We hope you had a happy and healthy half-term break from routines. The weather was glorious, which certainly helped. Did your child do some of the optional home learning activities? It’s not too late – one of the activities on the list could be an alternative or additional activity to the daily home learning tasks the teacher sets.
We start the week with news about schools opening more widely, some information about the school bubbles, and – as always on a Monday – our new Living and and Learning theme.
Schools opening more widely
This half-term, schools are opening to more and more pupils, although perhaps not as widely as the government and media headlines initially suggested. Research from the National Foundation for Educational Research shows that parents are still roughly split 50-50 about whether they want their child to return to school.
Here are just three of many barriers that schools have faced:
First, our classrooms and class sizes mean we simply can’t accommodate all the children set out in the government’s original plans: children of key workers, children who may be vulnerable in some way, and children from Early Years, Year 1 and Year 6. (The average class size in English primary schools is almost 28 pupils compared to about 20 across Europe – point 4 from this article from the “Independent Sage” group explains this well.)
Second, more and more people are going back to work. This includes more key workers, and that means there are already more children for us to welcome back, which in turn means the specific year groups identified by government aren’t returning quite as quickly as the government called for.
And third, we’ve fewer staff at a time when we need more. To operate smaller groups, and to ensure social distancing and cleaning, we need lots of staff. However, not all our staff are able to be in school because of particular health conditions or other personal circumstances.
The school bubbles
We’re committed to having more and more pupils back, and making this happen as safely as we can. We’ve established bubbles in our schools. Some of these bubbles might have space for more pupils, others less so.
At St James’ CE Primary, we’ve just two bubbles for the rest of this week: one for younger children (F2, Y1, Y2) and one for older children. There are two adults for each bubble to allow for breaks and cleaning. Over the week, we’ll look closely at the number of children attending – we may find some parents who said they wanted a place change their mind, in which case we’ll offer the place to other pupils.
Living and learning during lockdown
Living and Learning is the name for all the teaching and learning we do around Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE). As we start a new half term, our theme in Living and Learning changes to relationships. Each week in school, we’ve a Living and Learning statement. I listen to, share with and include others… is our statement this week. One of the Sphere Federation Health Leaders writes:
This Living and Learning statement promotes polite, helpful and kind behaviour. We want our pupils to know the importance of showing respect to everyone (whatever differences we may have) and to everything (whether it’s a school resource, a religious belief or whatever). Respect is central to one of our three school rules: We respect everyone and everything.
You might want to read the poem, Say something nice, taken from The Little Book of Hopes with your child. While most of us are still at home, this week’s statement relates more to family than friends right now. You might want to encourage your child to spot when someone in your house follows this statement and listens to, shares with and includes others. How would they know? How does it make others feel?
Also, as we start a new month, check out the Action for Happiness Kindness Calendar for June with thirty actions to look after ourselves and each other.