Dear parents, I have been blown away by the work that I have seen on Seesaw. You are all so creative and hard working. The engagement we have overall within school is phenomenal.
At the moment I know that lots of people are feeling stressed, overwhelmed and under pressure by everything that's happening. This includes the work being sent home for your child. I wanted to just give my perspective on it all as a Headteacher and I hope this can help with that somewhat.
Firstly, you aren't Home schooling, because that is a careful choice made by parents to take their child off roll in a school and educate them at home. What you are being asked to do at the moment at very short notice is to try and support your child as best you can with their remote learning. We know that it is not an ideal situation and there is no format for remote learning that can replace a child being in school with their teacher and classmates. So we are all adapting to having to change our routines.
Many of you are also working from home whilst helping your child. Every child is different and some will adapt quickly whilst others may struggle at times. If they are struggling to engage, please give them a break and allow them to return to the learning when they are feeling better. The last thing you need are lots of arguments on top of everything else.
There is no right or wrong way of doing home learning at present. We know that many of you are scheduling times in the day to work with children or breaking learning down into 30 minute slots. Some are working with children later in the day and allowing children to carry out their own activities and learning at the rest of the time.
You are, and always have been, your child's first teacher. It is for you to decide how best to do it. Please do not feel guilty if one day your child plays outside in the dirt or wants to bake. These are valuable activities in themselves.
Likewise, please don’t compare yourself or your child to others. Everybody’s circumstances are very different and each of our families are unique. How you deal and cope with the current situation is up to you and it isn’t helpful to anyone to feel you need to compete with other families. You need to do what is right for your child/ren.
In school staff are working as hard as they can to find new ways to present work on Seesaw whilst also teaching full time to those pupils who have to be here.
Just as each of our families are unique, so are schools. What works in one school may not in another. This may be due to staffing levels and capacity, numbers of pupils attending, ICT infrastructure etc.
Many schools are using different formats for Home learning. Many are still producing physical packs to be collected by parents each week, some are using Teams, Google Classroom, Purple Mash, Tapestry or Seesaw like us. What is suitable for Secondary schools may also not be suitable for primary age pupils ranging from 3 to 11 years old. The Seesaw platform is recognised as one of the best formats for Primary Schools and we looked at various options before deciding to use this. Like all other formats/platforms it has its limitations, but it enables us to respond quickly to pupils and parents, it enables families and pupils to log on at any time of the day and complete work that is conducive to each home environment and works on multiple devices. I have uploaded further information about how school is meeting the expectations for remote learning at this point in time.
Over the next week staff will be continuing to develop their on-line learning and utilise audio/video clips where necessary and be able to insert audio descriptions to power points etc. We hope this will further improve the remote learning.
During the last week the staff have spoken to a large number of you and responded to queries and questions you may have. We really appreciate all of your feedback and supportive comments at this time.
Please look after yourselves, you are doing enough. You are loving your kids and supporting them through a difficult time.
Well, this is not the best start to a New year but thank you to all of our parents and pupils who have quickly adapted and been busy on Seesaw this week. It's so pleasing to see nearly everyone undertaking the learning tasks set by the teachers and uploading work, photos and videos back to school. We have had some excellent feedback just within a few days and we love seeing all of the children work.
The office has been very busy re-sending codes to families. Please bear with them as they are trying to get through your requests as quickly as possible.
We will be having a weekly Zoom assembly for each of the classes and you will receive notification on Seesaw about the timings and with a link to the meeting ID and password. These assemblies are for the children and should not be videoed or photos taken during this time. The assemblies are another way of the teachers staying in touch with all of the children and allowing them to still feel part of the class. Our team of staff have also spent a lot of time this week making phone calls home. If you need to contact a member of staff about learning, you can use the Seesaw app. If you wish to contact staff for other reasons, then please e-mail the office with a brief summary of what you wish to discuss with a member of staff and they will endeavour to get back to you within 24hours (school day).
One of the greatest benefits of using Seesaw is that pupils can access the learning tasks at any time as we know that it can be difficult supervising your child's learning whilst working as well and some of you are sharing devices too. As I mentioned during the first lockdown last March, there is no right or wrong way to carry out home learning. If you find that your child is getting stressed, then leave it for a while and either go back later or change the activity. The children can also send messages to their teacher on Seesaw and parents can use the Seesaw Parent App. Anyone who has a smartphone that they use for Facebook etc. will be able to access the App easily.
We appreciate that for the younger children there is more reliance on parents helping at times. For pupils in Early Years there is less direct input work as this is how the pupils work in class. A lot of the learning is through play and guided activities. In class Nursery and Reception pupils would not sit down for hours and hours at a table each day as part of their learning.
For those pupils who are in school can you please ensure they are on time and that they wear their PE kits on their PE days as I mentioned in my note last week. Outdoor PE kit is either Black or Navy blue jogging bottoms and a sweatshirt along with trainers. If you don't have a black or navy blue sweatshirt pupils can use their school sweatshirts. Alternative colours and patterns are not part of our uniform.
