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Headteacher's Blog

Week of June 20th

 

Dear parent,

What a lovely week weather wise. Thank you to those of you who made sure that your children had sun protection/sun hats- both really are essential. To clarify, school staff are not allowed to rub sun cream on children from a safeguarding perspective, so if you want them to reapply it during the day before they go out at lunch/break, they must be able to do it themselves.

 

We have had a very busy week in school, two trips out, for Yr 3 and Yr 1, a formal 2 day 'review' by a ex Ofsted inspector to determine how we are doing in providing the best possible experience for your children, an INSET day full of training  on how best to teach your child sounds and helping them to read- it's been really full on.

 

Next week, we have a Yr 6 trip out and  the rest of us are all still practising for Sport day too.

 

Reminders RE: holidays. Understandably, many of you are currently taking term time holidays that were postponed since COVID. Please be aware that unless there is a truly exceptional circumstance, I cannot authorise this, which means you are likely to get fined if it is 10 sessions or more [ 5 days ]. School does not receive the money for fines, it is of no financial benefit to us to endorse a fine, but from a formal standpoint, it is not appropriate for us to simply 'allow' this to happen. Children have missed so much learning over the last few years that every day really does count even more so now. Can I suggest that if you are taking a term time holiday, you build the cost of  a potential fine into the budget, it is £60 per child per adult, so a family of 4 for a week would potentially be fined £240...

 

Enjoy the weekend, hopefully this glorious weather will continue.

Miss Harris

Week of June 13th

Dear parent,

A busy week, we've had class photos, clubs restart, our new Reception Induction evening to name but a few. We've also had our first residential trip for two years,  sincere thanks to staff who run these voluntarily. A great deal of time ,effort and energy goes into the organisation of these and I know you will respect that when raising any queries about them.

 

New classes: Lots of you are asking when you will find out who your child's new teacher is for September. July 5th, our transition day for YR 6,  is when I will parent mail you all with these details.

 

Sports Day reminder- 20th July, we are allowing spectators to come, so do book time off if you can to support your child. Some booklets with events schedule and some protocols will be in the main school foyer from July 4th.

 

INSET day reminder- 24th June . Children not in school that day. A reminder too that we finish on the 21st July, the Thursday.

 

Plaques: Some of you may have seen on our fence by the paddock that there are some commemorative plaques to acknowledge your child's time with us. If any of you would like one of these, particularly children leaving us, then do email me or the school office. They are £10 each.

 

Holiday Club: I have received some requests for holiday club provision for working parents. Can you, if you think you would use this facility, email me with your expression of interest and I will gauge whether this is something we can do. I am very hopeful that we can run something for the middle 4 weeks of the holidays.

 

Suncream and sunhats: Can I impress on you all the need to ensure, when the weather is warm, that the children have had suncream applied before they come to school and have sunhats to wear outside at break/lunchtime. 

 

Enjoy the weekend

Miss Harris

v

Week of June 6th

Dear parent,

It was lovely to see the children back after the half term break, they had patently enjoyed the various Jubilee celebrations and some sunshine! 

The very vast majority have managed with the reverting back to the 8.30-8.40 start, although I appreciate that traffic has become a little more congested as a result. Please, if you can, walk, cycle or scooter when the weather is agreeable to help with this.

Arriving after 8.40, however, does mean that your child is 'late' and will be marked as such in the register.

 

Reminders: Clubs all restart next week, apart from cookery that restarts the week after.

 

Dates for the next few weeks to be mindful of:

  1. Class photos on Monday 13th, please ensure that your child is looking extra smart!
  2. Yr 4 trip away 16th-17th June
  3. New reception intake evening 16th June
  4. June 21st Yr 1 trip out
  5. June 24th INSET day
  6. June 29th-31st Yr 6 trip out

Enjoy the weekend, remember it is our school fete from 11-2 if you have a spare hour to come and support us.

 Miss Harris

 

Week of May 23rd

Dear parent,

The end of another half term and my goodness, how quickly that went!

Our Jubilee celebrations went well today,  the rendition of the National Anthem was very touching, our littlest children sang with real gusto! 😉

 

A reminder that some of our procedures are reverting back to pre pandemic post half term, and I will send out a reminder of these on Monday 6th June- remember we are not in school that day, it is our extra 'day off' for the Jubilee, children return on the 7th June.

