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Chickerell Primary Academy


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Headteacher's Blog

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.


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



Weekly of December 6th


Dear Parent,

The weather has been particularly unkind to us this week, and with some more COVID cases appearing again,  in Upper KS2, it's been a tough week! 


Last week of term's arrangements- a reminder for everyone:


  1.  Friday 17th finish 1.45 for children A-M surnames, 2pm for the rest. 'PJ' day [ and a warm dressing gown /coats still] for those who'd like to support our Ronald McDonald mental health charity that day. £1 donation.
  2. The winning 'house' will wear home clothes on the Thursday, you'll only get a parentmail if this applies to your child.
  3. Clubs for next half term. We are really hoping that we can resurrect this post-Christmas, but a great deal will depend on COVID rates after the New Year and how much people have mixed. We will let you know by the end of the first week back if they are running and who has a place. Our paid after school facility will still be running from the 4th January, as will breakfast club. Please book these before term ends if you will need to use them.

Several of you have asked me if I intend to offer the same 'opt out' for you to remove your children slightly earlier from the end of term to protect your Christmas plans, and of course, that is entirely reasonable. However, I think we also have to remember that, for children, they love this time of the year in school, we do have fun [ even me- a little bit..] and we want as many of them to enjoy that as possible.


I would only urge you to then take up this offer of leaving school early- from the end of the day on Tuesday 14th- if your child is in a year group with a significant number of cases- and  this is only actually 1 year 6 class - or if you know you have vulnerable relatives at home over the Christmas period that you really need to protect.

As before, please let me know on  if you intend to do so.


Enjoy the weekend, let's hope for better weather!

Miss Harris


Weekly of November 29th

Dear parent,


We had a very productive INSET day on Wednesday, we all undertook our safeguarding training and also looked at writing standards across the school to see how the children are doing in this respect. We also had a session on why trips out are so important to children's education and I know many of you whose children are due to go on residentials this year are anxious about this, but they really do form a lasting memory for children.


COVID update:  A few more cases crept in again this week, 4 in total. Because of the new identified Omicron strain, I will alert you as soon as we have a case within your child's class so that you can test your own child asap.


Christmas jumpers: You all know how much I love under duress, I'm allowing a Christmas jumper day next Friday, 10th. Children can wear a festive jumper , if they wish. We are not expecting donations , but if you wish to make one, we will be supporting the 'Save the children' charity from any monies raised.


End of term: We’ll be finishing around 2pm on the last Friday, 17th December. Children with the surname initial A - M inclusive will leave at 1.45, the rest, N-Z, will leave at 2pm. This means that siblings can all leave at the same time on that day - this is something that we may then carry on next term. To raise some money for the Ronald Mcdonald House charity on this day, children can also come to school in their PJ’s, as long as they are still appropriately dressed for being outside at breaktime. £1 donation for this.


Enjoy the weekend

Miss Harris



Weekly of November 22nd

Dear parent,

The weather has definitely turned wintry this week. Please ensure that your child comes adequately prepared. I know boys in particular can say they don't feel the cold, but when they are on the playground for 1/2 hr or more over lunchtime, it really can chill them!

COVID update: Hopefully we are coming out the other side now of our case surge, there are currently now only 5 confirmed cases across the school, with 2 adults positive too. This is a significantly better picture than 2 weeks ago- so thank you all for your efforts to help by testing your children regularly.

Thank you to all those of you who have engaged with our online parent evenings. I know that there were some technical glitches initially with a few, but we will hopefully iron these out for next time.

Another reminder that next Wednesday is our INSET day- children not in school that day.

In other news, we have appointed a very experienced TA from ST John's to replace Mrs Crawford. She is very experienced in supporting children and families and will be a real asset to our team. She will start after Christmas.

Enjoy the weekend,

Miss Harris

Week of Nov 15th

Dear parent,


COVID update:

As I have explained in my recent emails, due to a steep rise in case rates throughout October, Public Health Dorset and Dorset Council provided additional guidance for educational settings across the county to reduce transmission of COVID-19 for a 14-day period after half term.

