Yesterday saw the publication of the government’s guidance to schools for September and there were many things to feel positive about contained within it. It is a lengthy document and it will take time for us to work through exactly what all of it means for us at Trinity, we will share detail of how that affects you as soon as we can. However, in the meantime here are the headlines:
- We will be able to welcome all pupils, in all year groups back into school full time – hooray!
- We will be expected to provide a ‘broad and ambitious’ curriculum – hooray! (There had been rumours of a slimmed down curriculum to really concentrate on English and maths, and while we will no doubt have to devote a lot of time and energy to making sure all our pupils are where they need to be in these critical subjects, we know that our children need and deserve a wide range of opportunities in their learning.)
- We can run extended school provision (Kites and Trinity Plus), but there will need to be some adaptations so please bear with me while I take the time I need to work out how we can do this as safely as possible.
- We will be able to continue with our PE sessions with Mr Sing, but again that will take a little bit of time to work out to make it as safe as it can be.
- We are likely to have slightly staggered drop-off and collection times and set gates for each year group to reduce gathering at the beginning and end of the day. Again, this will take a little bit of organising, especially where we have families with children in different year groups. The school day will not be shorter in September.
- The children (as per the guidance) will be in uniform again in September but according to the guidance this will not need to be washed more than normal. Please remember that although sweatshirts and cardigans with the school logo are available from the school office, you do not need to buy these and can buy all of our uniform from the supermarket. If there are any difficulties, either with supply of uniform or with costs, please do let us know. We do not want uniform to cause unnecessary stress or financial difficulty.
- Children are not expected to maintain social distancing but they will still be expected to wash and sanitise their hands frequently throughout the day. They can share toys and games, but again these will need to be cleaned regularly.
- The classrooms may still look a little different, and the day to day organisation of learning may still be different as we are likely to need to do more learning at desks than we are used to but I am sure parents of the children who have been coming into school this week can confirm that the children have still had lots of fun. Oak and Maple Fest this week was amazing and it was just so lovely to see the children’s delight and enthusiasm.
I hope that very brief review of some of the detail in the guidance is helpful. Obviously there is still a while to go before September and as we know only too well at the moment, things can change quickly and dramatically. We understand that the children who have not been in school since March may well be anxious about returning, as you might be as parents. That is perfectly natural. We will work with you and the children to make it a successful return. We have remained open throughout lockdown and have managed every change safely and I see no reason to suppose that we will not be able to continue doing so. The next two weeks will see us have nearly half of our normal school population back, and although they will not all be in at the same time, it is also hoped that in a couple of months when everyone is due to return, the infection rate will be much lower than it is now, making it safe for us all to be together. The last few weeks have been long and hard, but in the guidance I feel real hope that September will see a proper return to the wonderful, vibrant, happy school that we all know and love…..just with exceptionally clean toys and hands!
This week I have spent a lot of time thinking about how we are all having to do things differently at the moment. Some things are completely new to us and other things are adaptations to systems and processes that are very well practised … in normal times at least! It is fair to say that most people do not relish change, and some people find it incredibly stressful. Over the last three months we all have seen change after change after change, at home, at school, even out and about in the community – or not as the case was at the beginning of lockdown when most people had to be at home pretty much all day, every day! Some of the changes have been quite straightforward and some will have actually brought about improvements in our lives; some have been a real challenge to abide by. No wonder we are all tired and perhaps finding it hard to keep up with what is allowed at the moment and what isn’t, there is often so much information being shared it can be hard to work out what it actually means for us as indviduals in our daily lives.
Over the last few weeks, I have witnessed my staff not only show great resilience to change, but actually to embrace our new situation and really work to make it the best that it can be. Here are a couple of examples:
Instead of our usual New Parents Information Evening, the Reception team have spent hours this week putting together a virtual presentation for our new parents joining us in September, as well as short introductory videos of key staff for the parents and for the children. Being filmed has taken most of us quite a way outside of our comfort zones, and there were many hurdles to overcome in attaching speech to the slides and getting those into a format that works (we hope) well on all devices. The videos and the presentation are now on the website (you will find the links on the Rainbow and Sunshine class pages) so if you are a new parents (or just an interested existing parent!) do please take a look.