 

Have a lovely half term, I know with money being a little tighter for lots of people that activities may be more limited, but being outside in the fresh air, walking, cycling, scootering, enjoying the park are  just as beneficial to children as anything money can buy.

 

Kind regards

Miss Harris

Our singalong

Week of May 16th

Dear parent,

We've had a really good week this week, lots of successes to report. Firstly, the Yr 2 children who sat their formal SATS managed them really well, it's tricky at any age to sit for an extended time and put what you know down on paper, but these youngsters really tried hard. Secondly, our Yr 4/5/6 rugby players took part in a tournament at Budmouth and won every game! And finally, the whole school took part in our 'outdoor learning day', sausages were cooked , fires were lit- and the weather was kind to us for it! My thanks to all the staff for  their help with these activities this week.

 

A reminder that next week is the last week for clubs until the 13th June, when they restart, no new list, the current clubs will simply run on. It is wonderful to see on some days, we have in excess of 100 children choosing to stay on to take part in these.

 

Next year ready: One of the results of the recent survey that I hoped you'd fill in was that people were anxious about their children being ready to experience a 'full and proper' school year from September, and how they'd manage that having had a much more limited experience over the last few years. For some children, particularly the younger ones of course, they've never had a 'proper' year in that respect. So, next half term, starting on June 7th, we will start to introduce some of the things that we would typically do in September .

For example, whereas assemblies are at present virtual, we'll start face to face, with 2-3 year groups at a time in the hall. For Reception children, they will no longer finish at 2.45, they will finish at either 2.55 [ A-M surname] or 3.05 [ N-Z surname] as the rest of the school do. 

For everyone, the 'soft start' to the day- allowing you to come in anytime from 8.30-8.50 - this is now reduced, so that you must come in from 8.30-8.40, but learning will be starting promptly at 8.40. This is the one, I think, that some will really struggle with, since we still have children arriving well after 8.50 most days, which is severely impacting on their learning.

Finally, children in KS2 who walk to school on their own, will now enter and leave via the side gate along the Willowbed path. This entrance is for those children only. No parental access. We'll start with these small changes and build more in as the half term progresses. remember we also have our formal 'next year ready' week in July when the children will transfer up to their new teachers too.

 

Uniform: Ties and footwear. Over the last few weeks, we are noticing that children are getting a little lax with regards to wearing ties. These are part of the uniform and must be worn. Equally, we are seeing trainers of a variety of colours, our uniform code clearly says black trainers, so do adhere to this. I know, many of you will not want to purchase new things prior to September,  and I completely understand that ,so do ask if you need us to loan you a jumper, tie or such like in the meantime.

 

Jubilee event: reminder

We are intending to host a celebration of the Jubilee on the last day of the half term, the 27th May. In discussion with the staff, we have decided to do several things:

  1. The children are to come to school dressed in red/white and blue - with suitable footwear for running
  2. They will 'run a mile for a medal' - we have bought them each a commemorative Jubilee medal for this
  3. We will, as a school and weather permitting, all sing the National anthem on the field together, we will teach the children this in the days prior.
  4. Then, in the last hour of the day, the children will have a tea party in their classrooms- to avoid the seagulls swooping on the food outside!

For you part, could you please help them decide what to wear in the appropriate colours , ensure that they have the right kind of footwear to run safely, and provide them with some small 'party' style cakes that they can eat/share. We'll take pictures and upload them onto the website for you to see.

Enjoy the weekend,

Miss Harris

Week of May 9th

 

Dear parent,

A huge thank you to those of you who took the time to do the survey online that I'd attached to last week's email. There were some very good points raised that we will act on post half term, more information to follow about that.

Jubilee event:

We are intending to host a celebration of the Jubilee on the last day of the half term, the 27th May. In discussion with the staff, we have decided to do several things:

  1. The children are to come to school dressed in red/white and blue - with suitable footwear for running
  2. They will 'run a mile for a medal' - we have bought them each a commemorative Jubilee medal for this
  3. We will, as a school and weather permitting, all sing the National anthem on the field together, we will teach the children this in the days prior.
  4. Then, in the last hour of the day, the children will have a tea party in their classrooms- to avoid the seagulls swooping on the food outside!

For you part, could you please help them decide what to wear in the appropriate colours , ensure that they have the right kind of footwear to run safely, and provide them with some small 'party' style cakes that they can eat/share. We'll take pictures and upload them onto the website for you to see.

