Tuesday 15th December 2020
RE: End of Autumn Term 2020
Moving towards the end of term is always a good time to reflect on how things have been, but this is probably even more the case in our current pandemic context. Evaluating what we have achieved as a school community whilst recognising the level of the situation we are in, is essential for knowing how we can develop in the new year.
We have all been living through the strangest and most challenging time that most of us have ever known. The world is a very different place to what it was just a year ago and the aspects that now consume us on a daily basis have changed dramatically. If someone had told me last December that the majority of my work would be managing the medical situation for the entire school population, I would have dismissed this without a thought. As I am sure you will understand, day after day, weekend after weekend, my work is now mostly related to the pandemic. However, I know that this is not my burden alone and that staff as well as families are all on constant alert waiting to hear if someone in school or someone in our private lives has become unwell. This tension, along with the uncertainty of the economy and jobs, is creating a background for families which will be difficult at any time, but which always appears more challenging at Christmas. At school we are highly conscious of the mounting difficulties for families and, as a result, all decisions we make are taken with careful consideration on the impact for our community.
Since September, we have had the vast majority of our children in school for the vast majority of the time which is evident from having a whole school attendance of over 97%. Although it has pained us to close classes, which we have had to do more recently, we have done so for the right reason. It can be difficult to accept when a class/bubble closes, especially when children are at home feeling well, but this is the outcome our actions are aiming to achieve. The limited cases we have seen have not led to outbreaks because we have acted swiftly and decisively, in line with our Risk Assessment. Consequently, we have not had children taking the virus to their homes and to family members who could have become ill and then need hospital treatment. The staff are working tirelessly to provide a consistent education for our children which provides a level of normality but we also know the reality is not yet ‘normal’ and our school, like others, remains a significant part of the community which has to be managed carefully to keep hundreds of people safe.
We are so pleased to be working as a school again for the many rather than as childcare for the few. Upon our return, it was wonderful to see children actually skipping into school with smiles on their faces, which I am still witnessing each morning. Children being in school is essential for numerous reasons in relation to the personal and academic development for children but also to support the wider family. Since the summer, our children have achieved in many ways. They have returned with smiles on their faces and have grown in confidence; they have rekindled relationships with friends and staff; and they have begun to learn once more across a range of lessons. Despite a wide range of measures created to support safety, staff have managed to plan other activities in school such as Harvest Collection, Children in Need, Adjective Day and Christmas sessions. I have been so proud of how the whole staff team have been determined to support every child to engage positively with school and to allow them to simply be children; we have aimed to allow them to focus on things that they should be thinking about as children rather than what we, as adults, must be responsible for. The support from you for what we have attempted to provide your children with has been remarkable. Not only have you encouraged your children to come to school, but you have engaged in our varied activities and given generously to others who are in the most need.
After a very challenging first term for everyone, our hope is that families can have a Christmas which is safe and enjoyable, even if this is different to what would normally happen. Everyone deserves a period of time in which they can relax, have some quality time with the people they love and possibly eat a little too much whilst watching repeats of programmes and films seen too many times before. On behalf of the governors and staff, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and we look forward to seeing you all in January.
With best wishes,
Mr M. Malik – HEAD TEACHER