Dear Parents and Carers
As we reach the end of our Autumn Term I am writing to thank you all for your continued support of the measures we are taking to keep the school community safe. I sincerely hope it will not arise, but if you or your child tests positive between now and December 24th, please let me know via the school mobile number, 07783 573315, so I can carry out my statutory role in the test and trace programme.
The start of term, right back at the beginning of September, seems a long time ago, but what a lot has been achieved since then. Our new Reception children, at first seeming so young, have settled in brilliantly and are now confident and well and truly used to the routines; for them, this is ‘normal school’. For everyone else, old habits have changed pretty well. The mercifully warm autumn has meant keeping good ventilation in the classrooms has not made Hazels and Chestnuts classrooms feel like the Antarctic, while having to use the outdoor toilets has just been a flavour of World War II style schooling for Oak… Well done to all the children for being so adaptable, taking everything in their stride and pressing on with some wonderful learning. Attendance has been brilliant overall, with a school total of 98.2% for the term – well done!
Thank you, parents and carers, for keeping your distance on the carpark and for following the new rules. I know it is hard when you say goodbye in the mornings while ‘masked-up’, but it is worth it.
I would also like to thank the staff for their extraordinary resilience and efforts throughout the term. They are constantly on the alert reminding children about hygiene, having to change the way they are teaching because of the need to keep their distance, and frequently having barely a few snatched minutes break in the entire day because of the extra duties they have all had to pick up. (I would like to congratulate the staff on their attendance, too, which is a phenomenal 98.7%!)
It has been lovely to hear some of the usual Christmas sounds travelling around the school this week. Not being able to put on a whole school performance has been such a shame, but I am sure the children will have enjoyed the celebrations in their classes. Some short videos are being posted on the Class Teams site, giving you a flavour of what they have been up to. If you cannot locate your child’s log-in to Teams, please check with the office.
Applying for a school place
The deadline for applying for a place for September 2021’s Reception Year is 15th January. If you have a child, or know someone who is thinking of applying for a place here, who will be 4 years old on or before 31st August 2021, the application forms can be found on Starting school for the first time – Dorset Council.
In the New Year, we will be seeing some more changes. At this stage, we understand we will be given the training and equipment to carry out daily testing with the children in the event of a positive case. Also, our Remote Learning expectations, both of what we will be providing for the children and what they will need to do, will be shared with you if any of the children or staff have to isolate. As before, we have a small number of laptops we can loan to families who do not have a computer or tablet at home – please let me know at the beginning of term, if you haven’t already, so I can have one ready should the need arise. Details of these two initiatives, and any others which arise over the next fortnight, will be shared with you at the beginning of term.
The Christmas Dinner on Wednesday was a great success, with many of the children clearing their plates, including the sprouts! Please remember that all children in Reception and Years 1 and 2 can have a hot meal provided free every day (or days to suit you), while those children in Years 3 – 6 can have the meals for £2:40 per day. Do note, however, that all meals need to be ordered in advance, even if ‘free’ – not many have yet been ordered for next term. Contact Mrs Pike for your log in details for Local Food Links if you need to. Don’t forget that, if you are in receipt of certain benefits, your children may be eligible for the Pupil Premium. If you are, and you complete the straightforward check, the school gains extra income to help support the children’s learning and to support extras, such as contributions towards any school trips, breakfast or afterschool club, or school uniform. Your children can then also receive free school meals if they wish. If you think you may be eligible, please let Mrs Pike or me know, in the strictest confidence. On a related note, I am sure the children also enjoyed their party lunch today – thank you to the PTFA for organising the treats and for the selection packs coming home tonight.
To finish my newsletter, I would like to tell you about the endeavours of one of our children in Oak Class. Noah has been following in his mother’s footsteps (or was he leading the way??) in challenging himself with long distance running to raise money for charity. When a family friend’s child was diagnosed with cancer, he took up running, including a 5.8 miles run in a hour and has so far raised this year a phenomenal £1700! Well done, Noah, you should be very proud of your achievements, as we all are.
I hope you all have a very happy and healthy Christmas and l look forward to seeing everyone back in school on Tuesday 5th January 2021.
With best wishes