Additionally, Chickerell has seen a sudden rise in Covid cases amongst its school population over these two weeks, although these are now just starting to go down. We have reviewed our current arrangements with Public Health Dorset and have agreed that we need to continue with a more robust set of restrictions in order to allow the current number of cases to subside and so that transmission across class groups is avoided. In this way we hope to break the cycle of transmission so children at Chickerell can stay safe and healthy.

We are therefore continuing to take these measures for the next two weeks, after which we will review case numbers within the school again

  • All classes to be in ‘bubbled’ play and lunchtimes – ie no mixing, as well as in lesson time
  • Staff will wear facemasks when they move around school (but not when teaching).
  • All clubs will still cease to run
  • All sporting fixtures will be cancelled
  • Parents should not visit the school unless vital
  • Parent volunteers should not come in to school.

Drop-off and collection arrangements In the interests of keeping our response proportional to the transmission within the school, and minimising effects on parents and families, we have decided to make no changes to the existing drop-off and collection arrangements. Please continue to collect your child in the same way as you do at the moment. All we ask is that:

  • You do not bring or send your child to school too early – to prevent gathering and mixing at the school gates
  • You drop off your child quickly when moving through the carpark, avoiding crowding with other parents.
  • You do not come into the school building.
  • Wear masks on site if you can


Next INSET day reminderDecember 1st. Children not in school on that day.

Parent evening update/feedback: We are well into our virtual parent evenings and any feedback would be greatly appreciated for us to establish how successful they were.

Sara Crawford:  Mrs Crawford, one of our ELSA's, leaves us next week to take up a post at the Local Authority in the 'Early Help' department. She has supported many families during her time with us and many children have benefited from her pastoral care. She will be very much missed and we wish her well.


Enjoy the weekend..



Week of November 8th


Dear parent,

Quite a challenging week this week, as you will understand from my email on Wednesday. Unfortunately, cases continue to rise, as I write this ,we have 24 positive cases across the school. These are spread over almost all year groups and classes, but Yr 6 being particularly hit hard, perhaps due to the fact that older children do socialise more outside of school.

It is absolutely vital that you all test your children regularly, quite a few of our cases have been asymptomatic- that is the children had no symptoms- and it was only through the diligence of their parents regularly testing them that it was picked up.

Can I urge you all, please, test your children regularly. 


We are just about managing to keep the bubbles open, but with staffing so very hard hit too, we must all play our part.


Other news:


A reminder again that December 1st is our next INSET day when staff will be receiving their formal safeguarding training.


Parent evenings: If you haven't already, very soon you will receive an email about booking your parent evening appointment. It is a very simple process, but the office will help you if you find it tricky.


Staggered finishes: Please can we respectfully ask that when you are waiting to pick up a child, you supervise any other of your children carefully, Last week, we had children throwing stones at each other, standing in the flower beds, kicking each other, all in full view of their parents who did absolutely nothing to stop them. Equally, please do not 'hang around' on site, once you have collected your child, do leave so that again, we avoid groups of people mixing unnecessarily.


Enjoy the weekend

Miss Harris

Dear parent,


I hope that you all had a restful half term and enjoyed some family time.



Weekly of November 1st


COVID update: We have had 5 new cases amongst children over the half term, with 2 results still pending.  The most recent news has indicated to us that the next 10-14 days will be absolutely crucial in determining how the rest of term goes for children; this week, 1 in 17 school children had COVID, according to National statistics. What will absolutely be the deciding factor in the next few weeks is our own behaviour. If we choose to mix freely indoors, without masks, and don't test regularly, then the term could well see more disruption. Please do your bit to help protect the children's education.


Update on clubs: A reminder that sports/arts/music clubs are still postponed until the 15th November. We will be waiting for the next advice from the Local Authority as to whether we have to extend these measures. We will keep you informed as and when we know more.


