8 May 2020
I hope you are all continuing to keep well at home. It’s strange to think that the period of time that we have been off school is longer than the traditional summer break we have. I do hope that some of the activities and resources provided by school have helped to keep our pupils active and engaged. I do know that it so much harder keeping children active when there is a limit on where you can go and what you can do. When we get back to school, which we will, I am looking forward to hearing the interesting tales of lockdown activities that our pupils will tell us; the new skills they have learned and the imaginative ways in which they and their families have kept busy. Keep up the hard work.
As with most of the country, I am looking forward to hearing the government’s plans for the next phase of lockdown which will be shared in a Prime Ministerial announcement at 7pm on Sunday evening. As well as hearing if any changes will be made to the current restrictions we are all supporting, I am keen to hear about any suggested plans for school opening. Much has been written in the media about various proposals, with suggestions made that Year 6 will be returning or that it will be up to the discretion of the school. Until we hear what the plans are, we cannot start to make any arrangements for a safe return.
One thing I can say is that in whatever capacity pupils are expected to return, their safety, and the safety of the staff who teach them is paramount. As soon as we know who should return and when, the school will look at how to do this safely to prevent any second peak of coronavirus.
Questions such as how can we socially distance in school? What are the most appropriate methods for drop off or pick up and what steps should be taken if someone is ill in school will need to be answered before our doors are opened. I am pleased that the government have indicated that there will be enough time for schools to consider how best to open for their pupils and know that all of our school staff will do their very best to ensure that we can get back to school as safely and as quickly as we can.
Within school, Read, Write Inc Phonics is the resource we use to teach our children how to read. When in school, children from nursery to Y2 take part in a daily phonic lesson which teaches them how to identify sounds and link this into reading words, sentences and large texts.
During school closure, we would encourage all pupils from nursery to year 2 to keep accessing some of the Read, Write Inc resources to support their development of reading. These resources include:
RWI Phonics lessons at home
- To help children learning to read at home during school closure, Ruth Miskin Training are streaming 7 free phonics, reading and spelling lessons every weekday on their YouTube channel.
- Each lesson is ten to fifteen minutes long and available for 24 hours. The films are useful for Nursery, Reception, Y1 and some Y2 children. Click here for the YouTube Speed Sounds lessons schedule:
Storytime with Nick
- Watch Storytime with Nick; films of well-loved stories read by Nick Cannon, a trained actor, teacher and trainer and a wonderful storyteller.
- A new story is added to the RMT YouTube channel at 2pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week. Due to permissions from publishers, films are only available via the link below and via the Ruth Miskin Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Oxford Owl for Home from Oxford University Press
For free Read Write Inc. Phonics eBooks, activities and advice, visit Oxford Owl for Home: https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/read-write-inc-home
You will need to create a login to access eBooks.
- 72 free eBooks matched to Read Write Inc. Phonics Storybooks
- 62 Speed Sounds practice sheets
- 28 Ditty practice sheets
- Parent information booklets
- 8 Speedy Green Words slideshows
- 3 Speed Sounds slideshows
- My Set 1 and My Sets 2 and 3 as free eBooks
Parent and carer hotline
Ruth Miskin Training have a hotline for parents and carers helping children learning to read at home with Read Write Inc. Phonics. Please email email@example.com with any queries.
With the increasing possibility of schools opening for some pupils over the coming weeks, a key part of the government’s strategy for a return is an increased capacity for testing. If you fall into any of the following groups, you, and members of your family, are entitled to a test if you have coronavirus symptoms:
- an essential workerwith coronavirus symptoms
- aged 65 or over with coronavirus symptoms
- someone who cannot work from home and has coronavirus symptoms (for example, construction workers or delivery drivers)
The test can be completed at home or at a drive-through testing site. The test involves taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat, using a long cotton bud. The test is an ‘antigen test’. It tests if you currently have coronavirus. The test to tell if you’ve ever had coronavirus (‘antibody test’) is not available yet.
Gov.uk recommend that you need to get the test done in the first 5 days of having symptoms. It’s best to apply for the test in the first 3 days as it may take 1 or 2 days to arrange.
To apply for a test, click on the following link:
Free School Meals Vouchers
Until school are notified, the free school meal voucher system will continue to support the families of pupils on free school meals. Across the country, parents have redeemed £58 million on eGift cards for vouchers, with any issues and glitches with the system reducing by the week.
Over the past week there was a significant breakthrough in new enhancements and developments to the systems used by Edenred. The capacity for more schools and parents/carers to be able to access and use the system at any one time has been increased; as a result, queue times are substantially shorter. Queue times on the online ordering portal this week have been less than five minutes with many periods during the day not having any queues at all. The eCode redemption website has been averaging a queue time of three minutes.
Click on the following link to access the parents/carers leaflet about the system and what to do if you do have any issues access your vouchers.
As we have mentioned before, if circumstances have changed for parents and you now feel that your child/children could be eligible for Free School Meals, please go to the school website and complete the Free School Meal application form. The eligibility criteria for FSMs are:
- Universal Credit with an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400 (as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods)
- Income Support Jobseekers Allowance (Income Based) Pension Credit (Guaranteed Credit)
- Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related)
- Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum act 1999 Child Tax Credit with a joint annual gross income of no more than £16,190 (Providing you are not entitled to Working Tax Credit on a regular basis)
- A ‘Run-On’ of Working Tax Credit (Paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
The following information is from the Cleveland Local Resilience Forum
We’re banking on Teesside to stay at home and save lives this weekend
Teessiders are being urged to continue to follow the government’s stay at home guidance this bank holiday weekend as ignoring it will cost lives. The restrictions remain in place, and people are being asked to fight the urge to meet with family and friends.
The Royal British Legion is also leading calls for the public to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day from the safety of their homes. Many of the national celebrations are being televised or live-streamed on the internet and people are being asked to commemorate the event with their own household in their homes or in their own gardens.
Chief Superintendent Thom McLoughlin said: “We’re banking on our communities to work with us and continue to follow the guidance from the government this weekend. We know that Friday marks a key moment in our history and I know how keen our communities are to pay tribute, but public safety must be a top priority for us all.
“If we work together to stay at home and save lives, we will be able to come out of this much quicker. Please celebrate VE Day within your own home and your household group and keep following the guidance, including social distancing and the shielding of those most vulnerable.
We are continuing our patrols and responding to calls from members of the public over this weekend and officers will speak to people and engage with them. We don’t want to use enforcement action unless it is absolutely necessary, so we do need support from the public.”
If anyone does have any concerns about any issue relating to school, this could relate to home leaning, FSM vouchers, returning to school or assessing support for key workers, someone at school can be contacted on the school number 01642 486392 or via the firstname.lastname@example.org email address.
I look forward to letting you know about any changes to school opening in the next update and will be listening carefully to the Prime Minister’s announcement as to how we can get our children back to school safety as soon as possible. Up until then …
Stay home: Protect the NHS and Save Lives.