Category Archives: headteachers blog

Home Learning Provision

Over the last few weeks we have been planning the best ways we can support home learning in the event of a bubble having to isolate, or a lockdown.

At the end of last year the governors carried out a survey to find out the thoughts and ideas of our provision last term – and we have used this information to chart a path this year.

Remote Learning Provision for Class 1 & 2 (Bubble 1)

• A weekly learning grid, outlining expectations for different year groups, to be posted and updated every Monday morning on the Class 1 & 2 pages of the school website.

• Parents to be directed to the school landing page on the Google Drive to access a range of recommended websites to help children access maths and other lessons including those linked to class topics and other areas of learning. For Class 2 this may also include science and humanities. 

• These websites will include White Rose Maths, the Government-backed Oak National Academy, BBC Teach (Class 2), Phonics Play, and Discovery Espresso for which parents will be given log on details, among others. 

• For Class 2 only – Workbooks will be sent home to support daily online White Rose Maths lessons. Homestart workbooks will also be provided for the children to complete regular reading comprehension tasks, as well as punctuation and grammar activities.

• A selection of reading books will be sent home with each child to ensure continued daily reading during the closure. Where applicable, key words and phonic sounds may be sent home to support children’s learning.

• Parents will be provided with phonics guidance and worksheets for children to complete to keep phonics learning at the forefront.

• Children will be provided with some resources to support learning at home during closure. For example, numberlines, hundred squares , number cards, sound mats.

• There will be a weekly Zoom ‘Star’ assembly for the whole school – and in the event of a prolonged closure of the bubble or the school, a weekly class Zoom to allow the children to check in with each other and to share learning experiences. 

• The teacher will check in weekly with parents, via email or telephone to offer support and provide feedback on learning.  Any workbooks or completed worksheets to be returned to school upon reopening. 

• For Class 1 – Tapestry, the online learning journal for each child, to continue. Staff to provide regular feedback and respond to any photographs posted by parents. 

• A weekly whole school newsletter will be sent to parents featuring latest news, any important dates, updates and relevant information and celebrating remote learning across the school community.

Remote Learning Provision for Class 3 & 4 (Bubble 2)

In the event of the bubble being forced to close or a whole school closure, teachers will be online and contactable via Google Classroom every day from 10-12. Work will be set on Google Classroom daily.

In addition the teacher will provide the following:

• A weekly overview, outlining work be posted and updated every Monday morning on the class pages website – this will link directly to work on Google Classroom.

• Parents to be directed to the school landing page on the Google Drive to access a range of recommended websites to help children their work.

• Workbooks will be sent home to support daily online White Rose Maths lessons. Homestart workbooks will also be provided for the children to complete regular reading comprehension tasks, as well as punctuation and grammar activities.

• There will be a weekly Zoom ‘Star’ assembly for the whole school – and in the event of a prolonged closure of the bubble or the school, a weekly class Zoom to allow the children to check in with each other and to share learning experiences. 

• The teacher will check in weekly with parents, via email or telephone to offer support and provide feedback on learning.  Any workbooks or completed worksheets to be returned to school upon reopening. 

• A weekly whole school newsletter will be sent to parents featuring latest news, any important dates, updates and relevant information and celebrating remote learning across the school community.

Week 1 Complete!

As we finish our first full week I thought I would take the opportunity to reflect: what is working well and what we need to think about as we move forward.

As ever, I want to start by thanking everyone for their adaptability in these strange times. Both staff and children are getting used to new lunch times, to being outside much more and restricting their movement around school. Parents and carers as well are adapting; new routines at the end of school; booking into Kids Club and Breakfast Club (which is very useful for us); and not coming onto the school site.

Some of these changes are working very well – such as separate playgrounds for the two age groups which gives the children lots of space to play games and to talk to their friends again. Some changes are proving a bit more challenging – such as the bus drop off and pick up with the two bubbles – and the bus not driving through parents but waiting in one spot.

The children however have started their school year in excellent form; they have really taken everything in their stride! It has been great to see and really inspirational.

There are common questions and concerns which arise – I’ve answered a few here:

What if my child is ill?

Covid symptoms (change to sense of smell, a dry hacking cough or high temperature) are currently very specific – and if your child displays any of these symptoms then you should isolate and get them a test. However, as we know, it is ‘common cold and flu’ season – if you are unsure or worried, keep your child at home so you can closely monitor their temperature and cough. Once they start to feel better, and they have displayed no Covid-19 symptoms, then they can return to school.

What do we do if our household has to isolate?

If your household is isolating, but the child attending our school has not had a positive test then all you need to do is keep us informed as to how they are feeling. Isolation for a household is fourteen days, and during this time your health and wellbing is paramount. If you are able you can also try to keep a routine for reading and some home work.

For the older children this could mean just checking in with their Google Classroom online, (Key Stage 2 Landing Page Here) daily reading of their book and using platforms such as Times Table Rockstar. For the younger children it will be about reading at home, talking about their books, some simple writing and drawing and taking any advice from the teacher. Class 1 Page here. Class 2 Page here.

Unless the whole bubble has to isolate teachers wouldn’t normally provide work for home, but they will be happy to advise you and point you in the right direction. Termly outline plans for each class are online.

I’m concerned about the rising number of cases – can I keep my child at home?

The short answer to this is no, the government have made our role very clear in keeping children in school and keeping schools open. And, in fact, we all know how important it is for the children to see their friends and to continue to learn. However, if you are beginning to feel anxious, or you are worried about family members please do contact school. We all need to be able to share our concerns and be honest about how we are feeling.

How can we ensure that parents are still involved in their children’s school life?

