Please see the attachments below to read our recent Newsletters or take a look at the Newsletter Archive page to read older editions.
Newsletter - 26 February 2021
Dear Parents and Carers
I hope that you and your family are all safe and well. We are really looking forward to welcoming everyone back on Monday 8th March. As a primary school not too much has changed in our arrangements from before Christmas however it has been a while since some of the children have been in school and so I thought I’d take this opportunity to remind you of the procedures that will be in place and I would appreciate if you were able to discuss these with your child so they remember what to expect. In addition, for those key worker and vulnerable children who have been in school during Lockdown we will be reverting back to previous arrangements.
Outlined below are the arrangements for opening at St Nicholas from 8th March for all children.
- All classes will return, with all pupils
- Each class will have a designated classroom
- Acorns – Miss Ireland
- Chestnuts – Mrs Wilson (Tues/Wed)/Mrs Bolar (Mon/Thurs/Fri)
- Ash Mrs Cross
- Acers – Mrs Wilson (Mon)/Mr Adey
- Oaks – Mrs Salisbury (Mon/Tues)/ Mrs Ferguson (Wed/Thurs/Fri)
- Children will be kept in their designated classrooms for the majority of the time however some classes will mix to allow for more specialist Maths and Phonics teaching sessions to take place. This will mean a bigger bubble is created. The school will therefore have 3 main groups/‘bubbles’:
- Bubble 1 – Chestnuts & Ash
- Bubble 2 – Acers & Oaks
- Children will have staggered breaks and lunches in their groups/ bubbles. These bubbles will not mix.
- Pupils will sit side by side and face forwards at desks.
- Children will be given their own labelled stationery pack so no equipment from home please.
- Most classes will have their own entrance and exit to the playground. Oaks and Chestnuts will use the main door.
- Children will be required to sanitise their hands on entry and exit as well as at additional times during the day, especially when leaving and returning to their classroom.
- Toilets & Sinks
- Within the classes, where possible, we will try to limit the number of children going to the toilet at once to avoid overcrowding and help minimise movement around school.
- Each class has their own allocated toilet/sink.
- Additional cleaning of the toilet areas will take place during the day.
- Each class will also have hand sanitiser available to use.
Other areas in and around school
- The playground and field will be split into zones for bubbles to use during break and lunchtime.
- Acorns only will use the Sandpit and adjoining play area.
- The outdoor play trail will not be in use as it is too difficult to clean between each group using it.
- Worship will continue to be done virtually on a Friday, with other day’s being class based.
- Children will work in the designated classroom most of the time or outside on a rota basis, with shared classroom/space being kept to a minimum, as far as possible.
- Outdoor play equipment will be divided between class groups to use at break/lunchtime.
- Tape will be used in the corridors in school to aid keeping the children apart.
- We will do everything we can to encourage children to social distance however we cannot guarantee that children will be socially distanced at all times.
Drop Off/ Collection
- Timings for drop off/collection
- Bubble 2 (Oaks and Acers) – 8:45am and 3:15pm
- Bubble 1 (Ash and Chestnuts) 8:55 and 3:05pm
- Acorns – 9:00am and 3:00pm
- The sibling bubble will continue to operate and is only for children in Acorns, Chestnuts or Ash class who have an older brother or sister in Acers or Oaks class. Only then can children in Acorns, Chestnuts or Ash be dropped off at 8:45am.
- Drop off and collection will be in the same designated areas in the playground, accessed through the gates by Acers classroom.
- Those children who are booked into The Ark for breakfast and afterschool club will be collected and dropped off at any times which are different from the normal school day.
- Please enter the school site on the pavement outside the Raft and exit by walking behind the parked staff cars.
- All adults, who are able to, should wear a face mask when they enter the school site at drop off and pick up times. We realise that social distancing is not always possible at this point and on occasions there are also conversations with staff so we feel we need to add in an addition layer of protection.
