End of Term Round up 1st April 2020

Good morning to everyone! We are now coming to the end of the most extraordinary term and heading into the Easter break. The schools are still technically closed, but please note that over the Easter holidays office staff and school staff will not be available to answer questions. If you have a question in this time, you will need to email and a response will be given when we return.

Our staff have been working hard to provide for key workers, so they can be there for us when we need them. I would like to than all of the staff for their work in this and in a very difficult time. Thank you also to all of those working in a role with a critical response to the coronavirus fight, we are most grateful. 

Just a quick round up now! 

Passwords

Every child had their passwords before school closed. If you have a password question, you will need to contact us after the Easter holidays eg from 20th April or you can leave a request on dojo for the teachers to follow up, but this will most likely be after the holidays. We are presuming everyone has theirs, as we have not had any phone calls recently to request them and we have asked that the children use their TT Rockstars (Years 1-6) , My Maths or Numbots, Accclerated Reader (Years 3-6)and their purple mash account in the closure period. These are the most important ones to have. A lot of work will be set through purple mash for years 1-6, so it is vital you have this available wherever possible. Teachers can see what has been done on this, and can access your child’s activity and achievement, so please do ensure you access it. 

TT rockstars

These have all been reset to automatic mode which means they start at the beginning and once they master that it will automatically progress them through the stages. If they are very proficient in these they will progress quickly but all revision is good for them, especially at this time. The more they get right, the quicker they progress. Keep practising. Times tables mastery is a vital part of a child’s maths progress and development, so please practise saying them out loud, quick fire questions at home and testing each other. It will make a huge difference. 

Supporting at home

We know this can be a challenge, some parents have said they are not paid to be a teacher, but we are in totally new territory here. Children need to be at home to keep them safe and we know their learning falls back over a holiday period, so regular reading, writing and maths is really important and we have given ways you can do this , even if you are not a teacher.

We do also appreciate that it is a challenge to do home learning if you are working from home, but thousands of parents are in this position and we just have to find some method that works for us as families. You will all find your own routines I am sure, so as long as you do your best, you are doing a great job. 

Children may find it difficult or be reluctant but having a routine for them will mean they do not find it so difficult . These hints may help:

  • Have set times when you do things eg Reading at 9, then a break, then maths. Every day at 10 the White Rose Hub have a live maths lesson so you don’t have to worry if you are not sure what the questions mean. Some upper school maths is a challenge for all of us! 
  • Make a timetable if it helps. Don’t aim for a full school day, build in regular breaks. If it works for you to do it in the afternoons and up until meal times, then do it that way. Find a routine that works for you.
  • Set clear guidelines and expectations for them – we will do this, then this and then this. A visual timetable may help with pictures, there are many on line. We know it is different and challenging but please do your best to support them to continue learning over the closure period. 
  • Let your teacher know if you find anything difficult. They can’t teach individually but they can give you some advice and guidance.
  • Remember you are the adult and if your child refuses, be firm and set expectations. First we do this reading and then you can watch TV. It may be tricky at first but it will become easier once they know you mean it and are sticking to your decisions!

Reading

All children are expected to read regularly still. Please try to read to your child daily just as we do in school or listen to an audio story together. Join the twitter account for up to date info as we can’t email everything. If you are not a confident reader, or you want to take some time to listen to a story with your child, then Neatherd are reading a book aloud on line, Cressida Cowell is reading how to train your dragon, David Walliams is reading every day too. Just search them in google or go on our twitter feed as that has the links and information. All of this is free and easy to access. Accelerated reader also have lots of books and work online for Junior School pupils to access. Teachers will be looking at the account activity, maybe we can have our first coronavirus word millionaire! Help for accelerated reader is on the website and on our twitter account.  

Accelerated Reader – Years 3-6 (Also used by Neatherd for Years 7-9)

 To access the AR website you need the right address through our school link on the website please. It won’t work by finding it through google we are told. All staff will put the correct link in the dojo message they will send to you weekly. 

Questions 

The best route if you have a general question is via the junior office. As staff become ill or self isolate they might not see messages through more individual sites so please be mindful of this. We are looking at ensuring we can maintain contact through dojo, but if the teacher is off or unwell, we won’t be able to do this. 

