On behalf of everyone at school, we all send our best regards to you and your families and hope that you are adjusting to the social isolation we are currently going through.
At the moment school is only open to the children of critical and key workers as well as children identified as vulnerable. This arrangement will remain in place for the foreseeable future. As soon as we know when schools will reopen, we will inform parents.
If you think your circumstances have changes and your child/children will need care in school, please contact school via the email@example.com email address.
As part of my weekly update, I thought I would let you know about a few new things that pupils can have access to so that they can keep occupied over the weeks ahead. Also within this newsletter, I hope to pass on information we receive in school from community organisations such as the local community forum.
We are excited to launch a new program for pupils from Y1 to Y6. The program, MyON, is from the same company that provide Accelerated reader: the reading assessment program used from Y2 to Y6. MyOn allows children to access over a 1000 books on a range of topics. As when pupils read books in school, pupils can now read a book at home and they can then take a quiz on the book as well as carry out other activities.
Further to this, over the coming weeks, teachers are placing various projects in MyON which will involve them taking part in some reading, writing and other tasks linking to various books. This resource can be used on PCs, tablets or on a mobile phone and will also have an audio function, allowing pupils to have a story or a book read to them.
To access this resource, Go to www.myon.co.uk
Click on Log in.
In school type: New Marske Primary School
- Username: initial/surname (so for Peter Smith the log in will be psmith)
- Password: pupil1 (pupils will be able to change their password when in the system).
When they first get into website there will be a screen asking them to select which types of books they like. Children will grade the type of stories they like: Animals, science maths etc and will then click save at the top right of the screen.
After this you should now be on the home screen. If a pupil is in Y3-Y6, they should be able to link their school Accelerated Reader account to MyON. Click the yellow ‘Connect Now’ button in the ‘Power up Your Reading’ section (top of the screen) to link to Accelerated Reader. Click on this and enter the same username and password that was entered at the start. After this click ‘allow’ to connect to access your profile and performance information. If this does not work, do not worry, you will still be able to access the resource.
From here, pupils will be able to access a range of books, as well as access projects set by teachers. The best way to see how it works is to give it a try.
E-Books about the virus
There are a number of resources that can support parents when trying to explain the coronavirus to their children. As we know in school, pupils often have a number of misconceptions about big issues such as this and it is really important to ensure that they know and understand the facts about what is currently happening. The first link is a booklet where the Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler worked with a consultant, two head teachers and a psychologist to create a book that answered questions about quarantine, how you can catch the virus and what happens if you get it. Please click on the link or copy and paste into your browser:
The second booklet is a resource aimed at younger children written by Molly Watts, a nurse in Southampton to help reduce anxiety in children.
These resources would be ideal to share with children and used as part of a discussion to help answer any questions they have.
Getting your facts right
It is really important that during this period, we all have access to accurate information about coronavirus. There has been lots of inaccurate and misleading social media posts about what is happening across the country and this can cause panic and worry for many. Individuals and communities should follow the government guidance on the steps needed to reduce the spread of infection, and use only official sources of information when getting this advice. It is recommended to use reliable news sources such as the BBC, the .gov website, the NHS or your local authority website and social media pages.
The following link takes you to a useful Newsround article about how to stop the spread of fake news. https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/52096366
Free School Meals
Families of pupils who are entitled to Free School Meals (FSM) will be receiving an e-voucher for £15 for each child who receives FSMs. This is not available for pupils who receive Universal Free School Meals in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, unless those pupils are registered to receive FSMs. If a circumstances have changed at home and you now think that your child could receive FSMs, please go to the school website and complete the FSM application form.
At the moment, there does seem to be a delay in getting the 16 digit code e-voucher code out to parents. School have completed all of the steps they need to take to start this process and are now waiting for the company organising the e-vouchers; ‘Edenred’, to email the codes out. As this is the first week of a national distribution of e-vouchers, there does seem to be a bottleneck at present. School will continue to check progress with the e-vouchers and will notify parents about any problems as soon as they are aware of any.
As parents are aware, the school is part of the Operation Encompass scheme within the Tees Valley area. This is a scheme where if police are called to any domestic incident at home and children are present, the pupil’s school will be contacted. The school have passed on emergency contact details to Operation Encompass so that the Designated Safeguarding Lead can be contacted about any incident, and appropriate action taken.
In addition to this, safeguarding our pupils is still a key priority for school even during this period. If anyone is concerned about the safeguarding of any child contact can be made with school via the firstname.lastname@example.org email address, or via the school phone number 01642 486392.
Help with council tax
Due to the change circumstances for many families in our community, it is appreciated that many individuals and families may struggle to pay their Council Tax. Local Authorities across the Cleveland area (Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland and Stockton-On-Tees) are doing everything they can to help. If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax due to the pandemic, please get in touch with your local authority. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to defer April and May’s payments until next year or potentially be spread across 12 months rather than the usual 10. The local authority is there to support you and explore all possible options. For information about this contact Redcar.CouncilTax@liberata.com or please call 01642 774774.
Support within Redcar and Cleveland
In addition to those contacted directly by the NHS, there will be others around Redcar and Cleveland who are socially isolated and find themselves in need of help because they have no friends or family they can turn to for assistance. Redcar and Cleveland council is urging anyone who needs help and can’t get it elsewhere to get in touch, as it plays its part in the fight against coronavirus.
A leaflet delivered to all homes in the borough will include:
- Details of a new dedicated phone number – 01642 771122 – staffed by call handlers to help those in real need to access the support that they require
- An email address – email@example.com – that can also be used to request information on how to get help
- Information on the Redcar and Cleveland Coronavirus Support Group, which now has more than 1,200 residents, businesses and community groups looking out for one another, as well as council staff monitoring messages and ready to provide support or advice.
Alternatively for further advice you can contact AGE UK Teesside – 01642 805 500
E Safety has always been an important part of our curriculum, but with children spending more time at home and more time on line during the school closure, E Safety is even more of a priority. Thinkuknow, an education programme from the National Crime Agency’s CEOP command, provide a range of educational activities for a range of age groups, as well as information for parents.
Every two weeks during school closure, Thinkuknow will be releasing new home activity packs with simple 15 minute activities for children to take part in, which will help to support and develop their understanding of E Safety. Click below to access some recently released resources.
- Activity pack for children ages 4-5
- Activity pack for children aged 5-9
- Activity pack for children aged 8-10
- activity pack for children aged 11-13
If anyone has any comments of concerns they would like to raise with school, staff can still be contacted by the firstname.lastname@example.org email address and via the school telephone number 01642 486392.
Please take care your yourselves and please stick to the government’s current guidance of stay home, protect the NHS, save lives.