- Please note under current guidance, if your child needs to be brought to the teacher one parent/carer can escort a child. Where possible siblings should not escort a child to/from school. If this is unavoidable they should not be allowed to run off/ play on site or touch other people.
- Parents are allowed in the school building by appointment only.
- In line with current practice no visitors/staff/children/families/contractors can enter the building or site if they have symptoms.
- Children should bring a packed lunch and drink to school, during this time we will not be serving hot school meals. If you are entitled to free school meals or the universal infant free school meals they will be available from 8th March and you should order in the usual way. This means that if you have been receiving vouchers they will stop.
- School milk and fruit for infant age children will resume.
- We would also ask that your child brings their own water bottle to school as we will not be providing cups as we normally would.
- Children should only bring essential items/ equipment to school:
- Book bag (rucksack – Oaks class only)
- Lunch box
- Water bottle
- Reading book
- Homework books given by teachers
- Children will be given a stationery pack to avoid transporting of pencil cases.
- School uniform and school shoes should be worn as normal. On the days when your child has PE, PE kit should be worn to school on that day. Class teachers will advise on this.
- Any children or staff who wears a face covering to school should remove them on entry. Please see Risk Assessment for guidelines on removal and disposal.
In addition to these procedures you can also find our most up to date Risk Assessment on the school website in the Newsletters section.
Just to remind you as you have no doubt heard on the news, it is important to note that school attendance is mandatory from 8th March. This means that the usual rules on school attendance will resume then.
Finally, the staff and I would like to say a huge thank you to you for all the effort you have gone to with home schooling and online learning. We know it has not been easy but your efforts will have helped to make a huge difference in your child’s education – thank you!
There is a lot of information in this letter but a lot of it you and your child should already know. The procedures we have in place are to help ensure that everyone in school stays as safe as possible. If you wish to discuss any matters, then please do email or call the school. We look forward to welcoming you and your family back to school on Monday 8th March.
Ms J Watson
Newsletter - 6th January 2021
Dear Parents and Carers
I hope that you are all well and starting to get to grips with home learning again. I know that it is going to take us all a bit of time to get into new routines and new ways of working. It all happened so quickly.
Can I start by saying thank you for all your efforts so far particularly with Google Classrooms. I know that this is very new to you and it is to an extent to the teachers too. I think we will all be learning together but if you have any problems please contact your child’s teacher to start with and hopefully we can sort out any problems that you are having.
With regards to remote learning provision we will be setting 3 pieces of work per school day. This will be English, Maths and 1 other. It will be online by 9am for the children to access. This learning will be set on Google Classrooms, although I know some teachers are also posting it on the website until everyone is up and running. Class teachers should have emailed you to say hello and let you know about expectations and what is happening for their class. If they have not already done so they will ask you to collect a pack from school for your child. This will include workbooks and journals for the children to write in so you are not having to keep finding paper. If there are any resources you need or run out of please let us know and we will be happy to help. Additionally, if you do not have a device for your child to access the home learning on please contact school to discuss the issue.
The expectations with remote/home learning have changed since the previous lockdown. One of the reasons we moved to Google Classrooms is so that you can send the children’s work back to us and we can see how they are doing and teachers can then provide feedback on the work being completed. The expectation is that teachers will provide feedback at least weekly and they will also be checking every week that pupils are engaging with the work set. If you are able to upload either completed work or photograph it and send some pieces that would be great. It also means we can keep an eye on how the pupils are performing so we can assess their needs and adjust any planning/work if necessary.
If you are a parent who receives benefit free school meals, we have now converted to the voucher system and you will receive weekly vouchers for your child/children shortly. If sadly, your circumstances change during Lockdown and you think you may qualify for benefit free school meals then please contact the office and we can help you check. If your child is in Year R, 1 or 2 they would have been entitled to the Universal Infant Free School Meals and free morning break fruit - this will stop during lockdown but if your child is attending school and you would like to order a UIFSM packed meal for them, please let Mrs Hanson know as soon as possible and she will order a packed lunch for them from Local Food Links. You will though need to send them in with a morning snack and drink. If your child is in Year 3, 4 , 5 or 6 and attending school during lockdown lunches will not be available so please ensure you provide your child with a lunch, snack and drink to have during the day.
