Article 14 You have the right to choose your own religious and beliefs. Your parents should help you decide what is right and wrong, and what is best for you.

School Closure

I hope that you are all well and staying safe. It seems so strange to be writing to you when school is closed to the majority of children. All of us - our children and their families, staff, whether working in school or from home – are having to create a ‘new normal’ with new routines.

We hope that the activities set for the last two weeks have helped you in establishing your new routine with the children. We are all in uncharted territory and all need to find a way to make it work for as long as the current situation lasts. Routines will look different in every house and will often vary from day to day.

Teachers have posted work on the website; a mixture of activities, some using IT (ie, TT Rockstars etc.) and non-screen based ones too. We know that supporting children’s learning at home will look (and feel!) very different from the way that are taught and learn in school.

Thank you to all of the children and parents who have completed some of the activities set. After Easter, we will be setting Learning Projects for you to use with your children. There will be a separate letter with them explaining how they work, and how they can be used. We are sending you these weekly projects with the aim of helping you to keep the children’s learning going and to help you to keep them busy!  Teachers will not be marking these as they are suggested learning opportunities for you at home. Please don’t feel that you have to do it all or that you have to fill your day with it. We understand that it is particularly difficult if you are either a key worker or working from home – juggling work and children is never easy at the best of times! If at all possible try to do maths every day and some writing. Best of all keep reading and enjoying books.

Children always learn by doing and so learn from any experience they are engaged with at home. Cooking, games, mindfulness, conversation, free play, helping you in the house and garden……..everything that they do enables them to grow.

We know that many children may be worried about Coronavirus and its impact. The attached resource may help you talk to them about it. Above all, please look after yourselves and stay safe. Right now, the health and wellbeing of our community is the main priority.

Please click on the link below for the latest Government advice/information regarding the Corona Virus:

Children’s Health and Well-being information during the Corona Virus outbreak

We want you to know that school still regards your child’s safety and wellbeing as a priority.

If you have any concerns about the safeguarding of a child, then please contact the following numbers:

  • MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) – 0300 555 0050
  • MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) Out of Hours – 0300 555 8574
  • We appreciate your continued patience as we deal with this ever-changing situation

    Information for parents / carers

    Dudley School Nursing Service will still be available to Children / Young People and families to access if required.

    Should you wish to contact your School Nurse please see details below.

    Your School Nurse’s name and contact number is:

    Name: Sally Ellis Contact Number: 07976 586394 email: sally.ellis7@nhs.net

    Alternatively please contact the Admin office on 01384 408990.

    Please remember:

    If you or your child feels ill and you want to know what to do next, please use NHS 111 online.

    If you need to contact the school, then you can email info@blanford.dudley.sch.uk and include your child’s class teacher as the subject.

    Free School Meal Vouchers

    The government is providing vouchers sent by email to all parents who are eligible for benefits related free school meals. This does not apply to children who receive the universal free school meals because they are in Reception, Year 1 or 2.

    Attendance winners

    Attendance winners for March were class 2P with 97.58% - outstanding under the current circumstances- well done!

    Primary Maths Challenge Year 6 - congratulations!

    We are pleased to announce that we had two Year 6 children who progressed to the 2019/2020 Primary Maths Challenge Bonus Round.  66,500 pupils entered the November Challenge and 2521 pupils scoring 21 or over were invited to take part in the Bonus Round in February 2020. Huge congratulations go to Daniel H who made it through to the last 2500 in the country and to Simar who came in the top 875.  We think that’s really impressive out of nearly 67,000 participants! Well done.

    Year 1 Reverend Giles visit

    On Wednesday 11th March, Year 1 had Reverend Giles visit to learn about Christianity and Baptism. Year 1 had Rev Giles visit on Wednesday 11th March to teach and learn about Christian Baptisms.  He carried out a pretend Baptism on a baby doll and shared a variety of artefacts. 

    Sammy H said 'Rev Giles put water on the baby doll's head to show us what a Baptism is like. I really enjoyed it.'

    Jacob P said ' Rev Giles puts water on the baby. He gets the special water from the font.'

