This week’s message (Friday 23 April 2021)

Friday 23 April 2021

We hope you had a happy and healthy holiday over the Easter period. Hopefully, it helped that lockdown eased a little in the second week of the holidays.

Reading, reading, reading

Every child should be reading on a daily basis at home. Please help your child to build in a routine to make sure this happens. Your child might read a book, a website, a comic… It doesn’t matter, as long as they’re reading.

In the lockdown period, we provided two daily sessions to support reading: reading fluency and reading skills. A recent blog post from Ofsted backs up this importance: ‘The primary schools we inspected had rightly prioritised developing the teaching of reading’.

We assess reading skills in various ways. If your child is in Year 2, we measure how many words per minute they’re able to read – ideally about 90 words per minute of an age-appropriate book. If your child is in Year 2, ask us to let you know how well they’re doing.

Attendance matters

You might be reassured to read in the same Ofsted blog post that inspectors noted: ‘Keeping motivated has been a struggle for almost every child. Schools told us that even children who had been motivated at first, had ‘switched off’ completely by the end of the third lockdown.’ This means that with all the home learning provision that schools provided, there is still missed learning – and that means attendance at school is even more important.

We’re really pleased to see that our attendance so far this year (from the start of the school year up to the Thursday before Easter) is 97.9%. Thank you for supporting your child to be a happy and healthy learner!

The Big Ask

Led by the Children’s Commissioner, The Big Ask is the largest ever survey of children in England, designed to find out what their concerns and aspirations about the future are. Watch this You Tube clip with your child and then please support / encourage your child to take part. There are different versions of the survey depending on the age of the child.

The results from the survey will help identify the barriers preventing children from reaching their potential, put forward solutions and set ambitious goals for the country to achieve. The more children who respond, the stronger the results will be.

Staying safe in the sun

We’ve been really lucky since Easter period and have seen the sun on more than one occasion!

As we enter the summer term at school, we’d like to remind you about keeping your child safe in the sun.

NHS guidance makes it clear that most people do not apply enough sunscreen. If sunscreen is applied too thinly, the amount of protection is reduced. It should be applied to all exposed skin, including the face, neck and ears. The SPF should be at least 30.

It’s really important that children come to school wearing sunscreen and that this is applied just before leaving home.

If you choose an ‘all day sunscreen’, it’s important that it is used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For sunscreen that needs to be reapplied, children can bring a named bottle into school which they will be able to reapply at lunchtime. Please teach your child how to do this independently. Staff in school will help/guide if needed but as you can imagine a vast amount of teaching and learning time could be lost if staff are applying cream to a full class.

A hat and plenty of water is essential. Please ensure that your child comes to school with a full bottle of drinking water each day. Water can be replenished throughout the day.

Staying safe online

Over the Easter holiday, we published five news articles about staying safe online. In case you missed them, the content from all five posts comes from a Thinkuknow newsletter.

Our new school charity

As you know, we want our schools to be happy and healthy places to learn. There’s link here with charities. It might be said that donating money and raising money for charities helps to create a place which is happy and healthy, and can support a sense of wellbeing.

Each year, as part of teaching and learning about democracy, we nominate a charity to support for the year ahead. The selection process is as follows:

  1. Talk Time homework today: At home, your child should discuss charities in general, and specifically consider different charities and which one to support.
  2. Talk Time review in class: In class, children discuss the different charities and finally vote for one, which the junior leaders for each class then take to the Junior Leadership Team.
  3. The Head of School reviews the shortlist of charities: We’ll check that they’re all appropriate (eg in terms of inclusion, and that they are all registered charities).
  4. Junior Leadership Team decision: Next Friday, in a Junior Leadership Team meeting, the shortlist is considered and finally councillors vote for one.

On the same Friday (30 April), or Tuesday 04 April (the day after May Day bank holiday), we invite your child to donate 100 pence to take part in some fund-raising to coincide with the Captain Tom 100 initiative – the money raised will go towards the new school charity.

And finally, just when you thought we’d got through a whole message without mentioning Covid…

Home testing

Home test kits for Covid are now widely available. Adults (18+) can now collect two packs of home test kits at a pharmacy, for example. Each pack contains seven tests. The tests have proved useful in identifying children in school who have Covid but weren’t showing symptoms. It’s a good idea to think of the tests as useful in showing a red light (a positive case). They shouldn’t be used as a green light to prove someone doesn’t have Covid.

As always, please speak with us if you’ve any questions, comments or concerns. Have a good weekend – and don’t forget to make sure your child reads daily!