The children’s reports are ready to come home, and that in itself has presented another challenge this week. We cannot simply send them home with the children at the end of the day so we have had to work out how we can best get them to where they need to be. We could post them, but posting 300+ reports would be quite costly. So instead, we have opted for a mixture of delivery and collection. Where there is capacity, reports will be delivered to your door; where we cannot manage that we are asking parents to come to school and collect them. If that isn’t possible, we will post them to you. And of course, for the children coming into school, they will go home at the end of the day in the normal way. However your child’s report makes it to you, I hope you enjoy reading it.
For many of our children, a return to school in September will mean a change of class and teacher. The teachers have spent a great deal of time over the last couple of weeks sorting out the new class groups. This is not an easy task at the best of times. There are many things for us to take into account as we strive to have classes that are balanced and children who are happy knowing they have friends with them in their new class. Some parents and children will be delighted, others possibly less so. Please understand that we do our best and make decisions based on the very best intentions for every child.
This year, in addition to the complexities of sorting classes, we are having to try to find different ways of enabling children moving on to new classes and new schools to feel happy and confident about the move. We are delighted to be able to welcome our Year 4 children back into school for the last couple of weeks of term. It will be far from the farewell we would have expected to be able to give them back at the beginning of the year, but we will work hard to make it the best that it can be. Our Reception children are being invited to spend some time with their new teacher for Year 1 in the last week of term and I hope many parents and children will see this as a real opportunity to allay concerns about September ahead of the holidays. It is with great sadness that we cannot offer anything similar for our Year 2 children as they prepare to make the move into Year 3, but we have to follow the government and Local Authority guidance and we simply do not have the space or the staff to be able to increase our offer to include Year 2 children coming into school. So we will adapt, use our new-found knowledge and confidence with all things virtual, and make it the best that it can be.
And that, really, is my message to you as parents. Things are not the same at the moment, and while some things may be better, some will not be. You do not have to be perfect. Whatever your own personal situation, and they will all be different as we all face different challenges, I simply encourage you to make it the best you can. No one can ask more of you than that.
As I mentioned last week, I have been reading the children’s end of year reports and adding my own comment to each one. As I read through a report I often wonder what the future might hold for the individual child, especially when a particular skill or quality shines through … will the child go on to make a career out of their beautiful singing voice, their love of nature, their unwavering care for others, their dogged determination to keep working on a model until it is perfect? Following one of the main news stories this week, I couldn’t help but wonder what Marcus Rashford’s headteacher might have written a few years ago. I am sure mention would have been made of fantastic sporting ability and perhaps a hope that this might be a part of his future, which of course it is. He has probably already exceeded any hope contained within a headteacher comment on a report – he made his Manchester United debut at the age of 18 and also broke into the senior England team at the same age. However, I don’t think you need to be a football fan to know who Marcus Rashford is these days. What Marcus Rashford has achieved this week in bringing about the government U turn on free school meals over the summer holidays has been nothing short of phenomenal. As a child he grew up in one of the most deprived areas of the country, in a family that relied upon breakfast clubs and free school meals in term time and various holiday schemes when school was closed. Premier League footballers are much criticised for being ‘over-paid prima donnas’ but what we have in Marcus Rashford is an excellent example of someone who has used his knowledge and experience, together with his influence to bring about a really positive change. His open letter to parliament was honest and sincere and if you haven’t read it yet, I really recommend that you do (link below). It was written from the heart, but it was also written with the benefit of real, lived experience of what he was writing about. He wasn’t just using his influence because he could, he was using it because he genuinely cares about the plight of families today who are going through the sort of things that he went through as a child. On becoming rich and famous, he could easily have turned his back on his past, confident in the privilege his status and wealth now afford him. If and when he has children, they are not going to be relying on any sort of handout or benefit and I doubt his mum is still working the long hours and multiple jobs he mentions in his letter. Instead, he has chosen to make the details of his childhood public in order to bring about something better for the children growing up in deprived areas today. One of the most endearing aspects of the whole situation for me is how he has talked of his mum’s pride in what he has achieved this week and I like to think that somewhere there is a headteacher looking on with pride too, and perhaps even thinking back to the child they once knew. I wonder if they anticipated anything like the events of this week when they were writing a comment on the end of that report!
