Tuesday 16th June
Dear Parents and Carers,
My thanks goes out to all of the parents who completed the questionnaire we sent to parents of children in Nursery, EYFS and Years One and Six last week. This has enabled us to change our offer for the Government identified priority groups. Unfortuantely, we do not have scope to welcome more children back into school from other year groups at the moment. However, we are keeping the situation under continual review and we will update you if anything changes.
Below you will find the two letters that we sent out today with regard to opening the school further.
As both letters state, if you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to call the school office or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday 10th June, 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
I am sure many of you will have seen yesterday that the intention to have all primary school pupils back for a month prior to the end of the summer term has been dropped by the Government.
At Capel St Mary CEVC Primary School, we have welcomed more children back into formal education in a way that we hope has assured you as parents is safe and also is productive for your children. We had anticipated that an announcement of some type would be made around this time and planned for this. Next week we are going to be formally reviewing our offer and we will be communicating with you about what this means for your children.
Please rest assured that the Class Dojo where you can ask questions of teachers and the remote work put up on the website will continue for as long as it is necessary and certainly until the end of the summer term.
Unfortunately, I do not have a crystal ball and I am unable to predict where we will be in September. However, you can rest assured that we will do everything we can to ensure that your child’s education is not impeded by the current situation.
As ever if you have any specific questions please do not hesitate to contact the school by phone or by email: email@example.com
Tuesday 2nd June, 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
The school reopened on Monday 1st June for those children who asked for a place in Nursery, EYFS, Year One and Year Six.
As we pointed out in our information if you did not request a place at this time you will not be able to send your child in at the moment. We have planned carefully for the numbers we have and we have also ensured that we are able to respect the social distancing measures for children and for staff.
We are going to review our arrangements the end of the third week of term and we will contact you with further information nearer the time.
We have also noted that the number of Key Worker children has increased this week. In order to keep the children in their bubbles and to allow us to allocate our staff effectively we may have to give priority to these children going forwards.
In any event we will make sure that we keep you informed of next steps as soon as we are aware of them.
Friday 29th May
School is returning for children in Nursery, EYFS, Year One and Year Six for those parents who have requested a place.
At this highly unusual time we appreciate that it may be difficult for you and your child to imagine what this is going to be like. It will be different.
Below are a couple of posters which might help you to discuss things with your children to reassure them.
We are really looking forward to welcoming the children back on Monday 1st June. The new arrangements are bound to be rather strange to start with but we are confident that as each day passes things will get easier.
Friday 22nd May
Dear Parents and Carers,
As you know Monday 1st June, 2020 is the date indicated by the Government for children in Nursery, EYFS, Year One and Year Six to return to school. There has been a lot in the press and indications from the Government that is both supportive of this date and contrary to it. We are assuming that we will be open for groups of these wider cohorts, so, unless you hear directly from us, please assume that we are open on the 1st June for those children who have been invited in and for those vulnerable children and key workers' children who have indicated that they need us.
Below this you will find the documents that we have produced as our final arrangements for reopening. This includes a letter to the parents of Nursery, EYFS, Year One and Year SIx, a FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and a draft addendum to the Behaviour policy. Governors have not had a chance to approve this as yet but I felt it was important that you see what we are intending to do. We are also putting on line our Risk Assessment so you can see all of the actions that we have taken.
I hope that you are able to enjoy some of the good weather that is forecast over half term and we look forward to welcoming more children back after half term.
Please note that there will be no PD Day on Monday 1st June.
Monday 18th May
Half Term Week:
As parents will know the Government have said that they want schools to reopen in a limited way from Monday 1st June. We intend to do this with some children from the specifeid year groups. Due to the physical make up of the classrooms and the nature of the spaces this will be on a rota basis as detailed last week.
To allow teachers to make preparations and to ensure that their classrooms are prepared we will not be posting any work on the website next week and the school will be closed.
If you are a Key Worker parent, we would ask that if possible you make different arrangements for this week. However, if this is not possible please let us know as soon as possible so we can put something into place for you.
Please remember that if you are a Key Worker, regardless of what Year Group your child is in we will be open to support you everyday from the 1st June as we are now.
Friday 15th May, 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
Today you will be receiving some documents through Parent Mail. If your child is in Nursery, EYFS, Year One and Year Six, you will be receiving a letter, the proposal for reopening that we have put together as well as a survey which asks you to tell us what you would like to do.
