​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.​​covidchecker-schools_2 (1).jpg


The latest in clear guidance from public health regarding Management of COVID  19- in school age children.​​covidchecker-schools (1).jpg


​The latest in clear guidance from public health regarding Management of COVID  19- in school age children.​​Management of COVID-19 in school-age children - actions for parents and carers (1).jpg


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: 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 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 don't be shocked if the phone goes! ​


A letter to all families from Julian Wooster, Director of Children's Services, regarding the Prime Minster's Announcement. can be found in our 'latest newsletter' section. 


Good morning, everyone. A quick update for you:

In response the to the govt’s announcement, today I am in school planning zones for pupils in line with social distancing protocols. To those parents that asked about attendance, here is the latest guidance…/reopening-schools-and-other-educationa…
A quote from it:
We strongly encourage children and young people in the eligible year groups and priority groups.
You should notify your child’s school or college as normal if your child is unable to attend so that staff are aware and can discuss with you.
Parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time.​

This is a link to the document from which we will be taking our guidance regrading a return to school. It is worth familiarising yourself with it, as it will explain some of the decision making moving forwards.


Mr Gillan:​
Good morning, everyone. 

Following on from the Prime Minister's announcement, last night, I feel it is fair to give my initial reaction to you (after giving myself the evening to reflect!). 
4 days ago, we were told that schools will not reopen until the scientific advice indicates that it is safe to do so and the five tests set out by government to beat this virus have been met. Therefore, last night's announcement of a possible return of 3 year groups came as a surprise, although the date had been mooted in many unofficial discussions. 

Short term: a 50-page document is released at 2pm today and a further sector-specific document on Tuesday. Thurlbear will continue to deliver childcare cover where necessary to our key-worker pupils whilst, simultaneously, delivering online learning content and parental engagement to our families still at home. Teachers will still create weekly timetables for families to follow should they wish. Presently, our key worker and vulnerable pupil list has not changed.  

Mid-term: I will be working with staff and governors on proposals to adapt our school accordingly to accommodate the proposed return of some pupils should it be safe to do so. This will be fully communicated to all families in good time. 

If you have any comments, please email me. 

In other news, I will be announcing teachers for the 2020-2021 academic year very shortly. 

Good morning, everyone, on this May morning. Today:

A new shout-out video is coming out. Our pupils have been doing some brilliant stuff and it will get its recognition;

Teachers are meeting online to discuss next week's learning events. In recognition of the momentous week to celebrate VE Day, we will be planning some creative afternoon ideas that you can CHOOSE to engage with if you wish. We will be keeping the morning sessions similar to recent timetables, to allow for continuity of learning at home. We do not want to bombard you with too many ideas at this tumultuous time. More about this in a post later...

Class Dojo is back up and running, but I am aware that some families have had issues gaining access again. A parent has already been a great help, this morning, in putting a message into your class groups for me. Can I just ask ANYONE who
 A) is struggling to gain access via email or thinks they have not received an email from us, or;
B) anyone who WANTS to begin using it, please email me direct and I will pass this directly to teacher.
Class Dojo is a tool whereby teachers and families can securely link to the learning you are doing at home. It allows engagement on a two-way basis, based on the learning you and your child post. I thoroughly recommend you give it a go if you have not yet done so.​


Our Inset days are attached 2020-21 INSET Days.jpg


​Good morning, everyone.

As we start a new week, just a few notices:

Teachers have produced another weekly timetable for you to look at and use accordingly and as you see fit. 

Later this morning, I will publish our INSET days for the 2020-21 year. These may seem superfluous currently, but it is important that we keep you engaged with events ahead and when we get back to 'normal' - whatever that will look like. 

This week, we will also tell you the teacher set-up for the 2020-21 year: who will be where. 

Finally, just a quick message to all of you. Over the weekend, there has been a cacophony of opinions about schools opening, lockdown procedures being relaxed and ideas put forward by all and sundry. At present, not a single person has spoken to me as a school leader and I know no more than you! There are currently NO plans that we have been made aware of. I hope you know by now we are honest and transparent and you will be kept aware of any developments as and when they happen. ​


Good morning, everyone! 

Just a quick message that we are temporarily closing access to Class Dojo, until we look into some technical issues in the background and I am happy that the privacy of data is fully covered. This in no way stops any family getting to our plethora of resources on the school website.