Thank you also to those parents who despite being critical workers have not taken up a place in school. The government are still saying that the majority of pupils should stay at home and if need be alternative working patterns and structures can be arranged with employers. Sadly, the situation with the Covid virus is not looking good at present and we all have to play our part in trying to suppress the transmission to help relieve the pressure on hospital beds and reduce death rates too. We really appreciate all of the efforts you are making to keep yourselves, our pupils and staff safe too.
Please take care and keep safe. J Conway
Many thanks to all of the parents for your support this week. We are as frustrated as you about the lockdown, but also want to see an end to Covid 19 and will do our part in supporting the countries efforts to stop the increasing spread of the virus.
We have had an overwhelming number of applications from Critical workers and have had to work with the Government list of critical workers and vulnerable children who can access education. The majority of pupils should be at home.
From our list of applications we have had to prioritise places during this half term.
This is not a situation we wanted to be placed in and have had to say no to some applications too.
For those pupils who are attending from tomorrow please ensure that your child continues to wear their full uniform and PE kit on PE days as mentioned in my previous notes.
Pupils should continue with their normal dinner patterns and the kitchen will be continuing to provide their usual service of meals.
The pupils will continue with their staggered start and end to the days. Please ensure you keep to these times to help the smooth running of the learning day for everyone. We will continue with the same safety procedures for lining up and collecting pupils.
For those parents who have chosen to keep their children at home, we thank you. We know that this isn't an easy time and staff are working really hard to make sure that your child is engaged with their home learning. Mr Scott will be sending you a letter soon regarding Home learning and the use of Seesaw.
Please bear in mind that staff in school are teaching during the day and managing the home learning for the rest of the pupils.
If you have any concerns or questions then please e-mail the office and a member of staff will get back to you as soon as possible.
Thank you for your continued support
As you will be aware Boris Johnson has tonight announced another national lockdown so it is with a heavy heart that we have to switch to remote/home learning for the majority of our pupils.
Our whole staff team have shown time and time again how committed they are to continually putting your child’s education first through their unwavering efforts to keep school open as long as possible. However, in light of tonight’s announcement and the ever changing situation we have to make some immediate changes.
We have been proactive and have been forward planning as much as possible today should such an announcement be made.
However, in order to finalise key worker groups and staffing we have to close school due to the short notice given to us tonight.
We fully understand and appreciate the difficult position this leaves you in as parents and carers and share your frustration with the current situation.
We are continuing to gather requests for key worker/critical response workers and ask you to complete this should you need it by 10am on Tuesday.
I reiterate the need to look closely at the information we have provided to you today and only request a place if this is absolutely necessary.
Most people have been urged to work from home.
We will allocate places, but must forewarn you that these are limited and we may have to prioritise places.
We will notify parents by lunchtime on Tuesday if we have a place allocated for your child/ren.
Our staff team will ensure home learning is uploaded to Seesaw by lunchtime on Tuesday. If you require passwords for Seesaw, Read Theory (KS2 only) or Sumdog please request these via email to the school office rather than phoning.
Staff will provide more information via Seesaw and please use this as your primary point of contact using the parents app. Our staff team will contact children on a regular basis to provide support as we did during the initial lockdown.
The safety of our school community is paramount and as always we will do our upmost to support our children through this difficult time.
We ask for your continued support and want to assure you we will do our upmost to keep you updated as soon as we hear any further information.
Mrs J Conway(Headteacher) & Mrs K Painter(Chair of Governors)
Happy New Year to all of our pupils, parents, staff and Governors.
I hope you were able to have some good times within your family during our Christmas break.
Last term you continued to support us with all of our safety measures and Government procedures expected of our school and again I want to thank you for this.
This term the Governors and Local authority are expecting us to continue with all of our procedures to help keep the pupils and staff as safe as possible in school. Ultimately we all want to see a reduction on the transmission of Covid but we will all have to play our part by following the Government guidelines regarding face coverings, social distancing, washing hands, avoiding contact with anyone apart from our families and complying with public health guidance including track and trace.
By dropping off pupils we appreciate that you may come into closer contact with others so to help reduce the chance of the transmission please help us by:
As you can appreciate it is difficult for young pupils to keep their distance from adults however, we are being urged to be even stricter with pupils keeping their distance as much as possible from adults in school. I am asking you to talk to your child/children (at an age appropriate level and the reasons why) they need to maintain their distance from adults.
For pupils in Years 1-6
In school we have tried to maintain your child’s full access to their PE lessons, because at this time it is even more important to exercise and keep healthy. With this in mind, to maximise the time the pupils have we are asking that on PE days your child comes to school in their PE Kit. They should wear their indoor kit, plain white T shirt and plain black PE shorts underneath their outdoor kit (Plain black or navy jogging bottoms and sweatshirt) along with trainers suitable for outdoor play. Black indoor pumps should be kept in school so that they can change for indoor PE, but these are not suitable for outdoor play or for wearing all day long. Pupils in all year groups need black pumps.