For those Critical Worker and Vulnerable children who are in school we have now merged the classes and children are working within their bubbles. The three bubbles are Acorns, Bubble 1 (Chestnuts and Ash) and Bubble 2 (Acres and Oaks). Children should arrive and be collected from school at their normal time. Children in Acers class should now use the Oaks classroom door as their entrance and exit. The children who come into school will be completing the same online learning as those who are at home. So it is important that if your child is only in for some of the time that they bring their workbooks into school on the days they come. With regards to uniform, pupils should continue to wear school uniform and sensible shoes, class teachers will notify you if the pupils need PE kit.
Teaching staff are on a rota and so the days which they are in school they may not always be able to answer queries straight away, so please do bear with them as they are organising online learning and in school learning on those days. In school, we have juggled some staff around to support Bubbles so your child may have an adult who they do not usually have.
We know this is a difficult situation and we appreciate the lengths some of you have gone to already to try and sort online learning. We know it’s not easy and technology can be frustrating but we will do our best to help and we thank those of you who are also supporting each other.
I realise that this is a lot of information to take in and digest so I apologise, however I am trying to give you as full a picture as possible. If you have any problems or queries, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will try our best to resolve it.
Take care, and we will continue to be in touch and update you as we progress through this Lockdown together. Remember we are here for you; you are not alone no matter how big or small the issue is we will do our best to help sort it out or point you in the right direction.
St Nicholas CE VA Primary School
Latest information on the school reopening 4th January 2021
Dear Parents and Carers
Happy New Year! I hope that you have all had a good Christmas.
I know that many of you will be aware of the recent developments regarding the return of all primary schools on 4th January through the media. The situation is twofold, with the first part being that the Government was asked to delay the opening of Primary Schools until later in January and the second part is that both teaching and non-teaching unions are advising their staff not to return on Health and Safety grounds.
With most of this just coming to light yesterday, I can imagine that it has been a difficult time for you as parents and carers and indeed for the children too wondering whether school will indeed return tomorrow and of the potential implications if it does not.
This morning the Prime Minister confirmed that parents should send their children to school, if their school is open. During this time I have also been in touch with all staff to find out their intentions. I can confirm that St Nicholas will be open for the start of term tomorrow. However, I do have to make you aware that we do not have a full compliment of staff and that your child may not have their usual adults. At the moment we are making our best endeavours to cover internally but this may not always be the case.
These times are indeed challenging to all of us and the current situation is very fluid and ever changing, hence why it is so late in the day that I write to you.
It is paramount that if we open the school that we have the means to do so safely ensuring that the health and safety of everyone in the school community is accounted for and remains our main priority.
I thank you in advance for your understanding and will be in touch soon with any other updates as they arise.
Lakeland Lapland Festival Virtue Ultra Run 2020
On Monday 14th and Tuesday 15th December St. Nicholas Primary School in Child Okeford took part in The Lakeland Lapland Virtual Ultra Run Schools Challenge.
As a school we had to run a collective distance of 145 miles, which is the equivalent of running from Rovaniemi (the capital of Lapland) to Korvatunturi, which is where Santa lives.
The event was based on a story, ‘The Fox and the Reindeer’ who made the 145 miles journey across Lapland, overcoming adversity to save Christmas.
The children and staff came to school dressed as reindeers and at various times throughout the two days were asked to run as far as they could, helping to reach the total of 145 miles.
After 2 days of very enthusiastic reindeer running, the school reached the collective distance of 145 miles in 1 hour and 45 minutes!
Some children and staff wanted to keep on running and our final running total was 200 miles!
All children and staff wore their own race bib and were given a certificate after the event.
Normally this is an actual running event, The Montane Lakeland Lapland Festive Ultra. This year due to Covid restrictions, competitors had to also run the distance virtually and it was also opened up to schools to take part.