Marcus Rashford’s open letter to parliament:
This has been a week of mixed emotions…..
A number of our Reception children have returned this week, and they have been brilliant, just like our Year 1 children last week. Social distancing is hard (ok, practically impossible with 4, 5 and 6 year olds!) but we are applying common sense, trying to maintain something of the provision they were used to before and washing hands A LOT. If nothing else, we are creating a generation of children whose hand hygiene is exemplary! Opening the gates and seeing the children come in, happy and excited to be back at school is bittersweet. There is joy at seeing the children again and feeling that we are on the way to something like we used to know (I am avoiding saying ‘back to normal’!) and there is also sadness in knowing that the children coming in represent a small fraction of our school and that many, many more of our children cannot yet return to school.
This week has seen the government announce that the ambition for all primary aged pupils to return to school in England for a month before the summer holiday was exactly that – ambitious rather than realistic. Upon the announcement I felt a mix of sorrow and relief and I know there will be parents among you who will have felt one or other of those emotions too. We would like nothing more than to be able to open our doors wide and welcome everybody back but we need to do so with as much confidence as possible that it is the right thing to do and that we wouldn’t be putting anybody’s health at undue risk.
The government is giving us the flexibility to decide what is best for our school and our community. This is welcome, but it brings with it not a little responsibility. What is right for some children and families will not necessarily be right for others and we need to try to find a middle ground. What we may want to do may not be what we should do and we need to be wise enough to recognise that. What we do may not be the same as other schools but that is ok as long as it is the best that we can do for OUR school and OUR community.
For the moment we are going to wait. We are going to allow a little time to give us the confidence that having more children and adults in school does not pose a significantly increased risk to the health of those children and adults. The governors and I have agreed that the situation will be reviewed weekly for the time being, looking at what is happening in our school but also being mindful of the wider community in Frome and beyond. For those children and parents who are desperate for school to start back, I am sorry. I hope you understand the thinking behind our decision, even if it is not the decision you would like.
In amongst what has become the normal working routine of unravelling government guidance, following government announcements, virtual meetings and planning for the unknown (and frankly unknowable!) I have spent a lot of time this week reading through the annual reports the teachers have written about your children. This too has been bittersweet. Reading about the progress being made and wondering if it has been at all possible to keep that up at home with so many other pressures. Reading about what a great friend someone is, how kind they have been, how they make their classmates laugh or cheer them on during tricky times and thinking about how lonely the children may have been not having their friends around them. But I have loved reading them and often smiled as something the teacher has written sums the child up perfectly. Reading them has enabled me to feel connected (albeit remotely, but that is very much in vogue at the moment!) with the children and to remember them as individuals. Time and again I have read about resilience and confidence and overcoming barriers and I have been filled with optimism that our school will thrive again and that we will be stronger and better when we have overcome the barriers that are currently in the way of us being together as we so dearly wish to be.
So this week has seen the start of another chapter as we move gradually towards a wider opening of our school. We have made some changes to the provision we are offering to the children of key workers as those numbers have increased and we now have three different groups running each day. These children have shown remarkable resilience throughout the whole situation as they have moved from class to class and been taught by different adults each week on a rota basis, especially as we have a group of our youngest children within our key worker groups.
