It has been a jam-packed week and the events just keep coming.
Friday is Children in Need and we would like to acknowledge it in school. This year, the theme of "5 to thrive" is a positive message of action for all young people, so we would like to celebrate this with a non-uniform day based on colours. Each class has been designated a colour:
Chestnut (FS) - Blue,
Rowan (Y1) - Red
Cherry (Y2) - Green
Hazel (Y3) - Yellow
Willow (Y4) - White
Pine (Y5) - Orange
Oak (Y6) - Grey / Pink
Teachers will wear the colours of their class. It can be a HINT of that colour, so please do NOT go out and buy something especially for the day! Grey socks etc! Alternatively, head-to-toe in that colour is equally welcome!
Due to the challenges of us getting cash to where it needs to go, we are NOT asking for any contribution to come into school. Instead, we rely on one of our school Christian values 'trust', as we know you will all make your own small contribution to a local collection or even one online.
It will be learning-business as usual on Friday, but every class will also be discussing CiN and looking at some of the good works this can provide for other groups around the country.
This willalso be shared on social media and class dojo/tapestry
The culmination of our Remembrance Day learning, today.
Our pupils stood, socially-distanced and impeccably, to mark this special day. The British Values (and great human values) were fully explored by year groups going through the school.
Some villagers were on a lockdown-exercise stroll at the same time and remarked how beautifully the 2 minute silence was observed by every pupil.
Our classes have been preparing for Remembrance Day 11am, today. Over this school week, they have added their own thoughts, prayers and reflections to the vast collection of work around the country. We are very proud of their ideas, of their respect for those that were involved in world wars and past conflicts, and proud of their attitude in what can be a tough subject for young minds. You will find their wreaths displayed on our fence - thanks to Miss and Mrs Warrington for this.
We will be observing a 2 minutes silence, today, so join us as we think of them, wherever you are at 11am. Thank you.
A parent has pointed out - very nicely - that the picture on the newsletter highlighting items for Poppy Day isn't clear! Apologies - it looks a lot better on my original!
The zip extenders are 50p (really useful), attachable poppies 50p (very robust and I've still got mine from last year), wrist bands £1 and the wrist slappers £1.50. All prices are suggested prices for contribution. Thank you!
A Happy Friday to you all!
In school, today, we will be bringing all our classes together online for a Harvest Celebration. Every class has produced something to share and we can celebrate and give thanks at this specal time of year. "Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field"
We will be sharing photos of this in our newsletter. Please do check online every Friday for our newsletter. It is a regular window into the school life and holds important information (most weeks!) about learning around school, safeguarding, general notices and upcoming dates (like Dress Down Fridays). Obviously, with parents not on-site at the moment, this newsletter has become even more important, as it is our key route of communication.
As the country moves into a new phase of lockdown, we have re-addressed our own risk assessments at school and made some changes. From today, our staff will be wearing masks only when travelling around inside school, so down our corridors and between staff rooms and classrooms. We feel this reflects the good practice seen in shops, pubs, restaurants and other facilities around the country, as well as in secondary schools. This measure gives an added layer of safeguarding and reassurance to our own staff and also serves as a clear reminder to us for the need to socially distanced whilst in school (not easy in a small, rural building!). I have already walked down the corridors in my mask, greeting our pupils, and can report that not a single one questioned my use of the mask, nor looked alarmed. Their acceptance of the ‘new normal’ really is a great reflection on their adaptability and trust of the adults around them. If anyone should be alarmed or worried, every teacher and TA is on hand to discuss it with them. Every teacher will also be talking to their own class about this, today. No masks will be worn outside.
We have made another room available for our staff at break and lunchtimes, meaning distance can be maintained throughout the school day. Currently, we have 3 new trainee teachers and 2 apprentices on board with us and these excellent, future-professionals are fully up to date with the measures we have put into place.
We are NOT asking our pupils to wear masks.
We thank you for your continued support with our drop-off and pick-up system, for keeping your own distance and minimising any face-to-face time within the school grounds. We are always available on email and phone should you need to speak to anyone. Teachers are ready with online learning for any child self-isolating and this can be ready in a matter of minutes, as has already been the case.
If anything changes in our guidance, we will update you as soon as is possible.
As always, people's opinions on such measures differ wildly, but I ask you to simply respect our actions and the reasons for making such changes.Thank you!
A parent has asked us a very good question:
"With regards to drop off and pick ups after
Thursday. Is a grandparent still able to pick a child up or drop them off after
this point if the parent is working?"
I have discussed this with our Office Team and this DOES seem to fit in the current guidance we have been given, so we still welcome thyis arrangement. This guidance will be UPDATED by the govt 3rd November and I have no idea if it will change.
