End of term 20th July newsletter 2021

Article 29

Education must develop every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full. It must encourage the child’s respect for human rights, as well as respect for their parents, their own and other cultures, and the environment.

This is our final newsletter of this academic year. The last 18 months have been unprecedented and a time that we will never forget.  We know that it has been a very stressful time for parents, trying to juggle ‘work commitments’ as well as home learning. So thank you for all of the support you have given to your children with their learning and the school.

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 provide a broad and balanced curriculum, whilst adhering to the ever changing guidance. We feel that we have done our upmost to keep everybody in school, as safe as possible. It has been an extremely busy, unusual, but productive and challenging time for everyone.

We would like to take this opportunity to reflect back and recognise the dedication of ALL staff during these challenging months. It has been incredibly difficult and mentally exhausting for everyone, they have been in school teaching, providing remote learning and keeping school as 'normal' as poosible for the children, whilst following the guidance.

Staffing news

  • Miss Stanton will continue as the acting Strategic Leader for the Foundation Stage.
  • Mr Wade will be KS1 Strategic Leader
  • Mr Baker will be KS2 Strategic Leader
  • We welcome Mrs E Morton who is an experienced teacher and will be joining the Year 3/4 Team.
  • We say goodbye to Mr Davies our Site Manager. He will be retiring on Friday.  We wish him all the best for the furure, he will be spending more time in his caravan and looking after his dogs.  Thank you and all the best Mr Davies.  We would like to wish him a long and happy retirement - doing the things that he loves!
  • We also say goodbye to Mrs Haines, she will be leaving After School Club and the temporary nursery post. She is reducing her hours and will work at a local primary school – we wish her luck.
  • We welcome our new Site Manger – Mr S Huntley. We wish him an enjoyable time at Blanford Mere, I’m sure that you will all make him extremely welcome.
  • We would also like to welcome Mrs K Wood to our cleaning team.
  • We would also like to welcome Mrs J Small to our After School Club team.

Our teaching team have been preparing for September. They have already spent time in school getting to know their new classes and being part of the ‘handover’ of information to ensure continuity and a swift start to the new academic year. We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of our staff team who have worked hard this year in their various roles, to make yet another,  very strange academic year a happy, successful and productive one for the children.

Live Music!

On Thursday 15th July. Year 5/6 experienced a wonderful ensemble from DPA ‘Jazz live’ – it was wonderful to hear live music back in school after such a long period of time.

On Friday 16th July, Year 1 and Year 2 had a very exciting visit from some of the brass team at Dudley Performing Arts. The children were able to experience Jack and the Beanstalk like never before! We were able to listen to brass instruments such as trumpets, euphoniums and trombones, and we even managed to stay in the shade on what was a very hot day. 

Thank you to DPA for a wonderful experience. Children can learn to play instruments in school from September. Find out what’s on offer and how to enrol at 

https://www.dudley.gov.uk/things-to-do/dudley-performing-arts/information-for-parents-and-young-people/music-lessons-in-schools/

End of term Reward

Yesterday, the whole school from Reception to Year 6, enjoyed an end of term treat with fun on the bouncy castles!  They also enjoyed the rest of the morning or afternoon as a reward for their good behaviour over the past term. Very few children lost their end of term treat, which was fantastic to see.

Year 6 farewell!

Yesterday, Year 6 Leaver’s assembly ‘Treachery at Traitor’s Key’, was filmed following the DfE guidance, very different to past performances with no audience and singing permitted outside.  Thank you to the children and their families for props and helping children rehearse lines!  Well done to all of the staff involved, in very difficult circumstances. We will notify parents, who purchased a DVD when they can collect it, as plans were rearranged for Year 6! Following the assembly, we had a farwell gathering for the 5/6 children, where staff spoke to the children as a group and individually, they were then presented with a memory book.  We look forward to hearing about the children’s success in the future!  Good luck!

Year 6 Leavers Treat Day

Today, Year 6 enjoyed their Year 6 Leavers Day, as a gift from school, with an action packed day at Woodfield House, this included tubing, archery, bouldering and a challenge course!  This was truly enjoyed by staff and children, we wish year 6 every success at secondary school.