Two groups of Year 1 children also returned to school on Wednesday. It isn’t the same as it was before coronavirus, but the building is busier and it was a real joy to welcome more children, and staff, into school. I am sure there was anxiety beforehand, but the children came into school happily and with confidence and had two brilliant days back in their classes. They have managed with systems that are new and a classroom that looks and feels quite strange and they have done it with smiles on their faces.
There are many things at the moment that we can be sad about, but I would like to focus on the things that we, as a community, can be proud of and grateful for…..
- the resilience of those children who have thrived in a school system that has been so very different
- the joy of the children returning to school for the first time this week
- the courage of parents who have trusted in us as a school to continue to care for your children in the middle of a global pandemic
- the willingness of staff to keep coming into work, even when it might have felt scary
- the patience of parents who have been doing our job over the last few weeks, often as well as their own
- the support of the governing body, who have trusted me and the senior staff to make the right decisions
- the flexibility of children, staff and parents as the situation has changed again and again and again
- the opportunity to have a ‘pop-up’ nursery and provide support at a time it was really needed
- the care of the Frome community in providing food and vouchers for our most vulnerable families
Above all of those, however, I am grateful for the positivity of our whole school community. The last three months have brought me challenges like no other I have experienced in my teaching career. I have had to make tough decisions that I am sure have been hard for parents to accept sometimes. I have had to ask my staff to put themselves in a situation of potential risk to their health, while they also learn how to teach their classes remotely and to teach 5 year groups in one class in school. I have had to expect children to accept a new normal. Yet throughout, I have had nothing but support. The children’s behaviour has been exemplary throughout. The staff have said yes time and again to my requests. Some parents have asked questions, but these have often come with a suggested solution. Just yesterday I had a conversation with a parent who is really keen to help support the children within our school who rely on their free school meal. Many parents have expressed their thanks for what we have been able to do to support you, either in school or at home.
I know I am lucky; I have colleagues whose experience has not been as positive. So I would like close this week’s update with a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has helped make the last three months just a little easier than they might have been. It is very much appreciated.
In normal times, this would be the last day of the half term holiday. I really hope all our families have been able to relax and enjoy time together this week. Although the situation is undeniably very tricky, the beautiful weather is a real help and the loosening of restrictions over the last couple of weeks is hopefully helping people to feel more positive. In school, we have been hard at work this week putting plans in place to welcome back our children in Year 1 and Reception next week and the week after. We have also continued to provide childcare for our key worker families. In addition to this, a hardworking team of staff have been busy around the school grounds, cutting back bushes and hedges that have been growing rather wild of late. I feel very grateful and proud to lead a team of people who are so dedicated to making our school the very best it can be.
One of the more recent additions to our school is Connie the Covid-19 Snake, who is making her way along the fence as the children add their painted pebbles. It is lovely to see her growing and just wonderful that she was started by children not yet at our school, but who we are very much looking forward to welcoming in September. Over the next couple of weeks we will be looking at what we can do to introduce our new children and families to school, and also what we can do for our children who will be moving on to Middle School in September. In both cases these are significant events in their school life and we will do what we can to make them the best they can be in these very tricky times. If we have learned nothing else in these times, it is how to approach things differently, as well as in many cases I am sure to address our fears and uncertainties. No doubt many of you, and your children, will have loved seeing lots of the staff on our most recent video. For the staff being filmed dancing, it took many of them outside their comfort zones in a similar way I imagine that taking on the teaching of your children has done for many parents. There are many things we have missed and will continue to miss during this crisis, but as in any situation, there are also opportunities to re-evaluate and perhaps to do something new or different. If we can encourage the children to embrace new challenges during this time then they will have learned something invaluable to take with them into the future.