A huge 'congratulations' to Yr 6 pupils, we entered a National English competition based around Shakespeare a while ago and our school has come first ! First nationally! An amazing achievement by the children and staff who were also preparing for SATS during that time. 

Reminder: It has come to our attention that the financial impact of the cost-of-living increases is hitting some of you very hard, and I worry that means that your children are being disadvantaged by this through absolutely no fault of their own. With this in mind, I have created a 'support fund' for you to access that would allow us to help you .

To access this, what we need you to do is to book a time to see either myself, Miss Richards, Mrs Griffiths or Mrs Smith - our pastoral team - to come and talk to one of us about what you need in this respect. It might be, for example, your car has failed its MOT, you can't afford to have the repairs done and that would mean in turn that you would find it difficult to get your child to school . We could pay for alternative transport for you, bus fares etc.

 Another example might be where you are struggling to provide enough food for your family- we can provide vouchers or arrange a delivery for you.

There are a whole host of scenarios that we can assist with. 

In addition, we are linking with a charity called CAP- who can advise on wider financial issues including managing debt, we can put you in touch with them. We just are very aware that we need to offer more practical help to YOU, as parents, so that you can provide the most consistent home life for your children.

If you know you need some extra financial support at any point, contact one of us on the emails below to arrange a quiet and private time to chat.

j.harris@chickerell.dorset.sch.uk

k.griffiths@chickerell.dorset.sch.uk

l.richards@chickerell.dorset.sch.uk

c.smith@chickerell.dorset.sch.uk

We will get back to you promptly.

Enjoy your weekend

Miss Harris

Week of May 2nd

Dear Parent,

It was lovely to enjoy a long weekend last week, but my goodness, it did throw us all out of kilter a bit!

 

We've got a busy few weeks coming up; Year 6 have their SATS tests next week and Yr 2 have theirs the week of the 16th. As with any test, do reassure your children that they are quite simply a snapshot in time, and there is always far more to a child, what they can do, who they are, than a one-off test score. Test scores don't reflect talents in other areas- what they do give is an indication of is how 'secondary ready' Year 6 might be, and also how 'Key Stage 2 ready' Year 2 are, and ultimately, it's our job to ensure that children are as well prepared as possible going into the next stage of their education. 

 For your note, I will not be able to be out on the gate for long next week in the mornings due to the administration requirements of these tests. Also, the rest of the pastoral team who stand there with me will also need to be leaving the gate promptly, by 8.45, to help support the children in these tests, so you may just need to bear with us for that week in terms of our availability to help some of our vulnerable children get in.

 

Lots of sporting representation recently. Our Yr 5/6 football team beat St Augustine's in a thrilling match last Friday, and our YR 4/5/6 netballers took part in a tournament at Budmouth to test their skill against other local primaries. We also have a Tag Rugby competition coming up, plus hopefully another cross-country event.

We  will soon begin to get the all the children practising their Sports day events too - remember that the day is July 20th,from 9.30-2.30,  and, all being well, you will be most welcome to come and watch.

 

I would be really grateful, now we are gradually nearing the end of the school year, if you would take minute just to fill in this basic survey online. Just click on the  box  and post your responses- we'd really appreciate some feedback.

 

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/KSG6TRQ

 

 

Copy of parent view

Take this survey powered by surveymonkey.com.

Enjoy the weekend

Kind regards

Miss Harris

 

 

Week of April 25th

Dear parent,

I hope that you all managed to have some quality family time over the Easter break.  Certainly, the staff look more refreshed and rejuvenated. It has been very heartening to see that our COVID case number has drastically dropped too, we are now in single figures- which we have not been for a very long time!

So, we are now into the final term of the school year, and it is typically always a very busy term. There are lots of trips out and residentials planned, which the children always love, and there are also some events that will affect the whole school that I have listed below. Do keep checking  the website calendar for the most up to date dates, and ring the school office if in any doubt.

Advance notice

We will be doing a full whole day Sports Day again this year, on the 20th July- I am deliberately leaving it as long as possible in the hope that we can get parents to watch, so you may want to try and book the time off work- it's always a great day! 

Other key dates to remember 

 May 9th KS 2 SATS begin - important for Yr 6

May 16th  KS1 SATS begin - important for Yr 2

June 6th Additional 'bank holiday' day for us, children return to school on June 7th after the half term break

June 7th - 10th Year 1 do their Phonics check 'test'

June 11th- Summer Fete

June 24th INSET day , for staff to have time to write your child's reports 

July 11th -15th Week of 'next year ready' - in this week, all children spend the week with their new teacher for September, in their new classroom, so they get used to that before breaking for the Summer and hopefully means they won't be as anxious about restarting.