Sports Day

Today, Reception to Year 5 enjoyed participating in Sports Day - despite the extreme temperatures! Well done to everyone who participated in the events even with Covid measures being in place!  We would like to thank Mr Raybould and the TAs for organising this activity.

Year 3/4 – adopted an orangutan!

Year 3/4 have finished off their Rainforest topic by learning about how deforestation for the production of palm oil is endangering Orangutans.  The children have produced information texts based around the advert and poem 'There's a Rang-tan in my Bedroom".  Did you know that the orangutan is likely to be extinct in less than 10 years if they continue to have their habitats destroyed at the current rate? 

The children felt so passionate about the plight of orangutans that the year 3/4 teachers have adopted an orangutan through the World Wildlife Fund on behalf of this year's 3/4 classes.  We have received a certificate and  will receive regular updates throughout the year which we will pass on to the children via future newsletters.

Summer Homework Challenge

Your class teacher will post on TEAMS today a summer homework challenge – the more children participate, the bigger the reward in September!

What is the Summer Reading Challenge?

The Summer Reading Challenge returns to borough libraries this summer.

This year’s theme is “Wild World Heroes” and encourages children aged 4 to 11 to stand up for the planet. For the challenge, run by the Reading Agency, children read six books over the summer and collect stickers for their wallet along with other incentives along the way. When they complete the challenge they receive a certificate and medal. Children can read any book they like from picture books to stories or reference books on ways to care for the environment and our wildlife. The choice is amazing and it’s all about having fun with reading. There are takeaway crafts available and, as soon as restrictions lift, there will be activities in libraries for children to join in with. Many libraries will be having special events on Launch Day Saturday 10 July and families can pop along and enjoy the fun.

https://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk/

Reminders:

All inhalers and epi-pens MUST be in school on the first day of term. Can I remind parents that although we do our best to look out for expiry dates, it is the responsibility of parents to ensure that these items are in date. If your child is registered as asthmatic, you should complete the form that has already been sent home with your child.  Please send the completed form into school with two inhalers and a spacer.  These must be labelled clearly with your child’s name. Please send into school on Monday 6th September 2021. If your child has child has been diagnosed with asthma during the holiday please email info@blanford.dudley.sch.uk with your child’s name, year group and the subject as asthma.  We will then email you the appropriate form for you to complete and return with your child in September.

Children are not allowed to take part in PE unless all jewellery/earrings have been removed. If you wish your child to have their ears pierced, can I suggest that you have this done at the very beginning of the of the summer holiday so that their ears have the full six weeks to heal.

Hairstyles: it is not suitable to return to school in September with shaven heads, tramlines or extreme colours.  Please remind your children of the rules. Children who have long hair must tie it up.

Could you please make sure that your child has all of their PE kit available in school every day from the first day of term as our timetable starts immediately. Although staff will let you know when the planned PE sessions are, there are often times when we have PE for classes or when teachers take advantage of good weather to do PE.

Dogs are not allowed on the school premises at any time, and if you have a dog please do not obstruct the pathway/gate as a number of children, who are frightened of dogs, find this intimidating.

In September, children may return in either summer or winter uniform depending upon both the weather and your preference. Children should wear shoes - not trainers.

Children should not bring any money to school – there is nothing to buy.

School lunch Dolce – School Grid

The new ‘School Grid’ https://app.schoolgrid.co.uk/login.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2F  You will need to pre-order in this way all of the time from September. Meals continue to be free of charge for all children in Reception, Year 1, Year 2, as well as any child who is eligible for benefit-related free school meals. We will still be asking parents to pre-order their child’s meal, even though there is no charge.

Children in Reception, Year 1, and Year 2 should take up their Universal Free School Meal. Please try not send them with a packed lunch – sandwich options are also available to order.

KS2 children will be allowed to bring lunchboxes to school again, or order a meal online through the School Grid system.  Each lunch costs £2.20 – you must pay online, where parents have not yet logged in, and a new link from School Grid has just been emailed to you - the link will remain active for ONLY 24 hours. You can register any allergies/dietary needs for your child. Thank you.