Yesterday in school I was chatting to Mrs Solway and in the course of our conversation we realised that something we thought had happened months ago had only actually been the matter of a few weeks. This then got me thinking about how time does seem to stretch and shrink depending on the circumstances you happen to be in. I am sure I am not the only person in the teaching profession to feel that the last week of a holiday always passes SO much quicker than the first – I understand for parents that this may be completely the opposite! How often does it happen that the return journey feels quicker than the outward one? And of course, this is not to forget the old saying that time flies when you are having fun.
This in turn got me to thinking how time will seem to be passing quite differently for all of us at the moment. For some, the last 9 weeks will have felt like an eternity while for others they may well have sped by. There may have been days that dragged and days that whizzed by. Hopefully the days that dragged were not all the ones where school work was involved! Some of you may have started lockdown with grand ambitions to master a new skill or to complete projects around the house. If so, I hope you have been able to make good progress but if not I don’t think you are alone. I know I was sure at the beginning that I would have time, with so few children in school, to do all sorts of things that I don’t normally find the time to do. I have a pile of books about schools and leadership I thought I might make my way through. The pile remains untouched as I discovered that running a ‘clopen’ school (and adding a temporary nursery) takes so much more time and effort than I ever anticipated. I don’t think I am alone. I am trying not to be too hard on myself for not being able to achieve what I thought I might, so please if you have experienced a similar issue do be kind to yourself. I am sure, like me, you have been doing many more, equally valuable things that have taken your time in ways that you never expected. Like maybe trying to convince your child of the merits of home learning still now that we are several weeks in!
If you feel time has dragged over the last nine weeks, I think perhaps you could take some heart from my suggestion that a homeward journey always seems shorter. When we are making our way home, we know where we are going, whereas on the way out we may not know. Lockdown has been new for us all so none of us could really know ‘where we were going’. So if it has felt a long time, no wonder.
Today we should have been breaking up for half term. School will still be open for the children of key workers and so we will still be there for any of our families who need us. However, I strongly encourage you to take a break from home learning if you feel it is right. Take the time to do things as a family that you enjoy, and maybe make the most of the sunshine and the fact that we can go outdoors more. Whatever you do, please take care and stay safe.
Life as a headteacher has been a little hectic this week, following the announcement of the plan to open schools more widely after June 1st! Throughout the week there has been a fair amount of lengthy guidance from the Department for Education, but very little scientific evidence shared so far. In school we have been busy checking the guidance and discussing how to plan and deliver the best way forward for our children and families. There has been a fair amount of discussion around the merits and difficulties of extending provision for Reception and Year 1 children first, rather than the older children who might have a better understanding of how far 2 metres actually is! The staff have, as always, been brilliant and are really committed to doing their absolute best for the children. School, should we expand provision in June, will look and feel different but I know the staff will make it as good as they possibly can. We will certainly make as much use as possible of our beautiful grounds and Forest School, which will no doubt be especially welcome for those children who have really missed having large open spaces to run around in.
Our discussions have also included concerns around keeping everybody as safe as possible and I am sure many parents would share those concerns. It was good to see in the guidance that there will be no action taken against parents who choose not to send their child back to school in June, and schools will not be held accountable for attendance data either. This is a clear indication to me that parents are being given the option to choose what they think is best for their child and their own personal circumstances. Our children are the most precious things we have and it is our first responsibility as parents to keep them safe. That does, however, include their mental well-being as much as their physical health. Some of your children will have found the last few weeks hard and you will feel they need to come back to some sort of school routine and the opportunity to mix a little more widely (in a bubble of no more than 15 children!) with their peers. Whatever choice you make if you have a child in Reception or Year 1, if you make the choice you believe to be in the best interests of your child then you have done your best as their parent. It doesn’t matter if your friends or other parents act differently, no two children are the same.
