Thursday 10th September 2020
Dear Parent/ Carer,
We have been delighted to see our children return this week. We have equally been impressed with the sensible and mature behaviour they have shown in adjusting to the new way our school must operate. The children have listened carefully to their teachers and have been following all our measures to keep our school safe.
One of the measures we are operating is a staggered timetable. Following a review of the first few days of children returning we would like to slightly revise this timetable for Years 5 and 6.
From Monday, children in Year 5 should arrive for school at 8:55am and leave at 3:20pm.
Children in Year 6 should arrive for school at 9:00am and leave at 3:25pm.
The majority of children have been coming to school at the correct time which is excellent. Where possible we would also like parents to encourage older children to walk and wait for school to open by themselves. This will reduce the number of people waiting at the school gate. If you are waiting at the school gate we ask that you maintain your social distancing as much as possible.
Catching up with Learning
This coming academic year is unprecedented in its uncertainty and challenge. Many of our children will have missed five months of schooling due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Although we provided an extensive package of home learning it is not certain how well children will have retained what they have learned.
The first weeks of September will therefore be used as ‘reintegration’ weeks where we will gently assess what the children can recall in terms of knowledge and skill. The priority will then be to identify which key objectives from last year’s curriculum the children will need to be taught or retaught at the start of this year. These objectives will need to be carefully blended and taught within the children’s age related curriculum for this year.
Given the considerable time children have missed and the content that has not been taught in school, we don’t subscribe to thoughts that children can easily be ‘caught up’ within just the autumn term. We think it will take this next academic year to fully recover and mature children’s learning. Our aspiration is to catch children up to pre-Covid attainment by the end of the year. Year 6 children will especially need support with this. We will be looking at creating additional tutoring programmes, targeted alongside our curriculum, to enable the children the best chance of achieving age related expectations by the end of the year.
The autumn term will be broken down in to these phases.
Weeks 1-2- Reintegration weeks (Children are welcomed back to school and are given short, sharp lessons and tasks to help them recall knowledge and understanding from last year. Teachers will gently assess where children have gaps in understanding)
Week 3- Evaluation and Reset (Teachers will use an INSET day to evaluate the gaps in knowledge that children have. The curriculum is adjusted to focus on knowledge and concepts from last year that will need to be taught alongside this year’s curriculum.)
Weeks 4-7 Amalgamated curriculum- (Objectives from last year’s curriculum are taught alongside the Age related curriculum for this year.)
Weeks 8-14 Amalgamated curriculum- (Objectives from last year’s curriculum will continue to be taught alongside the Age related curriculum for this year. At the end of term a further extensive evaluation will be conducted to see where gaps in last year’s curriculum remain.)
To facilitate and support targeted children with recovering learning the school will employ a variety of interventions that will be aimed at rapidly improving children’s grasp of key concepts and knowledge. In some cases this will involve the whole class and on other occasions, small groups of children. Children may need to come out of lessons to prioritise this work. Every effort will be made to track any content children miss and to provide additional teacher time in the next lesson.
What can I do to help my child?
We will continue to set children homework in the usual way. It is vital that children regularly practise reading, spelling and times tables recall each week. We recommend twenty minutes practise, five times a week. A suggested daily pattern could be ten minutes reading followed by ten minutes of spelling or times tables. Please support your child’s reading by recording their book in their reading journal.
If you would like your child to do additional work at home, we are very happy to support this. Please talk to your child’s class teacher who will happily provide tasks and resources which are aimed specifically on areas that your child needs.
Will children be kept in at break and lunch to do additional work?
It is essential for children to have their recreation time during the school day. Children will not be asked to miss a significant amount of this time. However, teachers do sometimes ask children to stay behind for a few minutes at the start of lunch so they can complete a task or receive some additional tuition with the teacher. This is not a punishment. Children will still have plenty of time to eat their lunch and to play with their friends.
How will my child’s progress be assessed next year?
Throughout the school year children sit tests designed by Nfer. These are not exams. They are a series of short tasks which help teachers know how well children can demonstrate and apply their understanding of what they have learned. Teachers use the results of these tests to identify gaps in a child’s knowledge. It also shows how children are making progress in addition to their work in books. Your child’s class teacher will be happy to discuss the outcomes of these tests. At the end of the school year, teachers will draw together all your child’s work to judge whether they are working at age related expectations or not.
In the next couple of weeks teachers will be sending out further information about our curriculum and how we will be adapting learning this term. Teachers in Year 3 will also be offering telephone appointments to parents to discuss how children are settling into their new school.
Although we cannot currently welcome parents into the school building we will be doing our best to share with you the joy and success of the children’s learning as often as possible. In the coming weeks please look at the school website where we will be hosting videos and show casing the great work that our children can produce.
Once again I would like to reiterate how proud we are of the children in their first days back. I would also like to thank you for your patience and support in waiting for this week to happen.