Dear Parents,

The children have had a great first week back in Term 2. As a school we very much focussed on the children’s return to school after lockdown in Term 1. We have been mindful of the children’s emotional needs and the need to return to good learning habits. It has been encouraging to see just how well the children have readjusted back to being in school. I was impressed to see how much they have been doing at home from the Home Learning menus that was shared with us on ClassDojo.

We have been thinking about remembrance this week in worship, as you may have seen on ClassDojo. On Sunday, the school will be laying a wreath at St Lawrence as we show our respects. There is also a Remembrance and Memorial trail at the church. Clare Masters says, “There are opportunities to give thanks for those who have given their lives for others; to pray for peace in our world; to remember loved ones and to seek God’s peace and hope. Families are very welcome to visit the churchyard components at any time, and the church itself will be open from private prayer for an hour each day 11am – 12 noon. There are candle pebbles in the churchyard, and real candles in church, for anyone who wishes to light a candle in memory of someone they have lost, whether recently or some time ago.” The children will be visiting in their classes at the beginning of the week before we hold our 2 minutes’ silence in school on the 11th.

As you will be aware from the Learning Review at the end of the term, we have also been carrying out ongoing assessments, particularly in English and Maths, to identify where any gaps may be. The government has committed to giving each school ‘Catch-up funding’ and we are making careful plans about how best to use this to have the widest impact on the children. Much of the work to close any gaps is undertaken by our talented teachers and teaching assistants within the classroom. Work is being tailored to pick up any possible gaps whilst continuing to challenge and address individual needs.

As part of our Maths mastery approach, where it is possible and appropriate, children may receive some same day ‘keep up’ intervention in maths. The teacher will identify that a child needs a little more consolidation on something covered that day, or the previous day, to ensure a solid understanding. This could mean a 20 minute burst of extra maths one afternoon for example. The children having this extra burst may well change from day to day, depending on the topic covered.

In Year 1 and 2, there is a particular focus on phonics. The Year 2 children would normally have been ‘screened’ at the end of Year 1 and this has been moved to Term 2 of Year 2. The children in both year groups will be receiving the appropriate phonics teaching for this time of year and some additional input to ensure they have covered all the sound patterns and are confident.

In Year 3 and 4, the children are also particularly focusing on times tables. At the end of Year 4, the children will be assessed on their knowledge of times tables up to 12 x 12 under timed conditions. The children explore the times tables in a variety of ways in the classroom using empty number lines and practice on Purple Mash, for example.

As you can see, we are determined to minimise the impact this pandemic has on your children’s education as much as possible. We are keen that we keep school life as normal as possible for the children. We want it to be a safe haven from the hurly-burly of the news and media. As we enter this new lock-down phase, the children are naturally picking up on some of the nation’s anxiety. Our priority continues to be in supporting their mental health and well-being. If you are concerned about your child, please do let us know so that we can support them.

Just a final note: as you wear your face coverings to pick up and drop off your children, please consider where it is best to remove them. Some of the routes away from the school pass through pinch points, for example at the alleyway at the end of the recreation ground and it may be beneficial to leave them on past these points.

Have a warm and wonderful weekend.

Kind regards,

Julie Burton