Letter to parents around school provision

school rules covid-19

A letter to parents has been sent out today. Due to its importance we have duplicated it here.

Friday 10th April 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

I hope you are all well and are keeping safe. Please say hello to your child from all the staff at school – we miss them lots.

As you are aware school remains closed for the vast majority of children. This letter contains important information for the small number of children returning to school on 14th April.

Important information:
• Children will need to wear school uniform.
• Children will be able to order a school meal. The menu will not be as advertised due to reduced staffing. Tuesday’s menu will be burger, salad and wedges with the option of a veggie burger.
• A board near the front door will direct you to the correct classrooms via external doors.
• If your child is showing any symptoms of the virus (high temperature or a new and persistent cough) please don’t send them to school and follow the staying at home guidance.
• If you or any members of the household are showing any symptoms of the virus (high temperature or a new and persistent cough) please do not come onto the school site and follow the staying at home guidance.

The government has produced guidance for schools around implementing social distancing for pupils, parents and staff in school which has meant that we have changed some of our routines and practices during the school day.
• Entrance to school will be through the car park gate only. The car park will be closed unless you have a parking permit and a member of the leadership team will be on duty to supervise the start and end of the day. The park gate and the pedestrian entrance on Broad Lane will be closed to ensure social distancing can be maintained.
• 2 metre markings will be in place outside the classrooms to support social distancing, similar to those being seen in supermarkets currently.
• 2 metre markings in the hall and cathedral will support the children in applying social distancing.
• Children will wash hands on arrival and will regularly wash hands during the day.
• We will talk to the children about social distancing and posters will be displayed in school to remind them.
• Children will not sit next to each other at the tables or on the carpet and will sit with a gap between them.
• Toys that are used will be washed daily.
• We will consider the number of children we have in each classroom to ensure we can implement social distancing.
• The minimum number of staff will be in school each day.

Thank you in advance for your understanding and support with implementing the above changes to support the guidance by the government. You may want to go through these changes with your child at home before they come to school, so they are prepared.

Just a reminder we have created an online booking form for key workers and those children requiring provision at school over the coming weeks. 
Please remember that school provision currently is the absolute last resort for families. The DfE advises that every child who can be safely cared for at home should be, and the over-riding message from the Government remains – Stay at home, Protect the NHS, Save lives.

Please click on the link below to book places for your child at school.
https://heathcoat.devon.sch.uk/covid-19-school-attendance/

The home learning page will be updated on 13th April with new learning for the coming week. The teachers will be in email contact each week so feel free to ask them if you have any questions about the learning. Just a reminder that some teachers will be working in school and so may not be able to contact you until the end of the week. Keep sending us your photos of the home learning as we are enjoying seeing all the children’s hard work at home.

We will continue to keep in contact with you via email, text, the school website and Facebook page. The school office remains open during the school day.

I would like to wish you all well.
Take care and stay safe.
Kind regards,
Miss Higginson
Head of School

Ideas for a greener Easter fun!

green parent easter ideas

The Green Parent magazine has shared five great ideas for your Easter weekend – do take a look.

They have also made a list of useful Lockdown resources here.

1. MAKE Eco Easter

Why not go all-natural with your Easter crafts this year? You’ll find all you need to dye eggs in your store cupboards – red cabbage, turmeric, onion skins and more – pro tip, try to track down some white eggs. If you’re feeling a little more creative, you might try making imprints using leaves on your eggs. Or pick up materials on your walks to make a sweet bird nest, perhaps you might even put it into a tree or onto your window sill and see if anyone makes it a home. Find more ideas for Easter fun and rituals here.

2 DO Nature on Demand

The sun is shining, blossom is on our trees, there are butterflies circling the budding bushes; Spring is most certainly not cancelled. Small connections with nature are uplifting and comforting, but this year, you may be missing seeing gambolling lambs and wild flowers. The Wildlife Trust has a series of webcams that provide a direct link to birds and creatures across the country. Spot kittiwakes in Newcastle, ospreys in Wales, and barn owls and badgers in Essex. If you’re really lucky, you might even spot a chick hatching.

3 DO The Grand Tour

Missing a big Easter holiday day out? Take a virtual trip around some of the biggest draws instead. Bonus: no queues to get in, it’s free and no gift shop stress. Many galleries and museums have taken their exhibits online, and have ideas for home activities. We like the tours and demonstrations at the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum’s apps and activities that prompt you to explore the wildlife in your back garden or park, Tate’s creative ideas for art projects, gentle explorations of artists’ work and lives, and child-friendly quizzes, and Kew’s colourful digital gardens.

4 DO Find Your Space

Sunday is the International Day of Human Space Flight, celebrating the beginning of the space era for mankind. Find out about the day and find resources here. Get a closer connection to fellow humans in space by watching the ISS pass overhead – this tracker will tell you when it’s next due to fly over your town. The space station moves in a continuous, straight line, and is visible when the sky is clear.

5 RECIPE Simple Simnel

More than any other year, this Easter we have time to bake. Christians are nearing the end of Lent, a time of self-denial and simple living, so will be craving sugary treats. Try making something truly over-the-top such as this Triple Chocolate and Peanut Butter Layer Cake, a traditional Simnel Cake or get the whole clan to help make Nest Cakes. If you’re more of an Ostara family, or don’t want to attempt Bake Off-style showstoppers, why not make this super-simple Honey Cake?

A note to pupils

Dear pupils of HPS
 
Just a quick message to say that we are all missing you and are wishing you well. Try and enjoy the Easter break and don’t eat too much chocolate!
 
Remember:
 
• Stay at home.
* Stay safe.
* Wash your hands.
 
Take care
All the staff at HPS

Learning from home photos

Dear parents and carers

We hope you have found the home learning resources easy to use this week as well as accessing other resources that are available. The teachers would love to see any photos of your child completing their home learning and any other learning opportunities they have accessed.

Teachers will be emailing parents on a weekly basis to touch base and you may wish to respond with a photo to celebrate some of the home learning you and your child have been doing. Please note that this isn’t compulsory and there is absolutely no pressure to do so. We will then celebrate some of these on our Facebook page.

We will only use photos of children where you have already agreed to their photo being used in the media. If you don’t want us to use your child’s photo, please make that clear in your email. More home learning resources will be added to the website on Monday 13th April.

Take care and stay safe.

Miss Higginson

How to talk to children about Coronavirus

If your child is asking questions about Coronavirus and the current situation and you’re not sure how to answer them, there are some great articles and video clips from CBBC’s Newsround.

The information is reported in a way that makes it easy for them to understand what is going on in the world at the moment. Take a look at https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround.

You can also visit the Home learning resources page here for a handy guide on how to talk to children about Coronavirus.

Home learning update

Firstly, thank you for all the positive and supportive comments and emails that many of you have sent to the school over the past week. The current health crisis is certainly a unique situation for schools and we are glad to be able to work closely with you to enable the children at HPS to continue with their learning and not allow large gaps to develop in their knowledge and skills during these tricky times.

Here are some tips that we hope you will find useful. However, we also impress upon everyone to follow the latest government advice, which is currently:

  • to go out only if absolutely necessary (you may go out and exercise once a day e.g. walk in the park if it’s not busy) and not meet with other children or adults who live outside of your family home.
  • Observe social distancing and stay at least 2 metres away from other people.
  • Remember to wash hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds.

Working from home

Trying to keep a routine is important, as children of school age will be used to a daily schedule. Children often thrive on routine and predictability, and this is especially important when the world is changing around them. You may find drawing this out as a timetable supports your child(ren) in understanding what is happening through the day.

What can you do to help your child?

We would like your child to complete learning activities on each day that they would normally be at school.  Learning sessions should be much shorter than if your child were at school. This is because you will be working with your child on a 1:1 basis and so learning will be more intense. A balance of learning and fun is important. Your child’s teacher has set work for them to complete which can be found here.

If you have to do work yourself, make sure you give your child/children something they can do for half an hour by themselves, preferably while you’re in the same room (depending on their age). Then take a break with them – go for a walk (if you’re not self-isolating), play a game, do some schoolwork that they need your help with, read a book together. Give them your undivided attention for short bursts of time.

Then give them a drink and snack and set them up with their own work or task so you can try to get in another half an hour of work. However, keep it flexible, mix it up, and avoid looking at COVID-19 related-news in front of them. If they ask a question about it, again, keep it simple and stick to the facts – we have added links to our website of good ways to inform them.

A suggestion of how your weekday could look.

9am – Joe Wicks workout 30 mins – see his live stream on his YouTube channel. He is running a daily PE session.

9.30am – drink and rest.

9.45am 30 mins – reading share a story. Hear your child read – or you read to your child and then discuss tricky words or ask them to explain the story to you. Practise key words.

10.15amplaytime –run around in the garden and have a drink. (Wash hands when you come back in).

10.30am – 30 mins of maths – see work set by school or multiplication work and games.   Use TT rockstars, My Maths or Topmarks maths. Children might like to make their own double-sided cards with the times table question on one side and answers on the other.

11ambreak. Have a healthy snack and time to play.

11.20am play a board game together (Using a dice and counting spaces is also a good fun way to practise some simple maths).

11.55amspelling practise. Choose 5 words and learn them by writing them out, covering them, writing them again – or using different coloured pens to write each letter. Practise writing them in interesting sentences. (The next day, check – can they still remember these spellings? And then learn 5 more).

12.15pmlunchtime and play. Following the latest advice from the government

1.15pmTV time (If you are looking for something educational, search online for Horrible Histories or BBC teach.)

2pm – school project or task set by teacher. You may have an activity pack from school or have tasks set by your child’s class teacher on the Heathcoat Primary School website.

3.15pmfree time. Perhaps ask your child to help prepare a meal with you for the family.

It’s about getting a balance, having a structure and integrating some fun.

The most important thing in home schooling is family relationships. Many siblings will not be used to being together all day, and it is a lovely opportunity to build and strengthen your family relationships.  Take time to slow down, as you do not have to rush around or juggle different commitments. There may also be a few bumps in the road, but if things are not going well, change the plans, go for a walk (if symptom free and in line with advice from the governement) or put on a film to watch together.

Click here for some links to information about accessing some reading books/reading material, along with other useful info to help you.

It is important for parents who are at home to think about their own mental health. Children are looking to us to lead the way and provide them with stability and we know that can be tough.  If you need some time out, have 5 minutes to yourself, read a book, do a free 3-minute meditation or open a window and take 10 deep breaths. Use Skype or Whatsapp to keep in touch with loved ones who you cannot see in person.

Look after yourselves, keep healthy (and washing hands), keep the learning fun and be kind to each other. Thank you, once again, for your support.

Best wishes from all the staff at HPS.

Easter provision

As you are aware the government has asked schools to remain open over the Easter holiday where possible to provide provision for children of critical key workers only.

School staff have very kindly volunteered to come into school during the Easter holidays to provide this provision. We are hoping to be able to offer provision for both weeks of the holiday, but this is subject to change due to the staffing available.

The DfE advise that every child who can be safely cared for at home should be. Note we have also put links on our website and Facebook page to help you to identify who is a key worker. Guidance on which key workers are able to access this provision requires interpretation, but broadly speaking you need to meet the following criteria.

You have children who attend a school impacted by the UK Government closure announcement and:

  • you need to go to work to carry out essential duties as a key worker or need to work from home where it’s not possible to continue working, as you’ll have very young children at home.
  • you have exhausted all other sustainable childcare options as an alternative to schools (in line with the most recent advice from the government).

It’s important to note that this guidance and support is in place as a last resort only. Priority will be given to those responding directly to the coronavirus threat, such as National Health Service workers. Therefore, even those classified as key workers may not necessarily receive school places.

Only those who can answer “yes” to being a key worker and the two questions above should contact the school to request provision. The decision on whether we can provide this for you will be made by the head teacher. Be aware that we have to make tough decisions in this regard, based on the information available to us at this time.

In the first instance please email demelzahigginson@heathcoat.devon.sch.uk explaining how you meet the criteria above, the name and contact details of your employer, when you require places and your contact details. Provision would be available from 8.45am to 3.15pm, starting on this coming Monday. If you require provision for next week then please email ASAP to request places, and if you require provision for the second week of Easter, then please email by Wednesday 1st April at noon.

Important message for key workers about school provision during closure

As a school we are required to provide provision during normal school hours during the current closure to children of key workers who have an essential service to provide which makes it impossible for them to provide care for their children themselves as a family. The DfE advise that every child who can be safely cared for at home should be. Note we have also put links on our website and Facebook to help you identify as a key worker. Guidance on which key workers are able to access this provision requires interpretation, but broadly speaking you need to meet the following criteria.

You have children who attend a school impacted by the UK Government closure announcement and:
• you need to go to work to carry out essential duties as a key worker, or need to work from home where it’s not possible to continue working as you’ll have very young children at home.
• you have exhausted all other sustainable childcare options as an alternative to schools (e.g. non-vulnerable partners, family members or trusted friends supporting with childcare, or children at an age when they can stay safely at home on their own).

It’s important to note that this guidance and support is in place as a last resort only. Priority will be given to those responding directly to the coronavirus threat, such as National Health Service workers. Therefore, even those classified as key workers may not necessarily receive school places.

Only those who can answer “yes” to being a key worker and the two questions above should contact the school to request provision. The decision on whether we can provide this for you will be made by the head teacher. Be aware that we have to make tough decisions in this regard, based on the information available to us at this time.

In the first instance please email demelzahigginson@heathcoat.devon.sch.uk explaining how you meet the criteria above, and with your contact details. Provision would be available from 8.45am to 3.15pm, starting on this coming Monday.