This is really important to us, and as we settle in to the day-to-day routine it is something that we are going to dedicate more time to. In the first instance we will soon be sending out an online link for our Friday Assemblies, so Parents / Carers and Grandparents can watch our weekly assemblies. We will be holding some online workshops for parents looking at different areas of supporting your child, such as using Google Apps, or Early Reading. We are currently thinking about the best way to manage homework and the governors are meeting with myself to look at how this can all be managed.

I hope this blog post is useful – and I will try to keep these updated. As this situation progresses we need to ensure that all information is shared is is clear – please do get in touch if you are unsure about anything.

Ms Stacey

International Day of the Family

Today is International Day of the Family and if ever there was a more pertinent time for us to look at our families and to celebrate them it is right now.

There are a multitude of different family types and today they do not always consist of people that are directly related to one another as families are fluid and can change. The most important thing about being part of a family is that you are with people who consider you, who care about how you feel, who respect you, listen to you and support you when you ask for help; people who try to understand you, who allow you to make decisions and guide you towards your goals, who value your opinions and encourage you to express yourself in a calm and nurturing environment. Families look out for each other and notice when you behave differently, they invite you to share any problems, worries and anxieties that you may have, and sometimes just by talking to your family they become less of a problem and together you can work out a solution.

Families are fun. These are the people who may know you better than others, where you can relax and be yourself, knowing that they will not judge you and they will not stop loving you. You can be silly in your family, you can express yourself and be truthful in a way that sometimes you cannot be when you are with other people, families can make you feel free.

It is our families that are with us now as we all share the experience of this different way of living – some of them are close to us in the same house, some of them are a small picture on a screen that we talk to and some of them on the other end of a phone call or a text message. At Castle Carrock School we consider ourselves to be a family; we all care about each other and will be here to support each other through this experience till a time when we can all hopefully get together again.

So Happy International Day of the Family and go celebrate your wonderful family

Welcome Back! January 2020

Happy New Year! I hope you have had a peaceful break, and managed to find some time for rest amongst the Christmas and New Year celebrations.

This is just a short letter with reminders for the term; class letters will also come out this week which will detail the work we are covering this term as well as Swimming for Class 2, PE with coaches from Carlisle United for Key Stage 2 and class trips that have already been booked. Class 1 parents can also meet their new teacher Mrs Murgatroyd after school on Thursday for an informal chat.

Attendance
Children whose attendance is below 90% will receive a letter from the governors this term – it is vital that we encourage our children to see regular attendance at school as a vital habit and that parents reinforce this. Some circumstances, such as illness, will obviously have an impact on attendance and it is very important that the school is aware of any ways in which we can help.

Uniform
School uniform is important to the identity of the school and the pupils. Please remember that black shoes, or boots, are part of the uniform and trainers are to be worn only for PE and sports. Likewise long hair needs to be tied up, (off of the face), and tied back securely for PE. Leggings are not to be worn as trousers.

E-Safety
Please be aware of your child’s use of the internet particularly when they watch You Tube videos – You Tube does have age restrictions and parental modes but you have to log in with them to use it and they are not always reliable. Remember to check parental settings on any new devices they may have and to ensure that you know who they are talking to online.

We will hold an e-safety briefing later on in the term to review what parents can do at home – and we always share information via our school website: https://www.castlecarrock.cumbria.sch.uk/parents/e-safety/
Remember the school uses the ‘Google Classroom’ infrastructure – and this means that the children have access to apps for things such as word processing, drawing, creating presentations and much more. You can find out more information here:https://www.castlecarrock.cumbria.sch.uk/google-classroom-a-parents-guide/

Packed Lunches
Ensuring that we are a ‘healthy school’ is very important to us. Not only do we need to teach our children about healthy choices they can make but we also need to set a good example. This is especially important at lunch times and this term we will be taking a close look at packed lunches – ensuring that they meet the guidelines for what a ‘healthy packed lunch’ is. More information will come home about this for those children who do have a packed lunch.

We are looking forward to an exciting and busy time (as usual!) – dates for Parents’ Evenings and assemblies will be put on the website in due course.

R Stacey
Head Teacher

Here’s to our PTA!

I always mention our fabulous PTA – or Friends Group – whenever I show new families around school. Having an active PTA is about more than just fundraising – it’s about socialising – about creating a community for the school and putting on family-friendly events. And then there is the fundraising.

The fact is, though many of you may not realise it, the Friends group have contributed thousands of pounds to school life over the last few years. And, in a time of rapidly rising school costs this has been a lifeline for us.

Easter Fun Day

In the last four years the Friends group have:

  • Bought new computer equipment – facilitating our movement to a ‘Google Apps’ School.
  • Bought equipment for, and then helped maintain, the school garden.
  • Supported our Arts provision; paid for poets and musicians to come in to school.
  • Bought hundreds of new books and helped to refurbish our library.
  • Organised events that all the children can take part in  –  e.g. End of Year Disco, Halloween Parties, Easter Fun Days.
  • Supported school events such as the trip to the Panto in December and Christmas Dinner.
  • Supported the school by maintaining the garden, the art work outside and the flowers in and around the playground.
  • Manned the Facebook page and elements of the school social media.

All of this creates a very special school environment with a very positive relationship between school and parents. It means that our pupils access the best in educational experiences and the opportunities that come from these. It means that we can depend on a few extra hundreds of pounds for new books, for special visitors or for amazing school trips when we see them.

I just wanted to write this post to thank you all for supporting the Friends of Castle Carrock. Without the people who organise and run events, as well as everyone who attends events and, of course, spends money at these events, our school wouldn’t be the same at all.

 

Thank you!