Regarding After School Care, another family has asked if, after Thursday, our After School Club will be open. The guidance says: "Parents will still be able to access some registered childcare and other childcare activities (including wraparound care) where reasonably necessary to enable parents to work, or for the purposes of respite care."
I consider our ASC as absolutely necessary for some of you to keep working, so our offer of ASC will continue unless I am told otherwise in 3rd november guidance. I hope this helps.
A big welcome back to all of you to what, usually, is a very exciting half term; our intention is that this will still be the case. As we learn more about the impending lockdown, and how it may affect us a school, we will pass this information onto you. As always, we welcome you contacting us to discuss any questions or worries that you may have. If we can help, we will. Our attendance today is nearly 99% which is excellent and we hope this can continue.
This information is shared on our social media websites and will always be available on pour school website first.
I am trying to collate the general feeling of families as to how you all feel we have done since last March, when the national lockdown began, through to the transition back into school and now into this new academic year. It is almost impossible to put together a set of survey questions to fully capture your opinions! So, if you have time, could you please simply email the school and give me your opinions? Thurlbear@educ.somerset.gov.uk and title it "My opinion" . I would be very grateful if you had 10mins.
The SAINTs have sent an update:
"It has been drawn to our attention that letters regarding the flu vaccination (including a barcode) have been sent to parents; this letter has been sent from a central system and has caused lots of confusion but unfortunately is out of our control.
Please reassure parents that this does not affect any consent forms that have already been submitted to our team. Parents do not need to bring letters to school; we will be submitting vaccination data to child health using demographic information ie NHS Number, Names, Dates of Birth and Postcode, as we do every year.
Subsequent letters may be received and should be seen to act as reminder. "
I hope that clarifies any confusion!
The Somerset School Aged Immunisation Team (SAINT) will be visiting our school in the future to deliver flu vaccinations – the date will be at the beginning of December. A full letter has now been given to every family which includes the following link https://saint.sompar.nhs.uk/flu/2020/west where you must register yourself and fill in an online consent form. The link will close by 23rd October 2020; all forms will need to be submitted electronically by this date.
A helpful parent has contacted us to say, once a family registers, they receive a confirmation letter including a bar-code. We have yet to be informed about this bar-code by the NHS and we will give you an update when we know more.
Hurrah! We now have our social media sites back in school, after a period of filtering problems.
You can always check our school website for the latest information and this is where we post our weekly newsletters.
Our texts service has been a valuable tool over this last 2 weeks and so please make sure we have your most up-to-date numbers.
So far, this week, we are averaging approximately 97% of pupils in school, which is fantastic in these national circumstances.
Tomorrow is DRESS DOWN FRIDAY! Please don't forget to bring in your £1 contribution. Last month, some Key Stage 2 classes reported totals of £10 - £11 for their whole class. This little-and-often fundraiser all goes directly back to your children through the purchase of equipment, resources and experiences such as online sessions with museums etc. Please do try and support it.
We are required by law to tell you what personal data we collect about you, why we collect it and how we use it, this is called a Privacy Notice. To find out more Click here
We have added 3 images that might help families when spotting the signs of COVID-19 and then doing the right thing at the right time. This comes from from public health regarding Management of COVID 19 - in school-age children.
Check HERE for the images
The latest in clear guidance from public health regarding Management of COVID 19- in school age children.
The latest in clear guidance from public health regarding Management of COVID 19- in school age children.
The latest in clear guidance from public health regarding Management of COVID 19- in school age children.
7.9.20 Day 1 lessons:
Thank you to ALL families for making today work so smoothly. Overall, we felt it went incredibly well and the attitude, conduct and cooperation of all parents and carers was great.
Just a few things that may make it even more effective:
Please make sure you are on time for your drop-off. Being too early or late can affect the flow of cars.
On the playground side, please pull up right outside the gate. This allows for the car behind also to alight safely and quickly.
Try and give yourself a 30secs window of “seatbelt, bags, kisses and goodbyes"! Multiply that by 30 and you get to the 15mins total class window!
Wherever possible, please follow the flow of traffic past the school and down the hill, through the village. We fully understand this does not work for every family, but the vast majority of families can follow this request without it adding too much time onto your journey.
Please drive slowly and safely through the village.
Only our new starters need to park up, currently, as adults are bringing them in for their initial start in school. If you do park, please stay to the usual side of the road (school-side) and be mindful of other cars passing.
Thanks, everyone. Mr Gillan
The govt summer funding of free school lunches for eligible families has been an absolute maze to navigate and has led to many dead-ends.
Massive credit to Mrs Carter for being so tenacious with this and has, finally, resulted in us acquiring nearly £900 in credits for our eligible families for over the Summer. It is behind-the-scenes work like this that she and Mrs Moore have undertaken with such professionalism on a day-to-day basis that goes unnoticed but certainly not unacknowledged by me. They are a wonderful supportive machine for our school.