Alternative colours are not appropriate in school and I ask you to keep to our uniform expectations to help the pupils see that we are being consistent with everyone.
For the next few weeks, the office will send you a text the day before your child’s lesson as a reminder about PE kits.
For all pupils
If you have been watching the National news regarding schools, you will realise that the Government expectations are ever changing. Please bear with us if we have to make any changes or ask you to be patient whilst we work through any new guidelines. We kindly ask you to check your text messages and email (those registered on school contact list) as this will be a primary point of contact. We know that this can be frustrating but our ultimate aim is to keep everyone safe and ensure our procedures in school work to support your child.
If there are any further changes I will of course contact you as soon as I possibly can to let you know how these will affect you. It may take us some time to put alternative or additional arrangements into place.
Thank you for your continued understanding
Mrs J Conway
I have uploaded our end of term newsletter to the Newsletters page under the Parents tab. Please take time to read our letter.
On behalf of myself and all the staff and Governors may I wish you a Merry Christmas. I hope you are able to have a lovely time whilst following the latest government guidance and that we see you all back in school safely on Monday 4th January.
Mrs J Conway
Christmas activities at Whitegate End are increasing by the day. We've already started making decorations and most of the classes have recorded their Christmas songs ready to be viewed by the other classes next week.
You've continued to be superstars again this week by carrying on giving with lots of toiletries.
Friday the 11th December is our last day, and on this day you can donate anything you like from our Giving Calendar.
Here are a few reminders about key dates for next week. Please take time to read these carefully as they are different for each class.
Next Wednesday is Christmas jumper day and Christmas dinner for all of the school.
Pupils can wear their Christmas jumper instead of their school sweatshirt/cardigan. They must still wear the rest of their uniform as normal.
Pupils can come to school dressed in their own party clothes for their party day. Please remember they will still need shoes that are suitable for going out side and a warm coat. Pupils are to wear their normal uniform on all other days.
Nursery and Reception party is on Tuesday 15th December in the morning so that all pupils full time and part time can celebrate together.
Year 1 party is on Thursday 17th December in the morning,
Year 2 party is on Friday 18th December in the afternoon.
Year 3 party is on Monday 14th December in the afternoon.
Year 4 party is on Thursday 17th December in the afternoon.
Year 5 party is on Tuesday 15th December in the afternoon.
Year 6 party is on Wednesday 16th December in the afternoon.
Thank you for continuing to wear your face coverings, we really appreciate it and want to keep everyone safe and prevent any illness or closure of bubbles before Christmas.
Whilst waiting for school to start please keep your child close to you and once they have entered school with a member of staff clear the footpaths quickly. If need be, please cross the road to enable the next set of parents to line up and walk past safely.
If your child wishes to send Christmas cards the last date for bringing in to school is Friday 11th December.
We really pride ourselves at Whitegate End on how well our pupils look and you do a great job ensuring they are ready and look the part for school. We certainly look a lot smarter than most other schools in the area. Let's keep up the high standards.
Just a few quick reminders about our uniform expectations and hair styles.
Next week we will let you know if your child has won one of our Christmas food hampers. If you don't have transport we can always arrange to have it delivered.
School will close next Friday 18th December at normal time and re-open on Monday 4th January.
Mrs J Conway
With two weeks left of school there is still so much to do. I promised last week that I would let you know the day that your child's class will be having their party and when they are watching the Virtual Pantomime.
Pupils can come to school dressed in their own clothes for their party day. Please remember they will still need shoes that are suitable for going out side and a warm coat.
Rules regarding jewellery and make-up still apply.
We have had to arrange the dates carefully to allow classes to access the hall separately so that bubbles do not cross and tie in with other classroom based and curriculum activities too.
Nursery and Reception party is on Tuesday 15th December in the morning so that all pupils full time and part time can celebrate together. They will watch the panto on Thursday 17th in the morning.
Year 1 party is on Thursday 17th December in the morning, They will watch the panto on Wednesday 16th.
Year 2 party is on Friday 18th December in the afternoon. They will watch the panto on Friday 18th in the morning.
Year 3 party is on Monday 14th December in the afternoon. They will watch the panto on Tuesday 15th
Year 4 party is on Thursday 17th December in the afternoon. They will watch the panto on Friday 18th.
Year 5 party is on Tuesday 15th December in the afternoon. They will watch the panto on Monday 14th
Year 6 party is on Wednesday 16th December in the afternoon. They will watch the panto on Thursday 17th.
Thank you so much for continuing to send in your fantastic donations as part of our Giving Calendar. The last day for donations is next Friday 11th December.
Although we are coming out of the second lockdown schools are still having to follow strict government guidance.
