Thank-you all so much for your patience and support these past few days. Firstly we hope you are keeping your family safe and following the national guidelines as best you can.
I am sure we are still all reeling a little by the impact this situation is having on us all. If these measures are successful in slowing the spread of the virus then I am sure we will look back at these times with reflection on how we all played our part, children, parents, school staff and particularly those key workers within the NHS.
This week has been busy prioritising new working arrangements to cover for Key Worker children keeping everyone of us a safe as we can in these times.
We are now able start turning our attention more towards helping parents at home with taking on the new role of teacher. In the past we would have really struggled with this but with the age of IT being at our finger tips we can see how that might benefit us all at these times.
Staff are starting to gather teaching materials which will be broadly appropriate to the age related expectations to share with you and your child. We will be using DOJO as a platform for sending the learning aims, resources and ideas to you. Initially we will be sending this to you for you to access in readiness for your teaching/ supervision of learning. You should all now have received your log in codes.
Please do log-on and familiarise yourself with the site even if there is nothing to look at yet!
Whilst teachers get used to this system please bear with us; they are all fantastic teachers we are a bit of a mixed bag on IT skills! We have upskilled ourselves this week in this “remote learning” and how this might work practically.
Once we get a week or two down the line we will be enabling you to contact us through DOJO –if the settings on your DOJO page allows you to do this at this point please do not contact us for learning support so we can concentrate on getting to grips with this system as well as trouble shooting and supporting parent login-ins.
We will be looking to upload different things over time including teaching videos staring our own special and talented staff! – When this is all over I will owe them a few favours!
We aim to run a Tuesday- Tuesday working week and will ensure there is some new learning on the DOJO on Monday evening/ Tuesday morning. We may put on activities for the week or may be adding some throughout the week- we will see how this is working out in practical terms once we get started.
My own children’s secondary school has been using a similar system over recent years for setting homework but I know that they have had many problems this week in “scaling up” to cope with new requirements. Again although I hope it goes smoothly, there will inevitably be some teething problems to sort and we will work on them as fast as we can.
If you need any additional activities in the meantime there is a wealth of great stuff on line. Please see some of the links on our website.
I hope that you have coped with these added pressures you all face and I know that for some families this must be a very unsettling time with added financial pressures and concerns over own vulnerable family members.
From school perspective please take your time with this new situation and don’t worry if you are not “up to speed” with home learning for a little while. If you have not yet had chance to read the article I sent a link to in my last letter please do so as there were some useful tips there.
I know in these times we can for once be thankful for the blessings of social media and mobile connectivity. I am sure you are all making good use of it in keeping in contact and sharing good ideas and support. There are some fantastic tutorials for all sorts of things whether learning a new skill such as making your own pasta or becoming a drummer using kitchen utensils there is enough to keep us all busy when we can’t get outside.
I would urge you all to use this opportunity to talk to your child particularly around E:safety and responsible networking. At this time I am sure children will be wanting to go online more than normal and it is not possible for you to keep an eye on their every move. However, there will be the same and indeed increased risks of on line grooming. There is also the increased likelihood of children copying or even uploading their own risky behaviours and dangerous pranks which could result in injury.
There will also be a huge amount of alarming facts and fiction that the children will be able to see especially around Coronavirus.
Please talk to your children and help them to keep Safe Online and emotionally safe from harmful media.
The list goes on! But just keep an extra eye on them and use online time for a safe and healthy mixture of learning and entertainment.
You might like to share with your child something funny that you have seen online and that is a good way for opening up conversations with them about keeping safe.
It would be sensible to limit their time online but please don’t ban them altogether as it could be really valuable to them at this time- as well as giving you a bit of a break from teaching them algebra! (Y6 parents!) J
One additional request. The staff have been absolutely amazing this week in doing whatever they can to help make some workable sense from this situation. Although we have a critical incident plan this really is new territory for us all.
Please spare a thought before posting any less positive communications yourself through WhatsApp groups or other means. We are all affected by this situation and we are doing our best for you. I ask that you work with us and with courtesy and consideration. Without going into cliché mode this certainly is a time for us to work in partnership.
Please don’t compare us with other schools at this point as all schools will be working with the capacity they have and without any specific support or guidance. I think all schools are trying to do their best. By all means take a look at the resources available from other schools – I will certainly be looking for good ideas over the coming weeks and “mag-piing “ their good ideas! – “Mag-piing” is what we ask the children to do – taking good ideas from stories and including them in their own stories (there’s another quick teaching tip!)
I’ll write again next week and keep you posted with things which may keep you up to date.
Keep Safe everyone.
Best wishes Mr. Buckley and all staff at Wren Park.