Weekly communication 13.11.20

13th November 2020

Dear parents/carers

COVID Update 13.11.20

I would like to begin with a huge thank you to all of those who have complied with our additional precautionary measure of face coverings during the National Lockdown period. We must of course, remember that some adults are exempt from wearing them and should not be challenged. We have monitored the impact on children and at present, we have not seen any changes in their emotional wellbeing or any increased anxieties due to adults wearing masks. Also, to clarify, staff do not wear them in class. Thank you also for your patience with the parking situations now that more children are starting earlier. It is unfortunate that we have had to return to these times but we had to increase learning time which had been cut short in order to settle the children in gradually at the beginning of term. We have had a couple of complaints regarding parking so please could you be extra vigilant of children and other adults when in close proximity of school. We will continue to monitor and review drop off and pick up times and we thank you for your comments (both positive and negative) and suggestions. We are never going to please everybody as everybody has different thoughts and feelings about COVID and guidance can be interpreted in many ways. However, the main thing is that we are following guidance, being commended by PHE for our prompt and efficient risk assessing and preventing the spread of the virus with the majority of our school community feeling safe to come to school.

Thank you also for sharing your support/transport bubbles with us. This is another precautionary measure which has been put in place temporarily during the National Lockdown. It is compliant with government guidelines on families having one support bubble for childcare and transport purposes. Historically, staff have seen children share lifts with more than one family and we were worried that if this continued during lockdown then we wouldn’t be compliant to government guidelines so the reporting of breaches is a safeguarding requirement rather than a choice made by the schools.  It would also mean that if there were a positive case in one of these families then it could mean as many as 3 bubbles having to shut down for a 2 week isolation period and we know that our children are really enjoying being back in school. We don’t ask children about their bubbles and that is the reason we asked you to disclose them. We are trying to keep school closures to a minimum and prevent the spread, most importantly to keep all of our school community safe. We are hoping, as much as you are, that things on this score will return to usual when lockdown ends.

As we continue with our blended learning, we have noticed that some families are not engaging with learning from home on a Friday afternoon. This is not an optional task, it is statutory, curriculum time which the children are entitled to. Although we have increased learning time since half term, this has only returned to statutory learning periods, with an added 15 minutes for settling in and focusing on emotonal health and wellbeing. Please could I urge you to engage in the tasks set by the class teacher. The class teacher always explains the tasks in school for clarification and the children seem excited to complete them at home but somewhere this is lost and the tasks are not submitted. We really don’t want those children to miss out on exciting learning opportunities so we have put together a questionnaire to help us to help you to engage in blended learning. This will be sent out to your personal email address on Monday. One of the reasons behind blended learning is so that our staff can take their planning, preparation and assessment (PPA) time on a Friday afternoon so that we don’t need to introduce a cover supervisor into their bubble. More importantly though, we have continued blended learning in order to continue with the good practice learned during lockdown. Our world is ever-changing, we are becoming more digital, we are preparing our children for a future of employment in jobs which may not have been invented yet. It is vital that we allow them to be a part of the change and to continue learning in a different way, a way which allows them to use their independence and resilience. We are not asking you to teach your children during this time, (nor does it have to be on Friday afternoon but anytime over the weekend), we are asking you to support their learning and there are so many benefits to this, including you being a part of their learning process. In order to help you to support our inquiry based curriculum and therefore support your child at home, Mrs Knight will be doing a presentation on Friday 2nd December entitled, “Supporting your child with Blended Learning…Our inquiry based approach.” This will be followed by weekly workshops so parents can interact with one another and any difficulties can be tackled. I will enclose the details and flyer on next week’s communication.

Our unique model has been commended by Kate Evan-Hughes, Service Director of Education, Cornwall Council. She said our model, “Brought sunshine to a grey Cornish morning” when she read the attached report and asked if she could circulate it to all of our Cornish Primary and Secondary schools as a model of good practice….so a huge well done and thank you to you all, children, staff, parents, child minders and governors.

It was lovely to hear that the government have decided to offer free school meals over the Christmas holidays, I have heard this will be in the form of a voucher but I have no further news as yet. If you feel you are eligible for free school meals then please do apply, even if your child is in reception, year one or year two and they have universal free school meals as this means you too will receive the vouchers. If you are unsure of how to apply  or if you have any queries regarding this communication then please contact me on head@germoe.cornwall.sch.uk and I will do all I can to help and reassure.

Happy Friday the 13th, I hope you all have a lovely weekend.

Paula Blackburn