It's the end of a tumultuous academic year.
I lost the balloon race, but I still bagged the best job in Somerset as Head at our school.
Have a wonderful summer, everyone.
Please support your PTA by buying a balloon for our virtual Thurlbear balloon race! Tap into your search engine: www.balloonrace.com/thurlbearpta and buy a balloon for £5 ! Prizes and everything!
I have had the BEST of weeks online! Our teachers have bravely taken on the challenge of live sessions and I have seen some of the loveliest interactions between our learners and teachers.
A quick shout-out if you would allow me: Miss Crook.......this teacher is a Newly Qualified Teacher. It is her first full year in the role. Imagine learning the ropes of your chosen profession in 2020...a learning curve, indeed.
Her lesson on Japanese haikus, yesterday, produced some beautiful moments and I would like to share just one from George. 3-line poem, 5-7-5 syllable pattern...
Can you guess what he is describing?
"Forest of colour,
Blue underwater garden,
City of the fish."
well done to ALL of our teachers for diving into the online world so enthusiastically and to our pupils for their attitude, behaviour and enthusiasm, too.
Apologies you didn't receive the email on Friday; Friday saw a lot of technical issues that our tech team could not resolve by 6pm, but I am now hoping that Y2 - Y5 families have now received an email (this morning right now!) with session details from me and a link to a video guide from Miss Warrington. Big thanks to her for spending yesterday morning re-recording it and putting it back on our website.
IF you have not got the email: check your spam folder or; we haven't got your most up to date email in our SIMs system! Email me.
Our first session is Y2 10:30, so we have some time Monday to iron out issues, too. Have a great day, everyone.
Good afternoon, everyone! It is time for another view to what has been and what is to come...
Long-term: Currently, September is an unknown quantity for Heads and schools. The government announced that schools would be back fully but, as yet, we have received nothing in the way of guidance on how this is to be achieved, with 3 weeks of the school year left. Our Local Authority have suggested that we may not even be able to update families before we break for the summer holidays. I predict you feel exactly the same as me at this news. I promise I will clearly set out our roadmap as soon as is possible.
Short-term: with 3 weeks remaining, we can put our final steps of blended learning forwards for families. As I have told you in the past during updates, our biggest issue has been capacity in terms of people and space. I am delighted to welcome back Mrs Yellowley next week, which gives me some scope.
From this Monday, Families in Yrs 2 - 5 will be receiving a set of live online lessons delivered by their class teacher as well as Mrs Lucas and me. This timetable will be emailed to you, along with a video guide how to log on with your child's google account. I have planned for little-and-often sessions in the next 3 weeks as this is manageable for our teachers who are all teaching all day every day. Look out for the email and the first session is Y2 with me on Monday, followed by Mrs Newman with Y4 in the afternoon! The Local Authority advise extreme caution when using live video with children and state schools should have a clear reason when choosing to do so. I believe the value in bringing pupils together outweighs the risk factors, but the letter sets out exactly what you should and should not do; please follow this closely.
From 6th July, we will be bringing our Y6 pupils back for the final 2 weeks of the year! Mrs Yellowley will move into Mrs Lucas' bubble (acceptable under govt guidelines) and Miss Warrington will welcome back her class! Details will go out separately to those families, but it will be half days in bubbles as well as some incredibly exciting sessions planned with Mendip Sports.
I'd just like to take the opportunity, again, to thank you the families for your continued support, as well as our governors for their opinions and counsel. And, I know it might be repetitive, but every single adult around school need a huge thanks for their positivity, flexibility, patience and can-do attitude.
Response to the latest government announcement:
Today has seen an update to a govt document with the statement:
"Primary schools to have flexibility to bring back more pupils".
However, I feel the headline is frustratingly misleading. We are currently abiding by govt guidelines when it comes to educating our key workers, Foundation Stage and Year 1 pupils on-site. This government 'flexibility' being announced today (I knew nothing of this document before it came into my inbox at 2pm) means nothing when Thurlbear cannot, currently, provide space for our year 6 on our site. We are at full capacity for pupils and staff and this headline is unhelpful at best. I can understand how families feel when they see announcements like this, especially with pupils who would love to get back to school. However, it does nor reflect the picture in the vast majority of primary schools. Please be assured that, if there was any space and flexibility, we would be utilising it.
Fancy another PE challenge? Here you go....click HERE
Try out Mr Gunstone's brilliant PE challenges....follow the link to youTube HERE
Good evening, everyone. Before the start of a new school week, I wanted to mention a few things:
- Where are we in terms of COVID-19 developments? Lots of you will have seen the information regarding a rise in the "R" rating on the south west and what this means for us and some parents have emailed me about this. As we have said previously, we are guided by our Local Authority view which, currently tells us to continue as we are. If this changes, then we will immediately communicate with families. Our governors are monitoring the situation with me constantly and we have the safety of you and staff at the centre of our decision-making.
