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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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Message from Caroline Lancey, Acting Head of School Posted on: 23/10/2020

Message from Caroline Lancey, Acting Head of School

A message from Caroline Lancey Dear Parents/Carers, Welcome to our second newsletter of the year. School life seems to be getting back into its stride, even though it is a little different to how it has been in the past. We have had two class assemblies and our Harvest Festival which have gone well. It's great that so many parents have joined us, I'm really grateful. The way a zoom meeting works is that it picks up the loudest noise and shows the screen of that person. That's why during Badger Classes assembly it kept moving away from them and onto other screens. Therefore, it's really helpful if you join with video off and muted. I have recently been reminded of Anne Herbert's words when she said; 'Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of Beauty. COVID has allowed us to come at things from a different angle and many have been an improvement. Our lunches are much more settled with us being able to give time to work on table manners and the use of cutlery. Children have games to play after they have eaten but before they go out to play. Several staff have brought in packs of cards, Top Trumps, Uno, sets of dominoes, Connect Four in fact all sorts to entertain the children. These have been given as gifts and it is wonderful to see the children engaging with these games more and more; but more than this they having conversations with each other. Every member of staff has volunteered to help run our breakfast club it isn't just the food, it's the conversations with adults and the calm start that is the great delight. I have worked in several schools and I am really lucky to have worked with brilliant and committed staff in all my previous schools but I have never worked with a group of people who put children and their needs at the fore front of EVERYTHING they do. They should be treasured. Many thanks to Robyn who has donated two folding benches that we can use for sports fixtures when they restart. We have also had a donation of lovely books, toys and clothes to our nursery from a local health visitor and our local councillor donated a beautiful book called 'The World made a Rainbow' by Michelle Robinson. It is a lovely story about how young people have responded to the current crisis. Several parents sent in gifts for our Harvest Festival and as a result we were able to donate 44kg of food to the Taunton Food bank. Others have sent photos so we have created our COVID memories board, which reflects heroes, our new normal and random acts of kindness. These acts of kindness and beauty have touched us all. PARENTS EVENING We have has several successful evenings which I hope you found helpful. We have been so lucky to be able to offer face to face meetings, I know it was only with one parent and the children couldn't be there. It did allow you to see their work and in most cases the classroom they are in too. We hope you found the leaflets useful. If you weren't able to be with us we will send a copy home. PE and FOREST SCHOOL It is becoming a bit of a problem that a small minority of children are regularly turning up without a PE kit or Forest School clothes. It is really helpful if they keep their PE kit in school. If they need to change it useful to have their own clothes in school, it is also helps them not to have to drag two extra bags into school each week. On the whole children like being the same as all the other children in their class and we need you help to make this happen for them. HALLOWEEN The children looked amazing today and I hope they all had a lovely day in school today. We had such fun. CHRISTMAS It is highly likely that we will still have the COVID restrictions in place at Christmas. As a result we are planning to carry on with a Nativity for Owl and Hedgehog class. We are planning to video this and broadcast it to you. We will do the same for the carol concert. Whilst this isn't ideal it would be such a shame if we just said we can't do it and the children didn't get the opportunity to perform. UNIFORM The government guidelines are clear that all classrooms must be well ventilated. As the winter is coming on we are aware that the classrooms may be a bit chillier than usual. The best way to keep warm is thin layers so I would suggest that they wear T shirt under their normal school shirt. We may even see the reappearance of the old fashioned vest! Have a wonderful half term and keep safe.  Categories: 1 CategorySchool News
Parent Update - 15th June 2020 Posted on: 15/06/2020

Parent Update - 15th June 2020

Dear Parents and Carers, Over the last two weeks, we have welcomed back children from Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6. It has been wonderful to see so many of you again and to see the confidence and ease in which your children have adapted to this new, temporary way of being in school. I’d like to thank all of you for respecting the new arrival and collection arrangements and to all of our school staff who have been so flexible in how they are approaching school at the moment. We feel very proud that we have been able to see so many of our children for even part of a school day. However, we are very aware that Priorswood, like all schools, is still a fractured community because of the pandemic. Many of you are choosing to keep your children at home and educate them using the resources that are provided for you and we support you in your decision. But there will be many of you who will have viewed last week’s announcement that the government has dropped its ambition for ALL school children to return before the summer with a sense of disappointment. You may have a child who is desperate to come back to school, but they do not fit into the year groups that have been chosen so far and the idea of your child not being able to return until September at the earliest is saddening. At school, we desperately want to see more of our children back with us, but as I’m sure you can understand, with current social distancing guidelines, the practicalities of this are difficult and we are awaiting further government guidance due to come to us next week, hopefully this will give us a clearer idea of any further adaptations/changes we can use. I want you to know that we are constantly working with our partner schools in the Redstart Trust by reviewing how we are operating at this time and we are constantly thinking, discussing and looking for ways of being able to invite more children to return to school. However, we have to make sure that the safety for our children and staff is the priority. Finally, we have been overwhelmed by messages of thanks and encouragement - it has genuinely made a difference to know we have your support, so thank you for the time you have taken to tell us so. Please continue to be patient with us and we will write to you again soon when there is more information that we can share.   Yours faithfully, Caroline Lancey Acting Head of SchoolCategories: 1 CategorySchool News
A message from Carly Ellis Posted on: 31/01/2020

A message from Carly Ellis

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