furloughed. This may mean that breakfast club will be unable to run for some weeks when the school is fully reopen in order to give us time to carry out the recruitment process. We may also be looking for a temporary lunchtime supervisor from the second half of the February term to cover one class bubble. I will, of course, keep you informed.
Wishing you as good a week as possible; take care.