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Friday News 27.3.20

Thank you for letting us know all the things you are doing with your children at home. It is great to hear about the range of activities and terrific learning that is going on. We have had lovely pictures and stories coming in, and teachers are enjoying seeing everything that children are producing.

We are amazed by the response to Joe Wicks and his morning work outs – most pupils (nationally) appear to be doing them at home – and even the teachers are starting to feel much fitter!

We have been asked about live sessions or videoing. Whilst this is something we are looking into, we have no plans to deliver it at present. Staff are working on a shift basis and are therefore not always available at a given time, and even though we would set off with good intentions the organisation is easily disrupted by technology issues, illness or unavailability. We would not want to start making promises that we can’t keep.

We are keen to stress the continued importance of staying at home and keeping indoors whenever possible. Social distancing really is important – this is for everyone’s safety.

We wanted to share some thoughts about home learning with you. Teaching is the most brilliant profession but it is HARD. Parenting is also very HARD. Put the two together, combine in siblings and not being able to leave the house and it all gets so MUCH HARDER.

So, a few tips and comments which may or may not help – they are not meant to be patronising in any way:

  • Firstly, we genuinely sympathise with the plethora of difficulties that you may face during this challenging time. You may be working, you may be delivering online content yourself, you may have younger children, or a combination of all of these factors. Of course, you and other family members may also be ill. We really do understand.
  • This is not home schooling. This is an unprecedented emergency situation impacting on the whole world. Let’s keep perspective. Home schooling is a choice, where you considered, you plan for it and you are your child’s school teacher in whatever form you choose. The situation that we all find ourselves in is not home schooling.
  • Do the best you can, try to get a routine in the day and go for ‘little and often’ rather than giving up!
  • Education staff find home learning hard too! It is NOT the same teaching your own kids.
  • Don’t try and completely fill a child’s day; they need down time as do you. Primary aged pupils ALL need time to play – perhaps you do too!
  • Don’t set yourselves up to ‘fail’ over timetables which are too lengthy (beyond the school day) or that your child might get bored with. I wouldn’t try to echo a secondary school’s timetables for younger siblings!
  • Save up some good ideas – we have said the same to staff – if you find a new idea, website, recipe etc – consider when to introduce it as the implication is that we could be doing this for some time.
  • Google Classrooms – whilst some classes have been running these well for a while, they are quite new for some of our younger pupils. They do all have the same login format and teachers will be happy to help with this if you are struggling.
  • Staff are there to help – their email addresses are on our website and they will try to answer your query. We are currently working on ‘shifts’ to accommodate illness, social distancing and possible Easter holiday provision for key workers, so not all staff are available at all times….. we want to help though! Although we can’t be on hand to answer every individual query when requested, we will do what we can to help you access the activities that have been set.
  • Any sort of physical activity during the day will also help with not just everyone’s physical health, but also our mental health too.
  • Keep expectations realistic. You know your child best and whether it is working little and often, or doing more of the academic tasks in the morning rather than later in the day, choose a strategy that works for all of you and also works around your work patterns.
  • This could also be an opportunity to engage in so many other areas of life skills that don’t involve always sitting in front of a screen. Many families will now be spending more time together in each other’s company. Let’s treasure and make the most of that time. Share the duties – cooking, tidying – skills for life. Enjoy some family time – perhaps even perfect that jigsaw, learn an instrument, or learn a language together.

Finally, you are doing enough. You are loving your kids and supporting them through a difficult time. Look after yourself. Minimising stress is absolutely vital in a time like this for mental health. Don’t let this be something that stresses you. In these challenging times, all any of us can do is to do our best and please be reassured that you have our support and guidance when you need it.

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