Next week would have been our last week before the half term break. During half term, school will remain open for the children of key workers to attend when they need to but I would thoroughly recommend to parents, especially if you are finding home learning is becoming (?!!) a bit of a battle, that you relax and take a break. We can see in school when we are approaching a holiday how different the children are as they become increasingly weary. It may be that this is different at home where I suspect and hope that routines have been at least a little more relaxed than in school, but if you do find your child struggling, please don’t feel guilty about taking a break. Children get pretty used to working in 6-7 week blocks and today it is 8 weeks since we closed to the vast majority of our pupils. No wonder it might be feeling tough!
Thank you for all the positive comments you are sharing on the Facebook page and through emails to teachers or the office. This is a tricky time for us as staff too and it is so good to know we have supportive parents who appreciate what we are doing – and that at least most of the time we are getting it right. We want nothing more than to have the school up and running properly as soon as it is safe for us to do so. We know only too well how lucky we are to be able to maintain some sense of community and we thank you all for playing your part in that.
Another week (nearly!) has gone by. It has felt quite speedy to those of us in school but I imagine it may not have felt that way to the many families who have to stay at home. We await an announcement on Sunday to see what will happen next! At school we have had no official indication of any changes coming up so we know nothing more than you do as parents. I hope that whatever changes Sunday’s announcement will bring will also come with time for us to plan and guidance that will help us do so. While we are all really keen to be back to normal, we also want and need to be able to keep everyone as safe as possible. As soon as we know what, if anything, is changing for schools I will let you know.
Thank you for picking up the phone when we call. The staff who have been in school this week making calls have reported that they have been able to speak to so many more families which is great. We only want to make sure you are ok and how we might be able to help if you aren’t.
We have become aware that some families are doing such a great job with reading and work at home that they are running out of books. (This is amazing but please don’t panic if it is not happening in your house, we know everyone’s circumstances are different.) We have put a supply of reading record books and exercise books in the foyer at school so do come and collect them if you need some more. We are also more than happy to print things out if you have no printer at home, just let your child’s class teacher know using the class gmail or ring school to get a message to them. If there are families struggling to keep up supplies of pencils and pens, please also let us know and we can let you have some.
And finally, thank you for the beautiful bunting your children have been making. The staff have been busy laminating it and we will be putting it up along the fence very soon. We will continue to be a community, even if we have to be apart for a while!
I am sure many of you will have seen on social media a post about the current situation which talks about us not being in the same boat, but being in the same storm. I have found it a great way for me to think about how all the different members of our school community might be feeling. The idea of us all being in the same boat is often used to describe difficult situations and in many ways it makes perfect sense to use it for our current predicament. We are all facing the same danger in the form of a potentially deadly virus with no vaccine, and we are all facing significant restrictions on our freedoms as we try as a nation to slow and ideally halt the spread of the virus. But our individual circumstances and how we each manage the situation could well be completely different.
Some of us are fortunate to still be able to go out to work while others are juggling ‘home school’ alongside the demands of work, and others still are facing sudden and unexpected loss of income and/or unemployment.
Some families in our community will be loving having so much extra time at home with each other, while others will be finding it a huge frustration. Many people will find themselves busier than ever and others will be wondering what to do to fill the void left by the absence of work or school.
Some families are lucky enough to have lovely gardens and space outside for the children to enjoy, others are not.
Some families will feel confident and assured in supporting their children with home learning, others may well be terrified. Please remember that our teachers train for 3 or 4 years to become qualified to teach your children – you had 4 days’ notice that you would be your child’s teacher.
Some of us will find the anxiety of the current situation really difficult to manage, while others will find it much easier to cope.
So all of our boats in this particular storm are very different. Whatever your boat looks and feels like, please remember to be kind to yourself and whenever you can, to those around you. It is easy to look at what others are doing on social media and feel rubbish in comparison. Please try not to fall into that trap – the person who seems to be sailing through this crisis may just be lucky enough to have a better-equipped boat than you at the moment.