This means that we still have to keep our bubbles separate, have staggered start and end times and have no visitors in to school. As part of the Governors risk assessment we also ask that you continue to wear your face masks whilst waiting in the line or collecting your children.
I appreciate that this may be a little problematic for some of you but we are trying to keep everyone safe and prevent the closure of bubbles in every way possible.
Once we receive further guidance from the government regarding school procedures, I will of course notify you of any changes to our systems.
You may have heard in the press yesterday that there have been some changes to the end of Key Stage 1 and 2 statutory assessments. For end of Key stage 1- Year 2 pupils will still be assessed in school but will not have to complete any of the tests that contribute towards the assessments.
Schools will moderate with each other to ensure consistency in assessments.
For pupils in Year 1 they will continue to take the Phonics screening check in the Summer along with any pupils in Year 2 who haven't passed this term.
For pupils in Year 6 they still have to sit their Reading, Arithmetic and 2 Maths papers but it is not compulsory to sit the Grammar Punctuation and Spelling test this year.
I would also like to say a massive thank you to all of those parents who have stopped to say thank you to staff this week for everything that we are doing and can see that we are only trying to keep the pupils, parents and staff as safe as possible.
Mrs J Conway
Another week has flown by and soon we'll be in December.
You are all really helping with our special Giving Calendar, please keep sending in your fantastic donations.
Sadly, this week I had to shut the Y6 bubble again following a positive Covid test. These decisions are not taken lightly and involve a lot of discussion with our Public Health team as well as analysing timetables, talking to staff, clarifying seating and measuring distances between places in the classrooms. When a child tests positive in a primary school Public Health more often than not close the whole class or bubble.
If children have to isolate at home, staff will start to upload home learning by the end of Day 1.
I mentioned earlier in the term that the Governors agreed a Remote Learning protocol and this can be found on our policies page and on the current Year 6 page too. This clearly sets out the expectations for pupils when working from home. Please take time to read this. If any other class has to isolate we will automatically upload this to their class page too.
Please remember the Government guidance regarding isolation, this means that the child cannot leave the home, walk to the shops, go to the park etc this is because they may potentially develop symptoms or be asymptomatic during this time and therefore increase transmission.
All of the staff are busily preparing activities ready for Christmas and they are going to put together some special Christmas hampers. Every child who earns a DoJo in December will automatically be put into our Christmas draw and could win a hamper to take home for Christmas.
Tomorrow is the deadline for those pupils who usually have a packed lunch to let us know if they want a Christmas dinner on December 16th.
By the end of next week I will be able to share with you the day when each class will be having their Christmas party.
All of the classes are using Seesaw for homework and learning when classes or individuals are isolating. If you or your child needs to ask the class teacher any questions about the learning on Seesaw please use the parent app for this. The staff will try to get back to you as soon as possible. Please do not use Seesaw for other general enquiries or concerns. These should be sent to the main office by e-mail (email@example.com) or by ringing 0161 770 5460.
Thank you for all of your great support during these difficult times, we really do appreciate it.
Mrs Jo Conway
None of us like wearing a face mask but unless you have a medical exemption certificate you must wear one whilst on the school grounds.
We are trying to protect you and your children.
I can't believe how quickly these weeks are flying by. Next week is the last full week of November and then we will be into December.
Thank you for all of your kind donations so far as part of our Giving Calendar. We will send you a weekly text reminder of what items we are collecting that week.
I'm sure everyone's hearts and minds are turning to Christmas and what we can and cannot do in our home lives and in school.
Under the current guidelines Christmas in school may look a little different but we will do our utmost to create that Christmassy feeling and celebrate in the best ways in which we can at this time.
Sadly we won't be able to hold our usual concerts with parents but in school the pupils will be:
Making Christmas cards
Sending heartfelt messages to the residents of Ashgrove house and other residential homes in the area
Making Christmas decorations
Performing songs to other classes via video(unfortunately we cannot share videos as we have a lot of children who cannot be identified and have no permission to share images publicly)
Watching a special online Pantomime
Having their class parties and I'm sure we will have a special big visitor at some point too!!
Having their Christmas Jumper day on the 16th December along with Christmas lunch.
Many thanks to our PTA for sponsoring the Panto again this year.
For pupils who are normally on a school dinner we will automatically book them a dinner on the 16th December.
If your child normally has a packed lunch but would like a Christmas dinner on the 16th December you can book this with the office. Mrs Draper will send a special link to those parents of children who are on packed lunches, so you can order the Christmas dinner.
As the kitchen have to place their order 3 weeks before, the deadline for ordering extra school dinners will be on Friday 27th November at 4pm. Unfortunately we won't be able to accept any orders after this date.
We know that some children like to write their own Christmas cards to send to friends and staff. The pupils can still do this, however each class will have to collect the cards as they come in from home and will quarantine them until the last week of term. We will then hand out all of the cards during the last week of term.
