Last week the Government announced that they would like to see all pupils back in September.
This is something we whole heartedly support and will do our utmost to design a plan to make it work for all of our pupils.
We are waiting for the detailed guidance to help us plan for September. If pupils are expected to stay in their bubbles this will impact upon many aspects of the school day, including staggering the start and end times, lunch breaks to avoid contact between classes of pupils. In addition, we are unsure whether Brightstars can take pupils from different classes as this would mix the pupils from within school.
We are hopeful that the government guidance will help us with our more detailed plans.
Regardless of the advice, we are planning to phase back the classes in September on a few separate days. This will allow us to have a greater capacity to provide more support for all pupils.
We know that pupils may need additional support due to the length of time they have been away from school and enable them to transition into their new classes successfully.
In September Mrs Armour and Miss Smith will be returning from Maternity leave.
Miss Straffon's cover for Miss Smiths maternity leave in Nursery will end at the end of June. However, we are now pleased that she will be returning to us in September with Year 1.
We’re really pleased to inform you that Mrs Harris is pregnant. Under normal circumstances she would have led the Year 1 class in September, however due to the specific advice about pregnancy it is recommended that she doesn’t work in school.
For the 2020-2021 academic year
The classes along with the lead teacher will be as follows:
Nursery with Miss Smith
Reception with Miss O’Callaghan (EYFS Leader)
Year 1 with Miss Straffon
Year 2 with Mrs Armour (SENCO)
Year 3 with Mrs Travis
Year 4 with Miss Benbow
Year 5 with Mrs Walker
Year 6 with Mr Scott(Lead Practitioner)
For pupils with EHC hours we will be in contact separately to discuss the staff involved in supporting them in school as well as transition arrangements for September.
Many thanks for your continued support and lovely messages. They really do make us feel so valued at this time
Once we have further information from the government we will be in touch again to share with you our more detailed plans for starting back in September.
Mrs J Conway
This week has seen even more key worker pupils in school along with our Year 1 pupils. I have been so impressed by their fantastic attitude and how they have adapted so well to our new procedures whilst social distancing.
Thank you also to the parents who have helped make these transitions so much easier for the staff and pupils. I know for those of you who aren't able to come to school yet it is extremely hard and the staff will continue to try and support you as much as they can. If we could have everyone in school, we would do. Sadly we don't have enough physical spaces or staff for all pupils whilst adhering to the government guidance.
The government had originally wanted all groups of pupils in school before the Summer, however this week the Secretary of State for Education announced that this plan would no longer be possible.
Please be mindful that our staff are now working in school full time planning for their groups of pupils whilst continuing to provide learning online via Seesaw. As a consequence it may take them a little longer than normal to respond or approve your children's posts and work.
As you know we have a fantastic team at Whitegate End, they work brilliantly during the best of times, but have really gone above and beyond these last 12 weeks. I can't thank them enough.
During the Summer break, we will not be opening to any pupils. I have written separately to the parents of key workers regarding the summer break.
Many of you will be starting to look towards September and we are hopeful that school will be open and able to welcome everyone back. We are currently finalising our staffing for September. Once this is completed I will share the staff for each of the classes with you.
Please continue to support your child with their Home Learning and if need be communicate with their teachers via Seesaw.
This week we have seen an increased number of key worker pupils in school.
In order to accommodate the 50 plus Key worker pupils on our list and the Year 1 cohort who return on Monday the 8th June we have had to introduce staggered start and end times along with dedicated gates and routes to ensure we keep, pupils, staff and parents as safe as possible.
At this time we do not have the capacity to accommodate any further pupils if we are to adhere to the Government guidance and as outlined in our risk assessment.
Thank you to those parents who have already supported us with the new procedures.
Can I please remind parents that when picking up children you hold your child's hand and leave the premises immediately to ensure social distancing at all times.
For all other pupils, the staff are continuing to provide Home learning via Seesaw and I know from our conversations that you are continuing to find this really useful.
At the moment we have had no further guidance or updates from the Government or Department for Education regarding opening to more pupils. Once we know any more we will of course make contact with you.
We are working closely with the Oldham Secondary Schools to ensure they can provide as much information as possible to the current Year 6 pupils. This may include providing virtual tours, personal e-mail contacts, zoom meetings, dedicated new Y7 page on their websites and possible short visits during the summer.
Every Secondary school has a slightly different plan but we are trying to ensure there is a basic package that all Year 6 pupils across the borough can access.
