This week’s Blog is later than usual due to the expected announcement on Sunday and Monday where there was hope for further clarity and detail!! But firstly please say a big hello to your children from me,and I hope to see them soon.
As you will be aware the changes to the lockdown are limited, and somewhat unclear! We still have a long way to go and although this next phase feels significant, it is definitely not a return to normality.
From tomorrow, (Wednesday 13th May), in England, we can spend more leisure time outdoors, which is essential for our mental and physical health and well-being. However, we are still advised to stay at home as much as possible and therefore little current change. We are fortunate that Devon has had relatively fewer cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and need to keep this up.
Many families will have heard the Prime Minister’s address on Sunday 11th May in which he stated that:
“At the earliest by June 1 – after half term – we believe we may be in a position to begin the phased reopening of shops and to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages, beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6. Our ambition is that secondary pupils facing exams next year will get at least some time with their teachers before the holidays.”
Currently, schools will continue to offer places for vulnerable children and those of critical workers but we understand that many other parents will want to know more about when their children will return to school. Schools across the country will also have heard this news for the first time on Sunday and over the course of the next week or two, schools will be reviewing the detailed guidance government has said it will provide. We will then take any action required to open the school to the year groups identified in a safe way. When we are in a position to do so we will provide information so that parents will know exactly when the school will be able to once again offer a place for their children and in what format. Devon County Council has requested - In the meantime, it would be appreciated if parents could avoid contacting their school directly regarding this.
As you can imagine any planned return, and it is expected to be a partial return, will have to ensure that all measures possible are in place to provide a safe opening, for pupils, staff, parents and our governors. There are many more questions than there are answers! I hope to have more information by the end of the week to enable plans to take more shape. However it will not be a simple return; I want to ensure that it is sustainable return and one that does not create a constant change for parents, given all the changes we have all had to endure already. I endeavour to provide a consistent week that can develop and grow as numbers increase. I am also aware that not all parents may wish for their child to return to school; numbers will need to be ascertained and the big question of what happens to siblings and transport also need to be answered. Each school will have its own specifics and dilemmas but as a Hub of schools we are aiming to provide some commonality. All this of course not only depends on guidelines but on staffing and building capacity, and above all safety. Please rest assured that there are numerous emails and conference calls taking place and until I am satisfied all measures have been met or addressed and of course the ‘R’ is significantly moving downwards, home schooling will continue.
Staff are working incredibly hard behind the scenes as well as supporting Educare at Sherford, the impact of Covid on us all is difficult. Online planning takes much research and investigation, whilst we would embrace video learning we do not have the learning platform that some schools already had in place. Unfortunately whatever platform we are currently investigating, and potentially will use, it must comply with all safeguarding expectations. It will also need setting up for access and training will be required. No one expected to be in the position we are now. Interestingly there is no union expectation that schools provide home learning however, this is something myself and staff consider essential in supporting parents and children. Families are doing an incredible job in supporting home learning, whilst juggling all other aspects of their home life – thank you. Please can we ask that you continue to encourage your child to achieve some of the home learning, even if only the reading and number work? Remember, we do not expect you to achieve all that is being provided, it is for you to dip in and out of, as you see fit, or are able to. Should you require further work guidance suggests allowing your child to choose a project or perhaps even leaving an article, book, image or learning around that sparks interest without being asked! I would also like to thank all those parents who have fed back, voluntarily, and shown their appreciation for the work that is being carried out by Wembury staff.
Contact with families
It is guidance and an expectation that staff now carry out welfare contact to all families, either via email or telephone. Some families have already been contacted and have been very grateful, and positive, for the chat. Please expect contact over the next couple of weeks, if you have not yet received communication. Please also remember that you are also able to contact your child’s class teacher through the contact page, on their class, home learning page. We had a suggestion from a parent that it would be lovely for children to receive certificates. We have taken note and you may have seen that these are now starting to be used. (Something that was a regular occurrence in school.) As in class, it is up to the teacher to reward. It may be presented to individuals or the whole class. I am also aware that some teachers have sent letters to children, and received some lovely, and much appreciated replies, including myself. It is important to understand that the whole school community is affected by this and staff are missing their classes too.
Although it is encouraging to see, and hear of, the gradual opening back up of the things we once took for granted, we need to give deliberate thought and care to what we do next and not undo the enormous effort that we have made so far. As I said in my last Blog, the re-establishment of previous routines and new routines will be difficult and anxieties will be heightened. Building relationships will be key – Wembury is an amazing community.
I hope, like myself, you celebrated the 75th anniversary of VE Day at the weekend? It was fantastic to see such community spirit as we marked the day at home in our own ways. It is that community spirit and personal resolve that we need to hold on tight to still. We shared some local connections …. Ernest Bevin - a link between the school and the VE Day celebrations. Three of our pupils have a great, great, great uncle who was at the heart of the celebrations. The uncle of Lucas and Amy Glover and Jasper Higgins is Ernest Bevin. As Minister of Labour, and later Foreign Secretary he was Churchill's great friend and confidante, as well as an apparent drinking buddy!
We have been kindly sent some photographs, which show him on the day, taking in the celebrations as well as meeting King George. How amazing to have such links and what a family history that is. Thank you for allowing us to share.
We have received some great photos of children and family members wearing red, white and blue, in readiness for a school VE Day photo montage. Please remember to send yours in to firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of this week.
Communication system – Important Information for all parents – please share on class Facebook pages
We are now using our new, school communications system to send emails and texts. We are aware that the majority of parents have transferred across to this successfully. However, some parents, who have already provided their preferred contact details, have been sent a text; this now needs to be activated in order to receive communications. (If the APP was downloaded and is not working you may need to remove the App and reload again.) There are also a few parents who have not yet provided these details, despite reminders, and therefore will only have access to information on the website and not any emails or texts. (These parents can provide consent permission and preferred contact details to email@example.com) May I request that this message/information is placed on each class Facebook page please, to ensure the message is spread again?
Any problems with connection or further guidance with this please use the admin email contact above and one of our admin team will make contact with you on an individual basis. (Please be aware this may not be on the same day.) Thank you.
Book-tastic Bookmark Competition
Yet another competition to enter to keep those artistic skills developing and for a real purpose. As a school we have used the Babcock Library Service for many years, supporting with exchange of books, topic books, recommendations, training and support in setting up our library. Please take a look at the competition details in the link below – design a book mark and send in a photo – how easy is that? I have seen some brilliant entries for the NHS banner, so let’s see what you come up with here!
The Box Competition
Support for Parents
Popular free searches on Scholastic (you may need to register)
Collins Home learning support
A reminder that the Edu-care Hub remains situated at Sherford, 9.00am-3.00pm and if you need to make use this provision you need to complete the booking form and follow instructions via this link –
Early Help Team Information
Please see the attached community safety communication campaigns around Covid – it’s a long list of suggested help for online platforms.
Thank you all for your continued support in these challenging, and somewhat confusing times, whether at home or in work, or both and for getting to the end of this Blog!