July 20th Sports Day

July 21st Last day for children

July 22nd INSET day-preparation for September

 A reminder too that clubs restart next Tuesday; we've had a fantastic response to these.

Enjoy the long Bank Holiday weekend, see you Tuesday morning.

Miss Harris

 

Week of April 4th

Dear parent.

Another term down and I think it's fair to say it's had its challenges! There has been lots of disruption with children and adults still testing positive, but we have been able to keep significant disturbance to a minimum- in fact, I'd like to think that the children have still had the very vast majority of the experiences we'd planned for them and haven't actually 'lost out' .

 I know I say it every holiday, but let's hope next term will be slightly less fraught for all of us.

A reminder that clubs will restart on the 3rd May, the second week back, and you will need to sign your child up again for whatever they want to do.

 During the break, I will be checking my email daily for any child protection/significant COVID issues, but please bear in mind anything non urgent may well not be responded to until the end of the holiday.

I hope you manage to enjoy the 2 weeks with some quality family time,  thank you all for your continued support, and we'll look forward to seeing you on the 25th April.

Happy Easter!

Miss Harris

Week of March 28th

Dear parent,

What a week! Thank you for bearing with us with regards to our minimal staffing in some areas. It is testament to the staff who were in that we did not have to cancel anything for the children, all their planned lessons, activities and clubs were able to run with other adults covering. I am very grateful to them for this.

 

Some reminders for you:

  • No clubs next week, apart from Cookery on a Tuesday and Thursday and  normal paid after school club. A new clubs list  for after Easter will be out very soon.
  • A reminder that we break up for Easter on the Friday 8th April and return on Monday 25th.
  • We will be counting up House points on Thursday, so if your child is in the winning house, you will receive a  text to say that they can wear their home clothes on the Friday if they wish to.

 

 COVID update as of April 1st from the Government [ published March 29th]

  • children and young people who are unwell and have a high temperature should stay at home and avoid contact with other people. They can go back to school, college or childcare when they no longer have a high temperature, and they are well enough to attend
  • adults with a positive COVID-19 test result should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days, which is when they are most infectious. For children and young people aged 18 and under, the advice is 3 days

Enjoy the weekend

Miss Harris

Week of March 21st

 

Dear parent,

Practice sleepovers: For children in Yrs 4,5 and 6 who are due to go on residentials soon, we are aware that many of them may not have slept away from home in the last two years. In order to prepare them for this, it would be really helpful if you can arrange some 'sleepovers' to get them used to this, maybe with family members, then their best friend [  as long as you feel secure in this with regards to COVID]. I do think it would really benefit them .

 

Year 6: Please ensure that Year Six pupils attend school for their SATs week beginning 9th May 2022. We endeavour to minimise the pressure of these National tests, however, it is important that Year Six pupils attend school during this week and that  any appointments are avoided at all costs.

 

Red nose day/Ukraine appeal- Thankyou so much for supporting this day last week, we managed to raise an amazing £540.

 

Sporting success: Congratulations to our YR 5/6 footballers and our yr 3/4/5/6 cross country runners who all performed really well against local schools this week to record wins for us! The children all conducted themselves perfectly and were a real credit to you and the school.

 

Enjoy the sunny weekend

Miss Harris

Week of March 14th

 

Dear parent,

Thank you to those of you who engaged with this week's parent consultations, if there are any issues outstanding from these that you feel have not been resolved, then do contact me on my email.

It has been lovely to see so many children wearing their blue and yellow today , in my assembly I talked to them about ACTing to help others.

[Act/Care/Time]. We want them to develop this empathy from as young an age as possible.

COVID update: We have had quite a few staff off this week plus between 20-30 children every day. This is quite in line with other local schools of our size,  unfortunately, we are just having to 'ride this out' at the moment. Do however continue to test when you receive an email from us about a case in your child's class- every time you receive an email this means that there is at least one new case, and if you have a case within the immediate household, test as regularly as you can.

PE/Sports fixtures: We are getting back into the swing of these with football matches, and cross-country races over the next few weeks. Can I remind you that children should be wearing proper PE kit for their PE lessons [ not football kit]. When representing the school, they will definitely have to wear proper Chickerell kit.

