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Posted on: September 25th 2020

Message from Caroline Lancey, Acting Head of School

A message from Caroline Lancey (Acting Head of School)

Dear Parents/Carers,

We've had a very strange but very wonderful start to the year. Your children have adapted really well to staying in their bubbles and ensuring they are regularly washing hands.  Whilst it's strange leaving and collecting children at the gate we have noticed that the vast majority of children have responded really well.  

We have already had 2 visits; one from the Deputy CEO Sue Rogers and  one from the incoming Chair of Trustees, Simon Billington (who interestingly is an ex Priorswood Head). Both were really impressed with how purposeful and calm the whole school was and how quickly and well the children settled to their learning.  Breaks and lunchtimes are going well. The feedback I have had from the children is that they are really enjoying having more of the playground to play on.  We have seen a noticeable decrease in accidents and behaviour incidents.  In the past the dining hall was often a noisy place as children were filling in spaces as others left.  They were concerned about getting a seat and would there be a space next to them for their friend.  So, we have organised for them to sit in the same place which has reduced the anxiety and made it a much calmer place.  We have also made a box for each group with activities for them to do whilst they are waiting to be taken outside.  This has meant that some children are taking their time to eat as they can't go out as soon as they have finished.  It is allowing us to support those children who haven't yet developed the fine motor skills they need to use a knife and fork properly. 

DOJO

We are sending this first newsletter as a hard copy but from now on you will have to access them either on Dojo or the school website. If you would prefer to continue having this as a printed newsletter please let us know.

I hope that you found Dojo really useful over lock down.  It is the way we communicate with you.  If (heaven forbid) we have to go into lockdown again it is where your child's class teacher will post work and let you know what we are expecting the children to do.  You can use it to send messages to us (teachers will put quiet hours on in the evenings and weekends) it is also a quick way to let you know if there is a change or to send you reminders.  If you don't have Dojo yet can I please ask that you ring the school and we will support you to get connected.  Thanks.

NEW STAFF

Miss Emily Griffin has joined us as Owl Class teacher.  Miss Thompson will be working with Mrs Powell-Thomas in Otter Class.  Mrs Cullen has taken over outdoor education and PE.  Last but not least, Mrs Perry will be working with Mr Murphy in Year 6.

GOODBYES

We have said goodbye to two highly valued members of staff.  Mrs Margaret Greenslade has decided to retire completely and we wish her well.  Miss Hannah Davis has left us to join the Somerset and Avon Police Force.  We are sad to see her go but are looking forward to her visiting us in her uniform.

COVID

I appreciate this is a difficult time for all of you and as we go into cold and flu season it will become more difficult.  All I can do is reassure you we have done everything we can to keep your children as safe as possible.  We have followed all the government advice.  I know some of the children have found it difficult as they can't play with friends in other classes.  But, if they were allowed to mix with other classes and we had a confirmed case of COVID instead of having to close one bubble we could be faced with closing the whole school.  None of us want that, we want to keep the school open for as many as possible.  

This is why we aren't running after school clubs as we couldn't do it without mixing children across bubbles.  It is difficult but we will come through it and when we do; I want every single one of my 158 children in place and healthy.

 

Yesterday I sent out a survey via Dojo asking how you would like your children to be supported if we have to go into lockdown again.  We won't be able to provide it in lots of different way so I will go with the majority view. It is important therefore that you take part in the survey and have your voice heard.

ASSEMBLIES

I am currently doing all my assemblies virtually, which is very odd as there isn't the reaction and response I get when we are all in the same room.  Yet another example of the new normal!   I am planning that we will go ahead with our usual class assemblies available to the parents of the children in that class by a zoom link. 

We will be hosting a virtual Harvest Festival on 6th October.  We would welcome tins and packets of food.  We will be donating these to old people in our community.  We have all had it hard during COVID but often the elderly have been harder hit.  Many have faced isolation on top of everything else and just knowing that people around them care is an enormous boost.  We aren't allowed to let groups of more than 15 sing so each class will be performing a harvest related poem.  We will post a link to this assembly on Dojo nearer the time.

Phew!  I have done my first newsletter of the year.  

