Category Archives: News

Christmas at Castle Carrock

Things will be a little different this holiday – but we are working really hard to try and make sure that our children don’t miss out on any of the usual festivities.

Nativity and KS2 Show – we are still restricting visitors and so we are hoping to send home DVDs of the Christmas Shows in the last two weeks.



Christmas dinner will be in Thursday of this week – of course the bubbles will be eating separately. We have the usual turkey, with all the trimmings, cooked on site. The turkey, sausages and crackers are all paid for by the PTA group – so thank you to everyone who has supported us!

On Christmas Dinner day the children can wear their Christmas jumpers to school.

Panto! A little different this year – we have not been able to go and watch the Panto in Newcastle this year, so we are watching one from the comfort of our classroom. All classes will watch Jack and The Beanstalk on Thursday after their dinner.

Party Time! Again a little different – usually the older children run a party for the younger children but we can’t do this this year due to the bubble organisation. However these parties will be just as fun! (Maybe… ) For Christmas Parties the children can come to school in their party clothes. We may also manage a little video-visit from Santa…

Christmas Parties will be on Thursday, 10th December.

Christmas Cards: This year we have had to do Christmas Cards a little differently. We are asking the children to bring in their cards by December the 11th so we can quarantine them before giving them out in the last week.

Aspirations 2021

Every year we run a programme known as ‘aspirations’ which aims to give children the chance to hear from people in variety of careers. The idea is to inspire our pupils with everyday stories of how people got into their chosen career and what their day-to-day job looks like.

We ask the children what careers they are interested in and we like to invite people from all over the world to chat with us.

We started today with our first Aspirations chat.

Gareth Dixon works in Saudi Arabia on the BAE Systems Eurofighter Typhoon as an Engineering Manager. He took the time to talk to Class 4; to explain some of the technical difficulties of his job, and how he (kind of) followed in his father’s footsteps. Class 4 asked some great questions too – they wondered about the ‘highlight of his career’ – ‘what the hardest bit of his job was’ – and, of course, what the weather is like!

It was a great opportunity for the children to hear about an interesting and varied career – and they really enjoyed the Google Earth tour of Saudi Arabia! We’re looking forward to our next Aspirations talk.

wrapped presents

Join in our online Christmas Fayre!

Christmas is a little different this year as we can’t all get together in our usual way. However this definitely isn’t going to deter us from celebrating it and everything Christmassy!

Our amazing PTA would love you to come and join us at the virtual fair by supporting our school and local businesses. It’s running over two weeks with lots of lovely gifts, a raffle and Christmassy inspiration! We will be packing in as much as we can over this time, including some Facebook live events.

There are, of course, lots of benefits to doing it online too: It’s all conducted in a covid safe manner; you can browse at your leisure and any time; there is no rain! We look forward to having you at the fair!

Join the facebook group here!

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