All cards will need to be sent to school by Friday 11th December.
Alternatively pupils could write one special card to the whole class that the staff could read out and display once they have been quarantined.
Thank you for your continued support with our measures to prevent the transmission of Covid. Please keep this up by wearing your mask at all times around the school grounds and whilst waiting outside school(unless you have a medical exemption certificate). Every week I receive regular updates from the local authority regarding school closures. Increasingly, local schools are being affected and we are seeing more groups, bubbles and in a couple of incidences whole school closures. Schools are remaining open during this period of lockdown and this is absolutely the right decision, I firmly believe this and so do the Whitegate End team. The children need to be in school learning, playing and laughing they need to be with their friends, teachers and teaching assistants. Whilst children are not usually adversely impacted by the illness (it is usually very mild with them, thankfully), they can transmit the virus to others.
As Headteacher, I have a duty of care to the staff team as well as the children. Every day my staff come to school because they are determined to continue to provide a great education to your children. If staff become unwell with Covid, year groups will close and children will need to isolate, staying at home for two weeks, learning remotely. We don’t want this disruption, so we are doing everything we can to make our school Covid secure and safe so please help everyone by following the rules.
Please help us to keep safe and open by following the safety measures.
I want to thank those families who diligently follow the rules but sadly, I have heard of a small number of families not adhering to the current lockdown rules and in turn increasing the risk to the school community. Staff have been informed of and have witnessed first-hand play dates, birthday and firework parties all of which have taken place since the second lockdown began. This is too important to ignore and to think it doesn’t apply to you and your family. Please remember these rules are set by the government not school.
None of us like wearing a face mask but unless you have a medical exemption certificate you must wear one whilst on the school grounds. We are trying to protect you and your children.
We are all in this together. The more of us that work as a team to stay safe, the better the outcomes will be for us all and the sooner we can return to normal.
Mrs J Conway
We've had a really busy week with the pupils participating in the Children In Need 5 to Thrive activities, and respectfully marking Remembrance Day. Thank you for all of your kind donations towards Children In need and your orders for Pudsey biscuits. Children will be given their biscuits tomorrow to bring home in their own paper bag. We really appreciate the extra work that the kitchen have put in this week to help produce them. Next week is National Anti-Bullying week and children will be taking part in a wide range of activities related to this important topic throughout the week. To start the week in style and to celebrate the fact that we are all different we would like pupils to come to school in odd socks on Monday 16th November. This is a national initiative and is about raising awareness and reminding pupils about our systems of support in school. We are not asking for any donations.
One of our nominated school charities in Early Years is the Oldham Food Bank and you always pull out all the stops and help us donate to this fantastic charity.
We know how you love to help others and this year has not always been the most joyful so why not help us, make this Christmas as happy as possible for our community. This year with your help we wanted to try and donate a few extra goodies.
Rather than having an advent calendar where we take something from it each day, we thought it would be nice to create our own GIVING CALENDAR and donate items.
On our calendar we have put some suggestions for items for each day starting on Monday 16th November that would really be appreciated at this time of year.
We will be extremely grateful for whatever you can donate at this time and if you have something please feel free to send it in with your child and we will add it to our collection. We certainly don't expect everyone to send in an item each day but we thought it may be useful to have an idea of the type of item we are collecting up to the 11th of December.
It may be nice to get your child/children involved and discuss with them the reasons why we are making donations to this charity at this time.
As a school we will put everything together to ensure as many families and individuals have a Christmas to celebrate this year.
We know every year that you value supporting the Children in Need appeal. Despite the current restrictions in school we wanted to ensure that the children could be part of this again this year.
This week as part of Children in Need, the pupils will be involved in 5 to Thrive.
This is a daily Children in Need activity that focuses on several well-being elements.
As part of this years Children in Need, Joe Wickes is undertaking a 24 hour workout starting on Thursday morning and ending on Friday morning.
On Friday morning all of our children will be joining Joe Wickes for the last part of his his 24hour workout.
We are asking that all pupils come to school in their outdoor PE kit so that they are ready to join in with the activities.
For the children in Early Years who don't have an outdoor PE kit, they can wear jogging bottoms a T shirt and a sweatshirt along with pumps or trainers for the day. If children already have Children in Need merchandise they can wear this too.
Our kitchen staff have kindly set aside time to make Pudsey biscuits. We know that a lot of you purchased these last year and we sadly ran out at the last minute. We will be asking for a £1 donation for each biscuit.
To avoid disappointment you can order and pay for a biscuit as a shop item on our School Money site. Please order these by the end of Wednesday. We can only allow one biscuit per child.
On our School Money site you can also pay your own donation towards Children in Need and this will enable you to donate in advance and avoid sending cash into school.
All of the donations will be sent directly to Children In Need.
Thank you for your continued support with our Charity Work.