    National Science Week Monday 9th - 13th March 2020

    Throughout the week commencing 11th March—National Science week—lots of exciting learning took place throughout the school. The Theme this year was ‘Our diverse planet’

    Easter 'Eggstravaganza'

    The Easter eggs provided by school were given to all children in attendance, before the school closed on Friday 20th March 2020.

    NumBots - New online maths game purchased for all children to access

    The creators of TT Rock Stars have produced a fantastic game for boosting addition and subtraction skills.  The game is called NumBots and all children now have access to this game using their TT Rock Stars login. NumBots is an online game and playing little and often will significantly improve your child’s recall and understanding of number bonds and addition and subtraction facts. We have trialled the game for a few weeks and the children were very enthusiastic and enjoyed playing it.

    How to play

    Their NumBots logins are the same as their TTRS login and are stuck in their planner. If you’re playing on a PC or laptop you need to visit https://play.numbots.com , or you can download the free app from your app store to play on a tablet. 

    Game Types

    Story Mode – the emphasis is on learning the ideas and concepts behind addition and subtraction so it features more diagrams, shapes and question styles.

    Challenge Mode – the emphasis is more on speed of recall of key facts, like number bonds to 10, doubling small numbers or adding & taking away in your head.

    Please encourage your child to play regularly for short bursts - we recommend 5 minutes each day.  This will hopefully build up your child's confidence and enjoyment of maths.

    Thank you – Mr Baker

    Free school Meals - particularly children in Year 2

    When our current Year 2 cohort move to Year 3 in September, they will no longer be entitled to Universal Infant Free School Meals. Free School Meals will then only apply to children where their parent’s income satisfies the following conditions at the time of applying: 

  • Universal Credit (provided monthly net earned income of less than £616.66, after tax and not including any benefits)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guarantee element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit Run-On – paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • If you meet the above criteria, then please complete the online form below.  You will be notified by Dudley Council if you are successful, they will also inform the school. 

    Please note however this procedure will only currently work via a PC or laptop, not via a phone or tablet device.

    Safeguarding

    Online safety

    Parents and children might be interested to hear about a free, child friendly search engine – Swiggle- created by the online safety experts at SWGfL (South West Grid for Learning). You can find out more at Swiggle.org.uk!

    Searching the internet for images or content can sometimes be a bit hit and miss for children. It can be hard to find the right content and sometimes they can stumble onto things that might make them feel upset or embarrassed. Swiggle can help with better online searching. Swiggle uses the very latest search technologies to make searches more useful. It not only gives safer access to online content but encourages responsible behaviour too. It offers:

  • customised Google Safe Search technology for ages 7+
  • active blocking of inappropriate search strings
  • active help from the ‘SwiggleBot’
  • a screen-cover widget that can be installed in the browser bar for all online browsing
  • an easy to access reporting page for children and adults
  • a search engine free of advertisements
  • clear and accessible design
  • Here is some information and resources for keeping children safe online which you may find useful.  Click on the links please:

    Thinkyouknow (advice from the National Crime Agency to stay safe online) https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/

     Parent information https://parentinfo.org/

    Net-aware (support for parents and careers from the NSPCC)

    Blanford Mere Protection from extremism April 2020

    You may have read or seen in the news recently, about a school’s responsibility to keep children safe from extremism, this is how we do this at Blanford Mere.

    Action:

  • Engage and challenge pupils and provide experience to broaden their horizons.
  • Ensure pupils understand what it is to be an active citizen, with an understanding of the responsibility it brings.
  • Allow pupils to hear and debate different points of view and in that way develop their resilience.
  • Give pupils the mental agility, arguments and insight to see through and overcome the propaganda of extremist groups
  • What we do to support this:

    Our school is a place that inspires and engages young minds. Our school believes in democracy and the laws of the country, where every individual has a voice that is heard and respected, no matter what their faith or belief. Our school values discussion, debate and learning from others.

    Our school believes that division belongs in mathematics, not the classroom. There is no place for extremism in our school.

    For more information regarding this matter and resources to support at home visit:

    Stay safe and look after yourselves. We hope to see you soon.

    Mrs N Miller

    Headteacher

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