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!
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
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.
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.