Regents Park Community Primary School
Believe in Yourself - Anything is Possible!
Regents Park Community Primary School
Believe in Yourself - Anything is Possible!
Dear Parents/ Carers,
As you are aware, the Government announced on Monday evening (January 4th 2021) that, due to increasing infection rates and concerns regarding the Coronavirus variant, all schools in England would close as part of new national lockdown measures that came in to force from Wednesday January 6th.
Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education , has stated that “schools have not suddenly become unsafe but limiting the number of children and students who attend them is essential to curb the escalating cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout the country and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed”.
The Government announced that, with schools closed, pupils should switch to "remote learning" as a measure to encourage households to stay at home as much as possible. Schools have been told to open only to children who are considered to be "vulnerable" and children whose parents are identified as being "critical workers".
As such, reluctantly Regents Park has remained closed at the start of this week whilst we have organised our provision for vulnerable and critical worker children and whilst teaching staff have planned and begun organising remote learning for children. The Government have stated that schools will remain closed until at least half term in February.
As such, below I will set out our offer in terms of remote learning and provision for critical workers and vulnerable children during the next five and a half weeks:
REMOTE LEARNING FOR ALL PUPILS AT HOME
When we talk about remote learning we are talking about learning that is taking place at a distance, with children at home and teachers providing learning and activities for children to complete supported by parents. Remote learning may involve using online resources requiring access to devices such as tablets, laptops or computers but it may also involve being given tasks to do with parental support or using texts, books and other paper-based resources.
It is essential that parents understand that it is not simply putting a child in front of a screen on an iPad or a laptop and expecting them to get on independently for a number of hours. Neither does it necessarily involve teachers being online teaching children via live video for several hours at a time.
There will be different expectations about what children can achieve depending on age and their level of educational development.
The Government have said the following about remote learning:
When teaching pupils remotely, we expect schools to:
At Regents Park, we are aiming to provide high quality teaching and learning for your children during this period of lockdown so that children do not fall behind in their learning; however, we need your support, i.e. the support of ALL parents.
We need parents to:
- make sure that children are in a routine of learning everyday
- make sure children understand that the learning they are given is not optional but it is essential and needs to be completed
- make sure that children are supported when they find learning challenging and encouraged in a positive way to achieve their best
- make learning fun and enjoyable
Accessing online learning
Much of the teaching and learning that teaching staff have planned will be delivered online. All the children have access to the Entrust (formerly BGfL365) Launch page (links are on the school website). By logging in from there, children have access to a range of software and resources which teachers will direct the children to so they can complete daily learning activities. Some of the activities will be completed online, however, some of the activities may be completed on paper or with a parent.
Teaching staff have contacted you previously by phone and they will continue to do so over the next 5 weeks to make sure that you and your children can access the online learning resources. They will make sure you have the usernames and passwords to log in also.
Loaning internet devices and equipment
We have some devices such as iPads and laptops that can loaned to parents so that children can access their online learning. We are prioritising families that do not have any equipment to begin with but may be able, at a later date, to support families who have more than one child needing to access the internet but don't have enough devices to share between them.
When teaching staff contact you, please let them know how you and your children are getting on with accessing online learning. If you are having problems or need to loan devices or equipment then let the staff know or email school using the email@example.com email address and Mr Marlowe, our ICT manager, will get back to you.
Remember the equipment we loan to you and your families must be looked after and, as a parent, you are responsible for making sure that children are using it appropriately.
Contacting parents to check on children’s remote learning
The Government have said that schools must make regular contact with parents to check on children’s remote learning. Teaching staff will contact parents at least once per week to check on how children are doing and if there are any problems.
Parents of children in EYFS and KS1 and children who have particular needs may be contacted more frequently as these children will not be able to get online feedback from teaching staff in the same way they can in KS2.
Also, parents may be contacted more frequently where it is seen that children are not engaging with their learning as often as they should be.
We expect parents to be available when we call and support and engage with the staff that are in contact with them.
Live teaching online
Like many schools, we are aiming, where possible, to deliver some of the teaching we deliver live online from Monday 18th January. This will be an exciting opportunity for children and teachers to check in with each other. Teachers will be able to explain to children what it is they need to do that day and deliver some explanation about the learning if necessary. They will be able to ask questions and check on how children are learning and adapt activities for children if necessary. I’m sure the children will be excited to see their teachers and it will help engage and motivate them.
Staff have been having some training on using Microsoft Teams to deliver this live teaching. Children can access Teams from the Entrust/ BGfL365 Launch page. However, all children, but particularly younger children and those children who struggle more, will need support from parents with logging on and setting up the device or equipment to access Teams and the live teaching. Parents will also need to support their children during the sessions and make sure they are actively engaged.
