Week beginning 25th January 2021
We would like to start this week’s bulletin by thanking you all for the amazing work you are doing at home to support the children with their learning. We have been so impressed with the quality of work we have been receiving, so a huge well done to your child/ren and of course to you.
We are now a month into remote provision and we know that some of our families are beginning to feel the strain. You really are doing a great job. Most importantly, you are keeping your children safe at home which is the main priority and managing to support their home learning too. You are all amazing!
You will have, no doubt, heard the Prime Minister’s most recent announcement that stated the earliest date that we can expect schools to begin to reopen is March 8th and we know that this will have caused some further worry for some families. Hopefully, you will have noticed that there has been an increase in the amount of teaching provided as part of our remote offer. This will total the government recommendations of 4 hours a day for Key Stage 2, 3 hours a day for Key Stage 1 and a little less for EYFS.
We have deliberately chosen for many lessons to be pre-recorded which enables families to complete the work at a time that fits in with your own work commitments and ensures that siblings, who may be sharing devices, are able to take turns one after another. This also allows parents to revisit any concepts that the children may be struggling with and to plan their teaching timetable in response to their children’s emotional needs. For example, if your child focusses better in the afternoon than the morning, the materials can be accessed at a time that suits them best.
Please always tend to your child’s emotional needs first. If a child at school became upset or distressed, we would not continue to try to teach them in that moment as an upset child is not capable of concentrating on their learning. We would stop, talk, listen and nurture. There may be times when this is also needed at home. We understand and encourage this even if this means a certain piece of learning does not get finished. This is OK. It is also OK to have a break from Home Learning for a day, afternoon or morning, if it is getting too much (please tell your class teacher though…). You could snuggle up under a duvet, bake- do whatever helps you to get through this time. Mental health – ours and our children’s must come first.
Please click on this link to get tips, advice and know where to get support for your and your child’s mental health during this time, if you need to. It is ok, not to be ok. We would also like to thank you for the many messages of support that we have received outlining your appreciation for our teaching staff. They are currently working extremely hard in challenging circumstances to consistently deliver in school and remote provision simultaneously. They are human too and some of them are facing their own anxieties and emotional challenges in relation to COVID which, in some cases, is linked to friends, colleagues and relatives suffering from the virus. Despite this, they continue to put on a brave face and maintain a sense of calm and optimism for the children.
Many of the staff have been required to quickly learn how to use new forms of technology to deliver their lessons which also has brought some stress and anxiety. With this in mind, please can I ask parents to remember to be kind in your correspondence with our staff. Highly critical messages that advise teachers how they should be organising their virtual classrooms or preparing resources can have a significant impact on the mental health and wellbeing of our staff at a time when they may already be feeling vulnerable. All of our teachers are qualified and experienced and like you, they are doing their best in very difficult circumstances. May I also ask you to refrain from emailing teachers late into the evening or at the weekends. They are not on call 24/7 and we all need to ensure they have some protected time when they can switch off from work and spend some time with their families- just as we hope you do. This allows them to recoup and prepare for the coming week. We thank you for your understanding in this matter.
We would like to introduce you to a new member of staff who has joined our admin team. Mrs Kikidis (pronounced Kick-ee-dis) joins us from a Sutton School. You will no doubt get to know her over the coming weeks as she is front of house, will be answering your phone calls and replying to admin emails. I am sure you will make her feel very welcome. She is looking forward to getting to know all of our Hayes families over the coming weeks and months.
For those of you that may be running out of reading books for your children at home, the Oak National Academy has a virtual library which is free to families to access. It has been formed with the National Literacy Trust and will provide a book a week from an author of the week. There are also audiobooks available for those who may prefer to listen to a story. This is a fantastic resource, which you can access using this link: Virtual School Library | Oak Academy (thenational.academy) Additionally, Jolly phonics e-readers is available for free and this resource contains phonetically decodable books available for children in Early Years and Key Stage One. This resource can be found here… Jolly Phonics e-readers now available! — Jolly Learning And, Collins Connect have also made a wide range of reading books available to parents also. This resource has 20-25 books available for each colour band. Use this link Collins Connect and enter the username: email@example.com and the password: Parents!21
Also, if your child has been working hard and you wish to take them on a ‘school trip’, there are a number of virtual museum tours available for children that you may like to visit. These include the Van Gogh Museum, The Roald Dahl Museum and story centre and the NASA Glenn Research Centre. Links can be found below. Enjoy! If you are collecting paper home learning packs, please can you return completed work when you come to collect the next pack, many thanks.
Lastly, next week is Children’s Mental Health Week and on Monday there will be a live assembly at 9:00am that the teachers will stream during the morning Google meet. We are encouraging all children to access this assembly. After the assembly, the children will have the opportunity to discuss and ask any questions. It is clear from the media that children’s mental health can be a concern during this pandemic and we are keen to remove the stigma that surrounds this and encourage children to talk openly about wellbeing.
The theme of this year’s mental health week is Self-Expression and on Friday the 7th the children are invited to ‘dress to express’. This means they can dress up in something that allows them to express themselves and let their unique personalities shine through! That just leaves us to say – have a very safe and relaxing weekend and if it does snow, please do send us your photos of yourselves and your children (and pets!), playing and having fun!
Please do take care, stay safe and keep up the brilliant work.
The Hayes Team