Enjoy the weekend, some very sunny weather forecast!

 

Week of March 7th

Dear parent,

Thank you to those of you who have engaged with our online parent evenings this week. They are incredibly useful for you to understand where your child is academically, emotionally and socially.

 

COVID update: We are having a real increase in cases since half term, this week alone we’ve had 28+ cases within children and 5 cases within staff. I must impress on you still the need to test if we send you a parentmail regarding a case within your child’s class, and it is strongly advised that they isolate if they have symptoms/ test positive. This does not impact on their overall attendance figure, we take this out of the equation when looking at that overall figure.

 

Attendance : The Department for Education has notified all schools that it is expecting attendance rates to return to pre pandemic levels as soon as possible. Regular attendance and good punctuality are important factors in pupils achieving their full potential in education, and particularly at a time when so many children have missed so much, this is vital. The attendance target figure for all pupils of all ages is 97% or above. If attendance drops even below 95% it becomes a cause for concern as pupils are missing a lot of lessons. You can find out your child’s attendance by contacting the school office. If a child has 90% attendance this means they have missed one day of school every fortnight! If  that continued through all seven years at Chickerell this would mean that the child would have missed  over half a year of education! Any child missing that much time will  inevitably struggle to keep up.

 

What does the attendance percentage really mean? As an attendance % , number of days lost  and lessons missed

100% None None 

97% 1 week – 5 days 25 lessons 

94% 2 weeks – 10 days 50 lessons 

90% 4 weeks – 20 days 100 lessons 

85% 6 weeks – 30 days 150 lessons 

80% 8 weeks – 40 days 200 lessons

 

I think this really puts into perspective just how much children can miss, and we do have at least 40 families who,  at the moment, fall into the lowest of those percentages. And it's not just what they miss academically, friendships can become really fractured when a child is off a lot, which them makes them feel 'wobbly' about coming in and a vicious circle starts.

 

We know children will have times when , for whatever reason, they struggle to come in. It might be because of a friendship issue, it might be they're worried about something at home and don't want to leave you, but if you can get them in, our pastoral team of Mrs Griffiths, Miss Richards and Mrs Smith will spend time with them to  help them feel more regulated. Let's all really push in this last half of the year to make sure our children attend school as much as possible[ barring COVID/illness].

 

Reminder: Next Friday, on Comic Relief day, we are doing a joint fundraising for both this and the plight of the Ukrainians. Children can wear a RED NOSE or such like, but we want them to come dressed in blue and yellow, for a minimum £1 donation that we will send to the Disasters Relief Fund.

 

Enjoy the weekend, I've given up hoping for a Welsh rugby win, it's now hoping we don't lose by too much.. 😉

Miss Harris

 

Weekly of February 28th

Dear parent,
It has been wonderful to see the children back with us this week, and also slightly frightening to think we are now half way through the school year- where does the time go?
One of the things that has struck me this week is how the children are trying to make sense of the situation in the Ukraine, you hear them talking about it, but being young, they have a very limited understanding of what is going on. Arguably, they do not need to know too much, they are children and we want to protect their innocence, but if they are talking about it, we want them to have the right balance of knowledge without being overly fearful.
To this end, I am attaching some thoughts for you on how best to approach this if your child does try to talk about it.
 

How to talk to your children about what’s happening in Ukraine 

 

The world suddenly feels like a very uncertain and troubling place, and children will have many questions and worries over the current devastating situation in Ukraine, and with the Russian invasion on TVs and radios everywhere. 

Talk of ‘World War 3’ in Europe and the language and images being shared will understandably be very concerning for children, especially slightly older children with an understanding of what happened in World War 1 and 2. It’s impossible to totally shelter them from what’s happening in Ukraine, and important not to, so we’re sharing some advice and tips on how to discuss this with your children. 

