Friday 5th March 2021
Mr Eardley, the Head Teacher, writes...
Dear Parents and Carers
I sometimes joke with the children that schools have two new years each year; the academic one in September and the calendar one in January. Two chances a year to make a New Year’s resolution, to turn over a new leaf and start afresh.
This year we get an extra bonus one as we reopen our doors to ALL children this coming Monday 8 March! Yet another chance to start with a clean slate and to make the most of our time in school.
It does feel strange that we now live in a world where we can compare one lockdown and reopening with another one. For me, this reopening is the easiest and least complicated of them all. No staggered return on separate days for separate year groups. No new rules or routines to tell the children about. No Government announcement at the eleventh hour - although I am writing this on Friday morning and there is still time! What you and your child can expect is a smooth return to the well-established systems we had in place before Christmas. There is nothing new for you to learn, you just need to make sure that you have read and digested the letter that I wrote earlier this week. J
In my first assembly in January, I talked to the children about how I try to practice the PRIDE Code and use our Learning Toolkits in my life out of school. I sometimes say WWWD (What Would Wistow Do?) when I have a challenge. I think this term, all of us have had to use our Resilience and Perseverance tools. I know I harp on about how amazing the staff are but, they really are. Once again they have risen to the challenge of moving to a blended model of in-school and home remote learning and at the same time have managed to find the energy, enthusiasm and time to do all of the little extras. I know that it has helped a lot of children at home to still feel connected with what is happening in school.
Our priority next week, and probably up until the Easter holidays is to calmly resettle the children back into school, to find out what they are thinking and feeling, to bring classes back together, and to think about where they are at (academically, emotionally, socially) and create a plan to get them to where they need to be. As I have said a few times, we will not fill their heads with talk about catching up or create a school day that is purely academic.
Mrs Schneider passed this article onto me and I couldn’t agree more – https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/mar/03/kids-break-catch-up-year-disruption-play
This line, in particular, struck a chord, ‘Put simply, if our kids keep being told that they are the “Covid generation”, helpless victims in a “tsunami” of mental illness, at some point they are going to believe it. Alternatively, if we reassure them that “it’s really hard, but it will pass, it’s going to be OK”, maybe they will believe that instead.’
No doubt, we aren’t out of the woods yet. Staff have been willing to take two Lateral Flow Tests a week and will wear masks in communal areas from Monday. We remain committed to doing our part to make sure that COVID numbers do not increase in our community and that we avoid another lockdown in school or locally. We also need all of you to do your part. Since the weather has picked up, I have noticed children playing together in the Pirate Ship area, sometimes without an adult with them. At the moment the rule remains:
Meeting Other People
It is against the law to meet socially with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble. You cannot leave home for recreational or leisure purposes (such as for a picnic or a social meeting).
My worry is that as the days get longer and warm up, we might see more and more children, or families, mixing out of school. Having dealt with the repercussions of eleven COVID cases connected to the school in February, (including one that involved a stay in hospital) when we only had a minority of children in school, I am obviously concerned that the actions of some families who are not following the rules, will have a knock-on effect for us all.
Now is not the time to be selfish and to flaunt the rules. Now is the time to pull together for the good of everyone.
I shall look forward to seeing you all again on Monday. It has felt too long and it is quite lonely at the gate! As before, we hope that we can keep the number of parents on the school site to a minimum and so, please let your child come in on their own if they can and perhaps, meet you outside the school gate at the end of the day. All being well, if these next weeks and months go well, we could hopefully see more of you in person at school events before the end of the year.
Take care and see you soon!