A huge ‘Welcome Back’ to all our children and their families! An even bigger ‘Welcome’ to all the children joining our school for the first time – in Nursery, in Reception and (for a few) across our school. We are really looking forward to getting to know you and your families over the next few weeks. We are excited about the term ahead with all the learning, fun and laughter it will bring. We know life is still complicated at the moment and will do everything we can to ensure everyone is safe and well in and around our school. The following is an overview of the plans we have made for the term ahead.
We have used advice and guidance from the government and from Norfolk County Council, including their risk assessment. The 4 main protective measures remain – ventilation, hygiene, cleaning and testing/self isolation. ‘Bubbles’ no longer exist and there is no need for children or double vaccinated adults to self isolate after close contact, although they are advised to get a PCR test.
However, after discussions with staff, we are keeping many of the arrangements we had in place last term as they worked well for us and for the children. For example, we will not be returning to whole school assemblies as they are time consuming and not the best way to communicate to everyone. We will have pre recorded ‘assemblies’ that will be watched and discussed across the school. We will still have playtimes with only one Year Group as these were calmer and meant the children knew the adults who were on duty very well. We will continue to monitor the situation and review what we do.
The full list of which adults work in which classes is on our website. We are delight to welcome Dean Blake, Claire James and Sue Leach as teachers and Anthony Hill and Angel Webb as Teaching Assistants. We are also delighted to welcome back Leanne Davison who previously worked with us. She is joining an expanded pastoral team which also includes Teresa Grix, Linda Battigan and Harriet Shepherd.
These remain exactly as they were last term and as you will have practised in Transition Week, with as few adults on site as possible and one way systems operating. Masks are at adults’ discretion. Again, we will review these systems once the term is up and running. Gates are open from 8.30am-8.50am and from 3.15pm-3.30pm.
Our uniform policy is on our website. We are remaining with not changing for PE for a number of reasons, including saving time and children’s feedback regarding changing. Children need to be dressed to run about; they can wear plain trainers all the time or wear shoes and bring trainers to change in to. They can bring bags but we would still like them to bring as little to school as possible. Our policy is that children cannot bring stationery to school or any toys or card games; this includes fiddle toys. If it is felt your child needs a fiddle toy, we will discuss this with you and it will be supplied by us. Children need to bring a full water bottle every day. If they forget it, we do have alternatives so they will still be able to drink!
The school day will be very similar to last year. Reception have a very fluid day. From Year 1, this gets more structured with set break times and lunch times. Year Groups will be playing together at different times from other Year Groups. To start with, Years 1-4 will be eating in the dining room with others ‘picnicing’ or eating in class. We will keep this under constant review. Key Stage 2 have fitness first thing every day. As a general rule, classes have maths, English and reading every day, PE twice a week and music, French and computing once a week. In each half term, they have blocks of learning in Science, Geography, History and Art. There are then special project weeks that cover all other aspects of our curriculum. Teachers will send you more detail about what your child is learning and any special events that are coming up.
The rules around attendance are as they were pre pandemic. Children are expected to come to school unless they are unwell. Please keep us informed of any reasons for absence from school. The rules around time off in term time for holidays are as they were pre pandemic and can lead to a fine. There is more information about this on our website.
Our pre and after school club runs every day from 7.30am until 6pm. Booking is through our website. Shining Stars will continue to operate in our dining rooms.
Year 2 have Forest School on a Tuesday and Year 4 on a Thursday during the school day taught by Nic and Steve, our trained Forest School teachers. They should bring clothes that you don’t mind them getting muddy in and that will keep them dry. A change of shoes is essential and wellington boots are a good idea! Each group has Forest Schools for half a term and then a new group starts
Swimming is part of the National Curriculum and we usually take children swimming in Year 4 with some additional session near the end of Year 6. Year 4 will swim on Thursdays this year for half a term at a time. These sessions will be at Riverside and the first one is on 16/9. As they missed their swimming lessons last year, we also want to offer swimming for Year 5. We will take one group swimming each Friday for the 3 weeks (17/9, 24/9 or 1/10) and then decide what swimming will look like for Year 5 for the rest of the school year. This will be at Thorpe St Andrew School.
- Home Learning
We want to learn from your experiences of learning at home and make sure what we are asking your children to do best supports what they are doing in school.
- After School Clubs
We will be running a wide range of after school clubs. Details of how to book these will be sent home next week.
- Our Calendar of Events
Our website has a diary of school events which is kept up to date at all times. These include Year group and whole school activities as well as SWA events.
- Half Termly Overview
Each Year Group will communicate with you about what learning and activities will be coming up in the first half of this Autumn Term.
- Progress Meetings
Pre pandemic, we had regular progress meetings between families and teachers. Although this continued in some form last year, we are returning to the more frequent meetings that are planned across our school year. These can be virtual or face to face, sticking to our Risk Assessment for visitors. You will be sent booking details for these next week.
- Residentials in Years 3, 4, 5 and 6
We believe residential trips, where children stay away from home, are an important and exciting part of growing up. These were one of the things many of them missed last year, although Year 6 did manage one night away last term. This year, we have booked for Year 3 to have one night away in the Summer Term and for Year 4 to have two nights away in the Spring Term, both at local centres. Year 5 have two nights away in Suffolk this term and Year 6 have 4 nights away in Derbyshire, also this term. Year 5 and 6 families should already be aware of this but if you have any questions, please contact the office or your Year Group email (eg Year5@st-williams.norfolk.sch.uk).