  • Be open and honest, in an age appropriate way  The most important thing is to be open and honest with children, but in a way that is age appropriate and that won’t cause them unnecessary worry or anxiety. Children are constantly listening, they absorb everything going on around them, so it’s important you help shape what information they’re receiving. They will overhear news on TV, radios and even other children repeating things on the playground, so best to take control and help them from the outset.  Be mindful of the words you use when explaining the situation. Words like bombing, war, invasion are unfamiliar and scary sounding words so make sure it’s right for their age and not too detailed too young. 
  • Pick a sensible time to talk  Choose the time you speak with them wisely. Just before bedtime should be a no-no, children often overthink when they’re in bed and you also need to make sure there’s time for any questions they may have. You may also want to plan an activity or even just go out for a walk after to show a level of normality for them. 
  • Trust your child to ask when they want to know  The best approach is likely to keep information topline, stick to a few facts so as not to overwhelm your child. We all know children love to ask a question (or 20) so let them lead as and when they may have further questions. Check in from time to time without leading them “How are you feeling at the moment, is there anything you want to talk about” is enough to keep the conversation gates open. 
  • Help your child to keep things relative to them  While we want our children to have empathy and understand what’s happening in the world, it’s also very important that they know they’re in no immediate danger. Show them on a map where Russia and Ukraine are as this will help them with some context. Let them know that it’s really sad what’s happening there, but the chances of anything spreading to the UK is very very low. Let them know that these events are rare and only appear on the news as they don’t happen often. 
  • Help older children to take action  For slightly older children, around 7 years + they may benefit from feeling like they’re helping. We can express that it’s very sad what the people and children of Ukraine are going through and we’re lucky that it isn’t us, so we can help in other ways. Do some research in your area, can you donate food parcels, get involved in a shoe box appeal which children can physically help you pack, or even put a hand written note in the box. This will all let them feel like they are doing some good in this situation. 
  •  There are lots of videos and articles out there offering support and guidance. BBC’s Newsround is always a good place to start, just make sure you watch the content first to ensure it’s right for your child. 
 
On a different note, since half term, we have been hit quite hard by COVID cases again, with a lot of staff off and an increasing number of children as the week has gone on. Can I pleases urge you to test your children if you get an email to say there is a case within the class? In order to keep classes 'open' we must still exercise this responsibility. Thank you for your support with this.
Miss Harris

Weekly of February 21st

Dear Parent,

I hope you've all had a good half term and enjoyed time with the children. 

Just a few points to clarify about the latest COVID guidance, released over the half term.

  • Self-isolation for a positive case is now strongly advised as opposed to being a legal requirement.  Out of respect to staff and the other children in the class, I would be expecting children who are positive to isolate until they receive 2 negative tests on any 2 consecutive days, or until 10 full days are up, whatever happens first.
  • There is again now no legal requirement for anyone to regularly test but, again, to protect yourselves and your families, you may want to continue to do this. We will still inform you of a positive case within your child's class should you wish to test your own child. Please do continue to inform us if your child tests positive, so that we can let everyone else know who may be affected.

Staff may continue to wear masks in communal areas, or when they talk face to face with you, but this will be purely a matter of personal choice. Children will be allowed to mix between the classes within their year group, both inside and outside of the classroom, but we are still limiting other mixing to extra-curricular clubs only at present.

 

The next round of parent evenings, due to start soon, will still be online, but we will review this in the summer term. Bookings for these will 'open' on the 28th February.

 

A reminder too that clubs will restart on the 7th March.

 

See you all on Monday morning!

Weekly of February 7th

Dear parent,

Thank you again for helping us on Monday when we needed to send the children and adults home due to the lack of working toilets- that is never a decision I make lightly, but when something compromises children's well-being, then it's made easier. It did absolutely highlight the need for everyone to check their parentmails, we do not have the facility -  or enough phone lines - to ring everyone in this situation, so it is vital that you do check your messages regularly . It also shows that we may need to be more neighbourly at times and check that people living near us who may have children at the school have also received the message. I understand that some of you may have been frustrated by the organisation on the day, but the logistics of trying to get 407 children out in those circumstances was unprecedented for us.

 

A reminder again that we have an INSET day next Friday. Children return to school after the half term on the 28th February.

 

Can we impress on you the need to let us know if there are different arrangements for your children being picked up at the end of the day? If another adult is collecting, then it is very important from a safeguarding perspective that you tell us who that is. A reminder too that children should be carefully supervised whilst waiting for siblings at the end of the day, they should not be running behind the bike sheds, throwing stones, as some were this week.  

On a similar safeguarding note too, our Internet Safety day on Tuesday was quite an eye opener, particularly in regards to the children in Year 4 and upwards. Several [ boys notably] were honest enough to reveal that they had 'adult' friends that they played with online that their parents didn't know about. This is a real worry and I must urge you all to monitor your child's use of these type of games very carefully.