As you can appreciate 'Guidance' is being sent out from the DFE all the time and we are responding to this when we get it. At all times our priority is the safety of your children and the staff at this school. Our decisions to this point have been governed by this and Governors are aware of what we are doing.
I realise that this is an unsettling time for children and parents and we are doing our upmost to ensure that we explain what we are doing fully. The documents that we are providing for you are long but this is so that you have as much information as possible to help you make an informed decision.
I am posting all of the letters and documents here for you to have further reference to.
Tuesday 12th May, 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
The Prime Minster has announced further detail regarding the return to school of Nursery, Reception, Year One and Year Six children. That advice can be found below.
Please would all parents read this document through.
On Friday 15th May we will be communicate with you again regarding these arrangements. As you can appreciate the timescale we have been given is a short one, we are working to ensure that the safety of the children and the staff is paramount.
Monday 11th May, 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
Following the Government's announcement last night, the school will await the official guidelines on the phased return of pupils ahead of confirming details to parents, pupils and staff.
The safety of our whole school community remains our priority at this time.
VE Day Friday 8th May
Friday 8th May is the 75th commemoration of VE Day. We had planned to have a tea party on the playground to focus the children on the significance of this day and to give them an opportunity to find out what life might have been like.
Clearly, we are not going to be able to do this. However, Mrs Dean has suggested that it might be nice idea if parents held their own VE Day Tea Party to commemorate the day, respecting Social Distancing and in your own gardens of course! We would be delighted to see any pictures of your Tea Party.
Some of the work next week will have a focus on VE Day so this will be a great link for you to exploit.
If you have not taken the opportunity to sign up for Class Dojo please do so. It is a great way for you to communicate directly with your child's class teacher and if your children to show them what they have been doing.
If you would like to do this please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can add you. Please tell us the name of your child, their class and also the email address you would like us to use and we will take it from there.
So far over 150 parents have taken us up on this free offer.
Advice from the Government on supporting children learning at home:
Supporting your children's education during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Information, guidance and support for parents and carers of children who are learning at home.
This page and information for teachers will be updated regularly to include further resources and reflect the latest information and developments.
Schools, nurseries and childcare providers are currently closed to the majority of children. Places are available for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers.
While staying at home due to coronavirus, parents and carers may be worried about their children’s development and the impact of missing school or nursery.
No one expects parents to act as teachers, or to provide the activities and feedback that a school or nursery would. Parents and carers should do their best to help children and support their learning while dealing with competing demands.
Get specific advice on how education can continue at home for your children:
Parents of secondary school children should contact their school for guidance. Additional advice will be available for these parents soon.
Alongside any work your children receive from school, you can try using online educational resources covering various subjects and age groups. These have been recommended by teachers and school leaders.
Educational programmes to help children learn at home are available on the BBC.
It is important to have regular conversations about staying safe online and to encourage children to speak to you if they come across something worrying online.
The change of routine and staying at home may make this a difficult time for some children. Public Health England has published advice on how to support your children’s wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak.
Guidance is also available to help you look after your own mental health.
Information on incorporating learning into everyday life and play.
Structuring your day and knowing how to provide support and feedback.
Resources designed to support special educational needs and disabilities.
Published 19 April 2020
Saturday 18th April, 2020
Heart Radio Breakfast Show
As some of you may know Heart Breakfast Show is currently running a weekday competition between teachers and children. The score at the moment is 15 to the children and 1 for the teachers. The idea of the game is for teachers to be asked questions that children would know the answer to and for children to answer questions that teachers might know. Well, a member of staff from Capel St Mary Primary has taken part. Listen out on Monday morning to see how they get on!
Class Dojo and Website Update
On Monday all of the responses we have received regarding Class Dojo will be inputted. This will mean that parents will be able to log on to the Class Dojo website and see the work that has been set. It also offers a way for parents to communicate directly with their child's class teacher by asking questions about the work. We would ask that parents limit themselves to two concise questions a day. Teachers will answer the questions when they log on to the site. Clearly with classes of over 25 children this could amount to 50 or so questions a day. We would ask that parents are patient with the teachers and not to expect an answer within minutes. Teachers will endeavour to answer any questions within a 48 hour time period.
Parents will also see that that ere is a portfolio section where children can upload work. We are not going to be using this at present but will keep this under review as we go forward.
