Friday 28th January 2022
Mr Eardley, the Head Teacher, writes...
Dear Parents and Carers,
I feel like a stuck record when I use this blog to thank children, parents, and staff for their support and understanding when we are having to deal with ongoing Covid issues in school. I hope that the fact that I say 'thank you' so often doesn't reduce the impact of my gratitude as I really can't imagine how we would have got through the last two years so successfully without everyone's support. So, thank you again. The current Covid wave looks as though it has peaked. Thankfully, we were able to staff the classes in school because teachers were willing to give up their PPA and release time.
I had to smile earlier this week as we waved off our Year 6 children on their trip to Bletchley Park. This was our first official 'trip' since March 2020, and I think we were all feeling a bit giddy with excitement. I was pleased that the trip was able to go ahead as it was touch and go whether we would reach the 90% voluntary contribution we need. I was touched that one family came forward to make up the shortfall. Their generous donation meant that we didn't have to use school funds to make up the shortfall. I hope that this trip is the first of many and that we will start to venture further afield again.
If we do see a return to 'normal business', we will write to you in the summer about the annual Voluntary Contributions payment we offer. This allows parents to pay £30 upfront at the start of the year for trips and events. I know that this can seem a lot as a one-off payment, but parents tell us that they like knowing they have covered the cost upfront and don't have to pay for trips that year. We prefer this method as it means that we have less chasing to do and can reach the 90% we need for the trip to go ahead. We are looking forward to taking KS2 children away on their residential trips later this term and next, and know that they are looking forward to them as well.
I know that teachers are busy preparing for the upcoming parent consultations. As you may know, I am a big fan of technology and can see lots of benefits to things that we have tried in the last two years. As much as we love seeing parents in person for parent consultations, there are some benefits to us using School Cloud, the online system. For one, it saves parents on the travel time to and from appointments, and both parents can access the appointment from wherever they are. We have always been very fortunate that we have almost 100% take-up for parent consultation and very few 'no shows'.
Unfortunately, in the autumn term parent consultations, we had a much higher number of 'no shows' even though parents had made appointments. Please make sure that you remember to attend the appointments you have made. Staff spend a lot of time preparing for the meetings, and it is your opportunity to find out how your child is doing and what they need to work on. We try to reschedule appointments that have been missed, but it is a lot to ask staff to make additional appointments just because someone forgot. If you miss your appointment, it may not be possible to reschedule.
I don't know whether it is a knock effect of the pandemic, but it seems as though many more families have a new dog or puppy. I've heard of two this week! I know that many parents who are dog owners like to combine the school run with a dog walk, and more dogs are waiting with their owners on Wistow Way. Not everyone is a dog lover, and some children and adults can be unsettled by an excitable dog, particularly one that barks. If you are a dog owner who brings your dog to school, please be sensitive to how others may be feeling.
The issue of parking could be a standing item on each weekly newsletter as it never seems to go away. This morning I watched in shock as parents used the entrance to our car park as a drop-off point before doing a U-turn. Earlier this week, I watched a parent do a three-point-turn on Wistow Way, holding up traffic in both directions. We still have parents park on the grass verge opposite the school. I know the majority of parents do not act like this. Sadly, the behaviour of a few taints the reputation of the school with our neighbours.
The End of the Day
This is a gentle reminder that if you are coming onto the school playground to pick up your child, you should be on the playground before 3.15pm, which is when we send the children out. I have noticed a growing number of parents arriving late, and they then have to fight the crowds of children and parents who are already leaving the school site. We do not expect staff to stand with children at the end of the day. After 3.20pm the children will be taken to the school office to be collected. We know that sometimes late pick-ups are outside your control, perhaps because of heavy traffic.
Also, please do not let children play on the field, mound, or tyres at the end of the day. We would be grateful if you could leave the school site as soon as you have collected your child/children.
Don't forget to take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend and then log your results online https://www.rspb.org.uk.
Have a great weekend. 🙂