FSM hampers

Just some additional clarity around those who qualify for the means tested free school meals and NOT the Universal Infant Free School Meals all Infant children receive.

As said previously, the Government have stopped the Universal Infant Free School Meals, and regardless of what you may read, these are no longer in place and your child does not qualify for a meal in the closure period.

Children who qualify for the means tested Free School Meals already are aware of this and we have kept in touch with them, delivering food parcels.

In terms of vouchers, these are ONLY when a school cannot provide a meal/food parcel and we are able to provide this as our caterers are still in school working. If you read the full guidance you will see this. It is not parental choice. We will deliver a weekly food parcel to those who live in Dereham, Toftwood or Scarning who qualify once a week, and it will have all the ingredients you would need to make the packed lunch option your child would get in school. If you live outside of these areas, you need to contact us and come and collect one. Mrs Flynn has been in touch with all of those who qualify to see who would like this option. If you have not been contacted, you do not qualify.

You can check if you are eligible on line at the government checker, then you apply to the local authority. Details are online – https://www.gov.uk/apply-free-school-meals

Please note it is very restricted and not all benefits or tax credits make you eligible. Please also make sure you follow the right links as it varies depending on where you live.

Twitter

Sign up for twitter or you may miss out!  It has information every day on how to support your child, some quick and easy activities and just general support and contact. We are also loving seeing the tweets shared by parents showing the work the children have been doing.  Reception parents can add things on tapestry, but can use this to if they wish. Find us by searching Toftwood Federation

Class dojo

Make sure you have signed up for class dojo. We know there are a few parents who have not. Teachers will send a weekly message through on this to you all, so it is important to keep using it. Make sure you have your password to hand of necessary.

Teachers will keep in contact, whether by phone or dojo or other official messaging channels, but we have safeguarding systems to work within so we may not be calling everyone. This is not for personal tutoring, but just to make sure we keep in touch. Please remember the teachers are planning and setting work, carrying out vital training and also doing emergency key worker childcare, so they do have a lot to do currently! However, if you are struggling for any reason and not just with their work, do get in touch and we will do our best to help. 

Stay safe online

We always teach the children about not sharing personal information on line that can identify where they live etc. Please can we also ask parents to think about this over the closure period. We know they are missing friends, but please don’t put out information asking parents to get in touch, or giving descriptions and names of children on facebook or other places. Some families have fled from  domestic abuse or a volatile or unsafe situation, and you sharing their child’s name, description and school could identify them and their location to an abuser. We just want you to be safe, and all of our families.

If you send us anything for the twitter page, you are consenting for the information about your child to be on there, which is different to posting about someone else’s child without their permission.

Useful information about on line safety can be found on our website and on our twitter account.

Weekly learning

After Easter, we will be setting work weekly for each year group. This will be published on the website and also sent via class dojo, so look out for this. It will be a simple structure of tasks for the week. Look at them and prioritise and think how you can make it work for you. We wold like to ensure all children are being supported with some learning at home but appreciate how challenging this may be. If your child has additional needs, it may be appropriate for you to amend the tasks or choose something form a more appropriate year group in a younger age group. 

Maths 

The on line white rose hub is always a good source of expertise for non specialist. Join online and they have a video tutorial for all year groups. Just look online or use a link form our twitter or website.

Staying safe

Please do listen to the government messages and information and continue to follow them. We still have reports of children out playing or calling for friends, or people visiting other houses. This is a really serious virus, and we can’t stop it unless we ALL follow the rules. Please stay in, stay safe and ensure those workers on the front line are protected and able to be there in case we or our family need them.

Easter holidays

We know it has been difficult for everyone, but please do have a break from the current level of home learning over the holidays. The work for week one beginning 20th April will be posted just before the end of the holidays. Continuing with reading would be great, listening to stories, reading stories and telling stories. All great activities for families.

If you have any child protection or safeguarding concerns I the holidays you can still contact the relevant professional. Please see all contact numbers on our safeguarding pages of the website. https://www.toftwood.norfolk.sch.uk/safeguarding-and-child-protection/cads/

Thanks

Thank you to the parents who have sent in kind messages to keep staff morale high during this time, when we know everyone has their own concerns.  Thank you for our emails and calls, and for the gifts people have dropped off. We really do appreciate it.

Take care and stay safe 

Joanna Pedlow