Dear Parents and Carers,
As we come to the end of Term 4, we wanted to send you an end of term letter, albeit very different to the normal ones.
Firstly, we would like to say thank you for helping your children to carry out their Seesaw learning and well done – we know it’s not easy! We have all really enjoyed seeing what the children have been doing.
Secondly, we wanted to let you know that the teachers have planned some optional activities for the Easter holidays. These are simply ideas that you might like to encourage your children to do to prevent boredom. There is no expectation from us that children will complete these activities over the holidays and teachers will not be checking daily. However, we would love it if children wanted to upload some of the things they are most proud of, whether it’s from our suggestions or something else! If you have any difficulties with Seesaw, the activities or anything else please feel free to e-mail Mrs Thomas on email@example.com. This account will be checked daily throughout the Easter break. Mrs Thomas would love to receive e-mails from the children too and promises to reply!
We also wanted to say that we realise that it may well get harder to motivate the children to complete home learning as time passes. We are working on planning exciting activities for the summer term. We are also thinking about how we will support children when we can all come back to school, whenever that may be.
The school remains partially open throughout the holiday for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. Government advice is still that children should remain at home if at all possible and we are pleased that parents are continuing to follow this advice. As always, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org the days you are required to work, if you are unable to make other arrangements.
Hampers will be going out to children in receipt of free school meals today. After Easter, we are hoping to be able to provide e-vouchers instead of hampers. If your child does not have free school meals but you are struggling financially, please do get in touch and we will do all that we can to help. The people of the Marden community are doing a brilliant job of supporting each other and, if we can’t help, we will try to find someone who can.
Finally, we just wanted to pass on a plea from a local NHS worker who is still witnessing people carrying on their daily lives as if they were ‘on holiday’. With warmer days and lighter evenings, it is tempting to go out as normal but the government are still saying to go out only if absolutely necessary. We have not yet reached the peak of this pandemic and the NHS will come under increasing pressure. Please – stay at home and save lives.
We wish you all a Happy Easter!
With best wishes,
Mrs Thomas, Miss Chown, Ms Beckett and the Marden Team
Dear Parents and Carers,
3) It is going to be very difficult for parents and carers to facilitate distance learning with a primary aged child and work from home at the same time. You can certainly have activities where your child learns, but your focus must be your job, and survival.
Now on to a few Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: My school has sent home lots of work and is adding weekly work on the website. How am I supposed to get through it all?
You're not, don't try. We are adding work for families that want guidance and ideas to do at home but it's not a race or a competition.
Q: A child in my child's class has everything done and we've barely started. Will my child fall behind?
Even if everything were equal in terms of support, time spent, number of children in the home etc. (which it is not) children learn at different rates. In the class there is a wide range of levels in all subjects, children work at different paces and require different support.
Your child will not fall behind. The work we are setting is for them to apply, and remind them of, work already covered : you are not teachers and we are not expecting you to teach your children new concepts. They will cover all of this again, multiple times.
Q: Is it OK if I'm not doing any work with my kids? All they are doing is Lego, cooking and playing outside.
All of this is learning. Give yourself and them a break.
Q: How can I get three different lots of work done with 3 different children of different ages?
You can't, stop trying. If they're old enough, try to get them to do little bits independently. The teachers are trying to set tasks that children can tackle on their own. Otherwise try to do something they can all engage with, reading a story together, some free writing, doing a puzzle, baking etc.
Q: So what's the bare minimum you'd expect?
This is about survival, emotionally and in terms of physical and mental health. There is no minimum or maximum. Our teachers will help you with this; even if you can't complete the activities they set, there are lots of other ideas such as joining Joe Wicks for his 9am workout, starting a project on a hobby or interest, making a natural collage or listening to music.
Q: Why is there a 3pm deadline for completing assignments and what if my child can't meet it?
Our teachers who are not looking after the children at school are working from home to support the children in their class. However, they all have families and are trying hard to balance pulls on their time. Seesaw is a fantastic tool but we are finding that some parents are expecting teachers to respond late into the evening. By setting a target completion time for learning we are aiming for teachers to be free to concentrate on their own families from 5pm. If your child misses the deadline, please don't worry. The teacher will look at the work but may not respond until the next day. Please help us to keep our teachers fit and healthy by not contacting them after 5pm.
You are doing enough. You are loving your children and supporting them through a difficult time. Look after yourselves too. Minimising stress is absolutely vital in a time like this for mental health. Don't let this be something that stresses you. Only you can control that by accepting it is in your circle of control, you are the primary educator and this is all your call.
Marden is a strong community with our school at the heart of it. We will all pull together to support the effort to keep us all safe. Therefore, we will remain open for the children who need it, but we strongly urge you to think very carefully of whether this is necessary for you. These children are not learning anything different than you would be at home. They are not in classes or being taught traditional lessons. We need to make sure our staff are well protected as key workers themselves, all of whom have families and many of whom have children of their own.
I would like to thank our unseen workforce as well as our teachers and office staff today. As well as the catering team, we have two cleaners and our Caretaker, Mr Tarka, attending daily.
We know that this is an anxious time for everyone and, as a result, we can all be a little more on edge. We all need to take care to choose our words carefully and be kind to each other. We know that we will all do our best to support each other through this time and we thank you for your ongoing support. We will get through this.
22.3.2020 - We are set up to receive vulnerable children and the children of key workers from 8:30 on Monday morning. Thank you all for responding to our questions so quickly; we do appreciate that we set short deadlines but this was necessary for us to plan effectively for next week.
The school has been deep cleaned and we will be complying with the principles of social distancing. Children will be taking part in outdoor learning, craft activities and accessing Seesaw tasks. Staff have been briefed and children will be reminded about hand washing throughout the day.
I'd like to highlight Gavin Williamson’s (Secretary of State for Education) tweet from last night:
You should only send your child to school on Monday if you have to, because your work is critical to our COVID-19 response.
If you are able to keep your child at home, you should. #StayHomeSaveLives
Thanks to all of our parents who have been so supportive in these difficult and changing times. If you are keeping your children at home and have any difficulties with the home learning do let us know. The office and headteacher e-mail addresses are being checked daily.
I'd also like to thank my amazing staff team who have done, and are doing, an amazing job in my absence.
All the best,
On behalf of our pupils, staff, parents/carers and Governors, I have pleasure in welcoming you to Marden Primary School. We are a rural school in the heart of the community of Marden serving the village and the surrounding area.
Marden is a school that welcomes everyone, with a family atmosphere and a desire to help every child do their very best. We do this through inspirational teaching with a range of exciting learning opportunities; a nurturing culture where all children feel they belong; and through working in close partnership with parents and carers.
You can find out all about the school through our website. If you have further questions please feel free to get in touch or come for a visit - we would love to see you!
Tracy Thomas, Headteacher