I know many of you are concerned about your child ‘falling behind’. Please don’t! I don’t know when we will be back or where the children will be with their learning when that time comes but what I do know is that Trinity teachers are skilled individuals who are experts at spotting and filling gaps in learning. We are dedicated to helping your children be the best they can be and we will do that with all the love and care we can when we do return to school. What we need you all to do in the meantime is to make your child’s well-being your priority. So don’t panic if learning isn’t going well, try not to get anxious or stressed because the children will pick up on that. Remember there are many things you can do which are hugely beneficial to your children – look at the list at the end of my letter home on 19.03.20, found on the newsletters page if you want some ideas. They may not look like learning but they are and what’s more, your children may well remember much more about them than a worksheet you are both struggling with. It is ok to take a break – take a day or a few days off if you are feeling the pressure. And it is ok to ask for help – we are here whenever you need us, you don’t have to wait for us to call you.
St George’s Day today! Had we been in school we would no doubt have had an assembly which marked St George in some way today and thinking of that serves as a reminder of how long it has been since our school was completely together as a community. Of course staff are continuing to be in school, providing childcare for our children whose parents are critical workers but it really isn’t the same. It really was the saddest day of my career so far when I closed the gates at school on March 20th and as a whole staff we really cannot wait until we are able to open and welcome the children back in again properly. Like you, we have no idea when that will be.
However, the sun is shining and I really hope that is helping our families at home. I hope you are all able to access the outdoors and to keep topping up on vitamin D in the sunshine! We have certainly tried to make sure the children who are coming to school and nursery are outside lots to make the most of our beautiful grounds.
If you are reading this as a parent who will be new to Trinity in September, or as an existing parent but with a younger child coming in September, I hope you have received the booklet to look at with your child. I had a great team of staff working on the booklets and then delivering them to your homes so that you can start looking at our school and talking about school even though you can’t visit us yet. Hopefully you will find the booklet helpful, I know from talking to many of you that your children are excited to be coming to school in a few months … even though they probably have a limited understanding of how long that actually is – quite a lot of sleeps to be sure!
Thank you for keeping in touch with your child’s class teacher by email, they love to hear from you when you are sharing something brilliant but they also really want to hear from you if you need advice or support too. Please don’t feel that you have to struggle on alone. Even though we cannot physically be there to help, we really do want to do whatever we can to make this as easy as possible for you so please don’t be afraid to get in touch.
Another week has gone by and as I write it is raining for the first time I can remember in a long time! Although there are so many things that are hard about the current situation, we really have had the loveliest weather over the last few weeks. I really hope you have all been able to get out, into the garden or out for a walk or a bike ride maybe, to enjoy the sunshine. The beautiful weather has meant that the children we have coming into school have been able to spend lots of time outside. This is great on so many levels – they have had fun with the PlayPod, they have been to Forest School and they have found newts in the pond as well as getting lots of fresh air and exercise. As well as this, it is so much easier for children to practise social distancing outside!
Our nursery numbers are growing and the children coming look as if they have always been here, which is amazing. They are so settled and confident in the environment and that is testament to the brilliant staff we have working in the nursery, a mix of Trinity and Critchill school staff. It is a great joint venture!
Yesterday we were sent our list of children who will be joining us in Reception this September. If you are reading this as one of our new parents, a very warm welcome to the Trinity community. We are very excited to be welcoming you, but we understand that starting school can be an anxious time as well as one of great excitement, perhaps more this year than ever. We really will do everything we can to make sure things go as smoothly as possible. We have no indication yet as to when we may be able to reopen but working in schools makes us nothing if not flexible!
And finally, the Local Authority have put together a newsletter with ideas to help with mental and physical well-being. Please click below to access it:
We are approaching the end of the third week as a childcare facility, and we are also partway through the third week of lockdown across the country. Both of those are tricky situations for us all to be in but alongside this we are also enjoying a period of settled, sunny and warm weather and over the last few nights the moon has been beautiful. Last night my husband and I went for a walk and watched the moon rise over the hill in the town where we live. As we stood and waited, we were able to enjoy the mild temperature and the peace and quiet of a time when very few people are out and about making journeys in cars. The plane that flew overhead was a notable disturbance! While we were watching and waiting, my mother and sister were also doing the same in their gardens and we exchanged messages and photos, keeping us connected in times where social contact has to be found in different ways. The whole experience links well to a document I have shared on the newsletters page of the website, called ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’. Please take the time to find it and read it. I hope you will find it helpful.