 

 

 

 

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Priorswood Primary School Challenge their pupils during the recent lockdown Posted on: 1/02/2021

Priorswood Primary School Challenge their pupils during the recent lockdown

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A message from Caroline Lancey Posted on: 29/01/2021

A message from Caroline Lancey

29th January 2021 Dear All, I have found this a really strange bulletin to write.  The Central team at The Trust suggested that doing the newsletter as normal would be a good way to keep lines of communication open.  However, with teachers turning up on your doorsteps once a week, coming into your homes twice daily and some of you having additional calls and zoom sessions, you probably are seeing more of us than you ever have before (and more than you would like to, most likely).  Remote learning I am aware that the expectation this time round is much greater than it was last time and that it is very difficult to support your children at home.  So, thank you for all your efforts, the teachers have been really impressed with the learning that is coming back each week. Many of our staff are in the same position as you, they are doing their work and trying to support their children’s home learning so, we completely understand.  If you have any problems, please Dojo your child’s teacher via messenger.  They have been quick to follow up with phone calls where children have struggled. If we could open the school to everyone we would; but at the moment, we are having to adhere to strict group numbers. Thank you to those who filled in the parent survey. 96% of parents said their children were coping with the current situation. 100% felt the learning was being explained clearly. 91% felt their child was able to complete the work set each day. 87% said their child looked forward to the zoom sessions.  A further 9% said they couldn’t access them but we have now arranged laptops to help them with this. 92% felt that the amount of learning was just right.  The other 8% were split evenly between too much and too little.  It is a very hard line to walk so it looks like for most of you we got it right. 100% felt that there was a good level of communication and feedback on their children’s  learning. We had lots of positive comments as well and where there were suggestions about how we could improve; somebody from the school has contacted those parent to seek a solution. Covid Testing As I am sure you are aware from the News, the staff (this is all staff including, teaching and support staff) are now being tested twice a week and reporting their result to the Government on-line. Laptops Mr Arndell has very kindly reconditioned some laptops and donated them to the school.  We haven’t got loads but if you feel your child would do better on a laptop rather than a phone let us know and we can lend them to you.  They have Windows 10 on them but very little else.  If you have WiFi or are happy to use your phone as a hot spot your child will be able to access the zoom meetings, the daily learning and sites such as MyMaths and Spelling Shed. I can’t thank Mr Arndell enough it has been a great boost for us as we struggle with ICT in the school, so thank you. Building Over half term we are hoping that the kitchen roof will be finished and a better extraction system installed. The engineers are continuing to put in the piping and radiators that are needed for our new heating system.  We are hoping that the new boiler will be installed over the Easter Holidays and the swap from the old heating system to the new will happen in April.      Categories: 1 CategorySchool News
Covid 19 Update January 2021 Posted on: 2/01/2021

Covid 19 Update January 2021

2nd January 2021 Dear Parents and carers Happy New Year and I hope you had a pleasant Christmas and I wish you all the best in the circumstances. I am sure that you are all aware we are now in a Tier 4 region.  We are NOT on the contingency framework list which means we will be open on Tuesday the 5th for children. We have reviewed our arrangements for the start and end of the day and don’t feel that we could do anything more than we are at the moment. We are fortunate in having 3 entrances; many schools don’t have this luxury. Having different start and end times for different classes would make it incredibly difficult for parents with several children.  So we need your help; Firstly, we are asking that all adults dropping off children and collecting them ensure that they and their children socially distance from all other adults and children that are not in their bubble.  We ask that you judge your arrival time so it is as close to the opening times as possible in this way you do not have to hang around for too long. This is particularly the case with the oldest children at the front of the school, many of whom walk to school on their own and are arriving 10-15 minutes before the gates are opened.  You know how long it takes for your child to walk to school so don’t let them leave the house before that time.  Ideally people should be arriving and going straight in. 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A message from Caroline Lancey Posted on: 18/12/2020