The same work will be posted on Class Dojo and on the School's Unit Pages and this will allow parents to use either site. We are devising work that does not always need to be printed as we are aware of the difficulties that this can present.
The Government has announced that the present situation is going to continue for the next three weeks at least. This is why we have decided to make sure that work will be updated on a weekly basis. You can expect five pieces of Maths and English each week with a couple of additional activities covering topic or science. There will also be suggestions based on physical activity.
Please do not feel pressured into doing any of these activities. We realise how difficult it is to teach your child at home. Please ensure that your child is reading regularly and that they are having a go at some writing and maths activities. When we do eventually go back we will be taking the children on from where they are. The work that we are setting at the moment is revision of what children have already been taught and designed to allow the children to reinforce this knowledge rather than teaching anything new.
We have been asked if the school would like to contribute to an art project that is currently taking place:
We would like to help with decorating a site in Ipswich used by NHS staff and other key workers. We’d love to have the site decorated with pictures from children at Capel St Mary CEVC Primary School, to show their appreciation to NHS workers and all of the other essential workers that will be visiting in coming weeks.
The decoration will be printed out on A4 paper, laminated and will decorate the car park exit - so bright and bold designs would be fantastic! You can use phrases on you work like: “thank you NHS”, “thank you carers”, “thank you ambulance” etc would also be greatly appreciated.
Please send scans or photos of your artwork to: email@example.com so we can send the work on. If you are unable to do this you could also post your work into school and we will scan it for you.
We would like to send off our submissions at the beginning of next week. Please get all of your contributions in by Monday 27th April.
School Opening Times
The school is going to be open every day during term time from 8.55am to 3.30pm. As per Government instructions the school is currently open for Key Workers and Vulnerable children only. If you or your child needs care please contact the school using the firstname.lastname@example.org email address to let us know so we can arrange appropriate cover.
I would like to remind parents and carers that the Government advice states that if at all possible children and adults should remain at home as this avoids the possibility of additional infections and so additional stress on the NHS.
Please stay safe.
Wednesday 8th April, 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
Please could you let us know if you need us after the Easter holiday. We already have some bookings for this first week back and if you have already booked there is no need to let us know again. However, if you do need us please do let us know so we can organise appropriate staffing.
Can I remind everyone though that this is only open to the parents of children who are key workers or for those children who are defined as vulnerable.
Even if you are in one of these groups I would remind you of the Government advice which states that if at all possible children should be looked after at home as this will reduce the chance of the virus spreading. The children we currently have in school have parents who are working directly with those who may already have the virus.
We also understand that some families have different parenting arrangements. We would ask that parents do discuss with each other their arrangements if it means they could avoid sending their children to school. This will minimise the risk to your child and your family.
Thursday 2nd April 2020
Dear Parents Carers,
I just wanted to keep you up to date with our plans for the coming weeks.
Over the Easter holiday we intend to remain open on the days that we are needed. This means that it is imperative that key workers and parents of vulnerable children let us know as soon as possible when they require child care over the break. Please ring the school office or email us at email@example.com .Contrary to a previous communication we will remain open if we are needed even by one parent if at all possible but clearly we do not wish to open unnecessarily.
Over the nest two weeks teachers are planning new information to go on to the Unit pages of the website. After Easter there will be weekly updates of things for you to do with your child. We are trying to ensure that not all of this requires the use of a printer of the internet. We are also currently looking into ways that teachers can communicate directly with the children. Bear with us while we get this set up. Again, this should be up and running at the start of the summer term. Please keep an eye out for a letter where you give your permission for us to do this. We cannot involve your child unless we have explicit permission.
Please stay safe and remember that at the moment this is a highly unusual situation and not to become unduly anxious about your child's education. You can rest assured that all parents are feeling the same and our teaching will reflect the needs of all the children when we reopen.
Dear Parents and Carers,
A colleague posted this on a Headteacher's website. I have copied because it accurately states what all the staff here at Capel St Mary CEVC Primary School feel.
Lots of people are feeling stressed, overwhelmed and under pressure by everything that's happening. This includes the work being sent home for your child. I wanted to just give my perspective on it all as a Headteacher and I hope this can help with that somewhat.