Dinners should be pre-paid, where applicable online using School Grid. All lunches should be preordered on School Grid, regardless of year group.

All children in Reception Class and KS1 receive free fruit each day for tuck and therefore do not need to bring any food from home. A reminder that all children in Year R, 1 and 2 will be entitled to a free school meal, we would like all children in these year groups (Universal Free School Meals) to take this option from September.  Children entitled to Free School Meals through benefits should also take this option. Please remember to apply for free school meals if you are eligible as some of school funding depends on it.

All children should bring a small clear labelled ‘sandwich bag’ with their own labelled pack of tissues, small hand gel/sanitiser for their own use, as part of our health and safety guidelines.

Children in KS2 should also bring a piece of fruit for break – there will be no tuck on sale. (No crisps or chocolate please.) KS2 children: May we remind you that we operate a ‘healthy tuck’ policy.  Since schools are now subject to strict guidelines about the type of food that is allowed/ available during the school day, we hope that parents will support our efforts to encourage children to make healthy choices. For parents of current Year 2 in particular, this is a real opportunity to continue the good habits established in KS1 where fruit has always been offered as the only choice at playtime. We also encourage children to bring in healthy lunchboxes.

Children should only bring a filled water bottle (not squash – see healthy tuck policy on the website). This needs to be named please so that children can easily recognise their own bottle and do not touch or drink out of bottles belonging to other children.

Attendance/Absence and Holidays in Term Time:

From September, attendance in school is compulsory.

The most important symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of any of the following:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness. However, if you have any of the symptoms above you must stay at home and arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19 and inform school of the results.

Don’t forget that our policy on attendance, reporting children’s absences and holidays in term time is on the school website. If children are too ill to attend school then parents must phone the school office by 9.05a.m. to let us know the reason why children are not in school—unexplained absences are recorded as “unauthorised”. It is then your responsibility to ring school before 9.05am on any future days of illness, so our registers are kept up to date.  Our policy reflects the government’s stance on holidays in term time.

We have been informed by Dudley Investigation Service that they are issuing Fixed Penalty Notices (fines) for a leave of absence in term time, if it fulfils their criteria. Please can parents be aware of this information when booking any holidays, trips etc.

Holiday Dates:

A reminder that we break up for the summer holidays on today – Tuesday 20th July. Nursery and school re-opens for the children on Monday 6th September 2021.

Please familiarise yourself with the information about start/end times and entrances/exits for your child(ren), that was sent out to all parents in a newsletter on Friday 16th July 2021.  This can be found on the website in the ‘Newsletter’ pencil.

Dates for next academic year

Autumn 2021

Term starts – Thursday 2nd September 2021

Half term – Monday 25th October to Friday 29 October 2021

Term Ends – Friday 17th December 2021

Spring 2022

Term starts – Tuesday 4 January 2022

Half term – Monday 21 February to Friday 25 February 2022

Term Ends – Friday 8 April 2022

Summer 2022

Term starts – Monday 25th April 2022

Half term – Monday 30th May to Friday 3rd June 2022

Term Ends – Thursday 21st July 2022 – please note that this is one day earlier than planned to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next year, there will be an additional Bank Holiday.

Dudley LA states “Because this falls within the half term holiday, and to ensure school based staff benefit, along with the vast majority of local authorities in the region, this will be taken at the end of the summer term. Summer term 2022 will now end on Thursday 21st July 2022, one day early.”

Bank Holiday

Monday 2nd May 2022

INSET Days 2021 / 2022

Thursday 2nd September 2021

Friday 3rd September 2021

Friday 22nd October 2021

Friday 18th February 2022

Friday 27th May 2022

Polling Day – Thursday 5th May 2022

A great big thank you for your support, understanding and cooperation this year again. It has been an extremely challenging time for parents, children and staff alike. We value the partnerships between Home and School, which makes sure that children make the most of their learning opportunities.  Have a restful holiday. We look forward to seeing you all in September.

Best wishes,

Mrs Miller and Miss Stanton

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