Thursday 5th November 2020
As we go into Lockdown we have had to update and amend some of our procedures to help protect yourselves, pupils and staff.
We hope that by all working together we can help reduce the chance of transmission of Covid and the number of positive cases. I’m sure we all want to see an end to the Covid crisis.
From Friday 6th November we are asking that whilst you are waiting in the line to drop off your child, you wear a facemask(unless you have a medical exemption certificate) and whilst you are on the school grounds collecting your child at the end of the day.
Can you please let other adults who are part of your childcare bubble know about our new expectations.
Staff who are supervising and near the gates will also be wearing face coverings at this time.
In school staff will continue to work with the pupils as usual and no face coverings are needed inside. This is in line with the current Government guidance for Primary schools.
We have already seen at Whitegate End and across many Oldham schools the impact on the education of pupils when adults are positive with Covid. Whilst the current rates locally and nationally continue to rise, we hope that these measures will reduce the chance of adults getting Covid.
The last thing we all want is to have to close more bubbles.
We know you greatly value the after school clubs however, under the latest guidance we have now been advised to stop after school clubs in the short term. Our clubs will not operate from Monday 9th November but hope that we will soon be able to re-start the clubs once the guidance changes.
Under the latest guidance Brightstars is able to continue to operate it’s wraparound care.
We really appreciate your ongoing support and dealing with the changes we have to make at times to help keep everyone as safe as possible.
Friday 30th October 2020- Autumn 2 half term
As we approach the start of the the second half of the Autumn term I wanted to welcome you all back and remind you of a few things.
I know that it is particularly difficult at the moment being in a Tier 3 area but I do hope that you have managed to have a good break and spend some quality time together.
As we know, the announcement was made on Saturday about the national lockdown beginning on Thursday. We want to ensure you all that we are following current guidelines and will remain open. We strongly encourage all our families to follow the guidelines to help protect our school and all our children.
Early next week you will receive information about your child's progress report and how we will be conducting telephone conversations with you at set times for each class. You will have plenty of time to book your time slot online just as you have done so in the past year for our face to face meetings.
We know that it is hard at the moment not being able to have face to face meetings but we thank you or your understanding at this time and your recognition that as a school we have many new guidelines that have to be followed.
If you need to speak to a member of staff please either ring the school office or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Unfortunately at the moment staff aren't able to have conversations on the gate or at the end of the day and often it is not appropriate to have those chats in front of other parents.
For those parents of pupils in Nursery or Reception we will be using some of the early years path to line up in the morning.
Please wait for the adult on duty to let you know when and where you can stand with your child.
You have already done a great job in informing us if you are waiting for test results etc.
If your child has had to isolate during the half term please inform the office when they will be returning to school.
We heard at the end of last term how many other local schools were having to close multiple classes and bubbles, unfortunately this may well continue. As we move forward this half term and the national infection rates continue to increase I can't stress enough how important it is that you follow Public Health guidance. If your child or anyone in your household displays any Covid symptoms it is imperative that all of the household isolates until test results are returned negative. This procedure also applies to any pupil who may have had contact with someone outside their household who starts to display symptoms(such as childminders, grandparents etc) by doing this you are helping to protect the rest of the school and support the consistent education of all of our community.
If we receive any updated guidance from the Government we will of course notify you if we have to make any changes to our procedures.
Please help us to help you. Our systems and procedures can only work if everyone follows the guidance.
I look forward to seeing you all return to school on Monday.
Tuesday 20th October 2020
I can’t believe we are already at half term. The time has flown since September and we were all able to return to school. The rest of the staff and I are immensely proud of all the children for their attitude and how they have adapted to our new procedures. I think we all know now that life under the Covid restrictions will be with us for a long time and we are all having to get used to what we can and can’t do. Ultimately we all want to keep safe and prevent others from getting ill and that means making a few sacrifices. Thankfully we have only had to close one bubble this half term but we have had lots of individual pupils having to isolate due to contact with family or friends who have tested positive. These gaps in education are a constant reminder of the impact of COVID on our children. If your child has been in contact with anyone displaying symptoms or whilst waiting for a test result keep them off school until you know the results of the test. We are being urged to not break or even bend the current rules if we are going to get back to some kind of normality. However tempting it may be you are putting others at risk by doing so. Sadly, a lot of the pupils are telling us how they are visiting other houses, going to parties and who is in their support bubble. To
clarify only single people living on their own can join another family or single person to form a support bubble. Only one support bubble is allowed. By breaking or bending the rules you are jeopardising the health and education of our pupils. I cannot urge you enough to keep to the rules and refrain from visiting other households. Thank you for all of your help and support by following our procedures whilst waiting to drop off and collect pupils by maintaining your social distance from others, stepping aside to let others pass safely. Our procedures will only work, if you support us by following them. We have amended some of them to create more space and will continue to do so after half term. All of our procedures have had to be carefully scrutinised by the local authority health and safety team to ensure we are following the government guidance. Every school environment is very different, so what works in one school may not necessarily work in others. Thank you to all of the parents for your constructive and positive comments. We really do appreciate them especially at this time. If you have any comments to make please e-mail the school office.
