2021 New Year Lockdown
And so we start the new year in a place I sincerely hoped we would not see again, but we are where we are and we will make the best of it!
We start the new term with online learning on Google classroom where the children will essentially follow their daily learning and curriculum as if they were in school. All children have their log-ins and I shared information on the service with you last term. You can find all of this information again following the links from this page.
Each day starts live Google Meets with their teachers. These are planned for 9.00am. As with all new developments please bear with us. For many staff this is also their first experience with the technology and until last night they were not thinking it was going to be needed! Many staff will also be juggling the needs of their own family members!
I am very aware of the stress and strain that this new lockdown may cause to your family and our aim will always be to continue to deliver the best possible learning for your children while they are learning from home whilst recognising the very real constraints that you may be under as a family.
Vulnerable children and critical workers
Please see the section below
If you need to borrow a device to enable your child to participate fully in the home learning because you do not otherwise have one they can access, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and please head your email “IT support”.
The key element of the next few weeks is to try to create a routine as close to school as possible if you can, I shared these ideas with you last year but I think they all still apply:
Have a clear structure for your day
Getting into a daily routine is really important no matter which year group your child is in. The teachers will provide a timetable to follow each day which mirrors as far as possible the day in school and these plans will be available on Google Classroom.
- If you can, maintain your child’s normal school routine: up, breakfasted and ready to start by 9.00am, breaks and a definite end time.
- Keep to set periods for each piece of learning with little movement breaks and relaxations throughout the day
- If you can, create a dedicated work space for your child, free from phones or TV, where they can set out their papers and resources and leave it there when they take a break or are finished for the day.
- You may want to encourage the children to wear their school uniform just to put them in the mood… or not!
How much to do…
We are planning an appropriate amount of learning and challenge to keep your child busy for a school day – it will be based on their normal school timetable. We appreciate that on some days this might be a struggle but we want the time away from school to be as helpful to your child’s learning as possible so please do try to encourage and support your child in following this expectation. There will be online teacher meetings at the start of the day and, where possible, an activity/contact at the end of the school day too.
Regular breaks are important and as much as possible try to get the children into the garden and in the fresh air.
How you can help
- Encourage your child to take their time and enjoy the process of learning from home.
- If some things take a little longer than expected, don’t worry. You might want to let your child’s teacher know.
- Remind the children about making S=P+A+C+E for their learning – Persevering, having a positive Attitude, being Confident in what they can do and in themselves and putting in the Effort!
- Help your child stay focused by encouraging them to divide their day into multiple short “lesson times” with scheduled breaks.
- Remind your child that it’s OK to take a break whenever they need one and not just when a break is scheduled. A burst of exercise or physical activity can alleviate stress and improve your child’s mood.
- Try to minimise the distractions during the “school day” – TV, phones, social media, gaming etc…
- Try to check in with your child and see what they are learning on a regular basis and always, always encourage them in the effort they are making.
- Try to ensure they keep to the planned timetable and mix up the learning areas rather than doing a whole day of just one thing. A little and often is always best! If they are stuck and frustrated tell them they need to leave it and look at something else and maybe come back to it later if they can…
- Remember a good night’s sleep is crucial for your child’s mental and physical wellbeing – this will be a confusing time for your child as well as for us all!
- Spending long periods of time away from friends can be difficult so do encourage your child to participate fully through Google Classroom and to stay in touch with their friends.
Looking after yourself and your child’s mental health and wellbeing
This is, once again, such an unsettling time and the children have a sense of that however we try to cover it. It is really important that we look after our mental health and wellbeing at this time. We have some really useful resources on the website which you can access from this page. The daily routine, frequent breaks and changes and sleep all help!
We still have our hardship fund too and should this be relevant to you please do contact me on email@example.com. Please do not be embarrassed to ask for help.
Where can I get help with the learning?
Teachers will all be answering emails each day on the basis explained in the home learning plan. If you do need to send a message please send it to all the team as it may be more appropriate for one to answer than the other. So, if you have any questions about the learning feel free to email your child’s teacher between those times (only, please). We will also send messages via scopay when needed and I will keep the website updated with any additional information.
Google Classrooms is set up so that teachers can see and give feedback on learning and they will be organising this through the classroom pages. In addition, please do send me any photos of any projects and happy times that we can share with everyone via the website galleries to help keep connected!
All teacher emails are available at the back of the home learning guide and on the learning at a glance and year group pages of the website www.st-thomas.surrey.sch.uk.
Keeping in touch
I will be sending home regular messages via scopay as well as the Weekly News and updates on the website and the staff will all be contributing to try to keep in touch with you all – there will be welfare calls with all families over the half term. We are all determined to remain positive and to make the most of every opportunity we have.
I hope and pray that you all stay healthy and that the children have fun learning at home. I really can’t wait to see them all back in school after half term but I guess that will only happen if we all follow the rules and stay at home as much as we possibly can to stop the spread of the virus and reduce the pressure on the NHS. Please do keep everyone in your prayers – particularly those in our wider community who are suffering through illness, loneliness or financial hardship and those separated from loved ones.
With my love and prayers to you all
Vulnerable children and the children of critical workers
The school will be open throughout (subject to staff availability) for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children. Obviously the idea of the lockdown and school closures is to minimise the number of people in close contact. If the school is full then that purpose is defeated. Please think very carefully if your child can be cared for safely at home before asking for a place in school. Children who are in school will be in separate year group bubbles and will be supervised by Learning Support Assistants allowing the teachers to plan and deliver the home learning. The children in school will access the same home learning in the classroom. As in June, the school will close on a Friday at 1pm for cleaning.
Children who are able to be in school should come to school for 8.50 and go to their rooms via the outside of the building as last term:
EYFS – St Salvatore
Year 1 – St Stephen
Year 2 – St Elizabeth
Year 3 – St Susanna
Year 4 – St Kea
Year 5 – St Teresa
Year 6 – St George
The children should be wearing school uniform and bring their own pencil case, water bottle and packed lunch unless they would normally have a school lunch which will be available.
The children should have a warm coat etc and perhaps their school hoodie to keep warm if the rooms feel cold. The children should be collected at 3.00pm for EYFS, 3.10 for Year 1 and 3.20 for everyone else from the same points as last term.
The Breakfast and After School Club provision will be available (at the usual fee) if it is required.