A message from Caroline Lancey

Dear Parents/Carers, Welcome to our final newsletter of 2020.  I have to say I don't think any of us would have predicted how the year would have turned out.  I know it has been very disruptive and all of us have had to make sacrifices.  However, the children have settled and it appears that they are catching up the ground they have missed.  Don't under estimate the impact you have, keep reading with them daily, help them with their number bonds or times tables.  Over the holidays watch some of the lovely children's programmes that are based on well-known children's books, then talk about what they have seen, ask questions about how characters are feeling or why they did what they did.  Giving reasons for their thoughts is something we are working on in school.  Get them to write a thank you note or two.  So what has Christmas been like in school, has it been no Christmas post, no Carol Concert, No Nativity, no Christmas Lunch or Party.  You would think so....especially when I came across this: No Nativity this year as the 3 Wise Men face a travel ban. The Shepherds have been furloughed. The Inn Keeper has shut under tier 3 regulations and has had a slump in bookings. Santa won't be working as it would break the rule of 6 with Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Donner and Blitzen. As for Rudolph, with that red nose he should be self-isolating and taking a test! I hope it made you smile, it did me.  But we have managed to do everything we normally would, albeit in a different format.  I know that we had a few technological problems with the evening performance of the Nativity so, thank you for sticking with it.  I hope you agree it was worth it. The Advent calendar has been brilliant, it has been a joy to watch and I know that a lot of the classes look forward to sharing it each day.   We have ended the year with a really positive monitoring visit from our Trust leads.  We know we have things to still work on but the overriding message in the report is that we are on the up, behaviour throughout the school is good, learning is much better and the children are getting a better and more interesting curriculum. Uniforms One of the things I tell children is that school isn't just about learning Maths and English it is also about learning to be a grown up.  Being at a certain place at a certain time, turning up even when you don't want to and being dressed the way you are expected to be.  You can help massively with this. I have noticed that there are an increasing number of children wearing training shoes to school.  I know that shops have been closed lately so I understand it has been difficult.  However, we are about to have two weeks off and the shops are now open so when we reopen in January I am expecting ALL children to be in correct school uniform.  This includes black shoes. (The school uniform is out lined on the parent page of the website). Can I also remind you that this also means shoulder length hair should be tied up.  It shouldn't be any shorter than a number 3 anywhere on the head.  It should also be a natural colour.    Earrings should be studs and not loops.  This is a safety issue as they can be easily caught especially in Forest School I will finish by saying a huge thank you and well done to all the staff; all of whom work so hard and as a leader this is the best bit NEVER moan (well not when I am around anyway LOL). They have made the difficult situation bareable and more than workable for your children. Have a very Happy Christmas, I wish you all well and I look forward to seeing all the children on Tuesday the 5th of January.  Categories: 1 CategorySchool News
Message from Caroline Lancey, Acting Head of School Posted on: 20/11/2020

Message from Caroline Lancey, Acting Head of School

Dear All, We have had another busy month.  Mr Ripley has started a new Twitter feed and there has been a great response to it.  In fact, we are increasingly getting positive responses to a lot that is happening in school.  This is great and I am glad that more and more of you are feeling positive about the school.  It was really bought home to me when I received this lovely e-mail message from Pedro’s mum, who sadly has had to return to Spain:  I would like to thank everybody as Pedro is so happy here since the very first day.  He has been enjoying the school every minute that he has been here and he loves it...his favourite one ever. it is very sad for him and for me to have to leave but it is the best thing for us at this moment. I would like you to thank everybody because all of you made him love learning, reading, writing, sport, forest school...he loves everything you do at this school and that makes him be sad today but he had very wonderful moments sharing with his teachers and friends that I think he will never forget... I am sure that, as a school, we have really turned a corner, we just need to get that message out to the wider community.  Schools are often living on a reputation that is several years out of date both positive and negative. Several children had their work form part of a display for Remembrance at St Andrews, which was lovely.  It was great to see so many spotty creations last week for Children in Need.  It was good to be able to raise money for such a good cause but also it allowed the children to feel a responsibility to their wider community.  Badger Class have been working with an artist this week.  The theme of the art work is nocturnal animals and will be part of the Winter  Wanderland displays in the area.  All the other children will have an opportunity do their own art work in this style with Mrs Cullen next week.  We are hoping that you can put your child’s work up in one of your windows for your neighbours to enjoy; you could use it as inspiration and add to it.  In these difficult times wrapping up warm and going for a walk to see these wonderful windows is a great way to entertain the children.  In my house we used to call it ‘A no money fun day!’  There will be lots of houses decorated beautifully for Christmas as well to look at. The roof is now finished and the scaffolding is coming down so, hopefully we won’t be having the unwanted attention any more.   The heating work is continuing which is great as we now have hot water in most of the classes. We are now getting ready for the build up to Christmas.  Next week the winter displays will be up.  This year the story is ‘The Gruffalo’s Child’ which has a wonderful wintery feel.  The younger ones are preparing for the nativity; all the classes are practising things to share with you on the Advent calendar.  There is also the Christmas lunch, Movie night and the end of term party.  Phew it has made me tired just writing it.     Categories: 1 CategorySchool News
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