Back online for lots of learning! We are so proud that most children (and their families!) have almost seamlessly kicked the online learning programme back into play this week and last. Teachers are monitoring the engagement levels and reviewing the success of their input by grading all the online work – using 4 simple criteria from ‘muddled, weak, very good to fantastic’.
It’s been great to hear the positive feedback from families so a special thank you to those who have shared that. We really appreciate that working at home can be tricky for some families, especially when parents are working at home too. Please let us know if you and your child are struggling. The aim is that the vast majority of work for children from Y2 upwards should rarely need a lot of adult support. If you are struggling with younger children the one thing we would try and encourage at all times is daily reading with an adult.
To support this we have signed up to an additional module of Oxford Owls which have the full suite of Oxford Reading Tree books. This includes the popular Biff, Chip and Kipper books. We are working at developing children’s enjoyment and understanding of stories and texts, so please try not to just focus on the ‘decoding’ of words (sounding out using phonics). Reading is so much more than that – and we will be rolling out more information on how to support your children to read over the coming weeks. Amanda Milligan is coordinating our reading offer in school and as a team, as part of our development plans we intend to continue to focus on developing better reading experiences. Thank you so much for all your support with this.
Staff are now managing a lot more this lockdown than previously. Last time it was straightforward – ish to support online learning when the vast majority of the class was at home. However we now have around a third of the school classed as critical workers or vulnerable who need a school place. We are pleased that this means overall numbers of children in school have reduced by two thirds, keeping transmission rates lower in our community. However the management of online learning as well as running a typical school day has been challenging. I am really keen that the teaching team is given enough time to plan and prepare the high quality learning on a regular basis. As a result we have reviewed things as a team at our weekly staff meeting this Wednesday and are adapting things as follows:
1. An earlier finish on Fridays for children
From Friday the 22nd January we will have staggered finishes (on Fridays only) for all children in school.
- Reception and Nursery – 12.30
- Y1 and Y2 – 12.35
- Y3 and Y4 – 12.40
- Y5 and Y6 – 12.45
We have requested that if parents can collect earlier on Friday the 15th January we’d appreciate it, but we understand it is short notice so will facilitate usual collections if needed.
The notion from the government is that if you can keep your children safely at home for learning it is preferred – thank you so much to those of you who have made sacrifices personally to make this happen.
This will allow staff the opportunity to plan together for the following week.
2. Whole class live lessons in Y3 to Y6
We have piloted ‘live lessons’ in school this week in Y6. The children and staff have loved seeing one another, and being able to experience seeing the teacher teach ‘live’. Y3 to Y6 will start this approach with maths initially, and see how the children cope with it. This will mean that the children need to be online at the designated times of their lessons – and mirrors the approach used in secondary schools. All children will be receiving their own email addresses across school to facilitate safe method for online communications to take place. Please feed back to your child’s class teacher to let them know how the live lessons work for your child.
3. More interventions/live lessons in small groups
Some children who usually experience additional interventions and provisions will have a trial of experiencing face to face live interventions. This may be individual or small groups reading with an adult at the younger end of school, or following established programmes such as precision teaching one to one for older pupils. Again please let us know how you feel your child responds to this. There are stringent e safety considerations so please ensure that your children are properly dressed with no excess nudity (!) either from them or yourselves if you are in the background! They should also only use the email address they are sent to log in with. The extra online support will also minimise the need for the regular ‘welfare/safeguarding’ calls that we made if children had two consecutive days without completing home learning last lockdown.
4. Remote Learning policy
As the government expectations have increased this lockdown after quite a few horror stories about online learning (or lack of it from the first lockdown), I am grateful to Sarah Koratzitis our Lead Practitioner in school for creating a remote learning policy. This has been uploaded to our school website and just outlines our commitment to the online/remote learning experiences on offer for the children at CVPS and aligns it with government expectations. If your child is in Y3 to Y6 they are expected to have at least 4 hours of online learning a day, 3 hours for the younger children. In our own curriculum expectations, after seeing children’s general fitness levels after the last lockdown we are pushing for an increase in daily exercise from PE activities at home for all children.
5. Out of hours contact with staff
We have an exceptionally hard working team of staff who make many sacrifices to do their utmost to support CVPS children emotionally as well as academically and it’s important that screen time and mental health of the team is valued by everyone. Our staff have their own families and their own responsibilities outside of the working day, so I’d really appreciate you being mindful of that when expecting responses. Please try and keep non urgent requests for logins and online learning queries to teachers working hours between 8 and 4 to allow staff down time. I appreciate that many families already exercise this respect to the team and we are grateful for that.
Let’s all go for balance this lockdown if that’s possible! And finally this little story from one of our trial runs this week just made me smile – I hope it does you…we all need a bit of humour at the moment. I’ve anonymised it to protect those involved!
My screen was frozen, the children in Y3 couldn’t hear me but I could still share the story via the slides and turn the pages – child 1 said to child 2 “We’d better carry on reading coz you know what she’s like, she’ll be listening from somewhere!” They both carried on and read the story beautifully. Please move them up the ladder for that!
Ashleigh’s outdoor idea
As the weather turns frosty I would like you to make an ice decoration for your garden or local area. First, get a container and put in some water. Next, add some leaves, berries, herbs etc. Then, cut a piece of string or twine and make it into a loop with only the ends dipped in water. Finally, leave your creation overnight and talk about the changes that have taken place. Once it is frozen hang it up on a tree for everyone to admire.
Children who have reached Gold on the learning ladder this week
Year 3 – Brian Campbell and Miya Rowlandson
Year 5 – Leonardo Trevisan