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Posted on: May 28th 2021

A message from Caroline Lancey

A message from Caroline Lancey

Dear All,

Well May has been more than a little cold and wet.   Who would have believed that at the same time last year during the first lockdown we could sit out in the sun!!!  As always it has been a busy month.  We have had visitors via zoom talking to the children about their jobs connected with science; a photographer in for Years 2, 6 and Reception,  we have had two reviews; one for the curriculum and one for the school, after school clubs have started carefully and we have had an action packed Health Week.

Thank you so much for all the supportive comments we have had about the school review which was carried out by a trained OFSTED inspector.  The highlights were:

This is a good school. It provides a calm, purposeful, organised learning environment for pupils to learn and grow. The school Team is fully aligned to the vision for teaching and learning and they talk positively and passionately about the vison for what the school should provide for pupils and families.  Well done, the school is on an exciting journey. The foundations are well in place for the next phase of the school’s improvement. Your hard work and dedicated professionalism is ensuring that Priorswood will become a very good school.

The curriculum review also went really well, with the reviewer, Nick Hinds, saying the curriculum is ambitious and enriching.

The school has been on a tremendous journey.  I remember talking during the Christmas Carol service just before Mrs Ellis joined us.  I said then that I felt like the school had trekked through the foothills of the Himalayas and were now at Everest base camp.  We are now at camp 2 which is half way up the mountain, we can see the summit but it will be hard work to get there.  I have every confidence that we will get there, we are on the up and up.

Despite a horrible start to the week; weather-wise; we have had a great week.  The children have had a lot of opportunities to try sports that they wouldn’t normally.  I hope that they have enjoyed the balance of sporting activity and mental well-being sessions.  A big Thank you to Mrs Cullen who has spent hours organising all the different groups and making sure that all the classes get to do all the activities.

I hope some of you have managed to get to Lyngford Park to make use of the Grass maze.  Otter class have visited as part of their local study. 

I am sure you have noticed the improvements that have slowly been happening to the grounds of the school.  Mrs Collins always goes above and beyond but she has been helped by workers from the Community Payback service who have been painting, litter picking and gardening for us.

We are looking forward to the return of Mrs Ellis after the birth of her son.  She will be back with us from the 7th June.



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A message from Caroline Lancey Posted on: 30/04/2021

A message from Caroline Lancey

Dear All, I hope you all had a wonderful Easter Holiday and it was lovely to see the children return looking so smart.  I thank you all for your support.  We are still observing Covid guidelines, making sure that the children wash their hands regularly, continue to have staggered breaks and lunches and we are maintaining our additional cleaning.  We have been in a long dark tunnel but there does seem to be some light at the end of the tunnel.   We will still have to continue to do things a little differently for the rest of this year but hopefully we will be able to return to the best of what we have done in the past whilst keeping some of the better things we have learnt this year. Mrs Dee Alexander has joined Otter class from Wednesday to Fridays.  Mrs Powell Thomas is still at the helm on Monday and Tuesdays.  She really enjoyed her first week and I am sure is a wonderful addition to the school.  Miss Casey Hickey will be joining Butterfly class next week.  She is replacing Mrs Parsons who left before Easter. We always have Health week in the last week before the May half term.  This includes lots of sports activities, sessions on healthy eating and mental wellbeing as well as Sports day and Relationship and Health education.  This year we are planning to continue this tradition.  We will send you details on the relationship education nearer the time.  As we won’t be fully out of lockdown we will have to do Sports day in a slightly different way.  This year it will be for the children only, I appreciate this is disappointing but I am sure you understand that we are too close to the end to take a risk at this stage and we don’t want to have to cancel it completely. To make up for this we are hoping to be able to run some family sessions towards the end of the year.  Mrs Cullen has organised an amazing week including, Tennis, Cricket, Dodgeball, American Football,  Tai Chi, mental wellness and NHS nurses are going to do a session on Healthy Eating; I am sure that the children will have a wonderful week.  We are looking forward to the return of Mrs Ellis after the birth of her son.  She will be back with us from the 7th June.  Categories: 1 CategorySchool News
A message from Caroline Lancey Posted on: 26/03/2021

