Blog

Updated for January 2021

Dear Parents / Carers

Happy New Year. I hope you have all managed to have an enjoyable Christmas break and you are all safe and well.

As you may be aware, this morning Cumbria County Council and Colin Cox (Director of Public Health Cumbria) formally wrote to the Department for Education requesting them to close all primary schools in Cumbria due to high infection rates and hospital admissions. This move was denied by the Department for Education, however they have committed to a review of this decision early next week. 

In addition to this, the advice for teaching staff from their professional associations has been to work from home due to health and safety concerns.

Taking into consideration all these issues, the governors and I have taken the decision to move to online learning from Tuesday 5th January for the first 2 weeks of term, following which we will review the position in line with local and national guidance.

However, school will be open for Critical Worker and Vulnerable children only, from Tuesday 5th January.  The list of Critical Workers can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision  Please consider very carefully whether you need to access the provision for vulnerable and key worker children as we are limited in the staffing provision we have available – and the lower the numbers of staff and children in school, the lower the risk for everyone. If you do meet the criteria for a Critical Worker and wish for your child/ children to take up a place, please contact Dee with what you need over the next two weeks: finance@castlecarrock.school.cumbria.sch.uk. We will contact the parents of those children who fit into the ‘vulnerable’ category to make suitable arrangements. 

For those children who are accessing school, breakfast and after school club will be open – although again, please consider whether you need to use this. If you do, please email Dee with times and dates needed for the next two weeks. 

Without a doubt a huge strength of Castle Carrock School is our community, and we need to look after each other now more than ever. If you find yourself struggling at all please do get in touch – we may not be able to help, but we may know someone who can! It goes without saying that our actions in and out of school are fundamental in keeping everyone as safe as possible.  For more information on the current restrictions for our area please see this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-4-stay-at-home

Once again I thank you for your support in these matters,  this is not a decision taken lightly, but we are following the advice of public health here in Cumbria and our own professional associations and strongly believe that this is the best option to ensure the safety of our staff and pupils at this time. 

If you have any questions or concerns please do contact me. I will be meeting with governors tomorrow and can relay these to them. 

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.