- Our school week went effectively for drop-offs and pick-up and our pupils all approached our news safety measures with calm positivity. Regular hand washing and sanitising is now a new norm. The main feedback has been very good from families and I would like to send a huge thanks to the Thurlbear staff for this, as well. The effort and can-do attitude from them all has been great and everyone has approached these news scenarios with absolute professionalism. I am so, so proud to watch how quickly our teachers can adapt to teaching FS and Yr1 pupils - great CPD!
- Slightly unfair to pick anyone out specifically, but I have to mention the work of A) Mrs Bendall and Mrs Parkman, who have been deep cleaning 3 times a day and B) Mrs Lucas who has helped me enormously by spearheading our timetable of who-is-where-and-when.
- Our Y6 had a trial 'Google Meet', an opportunity to meet online in a safe space and share some time together. this week, Miss Warrington has organised a timetable of live sessions. I am also looking into setting something up for each year group in the same way. I feel that it could be a great opportunity for classes to share some an experience.
- We started our phone calls to families, checking if everything was OK and if we could do anything. Please remember this is not one-way. If you have a need, ring us; don't wait for our call.
- By the end of this week, we will review our practice and look at what we can do next. We are obviously limited by our space at Thurlbear, but we will communicate with everyone as to what comes next.
- This situation is far from ideal, but we are trying hard to help everyone get through it. Please stay in touch with us as it really helps! I have recorded a 'shout-out' but I am having technical difficulties...
This information will be repeated on our website, as I know not everyone likes Facebook. I will also send out a text message to all families, tomorrow, directing you to find this message on our website. Have a great week ahead.
Good afternoon, everyone. Late Saturday afternoon, I received an email regarding the decision to delay the wider opening of primary schools in North Somerset. This seems to be due to information from the Department of Health and Social Care showing daily rates of COVID-19 in the area. They have made the decision for the safety of pupils and staff. There is an agreed feeling that this is likely to cause some additional confusion and concern for families moving into June.
Julian Wooster, Director of Children's Services has emailed me and other Heads and written that the national 5 "tests continue to be met and therefore our advice to schools and to headteachers remains unchanged - that you should extend provision as set out in your plans. We will of course keep the situation under constant review across all Somerset County Council localities".
However, I must also pass on this from the Somerset LA:
"We would however like to add the following strong advice, to schools where you are aware of children or individuals spending time in the Weston Super Mare area. It is important that anyone contacted by the North Somerset test and trace team should rigidly follow their self-isolation advice including anyone from their household."
This should be taken seriously and so, please, follow this advice carefully.
Obviously, the late notice of this information makes it very difficult for me to respond over a weekend, but our governors have been made aware of this information and I will be speaking to our staff tomorrow during our INSET day. We will take decisions based on the risk to our school community and and with the safety of all pupils, families and staff at the forefront of our thinking. If there is any development, I will be contacting families as soon as is possible.
Good evening, everyone.
A slight understatement when I write it has been a busy week. Teachers, cleaners, support staff and governors have all been incredibly busy helping and looking at the roadmap ahead. I wanted to present all families with a timeline for Thurlbear in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and, therefore, I have written a newsletter that can be found on our website.
Frustratingly, the government's decision-making deadlines come within a half-term holiday, which means we will be busy preparing ourselves for the potential June opening. Staff will also be in school for our key worker families so, again, I thank them for this effort.
For those in Foundation Stage and Year 1 families returning, please expect a letter either by email (should we have an email address) or by post. This will include full details on HOW we intend to get your child back to school as safely as possible. Our Year 6 families can also expect both a letter from me plus from Miss Warrington, clearly detailing our school offer from June.
As we move forwards, every class, pupil and family can be assured that we will do what we can to maintain the learning standards of Thurlbear, which means our online offer will continue. This, obviously, will be a real for teachers who will all have a full-time teaching responsibility in the class as well as managing the online realm. However, our organisation and brilliant support staff will make this possible.
A final point, please. Having spoken to many of you on the phone, I am very aware of the difficulty and magnitude of your choice to, either, keep your child home or send them back to school. Please respect that decision made by other families and appreciate their viewpoints.
Contact me if you feel you need any further discussion. Have a safe and lovely weekend.
Good morning, everyone. A few things:
1) A huge thanks to our teachers, TAs, Office team, cleaning team and Breakfast Club team that are working hard in school every day to keep us open. I am in school this morning (Saturday) and we are open tomorrow, too. The commitment and proactive attitude of our school team is incredible.
2) I will be ringing Y6 families today to discuss the wider opening of school and their opinions....so don't be shocked if the phone goes!