 

You may remember from recent emails that I mentioned about the 'support fund' to help with any immediate financial concerns you may have. This week we were able to support several families with food, one with an outstanding bill,  plus some more with new uniform. Do get in touch if you need this kind of support-we really are here to help you as much as the children.

 

'Chain of command': As you are all aware, myself, Mrs Griffiths, Mrs Smith and Miss Richards are on the gate every day to ensure that any small queries can be dealt with swiftly. However, it is tricky for us to manage other class-based problems that may be arising if you have not contacted the class teacher first, via their email or with a phone call to the office. This should always be the first port of call for you for any query about what may be happening in the classroom or on the playground. If, then, the matter is not fully resolved, then of course speak to any of the Senior Team or pastoral team- we can step in and assist.

 

Enjoy the weekend, I'm hoping that the Welsh rugby team put on a better performance than last weeks' debacle..

Weekly of January 31st

Dear parent,

COVID catch up: we have had several cases within Yrs 5,3 and 2 mainly this week and if your child's class was affected, you would have received an email to ask you to test your child. Do be rigorous about this, it will help us limit cases spreading further.

 

A few events to remind you of. Next week is children's mental health week, and in a time when many people has struggled in this respect, we really want to mark this. The Friday will be 'dress to express yourself' day, and we want children to come dressed in the clothes that really sum them up, it may be that they love their football and want to come in football kit, they may love animals and could come dressed as something to do with that. It could be  a part of their personality, maybe your child is always fun and lively and they want to wear bright colours that represent that, be as creative as you like! 

 

On the Tuesday of the same week, it is 'Safer Internet day' and at at time when children's devices have become even more important in terms of communicating with each other we will be doing some activities in school that reinforce why it's so important to keep yourself safe online. To that end, I need to warn you about the below, that is circulating in primary schools at present:

 

'There is a "sinister" and "deceiving" character which sings about killing and is being viewed by pupils online .The blue bear-like creature, named 'Huggy Wuggy', has long arms and rows of razor sharp teeth and features in YouTube videos for an online game. Set in an abandoned toy factory, Huggy is a villain in the game who stalks the player from vents or unreachable places. Videos of the game are available to watch on YouTube, with other clips dedicated to Huggy and his songs. One song, in which the character offers 'free hugs', includes the lyrics: "I could hug you here forever, till you breathe your last breath together." Another line from the same song is: "My teeth sharp and ready, in my grasp yeah they're deadly." In another song he invites people to "lean in for a spine breaking embrace".

Some schools are seeing children recreating a game on the playground with hugging and whispering nasty things in the recipient's ear. It is a very deceiving character, as hugs should be seen as something kind and loving, and because of its cute name, this is able to infiltrate firewalls and filters. ' Please be mindful of this.

 

Enjoy the weekend, the 6 nations rugby starts, so I will be stood in front of the TV, willing Wales to beat Ireland- not that I think there's really much chance!

Weekly of January 24th

Dear parent,

A bit of a challenging week again for us, we've averaged around 20 COVID cases, plus a few within the staff team. Luckily, we've been able to maintain operations and the school has run as normal despite this.

Please do continue to test if you receive an email from us regarding a case within your child's class- this is really important to limit any further cases. We will also ring you if we feel that your child does need to be taken home to test because we believe they might be presenting with symptoms.

 

On a positive note, again it has been great to see so many children accessing clubs. Our new list will come out within the next few weeks for provision after half term. We are looking to resurrect some sports fixtures with other schools too, the girls football team played against Southill yesterday and drew 4-4. A cracking match by all accounts!

 

For your diaries, a reminder that February 18th is an INSET day, and the weeks of 7th and 14th March will be our virtual parent evenings again, so an email will follow soon for you to book dates and times .

 You may remember from last week's email that I mentioned about the 'support fund' to help with any immediate financial concerns you may have. This week we were able to support several families with food, one with a new fridge, plus some with new uniform. Do get in touch if you need this kind of support-we really are here to help you as much as the children.

Enjoy the weekend, I'll be testing my DIY skills- which never ends well...

Weekly of January 17th

 

It has come to our attention that the financial impact of the pandemic is still hitting some of you very hard, and I worry that means that your children are being disadvantaged by this through absolutely no fault of their own. With this in mind, I am creating a 'support fund' for you to access that would allow us to help you .

