8th January

Dear Parents,

Thank you for all your help and support this week as we changed to a new way of working after a brief return on Monday! Apologies for the length of this letter but there is a lot to explain.

I want to publicly thank all the staff who have been working this week, changing their plans at short notice as well as their working patterns. I had no more notice than you did about the changes to lockdown.

If you are interested in helping Covid research and also to have up to date local information about the virus, I recommend using the Zoe COVID-19 app. There is a letter about it and link on our website in the virus information page.

In school care provision is being run by our Teaching Assistants for Critical Worker’s children. They are supporting children to complete their work online, which is being set by Teachers working from home. The message is very clear to work from home where you can and we are following that in school too. We have a range of ages and vulnerabilities in our own staff too.

Thanks to those parents using the school provision, for your understanding and for only using us when you need to attend work away from home. The less children we have in school the better it is for all. We are flexible and can accommodate children for one or two days per week rather than a whole week.

Any parents entering the school site, please remember to wear a mask to protect other parents as well as our staff. We do have some pinch points in school.

For parents at home, the OneDrive system has had times when it has been very slow, probably as the whole country logs in for the day! A similar Google system has also experienced problems, I understand. This does seem to be improving.

Some links in documents may need to be copied and pasted into the browser address bar to make them work or right click on them to open them. I have also been hearing about some people using the browser on their X Box or Playstation to access work.

I have asked the Teachers to implement a weekly online check in with the children at the same time every week. They will be setting these meetings up via Teams. A link will come via email. These will enable children to query any work that they are unsure about and for Teachers to explain any work that is up and coming. Parents will need to be available to support children at these times, particularly the younger ones.

Teachers will check their emails during the working day for any queries but please don’t expect any answers out of these times. I have asked them to respond out of hours as little as possible as they deal with their own families and also need time away from work.

Edinburgh Residential, Year 5 and 6. Following our earlier optimism about this trip, the current ‘lockdown’ situation has led us to re-evaluate.  We have not received replies from all families and cannot be certain that the vaccine will be fully implemented by June.  Also, we are aware that once we start to reserve train tickets etc, we will be incurring costs that are not fully refundable to school.  As a result, we have decided that it is not realistic for us to continue planning for the trip to go ahead.  Some pupils and parents, will we realise, be disappointed by this, but we feel it is unavoidable.  We will, of course, refund all deposits received.

Once again, thank you all for your help and support during these difficult times.

Kerry Stafford-Roberts