A few points to note first:
1) This is not homeschooling. This is an unprecedented emergency situation impacting on the whole world. Let's keep perspective. Homeschooling is a choice, where you considered, you plan for it and you are your child's school teacher in whatever form you choose. This is, at best, distance learning. In reality, it's everyone trying to separate their bums from their elbows, because none of us know what we're doing and what's right and wrong here.
2) You are, and always have been, your child's primary educator. If you decide that your child isn't going to engage with anything sent home and is going to spend the entire period playing in the dirt, or baking, or watching TV, then that is your choice. That is your right. There is nothing to stress or feel guilty about.
3) Schools don't know what they're doing either. They had no notice, no preparation time and we were NOT told to 'continue to plan lessons as normal and just send them home' – that’s NOT possible. If it were, we'd all be out of a job!
4) It is absolutely not possible to facilitate distance learning with a primary aged child and work from home at the same time. The very idea is nonsense. If you're trying to do that, stop now. You can certainly have activities where your child learns, but your focus is your job, and survival. Again, unprecedented. Stop trying to be superheroes.
So, a few FAQs:
- My school has sent home lots of physical work. Pages and pages, hours and hours. How am I supposed to get through it all?!
You're not, don't try. Your child's teacher spent a couple of hours in utter panic gathering things to send home so they could say they did their best and there wasn't a lot of complaints that enough didn't go home. It's not a competition, or a race, it’s unlikely the teacher will even manage to look at it all.
- My school keeps sending home links and emails with more work. How do I make it stop? Ahhhhhh!
See above. These are suggestions and ideas because the school is worried they're not offering enough. Use them if they suit you, don't if they don't suit. If you're getting stressed, stop opening the emails. No one will know!
- Someone in my child's class has everything done and we've barely started. Will they fall behind?
Even if everything were equal in terms of support, time and number of children (which it’s not) all children learn at different rates. In the class there's a wide range of levels in all subjects, there's different paces and there are many children working on differentiated levels of work. It's almost impossible for teachers to differentiate at the moment, so you don’t have to do it either.
Your child will not fall behind. This is all revision and reminder work. If children could all learn new concepts without specific teaching, we wouldn't need teachers. They will cover all of this again, multiple times.
- I'm not doing any work with my kids. All they're doing is building Lego, cooking and playing outside.
All of this is learning -very valuable learning. Give yourself and them a break.
- How can I get three different lots of work done with 3 different kids of different ages?
You can't, stop trying. If they're old enough, try to get them to do little bits independently. Otherwise try to do something they can all engage with, reading a story together, some free writing, baking etc.
- So what's the bare minimum you'd expect?
For me, survival mode. I won't pretend that may be true of all teachers, but you know what?, if they can't have perspective in a time like this then I wouldn't overly worry about their opinion anyway.
My ideal for the children in our school?
- A bit of reading every day (independent or to them or via audiobook etc)
- Some free writing now and then. If they'll keep a diary or something, great. If not, would they draw a comic?
- Practical hands on maths. Be that via cooking, cleaning, outside or some maths games, physical or digital.
- Some fine motor work. Lego, cutting, playdough, tidying up small toys.
- Physical exercise everyday
- Some art/music where possible through the week. Doesn't need to be guided.
-Stretch goal, if old enough getting them to independently work on a project is great for keeping brains ticking over. Get them researching in a book or online and putting together something to present to you or family.
- If younger, lots of imaginative free play, the more independent the better.
You are doing enough. You are loving your kids and supporting them through a difficult time. Look after yourself. Minimising stress is absolutely vital in a time like this for mental health. Don't let this be something that stresses you. Only you can control that by accepting it is in your circle of control, you are the primary educator and this is all your call.
Re Opening on the 20th April
We have received a telephone call asking if the school will reopen as usual after the Easter holiday. The school will only be open from the 20th April for the parents of children who are in vulnerable groups and for Key workers.
We will only fully reopen when the current situation changes and we will inform you of this date.
The Easter Holidays
Dear Parents and Carers,
As you are aware the school is remaining open for the children of Key Workers and vulnerable children only at the moment. The Easter holiday is approaching and I wanted to brief parents about our intentions.
The school will be closed from Good Friday - Friday 10th April and will open again on Monday 20th April. So the last day that we will be open for children is Thursday 9th April. As you can see this means that we are intending to be open over the first week of the Easter Holiday, however this will only be the case if that is required by parents of Key Workers only.
Please would you email the school at firstname.lastname@example.org if you require a place from Friday 3rd April - Thursday 9th April by midday on Thursday 2nd April. If we do not hear from you before this point the school will be closed.