Teaching staff will contact parents next week (beginning 11th January) to discuss this further and to let you know when children will need to be online. Again, we expect parent support to make sure that children are online on time and that they have a quiet space to work in.
Live teaching sessions will be kept short and will be staggered at different times for different age groups as children will not be able to stay engaged for long periods and it may be that other children are sharing devices in some families. However, some children may have more than one session in a day.
We will review how successful and effective this form of teaching online will be. I will say again, that for it to be successful, children will need support from parents.
Also school cannot be held account for technical issues which may arise if equipment isn’t working or if there are issues with connection to the internet. However, if you let school know, we will try as best we can to work with you to help resolve these issues.
SUPPORT IN SCHOOL FOR CHILDREN OF CRITICAL WORKERS AND VULNERABLE (CW/V) CHILDREN
In addition to the remote learning we are offering, the Government have said schools should provide support in school for children whose parents are critical workers and children who are identified as being vulnerable.
At Regents Park we are particularly keen to support those children we have identified as being most in need, either because they have specific learning needs and will struggle to access learning at home or because they are currently living in difficult circumstances at home such as temporary accommodation or are receiving support from local children’s services. These vulnerable children will be our priority and we are encouraging as many of them as possible to come in to school during lockdown so that we can support them.
We will, however, support those families where parents are critical workers and they have no alternative but to send their children into school whilst they are working. It should be said, however, that the Government are encouraging as many people as possible to stay home including children in order to curb the spread of the Coronavirus. As teaching staff will be working full time on providing remote learning, we will have limited capacity for pupils in school other than those that are vulnerable. If you are a critical worker and can support your children at home or find alternative arrangements for them, then we would encourage you to do so.
If you meet the criteria for being classified a critical worker and would like to discuss the possibility of your child attending school during lockdown then please either speak to teaching staff when they call you or write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of SLT will call to speak to you about your request.
Arrangements for CW/V children in school
Critical worker and vulnerable (CW/V) children that attend school will be expected to complete the same work that teachers are planning for remote learning.
Children will be arranged in bubbles in phase groups, e.g. KS1, LKS2, UKS2, etc. The size of the bubbles will be no greater than 15 pupils and will be supervised by support staff such as teaching assistants. Some non-class based teachers will provide other timetabled activities, some of which will take place outdoors, e.g. PE on the AstroTurf, outdoor learning in the Forest School, etc.
Children will not need to wear school uniform during this lockdown period but must come suitably dressed with warm clothing for when they are outdoors.
The school day will begin at 9.00am and finish at 3.00pm. Parents should drop children off and collect from Dixon Road. If children have not arrived on time, there may be no one available to let them in as the office staff may not always be working on-site so it is important that children are dropped off and picked up on time.
All children should bring packed lunch with them every day – children who are eligible for Free School Meals will be receiving vouchers again to cover this period. Lunchtimes will be supervised by Lunchtime Supervisors and children will have a 40-minute lunchbreak to eat and then spend time in the playground. However, they will not mix with other bubbles during the school day.
Parents should email email@example.com or ring (0121 464 6746) during the school day if their child is unable to attend for any reason. If a child or a family member develops symptoms, you must contact school straightaway and the household should self-isolate.
Similarly if a child or member of staff working with the bubble develops symptoms, we will contact you and it may be that the bubble will need to close and the children and staff self-isolate. Please make sure your mobile phone number is updated in school and you are contactable at all times.
FREE SCHOOL MEAL VOUCHERS
The Government have announced that there will again be support for those families who have children eligible for Free School Meals.
We will be contacting eligible families and offering vouchers that can be spent in local supermarkets. The vouchers can only be spent on food for children. We will be sending out text messages to eligible families with more information. Please make sure you have contacted school if you have recently changed your mobile phone number.
CONTACT WITH SCHOOL DURING LOCKDOWN
If you need to contact school during lockdown, the school office will be open from 8.45am until 3.15pm on Monday to Friday. Alternatively you can send an email at any time to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be forwarded on to the relevant member of staff.
Thank you everyone for your patience and understanding during what is a difficult time for everyone including children, families and staff.
We know you will be as concerned about your child’s education as you are about their health and safety and that of your family. We are committed to doing everything we can to make sure Regents Park children don’t suffer as a result of this school closure and we support you in whatever way we can.
Similarly, I am sure you will appreciate the concerns of all the staff that work in school who also have their own children and families that they are supporting and who may be vulnerable. They are balancing their commitment to you and your children whilst also having concerns about their own health and wellbeing and that of their own families.
I’m sure you appreciate everything that they do despite the stress and strain that everyone is under. There will be hiccups and frustration with the delivery of remote learning at times but we hope to work with you as parents to make sure that your children continue to get the education and support they deserve.
Please take care, stay at home as much as possible and stay safe.