11th February Half Term Newsletter
Every child has the right to rest and leisure and to engage in play and recreational activities.
Well what another very strange half term – 6 weeks of learning has already passed. As you are fully aware Boris Johnson locked the country down on Monday 4th January, closing schools from Tuesday 5th to all pupils except for the vulnerable and key worker children. We have had a large number of pupils attending school, whilst providing remote learning to many at home.
This is an extremely difficult time for parents and children, who yet again have had their routines disrupted. We know that it has been a very stressful time for parents, trying to juggle ‘work commitments’ as well as remote learning with their child. So many of you who are remotely learning have fully embraced Teams; it has been a learning curve for both parents, staff and pupils. But it has been very successful and many children have fully embraced the curriculum and learning opportunities provided. We really appreciate the support that parents have provided for their child whilst working at home. You should be commended – thanks again! It is important to know that children at home and in school have received the same learning opportunities too!
Many parents have thanked us in person, verbally on the phone, by email or the Teams learning platform, for all that the school have done this half term to support children’s learning in school and at home – staff really appreciate this. It boosts staff morale to know that their hard work and the learning that they have provided is appreciated by so many of you – so thank you for taking the time to say this!
For staff, they have been working relentlessly both with children in school and also providing learning opportunities and feedback remotely to children at home. All staff have had to adapt quickly to new guidance and routines to keep themselves and children safe.
We have tried our best throughout this difficult time to do the following:
- to keep the school open for key worker and vulnerable children, through a booking system
- to provide your child with an education through remote learning
- to provide laptops and Sim cards to a small number of pupils
- to provide ‘paper learning packs’ for children who could not access the remote learning
- to provide ‘live’ spelling, maths, story time and good work assemblies
- to keep children and staff in school safe at all times, making the school ‘Covid secure’ following all health and safety guidance
- to communicate well with parents/carers
- to call parents, carers, children to provide support, reassurance and to alleviate any worries that you may have had experienced with remote learning
- to inform you through SchoolLife, , emails and our website of any announcements and what this meant for children at Blanford Mere
- to follow Safeguarding procedures and follow up any concerns raised
- myself and Miss Stanton have written letters to children who are working remotely
- to provide risk assessments
It has been an extremely busy, unusual, but productive and challenging time for everyone.
Thank you to our key worker parents for not sending children to school who have had any of the three main symptoms and getting their child tested promptly. Many key worker parents have also been very vigilant in taking their child to be tested for the wider symptoms to keep everybody in school safe. Fortunately, we are extremely pleased to report that we have had zero positive cases this half term
Good news! The cost of a school meal is usually reviewed in April each year. We have received notification from Dolce who are very aware of the financial pressures facing both parents and schools in these difficult times. They have confirmed that they are able to avoid the annual price increase due in April 2021 and put it on hold until either later in the year or until next year. Dolce have indicated that they will review the situation again for September 2021
Internet Safety Week
Tuesday 9th February was Safer Internet Day – a day which is celebrated globally, so that children can understand how to get the best out of the internet, whilst being aware of some of the risks and dangers involved.
The children here took part in learning and activities both in school and at home, related to this year’s theme, “An internet we trust – exploring reliability in the online world”.
We linked our learning to our Rights Respecting Articles 16 (the children’s right to privacy) and Article 17 (the right to reliable information).
Below are some of the children’s thoughts on the learning they have completed this week.
Abigail - We learnt that if we're using tablets or phones that we need to stay downstairs with a grown up.
Harry - We learnt about pop-ups and to tell our grown up if we see any adverts that we need to get rid of.
Jesse - Never tell people your name on the computer because it might be dangerous.
Kian - Always tell a grown up if you see something scary on the computer.
Leo- There can be unreliable information on the internet, so you just check it.
Samuel- Be careful on the internet and remember zip it, flag it, block it.
Ruby - You must be careful when on the internet as you can't always trust someone when they are behind a screen.
Rose - If you see something pop up on your screen and you are unsure, then you should always ask an adult to check it for you.
Henry - I know what my digital footprint is now and how to stay safe online.
Lola - I have learnt that I need to check my security settings and delete accounts that I don't use anymore.
Thomas – I didn’t know that everything I do online can be tracked. Every movement and key press!
Isabel – I didn’t know that people could get information about me that quickly, or that what I do online now might be seen when I get to university.
Archie – I learnt that you can get tracked when you are online. Digital footprints should be kept under control.
William – Safer Internet Day was exciting. I really liked how we were able to do a comic version of our advice on how reliable online information is. I have learnt lots about photo editing and other fake news.
Mason – Safer Internet Day is good to show children and grown-ups how to use the internet properly and be aware of your digital footprint and online reputation in case it affects your future.
Elissa - Internet Safety Day was fun and helped us understand how to be safer on the internet. I really liked learning about digital footprint and how you shouldn’t post things if you wouldn’t like certain people to see them.
Caitlin - I have learnt that you can't trust everything you read or view on the internet.
Paige - I enjoyed internet safety day and learnt that you need to check who is publishing the news to check if it is fake or not.
Josh - I really enjoyed Internet Safety Day because I now know what is real and fake online.
Gabriella - I loved Internet Safety Week because I learnt how I can stay safe online and tell what is real and what is fake.
The below websites will help you to do all of the above and know how to deal with things if they go wrong!
Friday 12th February – INSET day school closed to all pupils – no remote learning will be set
Monday 15th February – Friday 19th February – Half term break
Monday 22nd February - school re-opens to key worker and vulnerable children only.
Remote learning will be set for the other pupils to work from home
Thursday 4th March – World Book Day
On Thursday 4th March we will be celebrating World Book Day at Blanford Mere Primary. This year will obviously be a very different experience to previous years, but we are still excited to share our love of reading across the school.
As part of our celebrations we would like your child to dress in a costume of a character from their favourite book, or in their pyjamas to celebrate bed time stories. We recognise that the opportunities to purchase/create costumes is limited at the moment, so wanted to provide different options. This will apply to children currently attending school, and children who are taking part in remote education. If you are learning from home, please send your teacher some pictures via Teams so we can celebrate together.
As part of our World Book Day celebrations, we are pleased to announce that we will be releasing some story-telling videos where Mrs Miller will read some of her favourite books. These will be available to watch via links shared over Teams and School Life. We hope this will ignite a passion for the children to want to read books at home. For optional home learning tasks, please visit the World Book website at www.worldbookday.com.
As an alternative to the normal paper vouchers, World Book Day are offering eVouchers so that you can still purchase your £1 books. More details will be sent about this closer to the day.
Friday 19th March – Red Nose Day – wear anything red and donate £1 – no red noses will be sold in school. Unfortunately, due to Covid guidance we ask that children do not bring a red nose into school this day for health and safety reasons. However, you may wish to use ‘face paint’ to paint your child’s nose!
Thursday 1st April – school closes at the usual time for Easter break
We know that many parents have asked us when school will reopen to all pupils, unfortunately, we do not know any more than you do as we get no advanced warning! We have guidance released from the DfE well after Boris Johnson addresses the nation. As far as we are aware, Mr Johnson will be planning to set out a road map to reduce restrictions on Monday 22nd February. If and when we know any more information relating to schools reopening we will share this information with parents. We would like you to know that we are trying our best for your children.
Thank you for your continued support, have a lovely half term break
Mrs Miller and Miss Stanton