The Local Authority is also putting together plans to assist Key Workers and Vulnerable children. It may be the case that by the time we get to the Easter break these arrangements will already be in place. We will of course follow any instructions that we are given from both local and national government.
I have asked my teaching staff to begin to update the work that is on the unit pages of the website after the 20th April, so please do not expect more work to be added until then. Staff are currently working on writing reports which will be with you later in the summer term. These will be in a slightly different format to reflect the reduced curriculum offer.
Unfortunately, the Ofsted report following the inspection cannot be published while the school is closed. I am waiting to hear from Ofsted if they regard the school as open at the moment in a reduced capacity. You can rest assured that as soon as we are able to we will publish the report and get it to all parents.
Monday 23rd March 2020
Can I thank parents for their community spirit in only sending in those children who need to be with us. Today there are 28 children in school. We understand that there may be more as the week progresses can I please ask that if you need to bring your child in you let us know before hand so we only need to have in the staff that are required.
We have been asked by some parents about organising play dates. This is not a good idea. Please remember that social distancing applies to children as well as parents and as far as possible children should remain at home.
If there is anything that we can do to support you please do not hesitate to get into contact preferably by email.
Monday 23rd March - Limited School Opening
As you will know the school is open for Key Workers and children who fall into vulnerable groups only from Monday 23rd March, 2020. The letter below gives the lift of Key Workers.
Can I please remind parents of the Government advice. We should all be socially distancing ourselves. If you send your child to school when you do not need to you are not following this advice. I have a duty of care to all of the children and all of my staff who are placing themselves at risk to look after the children. I know it goes without saying but please do not abuse this situation. The school is already going to be short staffed as there are many members of staff who have underlying medical conditions and so are not allowed to come in.
I know I can rely upon parents to follow the Government advice and be reasonable in this difficult situation.
Headteacher - Saturday 21st March 2020
Advice from the Government Tuesday 17th March 2020
New guidance for households with symptoms
Yesterday, the Government introduced new guidance on whole household isolation in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak:
The symptoms are:
The full stay at home guidance for households with these symptoms can be found here:
The Prime Minister’s statement from Monday 16 March can be found here:
Head teacher Meeting Tuesday 17th March 2020
To ensure that there is a continuity of approach between the East Bergholt Cluster of Primary Schools the Heads have met to decide upon a joint course of action. The letter below sets these out.
Can I ask that parents or children do not access the School Closure activities on the individual unit pages until such time as the school is closed.
Advice Received on Friday 13th March, 2020
Government announces move from Contain to Delay phase
Yesterday, the Government announced that we are moving from the Contain phase of the coronavirus action plan and into the Delay phase, in response to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
To support the delay of the spread of the virus, the Department for Health and Social Care has asked anyone who shows certain symptoms to stay at home for 7 days, regardless of whether they have travelled to affected areas. This means people should stay at home and avoid all but essential contact with others for 7 days from the point of displaying mild symptoms, to slow the spread of infection.
The symptoms are:
Current advice remains in place: no education or children’s social care setting should close in response to a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case unless advised to do so by Public Health England.
The Chief Medical Officer has advised that the impact of closing schools on both children’s education and on the workforce will be substantial, but the benefit to public health may not be. Decisions on future advice to schools will be taken based on the latest and best scientific evidence, which at this stage suggests children are a lower risk group.
Advice Received Wednesday 11th March
Below is the advice from the DfE regarding education settings.
Advice from Public Health England continues to be for education and children’s social care settings to remain open, unless advised otherwise. We are continually reviewing how best to support all educational settings and the impact of any measures will be considered carefully before being implemented.
Further Advice 10th March 2020
We have now been given further advice regarding Covid 19 please see below for this information:
Covid 19 Virus
Many parents have quiet rightly expressed concerns regarding the Coronavirus outbreak. As an educational setting we are required to follow the instructions that are given to us from national government, Public Health England and the local authority.
At the present moment in time I am receiving daily updates from the County Council which I am passing on to all members of staff. All children have been spoken to regarding basic hygiene arrangements to ensure that if the virus does come into the area we are as well prepared as we can be.
Below you will find a poster and two links to a website which will give you more information.
I would like to remind parents that the school will not close unless we are instructed to do so by Public Health England.
Tuesday 3rd March