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Friday 9th October 2020

Mr Eardley, the Head Teacher, writes...

Dear Parents and Carers,

It is a very interesting time in school at the moment. If you walk around the building at any time of the day, things look like a normal day at OWPS. Lessons are carrying on as usual and are just as interesting and engaging. Children are still following the PRIDE Code. There is a purposeful buzz around the building. TAs are still supporting individuals and small groups. Children are just as happy and delightful. Playtimes and lunchtimes still give children a chance to let off steam and to play with their friends. It is a happy school.

But when I look around the school, I can also see the enormous effort that staff are putting in to make things work. There have been countless small and large measures that we have had to put in place to make sure that we are a COVID safe school and, hopefully, the children aren’t unduly aware of what they are. I am fortunate to have the support of an amazing team that includes the Heads at Nene Valley and Woodston Primary Schools, the other OWN Trust schools. When I met with them via Zoom this week, I reflected on the fact that it feels like I am leading a new school as there are so many new rules, routines and measures that have been put in place. The staggered start and end to the day, the staggered breaks and lunchtimes mean that staff don’t see other staff as much as we did and we are having to think of ways that we can all feel connected.

After a number of tweaks, I think we have now established clear routines for the start and end of the day and I am grateful that parents have accepted these without complaint. I know that some schools have come in for unfair criticism from their parent body and I am so grateful that this isn’t something that we are having to contend with. I do think that there are positives to this new way
of working.

Parking outside school seems to be a little easier (unless it is raining which then leads to mayhem!), the younger children who are now coming in on their own seem so proud and independent, and we hope that the new Parents Evening system will work well. Yet again, no staff have wrinkled their noses and said they weren’t prepared to do something new. Staff read this newsletter as well and I want them to know that I am very proud of them.

Sadly, I am now hearing about positive Covid cases at local schools. Thankfully, these schools have been happy to share what they have learnt from dealing with the situation and we have all of our plans in place should we need to send a child, class or year group home. Yet again, it has reminded me of how essential it is that we do everything we can in school and at home to follow the guidance. One local case was made worse because children from different year groups had been playing together out of school and this was how Covid was able to move across different year groups. This meant that 240 children have had to miss two weeks of school.

Thankfully, all of the suspected cases we have had in school have come back negative. We now have a new code to use in the register to show if a child is off school awaiting test results. When these children are not counted, our attendance in school is over 98%. Even when they are counted we are over 97%, which is higher than usual. Every cloud has a silver lining!

I am pleased that we will be supporting the Peterborough Food Bank again this year as part of our harvest celebrations. I know that many families have found that their own circumstances have changed and that Food Banks have become a vital resource for them. If you can, please give generously so that we can offer our support to those who need it.

Have a great weekend

Simon Eardley




Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash