Updates during closure
Newsletter - Trumpington Meadows - 26th June 2020 - please scroll to the bottom of the page to view the newsletter
Newsletter 19th June 2020
Dear Parents and carers,
It has been a busy few weeks for us at the Federation and we are delighted to have been able to offer children in Year 1, Year 6 and Reception a place in a bubble back at our schools. Thank you to all the staff who have worked so hard to make this happen.
We will be giving parents and carers in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 a final chance to take up an offer of a place in a bubble this term (a letter will be sent out via parent mail today) and then we will start to review our capacity and consider if we can expand our key worker provision. It is unlikely that we will be able to extend our provision to other year groups at this time. We are running on significantly reduced staffing and our capacity to open further bubbles will be limited.
Please remember if a child is in any way unwell, they must stay at home and if any child has symptoms of COVID19 they must immediately go for a test. We would recommend that this is at a testing centre as the results come back much faster. As soon as you know the results of the test, we ask that you inform the school so that we can take the appropriate steps. A positive result will result in us having to close the bubble and contact Public Health England.
We have been open at Trumpington Meadows since the lockdown, throughout Easter and half term with staff running our key worker provision. We are now considering whether to run some sort of provision during the Summer Holidays for key workers. Unfortunately there would have to be a cost for this provision as we would have to pay staff to work during the summer. We will be sending out a questionnaire to those parents currently using the provision to see if there will be a demand for childcare over the long holiday.
Thank you to Marcus Rashford! We are delighted that his campaign has resulted in the continuation of the Free School Meal Scheme over the Summer holidays. As soon as we have more information about how the vouchers will be distributed, we will share it with parents and carers.
We understand that there have been some concerns raised about the quality of the packed lunches. We have shared your concerns with AIP and they are working hard to improve the quality of the provision. We will continue to monitor and provide feedback to the catering company.
We would like to say another huge thank you to someone more member of our community. Anna B and her family have been out and about in the local community litter picking during the lockdown to help make our environment safer and cleaner. So lovely to hear about the good work she has been doing and what a great citizen!
It has been wonderful to have children back in our schools and to hear them chatting, talking and singing together. The schools do look and feel different but there is lots of laughter and smiles and we are all growing in confidence and getting into a routine. Many staff are now teaching bubbles and then going onto Google Classroom to ensure that those not in school are still able to access learning. Despite many reminders and e-mails, some children in Year 1 – Year 6 are still not using Google Classroom. If you have a phone, smart TV, or games console, most of these will enable access to Google Classroom. Most of the work can be completed on paper and you can take a photo and upload the work. Please contact the office if you require your child’s log in details. We would love to be in contact with all the children at the Federation either in a bubble or in our virtual classrooms. Please remember google classroom is not a social media platform it is a learning platform.
Please do register for Google Classroom as we are planning a “Virtual Move Up Day” where children will be able to meet their new teachers and talk about the topics and themes we will studying next year.
As for next year, we are sure many of you will be wondering what will be happening in September and the truth is we do not know yet. We are planning for our schools to be re-opening in September, but until government policy and advice changes, we cannot be sure what that may look like. We do understand the impact the lock down is having on families and we will be adapting and developing our curriculum to support the children returning to school, whenever that will be.
Newsletter 15th May 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
We would like to update you on the current situation regarding planned re-opening of schools in the UK and what we as a Federation are doing.
Since the Prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday evening there has been a lot of information about schools re-opening in June. I am sure you’ll have many questions about how the school will operate if it were to re-open. We are expecting a lot more guidance from the DfE in the coming days and weeks so we ask for your continued patience so that we can get the right guidance out to you.
We understand that there will be much anxiety about the prospects of schools re-opening and these feelings will differ considerably between children, parents and staff. Some children and parents may be excited and looking forward to seeing teachers and friends again, others will be very anxious, concerned about returning to school having felt safe and secure in their home for such a long period of time. We would like to assure you that whilst we will open in the right way and at the earliest possible opportunity, our absolute priority will always be the well-being and safety of our children and staff.
Many of you will have received our parent questionnaire this week and we would like to thank all the parents who have completed it as it will help inform us as to what needs to be considered. We aim to use your responses to help with the planning and preparation of a gradual re-opening of some year groups and classes. If you have not already done so, please can you complete this questionnaire by Monday so that we can move forward.
We are currently undertaking risk assessments, planning and organising staffing and considering ways in which we can ensure the health and safety of our staff and children. Even within the year groups mentioned by the DfE (to prioritise for a return to school in June), it is unlikely that they will resume anything close to a normal timetable before September. In most cases, it will not be possible for children to be taught by their class teacher. As you can imagine, any return to school will require considerable operational changes which would inevitably include things like; the timing of the school day; movement around the school site; hygiene; catering and much more before we can even consider the curriculum and how we teach it.
As an initial thought, we will be limiting numbers of children and creating learning bubbles of up to a maximum of 10 children. Each bubble will have a designated adult who will remain with them while they are in school and these groups will remain isolated from the other groups to maintain a degree of social distancing. We will try to provide parents with a FAQ sheet to respond to some of the many questions that parents have asked this week. There have been many concerns raised by parents about the possibility of a fine/penalty if children do not attend after the school re-opens. We would like to assure you that no such fines will be issued and that we will be supporting parents who decide they do not wish to send their children to school due to the risks of COVID-19.
Sadly, we have to inform you that some members of our school community have been very ill as a result of COVID-19 and staff and governors are mindful of the need to ensure and prioritise the health and safety of staff and children going forward. Many of our staff are unable to return to school due to shielding notices and being in the high risk category (approximately 30%). We must emphasise that although the schools are preparing to re-open at some point, the SLT and Governors will only re-open the school when we are confident that it is safe to do so and the medical and scientific advice from the government says it’s safe to do so.
Thank you to everyone who has started to use google classroom, we are delighted to see so many children starting to use the platform. If you missed the information sent out last week, we are including it again with this newsletter.
We also appreciate how difficult this time has been for families and the challenges of home schooling are not unknown to many of us working at the federation. We were concerned to hear that some parents had not received the information about the home learning tabs on the web-site and are now anxious that their child has missed out - please do not worry, we are all doing our best and hope the following experiences from one of our teachers will help reassure you and help.
Take care, keep safe and we will be in touch soon with more information.
A teacher home-schooling - the highs and lows!
(The trials and tribulations of being a parent-teacher from the Federation)
As another day of home-schooling in my house draws to a close I find myself reflecting. Today, home-schooling was tough. Yes, even teachers find home-schooling hard. But I only have two children to teach and in a class I normally have up to 30 children! As a teacher, trained in how children learn, I found today hard. My children didn't want to engage; I got cross; today was tough and it makes me feel pretty rubbish as a parent.
Why are we sharing this? Because we want to reassure you that you are all doing an amazing job in very difficult circumstances. We are all in this together, we are all juggling many things at once and we wanted to say hang in there, keep going, you’re doing well.
My kids have different temperaments, different concentration levels and different interests but they are also highly aware of things being ‘fair’! One of our biggest challenges has been that my eldest has more work than my youngest. What does my youngest do whilst the older one still needs to focus? Typically, I send the younger one out of the room but she comes back in and puts a Lego model in her sister’s face to make sure she knows she has escaped! This ends in tears, some firm words and persuasive chat (with mummy feeling super uptight and frustrated that the whole thing is taking so long - there are only 3 questions to finish!). My eldest then sits finishing her maths in a mood - not a great learning platform! We are all relieved when we get to lunchtime! This is normal, it’s ok, we as teachers are experiencing it too.
Not every day is like this but the days are definitely an emotional rollercoaster! One day is lovely and I’m trying to savour every moment and then the next is a disaster. My mind is sometimes half on work and half on home school and the children then feel my frustration. But tomorrow is a new day and we try again. Please know that as a school, we know how hard this is. In reflection we wanted to share some things that we have learnt and we hope you find useful:
• Review the day with the kids when you are all calm. How did today go? Why was that tricky? How can that work better tomorrow? Give the children some control and they respond more positively and rationally.
• Try and look at the set school work before getting started. There have been times when I am trying to print work off whilst they are ready waiting. I’ve then lost their concentration before they’ve even started a task.
• We don’t complete everything the school sets! My Husband and I both have work commitments and some days are busier than others. We are juggling things as best we can and need to cope. Our children also need to cope so I definitely don’t save the unfinished school tasks for the weekend. We need to fit in bike rides, walks, board games and relaxed family time!
• Consider putting together a simple timetable with the children’s help. Talk about snacks and breaks so they know when they are coming up. We have even chosen the day’s snacks after breakfast so the kids know that there will be no more after that!
• Sometimes the kids can help each other with their work. My eldest was more interested in her sister’s measuring activity so they did it together and had a great time. My youngest then enjoyed learning some French with her sister. This improved motivation levels and the team work was great.
• Celebrate the simple accomplishments. The kids have helped make dinner, cleared the dirty plates into the dishwasher, sorted the washing and they have helped with the weeding in the garden. There is so much learning to be had in the day-to-day routines than we realise!
• Set aside valuable time for the kids to be creative. It is good to remember that imagination and creativity often develop out of boredom! We try and get the school work completed by the end of the morning so the afternoon is more flexible.
A teacher friend and parent said: “Your priority is keeping your family well. This is not home-schooling, it is completing some distance learning to help give your child some routine and structure for when they end up back in school.” Wise words. Stay home. Stay safe. Keep going.
1st May 2020
Weekly newsletter Friday 1st May 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
We hope you are all keeping safe and well.
Thank you so much for your patience and support as we navigate our way through this very unusual time. The teachers have been really encouraged to see those of you who have accessed the learning on the website, Education City (Year 1 – Year 6) and Tapestry for those children in Nursery and Reception. Maybe you are loving this opportunity to teach and share in your child’s learning, or maybe this situation just feels a bit unmanageable or chaotic right now. However you are feeling, we just want to encourage you that you are doing an incredible job! Juggling so many roles right now is a real challenge and the most important thing is that you and your children are safe and happy.
As the lockdown continues we know it is very strange and surreal where we are all missing face to face contact. We all understand and empathise with the pressures that you and your family face, indeed many of our staff are juggling family life, home schooling and work themselves. We have been listening to feedback from everybody where it has been commented on how important it is to stay connected; with this in mind our staff are currently doing some on-line training in order to have a way of feeding back to the children about their learning – please bear with us as we try to get this very new way of working up and running. We are aiming for our staff to be using a platform where tasks can be set and all children can communicate with their teacher; please note that the teaching and communication will not be in the form of “live” lessons or discussions as we need to ensure all our staff and children are safe. We do however, recognise the importance of feedback and a dialogue of learning, we are doing our best to make this happen and will communicate the changes to you in the next few weeks. In the meantime, if you wish to contact your child’s class teacher, please do email the school office and the message will get passed onto them.
Another thank you must go to the parent who works for the NHS and very kindly donated some biscuits, hand cream and hand wash to the school – it was very much appreciated by all the staff who are working in school currently.
Yesterday was Captain Tom Moore’s 100th birthday, he has been an inspiration to so many with his positive outlook and his message of #TomorrowWillBeAGoodDay is a great way to stay upbeat. The Trumpington Federation staff have spent some time putting together a little something to say that we are missing you all loads and hopefully it will bring a smile … enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzwDwc7ZoaY
Do all take care, look after yourselves and keep making sure you get some fresh air too.
The Trumpington Federation
Newsletter 27th March 2020
Dear Parents and Children,
We hope you are all keeping safe and well in these strange times.
Most of the teachers and staff are working from home and uploading work and ideas onto the home learning pages of the class pages on the website. Team Purple, however are in school supporting our parents who are essential workers by providing childcare for their children. Thank you to our incredible staff team.
This week in school we have been: Exercising with Joe, doing many art and craft activities, reading, playing in the sunshine, trying to access the Chromebooks when the wifi will allow us, watching a film and having lots of fun.
We are keeping staffing to a minimum and will not be manning the phones at all times of day. Someone will try to answer or forward e-mails from the offices of both schools to relevant staff but responses may not always be immediate. We understand there have been some teething difficulties with Education City but that these should now be resolved.
For those of you entitled to Free School Meals, vouchers will be sent out in the coming weeks. Please bear with us there has been lots to sort out in a short time and we are all learning as we go and having to find new ways of working.
A lovely idea we heard about this week is for families to put a teddy bear in their front windows so when children and their carers go out for their daily exercise they can go on a bear hunt and count the bears; we have put one in the front entrance to the school to join in.
We are missing you all and hope that you are all staying safe and keeping inside.
Head of School