A message from Caroline Lancey

It is hard to believe we have only been back for three weeks, the children have risen to the challenge of being back in school.  However, there is no doubt that many of them have found the days long and we have seen a noticeable decline in their stamina.  We have tried to keep school life as normal as possible and they have very quickly got back into the routine.  We loved the effort people went to for World Book Day and it was great to see how many people created their own costumes. We have some changes in staff.  Helen Woodhams is leaving us to work for the National Trust.  Rebeka Thompson who is currently on our staff and has done some work with them already will be taking them after Easter.  Miss Thompson currently spends Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings in Otter Class.  Mrs Powell-Thomas will be joined by Mrs Dee Alexander who is an experienced teacher and compliments Mrs PT very well.   Kayleigh Parsons is moving onto another nursery setting.  We wish them both well. We have also been joined by Jason Pike who is helping support children’s catch up in Maths and Chloe Bryant is doing the same but for English.  These have been a valuable addition to our team and are there purely to support the learning of the children. We are in the process of putting together our Easter Service which you will be able to access via Zoom.  We are planning to start clubs after Easter but these will have to be class based as government guidelines still say that children should stay in their bubbles.  This may mean that Sports Day will look different this year and it is likely that it will be only for the children. Whilst I appreciate that this is a little disappointing I am sure that you appreciate cancelling it completely would be a real blow for the children as it’s one of the memory-making school days. One of the new things we have been trying is to get volunteers to talk to the children about their jobs and how they became involved in it.  We have been really lucky that each class has had a zoom meeting with a volunteer that works with ICT as this half term’s focus is ‘What it is to work with Information Technology’.  The volunteers have talked about how they use computers and technology in their jobs and how they came to do it.  The children have really enjoyed having other adults coming to talk to them and the teachers have been impressed with the quality of the questions they have asked. We have also started a partnership with the probation service.  After the willow tree fell down we were left with lots of large chunks of wood.  We have used them to create seating in our willow dome, started a trim trail and demarcated areas within forest school.  They are also going to re-paint the outside of our forest school area which is currently covered in graffiti. We continue to live in the Arctic as the old heating system has been taken out and the new boiler has yet to be installed.  However, due to the current guidelines about having windows open to purge the air the children haven’t really noticed!!Categories: 1 CategorySchool News
Message from Caroline Lancey Posted on: 26/02/2021

Message from Caroline Lancey

Dear Parents and Carers, Welcome to our much shorter newsletter.  In reality it has only been 3 weeks since the last one and as I said last time you are probably more aware of what your child is doing and seeing more of the teachers than you would do normally. So, I haven’t asked the teachers to write a piece this time.  At the moment I am holding on to this thought: There was never a night or problem that could defeat sunrise or hope. These have been very dark times but we are beginning to see the sun rise and our positive and optimistic hope for the future will help us to get things back on an even keel.     We are all thrilled (and all the other words) that the children are coming back we have missed them dreadfully.  A school without children is like the ocean without fish.  Just too awful to imagine.  I will be sending out at the beginning of next week what the return will look like.  You may want to check that shoes and school uniform fit, as your child may have grown over the last few months.  This will give you just over a week to get them sorted out ready to start. It many ways it feels like another start of the year. This is Our Priorswood Promise to your children. We are incredibly proud of you   This last year has been exceptionally difficult. You have shown incredible resilience and adaptability. You have been selfless and put the needs of others before your own. You have made so many sacrifices and yet faced the challenges with strength and determination. There is much you’ve been told you’ve lost, including many weeks of your education, but there is much you have gained. You will emerge from this stronger. This may be the greatest challenge you have faced so far but it will not be the last. Next time you will find you have more resources and are better prepared (and even more so the time after that).   We are here for you  We know some of you will be worried about what the future holds. We want you to know we are here for you. We know you will need a chance to reconnect with your friends. We know you will need time and space to play and be active. We know you are desperate to get back to your sports/ music/art/acting and everything else that is so crucial to your development. We know that you are keen to get back to your academic studies in school as well. We know that evenings, weekends and holidays are as important as your time at school. We are committed to ensuring that your opportunities are balanced and wherever your passions lie you have the chance to pursue these.  We will be here to encourage you, support you, challenge and help you every step of the way.   You are the future  You are the future and that future is not written. There are challenges but there always have been and always will be: we know we will get through this together. We have complete faith in you. We want you to know that; more than anything. Do not let us or anyone else tell you what you can or can’t be. We don’t know. We cannot imagine what you will achieve. But we are so excited to see and be a part of it.  We are looking forward to seeing you on Monday the 8th and whatever happens next, it will just be another step in your journey. Categories: 1 CategorySchool News
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

