Headteachers message – 27/01/2021

Dear Families

I hope this finds you safe and well and taking care of each other. It seems like a long time since I emailed you all; school (real and virtual) is a very busy place with lots going on and many things to balance. Vicky is leading the staff team in trying to balance the learning in school and at home; it is new to all of us and we continue to review and improve what we are doing. We are also trying to support families in any other way we can. Alongside all of that, there are the ongoing, routine things like setting budgets for the new financial year, keeping our building safe, introducing testing for staff, keeping our Governors informed of what we are doing and ensuring all our safeguarding responsibilities continue.

The world we live in is still a worrying and complicated one; despite the dreadful case numbers we keep hearing about, case rates in our area are beginning to drop. However, we have more families self isolating at this moment than at any other previous time; we are sending all of you in this situation our very, very best. The vaccine gives us real hope that things can move forward sometime very soon. We also know some families have some really difficult non-Covid related pressures and send you our love too.

I know some of you will be disappointed in the news today that the earliest schools will open for more children is Monday, 8th March. This is not a huge surprise as the rates remain high in much of the country but it is still a frustration and a disappointment as we all just want to get back to any type of normal as soon as possible, but this must be when it is safe to do so. We do know how hard it is for many of you to have your children at home all day (not for all, a few are really enjoying it). However, this is what is needed right now in order to get us to that safe place. I do know that this week seems to have been the hardest so far for many of you; the fourth week of this lockdown, trying to support your children and run your home and maybe working at home too; no one is underestimating the pressures all of this brings. There is so much to balance and it is not surprising people are dropping spinning plates and feeling rubbish about themselves. You are very far from rubbish; you are supporting your family through a pandemic in the best way you can. Be kind to yourself and stop thinking of what is going wrong and start thinking about what is going right. You have managed so much for so long now; we just need to stick at it for a few more weeks.

As a school, we have no intention of adding to the pressures on you; none of us know the situation anyone else is in and cannot make any judgement on how it feels to be you. We know at times we have added to this, just because we’ve been doing as we have been asked ; there is a tension at times between what we are asking your children to do and what is possible in your circumstances. There are very clear expectations on us as to how much learning we should be offering and we are aiming to meet these. For some families, this works as it helps motivate children to engage with our offer; we also know for others it can be overwhelming and feel like an enormous pressure. Some families are saying that one day can go really well only for the next to be a real strain. We are sorry if, in doing what we have been asked to do, we are adding to the pressures on you. If it all seems too much, shut the computer down, get your coats on and go and splash in a puddle or two. You can pick up where you left off, or not, once you are home.

We are really enjoying celebrating a wide range of activities that are going on at home. Nursery, Reception and Year 1 love to see what you are up to by sharing in Tapestry. Years 2-6 have a channel on Teams called No Screen Time to share what you are up to; we really do have a talented bunch of children and families! Next week, to celebrate Children’s Mental Health Week which has the theme ‘Express Yourself’, staff will be recording a range of videos celebrating things they love and share ideas with families. Next Friday, our Zooms will have the theme Express Yourself, hoping your children will dress accordingly! The following week is our whole school project celebrating Chinese New Year. So, there is lots to look forward to, there really is!

Take care everybody; look after each other and yourselves. We miss you all and want to see you as soon as it is safe to do so.

Sarah Shirras