Dear Parents and Carers
We have now reached the half term holiday and, in the spirit of an end of term celebration assembly, I am going to take this opportunity to issue some virtual awards.
Firstly, the Remote Learning Award, which goes to all the children who have been working at home for the last six weeks. When we were in the first period of school closure, the whole experience of working at home had a very different feel and emphasis. In this half term, we have expected the children to engage in the live and recorded lessons and complete the assignments to just the same level as those children working in school with their teacher. Many children have shown they can knuckle down and continue to make progress even when their learning experience is so different from what they are used to.
Secondly, the In-School Learning Award. This is for the children who have been working in school during this half term. They have been brilliant at coming in each day, working hard, following all the school rules and remembering about social distancing and frequent, effective handwashing. Attendance has been outstanding (the way it is reported currently shows us at 99.9% attendance for this term!) and they have been really positive about being in school throughout.
Next we have the staff Technology and Sense of Humour Award. Occasionally, the two aspects of this award have been difficult to maintain simultaneously, due to the uncertainties and complexities of Microsoft Teams and the strength of the wind blowing around the school. The twice-weekly Self-test for Covid also demonstrates a certain commitment to the role we hadn’t predicted twelve months ago. However, I hope you will join me in thanking all the staff who have been working so hard to keep the teaching and learning experience as near to normal as is possible in these circumstances while they have learnt how to deliver lessons in a very different way. Learning how to put in practice their previous training with very little notice, teaching children both in class and at home (often with parents in the audience) is quite a challenge, but one which I think they have risen to brilliantly.
Finally, there is the Learn How to do Maths the New Way without Confusing your Children Award. This goes to everyone at home who has been faced with explaining Fronted Adverbials and Causal Conjunctions one minute, multiplying fractions the next, and remembering that the pronunciation of the letter ‘p’ is not ‘per’, all the while juggling your own working from home. Every single piece of work you have supported your children with will help them settle in and catch up more quickly on their return – thank you for your incredible efforts in this. While we’re not yet able to welcome them all back to school, there is light at the end of the tunnel; please keep persevering!
With the children spending more and more time working and playing on laptops, tablets and phones, ensuring their safety on-line is even more important. At the bottom of this letter is a list of resources for parents and carers, published for parents as part of the latest version of the DfE’s Keeping Children Safe in Education document. Please take the time to look at them and, if you are at all worried about what your child may be experiencing on-line and are unsure how to deal with it, please do not hesitate to contact me.
World Book Day – Thursday 4th March
This year we are hoping the children will take part in a Hybrid World Book Day Celebration! The teachers would like the children to either make a prop which could be a clue to their favourite book or to do the traditional ‘dress up as your favourite character’ – or both. We would also like them to prepare some more written clues which they will be able to share with their teacher and classmates via Teams, giving everyone the opportunity to learn more about the book and hopefully spark some wider interest. Finally, we are planning to have Stower Provost Storytime for each class at 11:45am, when the teachers will read a part of one of their favourite books. If you have more than one child at home, we are aiming to record the story-telling session so you will be able to hear another class’s story ‘on catch-up’…The children in school on that day will be taking part in the same activities, so make sure you have the date in your diary. Please encourage your children to take part in this fun event – it will be lovely to see them in character.
I hope you all have a very happy, healthy and relaxing half term holiday. Remember that there will be no on-line lessons or work set until Wednesday 24th February, following our two INSET Days. If the children are looking for any fun activities to do, please encourage them to get involved with the Real PE at home materials and any of the other resources I have been signposting over the last few weeks.
With best wishes
Resources to support parents with their children’s on-line safety:
- Childnet offers a toolkit to support parents and carers of children of any age to start discussions about their online life, to set boundaries around online behaviour and technology use, and to find out where to get more help and support
- Commonsensemedia provide independent reviews, age ratings, & other information about all types of media for children and their parents
- Government advice about protecting children from specific online harms such as child sexual abuse, sexting, and cyberbullying
- Government advice about security and privacy settings, blocking unsuitable content, and parental controls
- Internet Matters provide age-specific online safety checklists, guides on how to set parental controls on a range of devices, and a host of practical tips to help children get the most out of their digital world
- Let’s Talk About It provides advice for parents and carers to keep children safe from online radicalisation
- London Grid for Learning provides support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online, including tips to keep primary aged children safe online
- Lucy Faithfull Foundation StopItNow resource can be used by parents and carers who are concerned about someone’s behaviour, including children who may be displaying concerning sexual behaviour (not just about online)
- National Crime Agency/CEOP Thinkuknow provides support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online
- Net-aware provides support for parents and carers from the NSPCC and O2, including a guide to social networks, apps and games
- Parentzone provides help for parents and carers on how to keep their children safe online
- Parent info from Parentzone and the National Crime Agency provides support and guidance for parents from leading experts and organisations
- UK Safer Internet Centre provide tips, advice, guides and other resources to help keep children safe online 107