SCHOOL IS CLOSED TO ALL PUPILS ON MONDAY 1ST & TUESDAY 2ND JUNE.
Pupils allocated groups will be sent out today-29th May
We politely ask that all parents keep to the allocated time slots in order to help the start and end of the day run as safely as possible.
There will be no moving of pupils groups.
Could you please give us plenty of notice regarding the days each week you need or whether you child will be in full time.
This will help the teachers and staff plan their learning and provide the school kitchen with numbers in advance.
Please take time to read all of the letters regarding expectations for pupils including their uniform and personal belongings.
We are no longer just providing childcare but as close to a normal teaching and learning day as is possible at this time and we want our pupils to come to school with their fantastic learning mindset.
Please be patient and bear with us as the staff adapt to the new procedures and help your child to adapt too.
Parents will be asked to wait with their child outside the allocated gate.
There will be coloured markers on the fence and a coloured mark on the ground to help you socially distance.
There will be plenty of school staff on hand from Wednesday 3rd June.
We hope this will enable parents and pupils to quickly get more familiar with our new temporary procedures.
Parents will drop off their child with a member of staff at the gate, who will then escort and direct them to their classrooms.
At the end of the day we ask that you do not enter the school grounds until it is your allocated time.
Staff will be on hand at the gates.
When it is your allocated time, we ask that you follow the route outlined on our plan and wait on the yard.
The staff will then send your child out to you. Pupils will come out one at a time rather than in a group.
Please then leave the school quickly following the planned route.
Our school kitchen will be open on Wednesday 3rd June, so please provide us with advanced notice if your child needs a packed lunch.
From Monday 8th June the kitchen staff are planning to provide your child with their usual cooked school lunch.
At the moment under the new Government guidance we cannot have face to face meetings.
If you need to speak to a member of staff we ask that you ring school or e-mail us and we will arrange for the staff member to contact you.
Thank you for your continued support and for helping us keep our pupils and staff safe.
Friday 15th May 2020
Since last Sunday when Boris Johnson made his statement to the British public we have been working hard in school trying to interpret and clarify more detailed information that is being sent to us and updated on a daily basis. We appreciate this is a difficult and uncertain time for all of you but thank you for your continued support and the brilliant home learning you have been doing with your children at home.
Since last week I have surveyed the parents of pupils in specific cohorts. We are in the process of analysing this and it will help us plan as we move forward.
I am involved in regular meetings with Oldham Local Authority who have discussed with me how to prioritise pupils within certain classes for a wider opening.
Every Headteacher is in a very different position and may have to make some very difficult decisions about who returns to school and when. These decisions about numbers and priorities will be based upon planning for the safest possible return, which I know is what you would want if you have indicated that you want your child to return. As the information we receive from the Department for Education is adapted and modified each day we are not yet in a position to provide parents with any further details.
It has been great to make contact with many of you this week and I have even met a few of you whilst delivering letters this week. You are all so understanding of our current situation and I thank you for your patience.
The local authority are continuing to provide additional resources to staff and they will share these as and when needed. this week I have attached the LA Emotional & Well-being pack 2. This pack includes some really useful information that you may choose to use with your children.
For children at this point in time they may want answers to questions about the Virus and implications for lockdown. As adults we don't always have the answers and this can be hard for all of us. Please take time to look at the attached comments, they really are helpful.
Please look after yourselves
Mrs J Conway
As we know we are all in this together and our QEST support team have provided these handy resources to help should you need them. There are a number of apps which may help your child with their learning. There may be a charge for some apps and please don't feel you have to purchase them. We just want to provide as much support as we can to help your child whilst at home.
(Please click on each image to make them larger on your screen )
The following resources /web links will help you to support the emotional well-being and mental health of yourself and your family at this time.
I hope you find the links useful.
Emotional wellbeing through Coronavirus
Advice for children, families and staff
Mind, Coronavirus and your wellbeing
6 ways parents can support their kids through Coronavirus
Young Minds, what to do if you are anxious about Coronavirus
Supporting children and young people
Supporting children & young peoples' mental health advice
NSPCC, Mental health and parenting
How to support your mental health whilst working from home
Supporting yourself and your family
For your mind health get 'your mind plan' quiz, get your 'physical health quiz' plus endorsed apps by NHS
Parenting with mental health challenges by Mind
Activities for families whilst in self-isolation
Parent helpline and online counselling by Relate
NHS mental wellbeing audio guides
Mental Health Foundation Podcast