Please continue to take care and stay safe, and enjoy an Easter weekend that is probably going to be like no other. Let’s keep trying to find the positives!
We have now reached the end of the second week of our new status as a childcare facility, providing support for the children of critical workers. It still feels very strange not to be operating as a school as normal and I am sure for the majority of our families at home it also feels very different to normal. On Monday this week we opened Jasmine class as a temporary nursery so we can provide childcare for critical workers with 2 – 4 year olds. The nursery is a temporary, joint venture between Trinity and Critchill school as many of the local private nurseries have closed due to the crisis. The staff are drawn from both schools and both schools are very proud to be working together to do what we can to support the workers doing such a brilliant job in their critical roles.
I hope everyone at home is finding their way around the Google Drive folders for their class, and finding within them plenty of ideas and inspiration for things to do at home. I understand that a number of classes also have their own Facebook pages to share ideas, which is a great idea. Thank you to the parents who have set them up and manage them. As staff we are finding it really tricky not to have the daily contact with the children and parents and it is a real help to know you are supporting each other.
As well as keeping in touch by email, class teachers will make sure they give all families a call every 2-3 weeks to check in and make sure everyone is ok. Don’t feel you have to wait for that call if you are concerned about anything, please do ring or email the school office and we will do what we can to help. We know that circumstances for many families are likely to change as a result of the crisis. If you lose your job and find yourself in financial hardship, please do get in touch and we will do what we can to help. Fair Frome have been absolutely amazing so far, providing food and vouchers this week for families in need. The government has set up a scheme to enable families whose children are entitled to free school meals (but not universal infant free school meals) to have a weekly voucher and we are currently waiting for the school to be set up. We will keep in touch with the families we know should be accessing the vouchers and let you know when they are going to be ready.
Keep the photos of the work and other things you are up to coming in so we can keep in touch!
As I write we are reaching the end of the first week as a childcare setting, with the vast majority of our children being taught and looked after at home as the nation tries to do what it can to fight the spread of the Coronavirus. School looks the same from the outside, but feels very different with so few children inside. The staff and children who have been in school have all been brilliant this week and they have had a lot of fun. I sincerely hope our families at home have also had fun and had the chance to enjoy the sunshine in the garden or perhaps out for some daily exercise. I really hope parents and children are finding the tasks and ideas for learning the teachers are sharing useful and I know we have had some amazing examples of great things going on at home. Look out for the photos on your class google drive! Parents, do keep in touch with us and remember that your child’s teacher is on the end of an email if you have any questions or concerns. Please don’t feel you have to teach your child all day, every day. There are lots of brilliant things you can be doing that probably don’t look or feel like learning but they will be equally as valuable – baking a cake, learning to tie shoelaces, spotting flowers or trees in the garden or out for a walk.
In these very anxious times, please try to enjoy having time to spend with your child that you wouldn’t otherwise have had. Our children grow up quickly and although it is hard to see the current situation as a blessing, it really can be if it means families have more quality time together. It isn’t always going to be easy, and sometimes you will feel frustrated at being stuck indoors and having to take on the role of teacher. Remember everybody feels like that sometimes and that does not make you a bad parent or a bad teacher, it just makes you human. Take a breath (or 10!), perhaps take a little time out and give yourself a break.
We can see from the emails and photos that you are all doing an amazing job away from school. We miss having everyone here and would love nothing better than to be back to normal. Hopefully this time will pass soon. In the meantime, please look after yourselves and stay safe.