 

To access this, what we need you to do is to book a time to see either myself, Miss Richards, Mrs Griffiths or Mrs Smith - our pastoral team  -  to come and talk to one of us about what you need in this respect. It might be, for example, your car has failed it's MOT, you can't afford to have the repairs done and that would mean in turn that you would find it difficult to get your child to school . We could pay for alternative transport for you, bus fares etc.

 Another example might be where you are struggling to provide enough food for your family- we can provide vouchers or arrange a delivery for you.

There are a whole host of scenarios that we can assist with. 

In addition, we are linking with a charity called CAP- who can advise on wider financial issues including managing debt, we can put you in touch with them. We just are very aware that we need to offer more practical help to YOU, as parents, so that you can provide the most consistent home life for your children.

 

If you know you need some extra financial support at any point, contact one of us on the emails below to arrange a quiet and private time to chat.

 

j.harris@chickerell.dorset.sch.uk

k.griffiths@chickerell.dorset.sch.uk

l.richards@chickerell.dorset.sch.uk

c.smith@chickerell.dorset.sch.uk

 

We will get back to you promptly.

 

On another note, and without this being taken in anyway as a political statement, as school staff, we were very surprised to learn that most restrictions are to be lifted next week by the Government. For us , the most vital one in terms of protecting children and other colleagues is the wearing of masks. Therefore, as staff we will still be wearing them in all communal areas of the school and ask that if you physically have to come into the school building, you do the same. Wearing masks in the car park whilst waiting for your children will be a matter of choice for you. Whilst we are still managing clusters of cases in the school, we will continue to operate our class 'bubbles' and reduced mixing, at least until the half term.

Thank you for your continued support with this.

Weekly of January 10th

 

Dear parent,

It’s been quite a cold start to the term and some of our children still don’t have coats in school. I have noticed more than a few shivering children outside this week. Please can all children have a coat available in school and please can you encourage children to wear them – for reasons I’ve never fathomed, some children would rather go cold than wear a coat! We also recommend adding some long trousers and warm tops to PE kits this term – we’ll be looking to go out for PE as much as possible, regardless of the cold. In fact, wrap up warm whenever the weather dictates, with windows or doors open in classrooms, children will need additional underlayers to keep them comfortable.

 

Close contact emails: We are expecting there to be a number of coronavirus cases in school over the term, as Omicron cases nationally continue to rise. I will send emails to class contacts of positive cases as they arise so that you can plan the appropriate response in terms of testing. 

 

Changes to Covid rules: reminders

The latest changes to Covid arrangements are:

  1. Reduction of isolation time, in the event of a positive test, from 7 days to 5. This means the child can return to school on Day 6, providing they have received a negative LFD result on days 5 and 6.
  2. Confirmatory PCR tests following a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test result have been temporarily suspended from Tuesday 11 January. This will mean that anyone who receives a positive LFD test result will be required to self-isolate immediately and will not be required to take a confirmatory PCR test.

 

Clubs: It has been wonderful to see the children back at clubs this week, I know some of you were frustrated that we had 'capped' the numbers on these , but this is only a temporary measure to gradually reintroduce an element of 'mixing', we will increase the numbers in each post half term.

 

Parent 'evenings': The next round of these will happen post half term and will be done virtually again, details for logging in will follow within a few weeks.

 

Enjoy the weekend

Miss Harris

Weekly of January 4th

 

I am delighted to report that we have had a very positive first week back, the children have settled in really well and have shown good learning attitudes. We have been fortunate [ without wishing to tempt fate] to have had minimal disruption this week in terms of staffing, long may this continue. 

 

We have had 2 COVID cases within children confirmed since we started back on Tuesday, I will endeavour to keep you updated on a weekly basis again with this figure.

 

We have three new staff appointments , Mrs Clare Smith, who joins the SEN/THRIVE team to add to the support that Mrs Griffiths and Miss Richards already offer, and Mr Manning and Mrs King who are our new Cover Supervisors/Sports Assistants, they will be supporting PE lessons, running clubs and assisting in other interventions for children. 

 

Clubs restart on Monday, the office should have now sent you some information about this. We are still limiting numbers in these so as to avoid too much mixing, but it will be lovely to see the children back attending these. They will run until the 11th February, then we will get a new list out for after the half term. All these will finish at 4pm , apart from one of the cookery clubs, and children will be brought to the main school office doors or the hall side doors if the club is in there for you to pick your children up after them. Paid after school provision will now revert to all being at the SEN base, as it was previously.

 

Enjoy the weekend

Kind regards

Miss Harris

 

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