It is not appropriate to criticise staff whilst working on the gates whilst they are trying to keep everyone safe.
Please try to keep to the timings and inform any other adults who may drop off and collect your child what our new procedures are to avoid any confusion.
Today we say goodbye to Mrs Harris who is starting her maternity leave. We will let you all know when the baby is born and what she has. We wish her well and hope she has a quiet couple of weeks to rest before Baby Harris arrives.
I hope that you have the opportunity to have a good rest during half term and enjoy the outdoors and the Autumnal weather. We look forward to seeing you all on Monday 2nd November.
Mrs Jo Conway
Friday 9th October 2020
We've had another busy week. Despite the terrible rain, it hasn't dampened our spirits at Whitegate End.
I can't believe we only have a few weeks before it's half term. We close on Tuesday 20th October and re-open on Monday 2nd November.
Please remember to always send your child with a coat suitable for all weathers as we do go outside even when its raining.
This week we've had an Apple Feast.
We have picked all of our cooking apples from our trees and the cooks have used them to make apple sauce and apple crumble. We've also got a bumper crop of eating apples on our tress and are gradually picking these and the pupils are having these as a healthy snack.
For those parents of Year 1 & 2 pupils you will have noticed that we have modified the drop off procedure in the mornings.
Parents will be asked to walk their child down the driveway and stop before the crossing. Parents are asked to stay with their child until the class teachers, Miss Straffon and Mrs Armour collect the class, this then allows the gate staff to continue to monitor the gate area.
This gate area gets particularly busy mainly due to pedestrians walking past after dropping off from the EYFS and main pedestrian gate in the morning. Some of you have already commented that this has made a difference.
We are always reviewing our procedures and trying to make them better whilst also meeting the vast amount of Government legislation. Some of you have made suggestions and we appreciate your support, however at times although ideas may seem great, we are unable to use them as they don't fulfil the Government guidance we have to follow as a school.
Friday 25th September 2020
We've had another busy week with Year 4 and 5 learning how to ride safely as part of the Bike-ability scheme. The instructors have been so impressed by our pupils and their behaviour.
I continue to be impressed by our Nursery and Reception children who are carrying their own trays at lunchtime and trying so hard to use their knife and fork correctly(keep practising at home)
Our Year 5 have also impressed the swimming team at Chadderton Baths and have coped brilliantly with the new procedures at the pool and whilst travelling to and from the Baths. We certainly are becoming more Resilient and Responsible.
Homework and Seesaw
For pupils in Years 1 -6 their weekly homework and challenges will be posted on Seesaw. All children have now been sent home their new QR code for Seesaw this year so please take time to access the pupil and parent app.
This term we are unable to have face to face parents meetings as we would normally do for our parents evenings.
We will send home your child's termly progress report on Thursday 5th November. We will then arrange telephone conversations with staff on allocated days during the following 2 weeks -Wb 9th and 16th November. We will arrange a set afternoon during the week beginning the 9th of November for each class and an after school time slot during the week beginning the 16th November.
Further details of these will be shared with you after half term and you will be able to book an appointment on line with the teacher during the
wb 2nd November.
Parents many thanks for continuing to help us at the start and end of the day. It makes it alot easier if you are at the gates on time to avoid and mixing of bubbles. Sadly if someone is late it can have a knock on effect for the other classes.
Thank you also for all of your kind messages for the work that the staff are doing to keep the children safe during these interesting times.
If a positive case is confirmed at Whitegate End ...
Where a member of the school staff or pupil, test positive for Covid-19, the school will work closely with Oldham’s Public Health Protection Team to reduce the risk of infection. We will take advice from the Local Public Health Protection Team who, together with the Local Authority, will make the decision as to how best to proceed. On occasions, it may well be limited to the students with symptoms, a class or the entire year group or bubble. Decisions on the appropriate step will be taken by the Local Public Health Protection Team. If we are instructed to follow the direction from the Local Public Health Protection Team and the Local Authority, it is important that those within the affected group must self-isolate for 14 days from the date of last contact with the student/staff member who tested positive. We will ensure we communicate clearly what the period of self-isolation is to be and when students are to return to school. We will share this with parents via our website and by text.
If a student or group of students is asked to self-isolate, we will use Seesaw to deliver our curriculum and home learning in a similar way to the end of last academic year. This will enable the delivery of appropriate learning which will be reviewed and feedback offered. It is crucial that all pupils and parents re-access their Seesaw app. Each pupils Seesaw code has been sent out in a large white envelope during the last few weeks. Please keep hold of your Seesaw code, this does not need to be returned to school.