Next INSET day - December 1st. Staff will be undertaking their whole school 'safeguarding' training on this day so that you can be assured that we take this aspect of our job very seriously.


Charity events: Although we can't do too much in the way of full-on charity events at the moment, we will be supporting Children in Need plus a few others over the next month with some 'Wacky Hair' days and such like. More information will follow soon.


Virtual Parent evenings; We are going to use a system that many of you who have older children at Budmouth will be familiar with, a system called 'School Cloud', that will allow us to undertake these safely at times convenient to you and the staff. More information will follow very shortly.


Have a lovely weekend,

Miss Harris

Week of October 18th

Dear parent,

Half term is here! I'm sure you are all ready for some family time and it's well deserved. All things considered, the children have coped amazingly with the first 'proper' half term back after so long, but they're definitely tired.


I know for some of you, the most recent changes we've had to make for certain year groups on Public Health's authority has made your lives a little trickier, but please, rest assured, we are only trying to keep everyone safe and I will not , or cannot, disregard advice given on this issue. 


COVID update: Number of cases in children rose to 10 across the school this week, again, very much but not exclusively, limited to specific year groups ,  with one additional adult case. Although the half term should serve as a natural firebreak for us all, if, after this, someone in your immediate household tests positive , please do not send children in unless they have then tested negative on a lateral flow and ideally a full PCR.  It is very important we limit the spread of this, and going into the deep autumn/winter months when weather is wet, heating is on and children are naturally going to have to be indoors with each other more, we have to be even more mindful of this.


Some of you have been asking about the staggered arrangements at the end of the day and how long they will last. I know that they are not the most convenient if you have siblings to pick up at different times, but until such time that our cases drop and rates across the area stabilise at a low level, then we will remain with these for a while longer. 


Post half term: Look out after half term for some information about our virtual parent evenings that will be held in the third week back.


Reminder RE: clubs: These will restart on the 8th November for everyone, apart from our paid provision that starts on the 1st. Breakfast club also restarts on the 1st.


Do enjoy the week together, we'll see you all ready for round 2 on the 1st November.

Kind regards

Miss Harris

Week of October 11th

Dear parent,


We are entering into the last week of the half term and I'm sure your children are ready for a break now. It's caught them all by surprise just how 'fast' a pace we have worked at to try and get back into normality and routine after the last 18 months of disruption.


Reminder:  Next Friday is an INSET day, children are not in school.

No clubs now until November 8th, you should have received the updated list today from the office to rebook children in for after half term. 

Paid after school provision  also stops on Thursday 21st until November 1st.


 Weekly COVID update:  7 new cases this week.  This cluster still should serve as a reminder why it is so important to test your children if they develop cold type symptoms to avoid it spreading. Staff have reverted to wearing masks in school in all communal areas and we have reinstated strict class bubbles during the day until the half term break. Please help us by wearing masks when you come into school, and only come in if it is absolutely essential. We are taking advice daily from Public Health as to what other measures to reintroduce to help halt the spread of this. Can I also remind you that if your child is isolating, that does mean that they should be staying at home and not having contact with anyone outside the immediate family household.


On the flip side of all this, and somewhat ironically, Anti Vaccine leaflets have been handed out at the park recently, please be aware. The local PCSO is also aware of this. Although this is not 'illegal' , there is a thin line between it being done in a 'harassing' way and an informative way.


Enjoy the weekend

Miss Harris

Week of October 4th


Dear parent,

I hope you've all had a good week. A mixed bag of weather at times, Autumn is definitely here!


COVID update: 'COVID 19 map for schools' web page, do google and look at this when you have a moment. Put in the school's postcode, DT3 4AT, and you will clearly see the significant rate of infection still in our area. This is why we MUST all still be very careful of our own and our family's safety, test regularly, wear masks when you can and practise robust hand hygiene. If your child has cold type symptoms, do get them tested to be sure. And if someone in your household does test positive, the rest of you would definitely be considered 'close contacts' and MUST do a full PCR test before returning to school. One local school has now had to shut completely for 10 days due to the infection rates, and as I said last week , we certainly do not want to revert back to those measures. Since last week's email, we have had no new cases within the school- which shows we're all doing something right!


Clubs: You will need to 'reapply' for the clubs for after the half term, most will stay the same but a few may have changed. Just because your child has had a place this half term does not guarantee a place next time. More detail will follow very soon.


Christmas performances:  Although many of you have enjoyed these in the past, we are still not confident to restart these due to the ongoing rates of infection in our area. It would not be appropriate to have that many children from different year groups in an enclosed space singing and dancing. I have suggested to classes that if they want to do something very low key that they could video and send home to you then they will, but only if they are confident to do so.


School Photos: We are doing individual and sibling school photos on Thursday next week. All children must come in uniform on this day, even if normally they would be in PE kit.


INSET days- Our next ones are October 22nd and  December 1st,  children are not in school those days.


Enjoy the weekend,

Miss Harris

Week of September 27th


Dear parent,

It has been another really busy week, and I think children are feeling that in their tiredness levels.  I'm still so pleased to see lots of children using our clubs and after school childcare facilities, on some days we have over 100 children attending these. 


COVID update: We currently have 2 children in the school who have currently tested positive. Can I remind you again of the protocols. If your child has any cold type symptom, please test them, ideally with a full PCR test but, if not, a lateral flow test. If a close family member has tested positive then, as close contacts, the rest of the family should immediately book a PCR and not come into school, until the results of that test are known.  Remember you MUST report these tests to Public Health and they will contact us if we, as a school ,need to do anything extra.

We must still all work together to protect each other by following our procedures- you may have seen that several local schools have had to go to 4 day weeks at present because children's case numbers are high and they are then passing it onto the staff. Children's education has suffered enough and I would really hate to have to impose that kind of working arrangement should we begin to experience the same. Do wear masks on site if you can, limit family members bringing children to and from school to one per child, stick to your pick up times at the end of the day, only come into the school building if it is necessary- all these will help us keep everyone safe and school open 5 days a week.,


Virtual parent evenings: Because of the above, and also to make evenings run more efficiently, after half term we will be trialling virtual parent evenings where you can meet the class teacher online and discuss your child's progress. More details will follow in due course, but most schools now are using this form of communication to keep everyone safe and to avoid queues and delays often occurring with face-to-face meetings.


Communication: I am aware that with some restrictions still in place, contacting teachers is a little trickier. Please do use the teachers email if you do not get to see them at the gate at the start or end of the day. Can I remind you, though, about being considerate in what and how you write. All too often, it is easy to 'read' a tone to an email, and if that email is written when you are in a heightened state, then it may not be as respectful or polite as it should be. I always think that the best way to write an email is to draft it, sleep on it and then send it!


INSET: A reminder that we have our next staff training day on Friday, 22nd October, so children will start their half term on this day.


Enjoy the weekend, I'm not sure the weather will be that kind to us, but a quiet day at home may just be what we all need.

Week of September 20th

Dear parent

Another busy week for us all, clubs started and it has been lovely to see the children enjoying those again. Can I ask that you always confirm with your child the arrangements for them getting home after these? We have had several occasions this week when children were very unsure of whether they were walking home or being picked up- and this can make them very anxious.


We are well and truly into the cough/cold season again, and not unexpectedly, since we have all been thrown back together, we have lots of poorly children and adults in school! Can I strongly recommend that even if you think your child only has a cold, you do use the lateral flow tests to check, and if you still have any doubt, book a PCR. There has been an occasion within our school community where a child with a cold and cough had two negative lateral flows, but still tested positive on the much more reliable PCR. I would also suggest that you test the rest of the immediate family too, to be safe. There have been instances already this week whereby schools have had to send home entire year groups to be tested due to positive cases. Thank you for your support with this it is essential that we continue to maintain strict routines for keeping everyone safe.


Queens' Jubilee: As you may be aware, we are due to have another Bank Holiday in 2022 to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. The official extra day already falls within the existing half term, so it has been agreed that schools can add an extra day's holiday where they see fit so children and school staff do not miss out on this . We intend to make this extra day for us on June 6th, to, in effect, extend that Bank Holiday weekend even more- that may give more flexibility for your travel/holiday plans. Children will return to school on the 7th June.


Enjoy the weekend, I am attempting to walk a half marathon with my 72 year old mum in aid of cancer- so I'm hoping for kind weather!

Week Of Sept 13th

Dear parent,

I hope you've all had a good week. At the start of the week, it seemed more of the children were a little wobbly- I think the novelty of being back had worn off, and we will continue to support those who do struggle. 


COVID: Not unexpectedly, considering the impact of the holidays and children returning to school at together, we have seen some positive cases this week within our families. Can I urge you again to follow protocol- if your child has symptoms or has been in close contact with someone who is positive, they must get a test, ideally a PCR as opposed to a lateral flow. Anyone with symptoms must isolate until they know their test result. Follow all NHS advice on this.


Thank you for supporting our clubs, it was amazing to see so many forms sent in for this. For those of you on 'waiting lists' we'll let you know when places become available, or if we can increase our numbers to accommodate more.


PE kit- just to confirm that children will come to school on PE days in kit all year. Obviously when the weather is colder, they can put tracksuit bottoms and a hoody/sweatshirt over their shorts and t shirts to keep them warm.


Attendance: Just a polite reminder that our 'soft' start is from 8.30-8.50. If you arrive after 8.50, your children are marked as late in the register, which will count against your overall attendance figures at the end of the year. Do ring the school office if you think you are going to be late, so we can let the class teacher know.


Please be aware we have changed one of our inset days for this year. We now have an inset day on Friday 22nd July 2022 and NOT Friday 8th April 2022. 


Enjoy the weekend,

Miss Harris

Week of Sept 6th

Dear parent,

As I did last year, I will send you a weekly email on a Friday with any relevant information you may need to know. I just really wanted to reassure you that the children have had a good week this week, of course some of them have 'wobbled'- that's expected, but walking round the classes, I can tell you that they have all been very engaged and trying really hard.


A couple of reminders. Myself, Mrs Griffiths our SENDCO , and Miss Richards our family support worker, will be on the gates every day, at both ends of the day. Do come and talk to us with any concerns you have, or anything you need us to pass on to the class teacher for you. You can also email us:


.....if it's of a more private or confidential nature.


If they haven't already, the class teacher will also email you and you can reply to them on this with any concerns too.  


PE Kit: We know that our suppliers are struggling with this, so for the moment, as long as the children have a plain white or burgundy T shirt, dark coloured shorts or tracksuit bottoms, then that will suffice. No football kit, please. The children will wear their PE kit to school on the days they have PE, the class teachers will let you know when this is and it will start next week, the 13th.


Uniform: We are being very strict on ties, length of shorts, etc and will contact you if there is a problem with your child's uniform. Please also ensure that they do not wear make up, including nail varnish. Hair colour must be natural.


Mobile Phones: These are prohibited from use on site. For older children who may bring them in, the expectation is that they hand them to Miss Bates in the morning at the gate and she will return them at the end of the day. Can we suggest that they only bring a phone if they absolutely need it.


Dogs: As a dog owner myself, I know how lovely it is to combine a walk with dropping children off or picking up, however, we do have several children and parents who are very nervous around them and when they are tied quite close to the school gates, it can be quite challenging for these children to walk past. Can I respectfully ask then that you only bring your dogs at these times if necessary, and to tie them up where they are not too close to the gates. Thank you for your understanding with this.

Reminders of arrangements for the first week back