News

Latest news from around the school

The Y3,4 Easter production

Posted on 16 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Current government guidance around the coronavirus outbreak is clear that schools should remain open. However, there is a possibility that schools may close at some point.

If schools were to close, children would miss out on valuable learning time with their teacher. (We have plans in place to provide some home learning in the event of school closures, but this won’t be the same as children coming to school to learn with their teacher.)

Because we prioritise learning, we want to ensure children are benefitting from as much time as possible in the classroom.

Based on this reason, we’ve decided to cancel the Y3,4 Easter production. This is because the production involves quite a lot of time in rehearsals. Whilst this can be a useful time for children to develop wider skills, we want to prioritise learning in the class – just in case later on learning in the class is missed.

We’re continuing to follow government guidance. This decision is not due speculation about bans on mass-gatherings, for example.

Coronovirus - update (13 March 2020)

Posted on 13 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

If you’ve been reading previous updates, you’ll know that schools receive a daily update from the Department for Education about coronavirus. Today’s update focuses on the news from yesterday afternoon about self-isolation:

To support the delay of the spread of the virus, the Department for Health and Social Care has asked anyone who shows certain symptoms to stay at home for 7 days, regardless of whether they have travelled to affected areas. This means people should stay at home and avoid all but essential contact with others for 7 days from the point of displaying mild symptoms, to slow the spread of infection.

The symptoms are:

A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above)
A new, continuous cough

You do not need to call NHS 111 to stay at home. If your symptoms worsen during your stay at home period or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online at 111.nhs.uk. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

The email also presents the government’s rationale around keeping schools open:

Current advice remains in place: no education or children’s social care setting should close in response to a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case unless advised to do so by Public Health England.

The Chief Medical Officer has advised that the impact of closing schools on both children’s education and on the workforce will be substantial, but the benefit to public health may not be. Decisions on future advice to schools will be taken based on the latest and best scientific evidence, which at this stage suggests children are a lower risk group.

 

Separate to the update from government, we have three things to say…

Thank you

Thank you to the parents who have expressed some sympathy and understanding about the situation for schools, such as ‘I appreciate it must be a very busy and challenging time’ – we’re grateful that our parents are so supportive.

  • If you do notice it’s taking us a bit longer to respond to you, please bear with us.
  • And to help us, if you do have general questions about the outbreak, do consider contacting the national hotline, which might well be able to provide you with better answers than we can.

Hand cream

Some of you have let us know your child’s hands are dry because of all the hand washing. If this is the case, your child can bring in some hand cream – please let staff at the school office know.

Governors

A small number of you have asked what our governors are doing about the outbreak. Guidance to governors is:

The best and most appropriate way for governing boards to support their school leaders is to allow them to manage the school’s response without the involvement of the board, unless it is requested. School leaders themselves are guided by public health advice.

Coronovirus - update 2 (12 March 2020)

Posted on 12 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Today, the government has published guidance to self-isolate for people with confirmed or possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of a continuous cough and/or high temperature.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started.

If your child displays these symptoms at home, please do not send him/her to school. Equally, if we notice your child is displaying these symptoms, we will ask you to collect your child from school – they wouldn’t be well enough to be in school, and may spread the virus.

We’ll continue to follow the government advice and update you.

Coronovirus - update (12 March 2020)

Posted on 12 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

We’re all aware of current concerns about coronavirus. We believe the right actions to take as a school are those that match the government’s advice based on scientific and medical evidence. We will continue to follow this. You’ll be aware that we’ve been communicating with you frequently about this. The Department for Education emails daily to schools with any new advice or other updates. Today’s email is below, in full.

This is your daily email to keep you updated on the government’s response to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Government coronavirus action plan
The government coronavirus action plan sets out what the UK has done to tackle coronavirus (COVID-19), and what we plan to do next.

The situation is constantly reviewed and action informed by expert science and advice, guided by the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Adviser.

The action plan can be found here.

Action plan recap
The action plan sets out a four-phased approach in response to coronavirus – Contain, Delay, Mitigate, and Research, based on the latest scientific evidence.

The current emphasis is on the Contain and Research phases, however planning for Delay and Mitigation is already in train.

As part of the Contain phase, we have been providing advice to educational settings in England. We also launched a DfE helpline to manage the flow of increasing queries, from providers parents and young people.

How to wash your hands properly
Wash your hands more often for 20 seconds with soap and hot water.
Watch this short NHS film for guidance.

Teach young children how to wash their hands with the NHS handwashing song.

Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.

Department for Education coronavirus helpline
The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

  • Phone: 0800 046 8687
  • Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)

Please note, we are currently experiencing high volumes of calls and apologise for any wait that you may experience. Your call will join a queue and we will answer as soon as possible.

If you work in a school, please have your unique reference number (URN or UKPRN) available when calling the helpline.

Where to find the latest information

Educational resources

Latest Department for Education information

Finally, to reassure you, it’s worth remembering this, from the World Health Organization: ‘Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults.’

Coronavirus - update

Posted on 11 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

We’re closely following the advice coming from the Department for Education about coronavirus.

They’ve set up a helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education – we’ve called the helpline a couple of times and been reassured that what we’re doing in school matches their advice. You can contact the helpline, too:

  • Phone: 0800 046 8687
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)

The advice remains that no school should close in response to a suspected (or confirmed) COVID-19 case unless directed to do so by Public Health England. This would only be the case if a child or staff member tested positive to the virus. (If a parent were to test positive, we’d ask the child to stay at home to self-isolate. This is the advice from the government.)

The government is not advising schools to cancel or postpone any events, whether this be swimming sessions, school trips, concerts or PTA events. As before, we’ll continue to follow government advice.

Everyone knows that personal hygiene is the most important way we can tackle COVID-19. We’ve done lots in school to promote this message – please do the same at home. For example, make sure your child coughs or sneezes into a tissue, or into their elbow sleeve (the ‘vampire method’, which we’ve promoted for many years).

Training days, 2020-21

Posted on 10 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

We know many of you like to plan well in advance and that sorting out our school dates helps with this.

The training days for 2020-21 are all confirmed:

  • Friday 23 October
  • Monday 04 January
  • Friday 14 May (This is the day after the Year 6 SATs – a welcome day off to celebrate their hard work!)
  • Monday 26 July
  • Tuesday 27 July

Open sessions

Posted on 10 March 2020 by Mrs Craggs

Our school is proud of the open sessions we have throughout the year that allow you to learn more about how to support your child. We want to continue with these as much as we can, whilst also paying due regard to government advice about coronavirus.

If there are sessions scheduled, please assume these are still happening. This includes and open session such as a Relax and Read or Stay and Play session in Early Years, and the Easter Year 3,4 production.

If you have any symptoms of the virus, you should not attend.
If you’ve been advised to self-isolate, you should not attend.

Obviously, it’s always your choice as to whether you attend these sorts of events. If you do attend, all we ask is that you follow as much of the advice about good hygiene as you can: wash your hands if this is available (come in early to do this), or use a hand sanitiser; also, make sure you cough or sneeze into a tissue.

More information from the NHS about the virus, including its symptoms, can be found here:
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

How many children have been asked to change or undress in a video chat?

Posted on 09 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

You might be surprised and concerned to read it’s almost 1 in 10 children.

A survey of 40,000 children found that nearly 1 in 10 pupils who video chat with people they haven’t met have been asked to change or undress, and more than 1 in 20 pupils who livestream have been asked to change or undress.

Parents and professionals are often aware of issues around teens being coerced or tricked into getting undressed or revealing themselves online. (Read more about this.)

However, what do we need to say to the youngest pupils, and why?

For young primary pupils, check out this video, song and poster to help communicate the message of never getting undressed in front of a phone, iPad or computer.

A common tactic of sexual predators is to trick young children into getting changed or undressed on camera by playing a ‘game’ or issuing a ‘challenge’, for example, to see how fast they can get changed into different clothes or into a swimming costume. This might happen over video chat or a livestreaming app; videos are often taken and then circulated. Children often don’t even know this has happened.

Research has shown that 98% of publicly available livestreamed child sexual abuse images involved children aged 13 and under; 28% were aged 10 and under.

Living and Learning: body image parent and carer guide

Posted on 08 March 2020 by Mrs Taylor

Our focus in Living and Learning, for the rest of this half term, is body image.

What is body image?

Body image describes our idea of how our body looks and how we think it is perceived by others. This can include our thoughts and feelings about our height, weight, shape, skin colour, and our appearance and attractiveness more broadly.

This parent and carer guide has been designed to give practical ideas to support your child in building their emotional resilience in this area.

Reading for pleasure, for life

Posted on 05 March 2020 by Mr Roundtree

Today is World Book Day – it’s a great time to celebrate the powers of reading. We all agree that reading is important, but do you realise just how many great benefits regular reading for pleasure has?

The Reading Agency outlines the powerful impact reading can have for your child, for you and for society.

The benefits of reading for pleasure for your child (and you!):

  • Reading for pleasure is more important for children’s cognitive development – their brain power – than their parents’ level of education.
  • Reading for pleasure is a more powerful factor in life achievement than socio-economic background.
  • 16-year-olds who choose to read books for pleasure outside of school are more likely to secure managerial or professional jobs in later life.
  • Having books in the home is associated with both reading enjoyment and confidence. Of children who report having fewer than 10 books in their homes, 42% say they do not like reading and only 32% say they are ‘very confident’ readers. For children who report having over 200 books at home, only 12% say they do not like reading and 73% consider themselves ‘very confident’ readers.
  • Children who read books often at age 10, and more than once a week at age 16, gain higher results in maths, vocabulary and spelling tests at age 16 than those who read less regularly.
  • Reading extensively and for pleasure at home can increase literacy skills at a greater rate than through formal lessons at school.
  • Incomes are higher in countries where more adults reach the highest levels of literacy proficiency and fewer adults are at the lowest levels of literacy.
  • An online poll reveals that regular readers for pleasure report fewer feelings of stress and depression than non-readers, and stronger feelings of relaxation from reading than from watching television or engaging with technology intensive activities.
  • Studies have shown that those who read for pleasure have higher levels of self-esteem and a greater ability to cope with difficult situations.
  • Reading for pleasure is associated with better sleeping patterns.
  • Adults who read for just 30 minutes a week are 20% more likely to report greater life satisfaction.

We’re often asked how you can support your child more at home. We think one of the best ways to help is to make sure you build into the daily routine some time for reading. For many families, this is a bedtime story every night just before lights out.

Happy reading!