Message from Caroline Lancey, Acting Head of School
A message from Caroline Lancey (Acting Head of School)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.