On another matter, the teachers have discussed making it easier for you to navigate to certain resources that are highlighted in the weekly plans. Teachers now plan to create HYPERLINKS, where relevant, to key resources so families can simply click on the blue highlighted word or phrase and it should open the relevant document folder for you. Again, I thank our teachers for doing this and for trying to find simple ways to help you with your learning at home.​

Our latest shout out is available to all families to listen to. It includes a Head’s message of hope for the future! 


Free School Meal Vouchers

We have had some queries from parents regarding the free school vouchers that we are sending out to families. Following Government guidelines these are only being sent to those families who qualify for the benefits related free school meals. They are not being sent out to children who receive a free school meal under the Universal Infant Free School Meal scheme 

The criteria for benefit related meals have been taken from the government website at:

and are as follows:
“Your child may be able to get free school meals if you get any of the following:
o Income Support
o income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
o income-related Employment and Support Allowance
o support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
o the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
o Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
o Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
o Universal Credit - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)”

The following is the guidance that schools have received from the Government about Universal Infant Free School Meals and a quote from it.

“What about infants that receive a free meal under universal infant free school meals?
It is right that schools concentrate their effort and resources on those who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals at this time. There is no requirement to continue to provide universal infant free school meals to pupils in reception, year 1, or year 2 who are unable to attend school. Children in those year groups who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals will be supported.”

If you think that you may meet any of the criteria above for benefits related free school meals, especially for families whose circumstances have changed in light of Covid 19, please contact Somerset County Council to see if you qualify.

​Good afternoon, everyone! My name is Mr Gillan and I am your Headteacher, for those that have forgotten me already 😃 . I know times are very tough at the moment, but I want to keep our pupils - and families - as uplifted and connected as possible. ​

Most of you will know that I have created a YouTube channel (search Thurlbear school WE HAVE 19 SUBSCRIBERS!). This Friday, I will be presenting THURLBEAR SHOUT-OUTS! So, if you have been been doing some cool schooling at home and want to share it, then email me directly with what you have been doing and I will include as many as I can! 

This will be a regular feature (if popular and apologies if it is awkward viewing, but I will have never done it before!) as well as other videos for self-help learning and fun at home. I have had good feedback about the teachers' work that has been set, so keep it up! I am thinking about all our pupils constantly. Stay positive, everyone, and I will 'see' you Friday! This is also on our website for those not on Facebook, but please do spread the word.​

On the eve of a very challenging phase in the history of UK education, I wanted to send out a few messages.

To those families joining us tomorrow:
hopefully, you received a letter - full uniform, there will be NO drop-off service, drop your child at the gate as no parents will be asked to come onto the playground. At some point, you will ask your child: “So, how was your day?“ And so this is an outline....The day itself will have teachers in different rooms with pupils. As much as possible, these pupils will not be interacting in our usual manner. They will be spaced apart during sessions and breaks will be different, also, with much less social play (as much as that is possible with such young pupils 😞). Lunch will be in different classrooms and the end of the day, 3:30, we will lead the children to the gates for you to pick up individually. Please observe the suggested distance between yourselves and we will do our best to get them out efficiently. Please allow us some “understanding time”. This is absolutely unknown in education, so we are feeling our way over this first week. Everything is done with safety in mind.
I have just re-read this and struck by how it sounds. It may sound “draconian”, but this is not usual schooling under any circumstance. We are trying to protect these children and our staff, so please forgive these details, but I cannot pretend this is Thurlbear holiday camp!
I urge ANY family that can find alternate childcare to do so - and I have absolute faith in all of you that you will.

Please think of each other as we move forward, stay safe, wash hands and may God go with you.

Mr G.​


Mr Gillan 1:20pm update:

As you are all, no doubt, aware schools are closing at the end of Friday school-time to all pupils except those categorised as 'key workers'. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told BBC Breakfast (7:30am) the Cabinet Office would release the full list of key workers later and parents not on the list would be "immediately aware" their child wouldn't be offered a place in school. Frustratingly, WE HAVE NOT RECEIVED THIS LIST AT THIS TIME.

You will also be aware that Mr Johnson said that not all schools would need to provide this service, as some schools may be hub schools. I fully intend for Thurlbear to be a school that stays open for Thurlbear pupils.

If you believe you may well be in a category of 'key workers' (currently, we believe to be NHS, police and delivery drivers) can you please contact us to discuss your plans? I will update everyone when I know more.

So that you are aware, our staff are meeting after school to fully plan what support we can send home for families whilst we are closed to the rest of our Thurlbear family. I am currently creating better pages on our website to host information for every year group. Our main conduits of information will be website news, Facebook and text messaging service.

Thanks to all. ​

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