Priorswood Primary School are determined to keep their children engaged in their learning during the recent national lockdown.  The school have been looking at different ways to entertain, motivate and encourage their pupils to stay busy and active.  One of Priorswoods popular initiatives has been arranged by Mrs Cullen, who has been setting PE and Forest School challenges each week using the online Dojo app, an app that connects their teachers, students and parents and allows them to communicate with one another.  During the first week back the school looked at Andy Goldsworthy, British sculptor, photographer and environmentalist who inspired art for forest school and last week they created their own stickmen inspired by the Julia Donaldson's story, ‘Stickman’.  Mrs Cullen has prepared challenge cards from the PE Hub which has three challenges and they can choose each week which challenge they would like to complete. The children are then asked to send in their pictures via dojo messenger showing themselves completing the activities.  Winners are chosen for each PE activity and a KS1 and KS2 winner is chosen for Forest School. To really motivate the children, winners are chosen for the best effort which is also announced on class DoJo and certificates and prizes are sent home as a special well done. The Redstart Learning Partnership are absolutely delighted to see the fantastic initiative Priorswood are offering their pupils at home and are delighted to see the children so engaged in the activities.  There are so many fabulous initiatives being offered by our other schools to our home educated pupils at this very difficult time.  It is great to see so many pupils engaging and enjoying the challenges.   Mrs Cullen from Priorswood Primary said “The children are really enjoying being able to continue their PE and Forest School activities whilst at home, I am loving seeing their smiley faces whilst completing the challenges and feel that being able to stay active and get outside is hugely beneficial for the children's mental health and wellbeing, Feedback from parents has been really positive and they feel their children are really enjoying the challenges which is fantastic”. Categories: 1 CategorySchool News
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. You will notice that the staff who do ‘meet and greet duties’ have been wearing face coverings and we ask you to do the same if you wish to talk to them briefly.  However, most quick messages can be sent privately to the class teacher via Dojo or by ringing the school office and leaving a message.  This will also help us get the children in and out more efficiently too, which will help everyone. This also means that there can be no face to face meetings between parents/carers and staff.  If you wish to discuss a matter with a member of staff; this will have to be by telephone.  If you wish us to call you please send a note with your child or phone us on 01823 284897, send a message via Dojo or send an email to Priorswood@redstartpartnership.co.uk       We will also not be allowing parents to collect other parents’ child/children. Finally, we ask that you follow the Tier 4 rules (see below) so that the risk of transmission within the school community is kept as low as possible.  We understand that your family will find these constraints difficult. For example not having friends round, missing birthday celebrations and not being able to do many activities.  Please remember that if your child comes in contact with someone with the virus please inform us and they must self-isolate for ten days.  This means limiting contact with the rest of the family and avoiding shared spaces such as bathroom and kitchen and cleaning surfaces after use.  We recognise that this will be a major challenge so we want you to help us to help you by adapting some of our arrangements and asking you to follow Tier 4 rules at all times. Which are: Remember ‘Hands. Face. Space’. hands – wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings) Early years settings, schools, colleges and universities open during term time. Registered childcare, other supervised activities for childcare purposes, and childcare bubbles permitted. No household mixing, aside from support bubbles and two people meeting in public outdoor spaces. You must not stay overnight away from home. Limited exceptions apply. You must stay at home and only travel for work, education or other legally permitted reasons. If you must travel, you should stay local, and reduce the number of journeys you make. You must not leave a Tier 4 area or stay overnight away from home. Residents in Tiers 1 – 3 should not enter Tier 4 areas. Do not travel abroad if you live in a Tier 4 area unless an exemption applies. You can leave your home to exercise by yourself, with your household or support bubble, or with one person from another household. You can visit relatives in care homes with COVID-secure arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, and window visits. Hospitality closed, aside from sales by takeaway, drive-through or delivery. Essential shops can open. Non-essential retail must close and can only open for click-and-collect and delivery. Everyone must work from home unless they are unable to do so. Indoor leisure, accommodation and personal care – closed. Funerals of up to 30 people permitted. Wakes and other linked ceremonial events can continue in a group of up to six. Weddings of up to six can continue in exceptional circumstances. Indoor entertainment closed. Some outdoor attractions may remain open. Places of worship open for private prayer and communal worship but cannot interact with anyone outside household or support bubble. The Clinically Extremely Vulnerable are advised to stay at home as much as possible, except to go outdoors for exercise or to attend health appointments. The complete list can be found on https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-4-stay-at-home if you want any further guidance. We understand that this is difficult.  Please remember that the staff also have personal lives and families and are having to make the same sacrifices so, it is heart-breaking when children come in a talk excitedly about sleepovers etc: or staff are verbally abused because a parent doesn’t want to follow the systems we are asking everyone to follow for ALL of our safety. I am not sure that I would have ever believed that I would be expected to lead a school through such a difficult and demanding set of circumstances but it is here and we have to deal with it as best we can.   A little patience and kindness can go a long way.  Please contact your child’s teacher or the office if you have any concerns or queries. I can’t promise that we will give you the answer that you want but we always try to accommodate as much as we can. Thank you in advance for your cooperation with these changes. Yours sincerely    Carolone Lancey  Categories: 1 CategorySchool News
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