It is important that we are all aware of the symptoms of Covid-19 and only well children attend college. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:
Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms. Information about Covid-19 symptoms and management of the virus can be found here,www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.
If you or your child develops any of the above symptoms or becomes unwell please contact please book a Covid test on https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test and inform school immediately.
This will be a worrying and confusing time for our pupils and families. At the start of every new school year we always have several children with colds etc. this is to be expected. We will not ever share a child’s health circumstances or whether they are poorly with other families. As parents can you please try to avoid scaremongering and speculation about children being off school. There may be many reasons for absence the majority of which are not Covid related. This information is confidential and belongs to them alone.
We will only contact families when we have a confirmed positive case.
Thank you for you continued support in helping us find our way through the extensive guidance and making it work for our school. The staff in school are trying their very best to identify any gaps in learning and plan for the best way to enable pupils to catch up over time.
Our 3 core values of RESPONSIBILITY, RESILIENCE & RESPECT are most definitely needed by all of us at the moment.
Thank you to all of the parents who are continuing to follow our procedures when dropping off and collecting children.
It makes it less busy when parents move away from the gate area quickly. We are all gradually getting used to the new system.
We now have all of our Nursery class in school. I have been so impressed with how well they have come into school and how brilliant they have been at dinner time. All of the staff can tell that parents have been working hard on their independence skills, toileting, feeding themselves, carrying trays and following instructions.
I wanted to also thank parents for ensuring your child has the correct uniform. The pupils look fantastic in their Whitegate End uniform and I know you have checked the uniform policy before making purchases. Just a quick reminder that earrings are not allowed in school. If you need to use something for newly pierced ears, then please purchase the transparent retainers. Pupils are not allowed to do PE if they have earrings in.
Sadly, we also had to work with Public Health Oldham this week due to having a confirmed case in Year 6. They were extremely efficient at helping us identify contacts and supporting our procedures in school. Whilst our Year 6 are working at home, we know they will continue with that great resilient attitude and they have already taken responsibility for doing their home learning which has been uploaded each day. They are certainly well on their way to becoming independent learners which is key for starting secondary school.
Thank you to all of their parents for their understanding and the support they have shown with their children's learning.
All of the other pupils have settled in well and have adapted very quickly to the new expectations. Our new office administrator Mrs Wood has sent home this year’s Seesaw code and data checking sheets. Please take time to use the QR code to log back onto the Pupil Seesaw app and the parent app too. We will be using Seesaw to upload homework and for home learning in the event of having to shut a class due to Covid. The Governors have approved a remote learning policy which has been uploaded with our other policies.
As staff supervising the gates have a lot to do, and we are not able to have parents in to school at this time can I please ask that you either ring or e-mail school with any queries or information for staff.
We really do appreciate your fantastic support and positive feedback at this time.
Mrs J Conway
First of all, I wanted to say a massive thank you to all of our parents for helping to make our new procedures work.
We know that it isn’t easy adapting to change but you have clearly worked with your children to support them returning to school.
All of the children have settled back in to their new classes well. They amaze me by how quickly they adapt and have very quickly got used to the new layout of classrooms and timetable changes.
The staff are working hard to ensure that the children understand the reason behind the changes, the lining up, regular handwashing and sanitising and separation from other classes and bubbles. The children are just getting on with it.
Could I please ask as more classes are now back at school that you stand close to the fence when waiting. Please make sure you leave enough space on the footpaths for others to pass safely.
Please do not step into the road to get past other parents. This is extremely unsafe, please just ask others to politely move aside.
I am sure you will not be offended if other parents ask you to move over.
Please do not turn up too early for your child’s start time, this will then reduce congestion. If you are early I suggest you wait on the other side of the road until the previous classes have moved.
If you are anxious about being close to others, please feel free to wait across the road and then help your child join the back of the line as their class enters the gate.
Once your child has entered school please leave the footpath quickly and if necessary cross the road to allow more space and a safer footpath for other users.
For children in years 3 & 5 you are expected to line up by the pedestrian gate. Please remember you can stand to the left and right of the gate. Please don’t all try to squeeze into one space.
There will always be a member of staff on each gate. If you have an urgent message, please see them or e-mail the office.
When you are collecting your child please wait in the correct area and a staff member will send you down to your child’s collection area. We will do this once we know that the class are completely ready for collection.
Please do not enter the school site unless a member of staff has given you permission.
At present we are not allowing any visitors into our premises, so please make sure your child has everything they need each day with them.
If we need you to come to school, we will telephone and make suitable arrangements with you.
If your child displays any Covid symptoms we request that you keep your child off school and book a test that day. As soon as you receive the test results either negative or positive please e mail school with the results. If a child has a negative test they will then be able to return to school.
You can help keep everyone safe by:
Here is the NHS advice
If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), get a test as soon as possible. Stay at home until you get the result.
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
Most people with coronavirus have at least 1 of these symptoms.
What to do if you have symptoms
If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus: