School Closures - 2nd Update

18th May 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

We are writing to you to provide information regarding the second half of the summer term and to let you know when further details will be available.

Home schooling

The majority of our pupils will not be in school for most of next half term.  It saddens us to think that this could possibly extend all the way to the summer holiday.  Our school approach to home school work has been to provide a range of online activities, without the pressure of strict timetables and work requiring submitting.  As this lockdown continues, it becomes more important that children are continuing with the learning at home.  We also understand that for many, maintaining motivation may become more difficult as well.

To try and help with this we will make the following alteration to next half term’s learning:

  • On the year groups’ website pages, we will lay the work out in a suggested timetable (please adapt to suit what works for you).
  • Each day will include some additional options that you can pick should you prefer one style over another.
  • Mymaths tasks for the new half term will appear each day instead of all at once.
  • Videos will be added to the website from the teachers to talk through the day’s activities.  These clips won’t be lessons; the learning will all be explained in the resources on the website.  Instead there will be a guide to the suggested work and some tips for completing them.  Hopefully, this will help with encouragement.
  • Additional videos will be added including virtual assemblies and a few PE lessons from our very own Mrs Iggleden.

We were hoping that it wouldn’t be long before pupils were back and they could share the work they were most proud of with their teachers.  For many, the wait to share this in person will be too long.  Many parents have been contacting the school through the usual means with queries about work or to share their child’s learning.  This has then been forwarded to teachers to respond.  To support this, we will be setting up a dedicated email address for all things relating to ‘home school work’.  Please use this to email questions about the learning provided.  You can also send photos or other examples of your child’s learning (e.g. PowerPoints etc.) for some feedback.

The email address will be manned during school hours by one of our teachers.  They will respond but will also send a copy on to your child’s class teacher so they can see what they are up to as well.  We will let you know when this email address is up and running, then feel free to use it, to share work that has been done so far.  Please use the admin office email address, and school phone number, 023 9246 2162 for all other school related queries.

Year 6 – Potential June 1st Reopening

On Thursday evening, the government released the following guidance for headteachers to use in order to plan the reopening of schools to specific year groups:

We have made plans for what this reopening will look like for year 6 at Mengham Junior School.  These plans will be reviewed, in consultation with all our staff, this evening.  The revised plans will be shared with governors on Thursday evening and be sent to all parents (including those with children in years 3, 4 and 5) on Friday.

The government guidance acknowledges that social distancing within primary schools is not feasible at all times.  The approach suggested is to create small groups (‘bubbles’) within the school in order to minimise the number of people that each individual interacts with.  A raft of other measures seek to reduce the chance of virus transmission.

Online and in the media there is a lot of discussion around the reopening of schools with huge variations in opinion.  Our priority is and always has been the safety of our pupils, staff and all our families.  The adjustments that will be made are designed to minimise risk.  We are not in a position to make strong assurances or support a specific view point.  There is just not enough hard evidence in order to do this. What we have set out to achieve is to make plans based on the guidance that is available.  We want to share as much of this planning with you as soon as possible so you can make an informed decision about your child returning to school.

Once you have received Friday’s letter we will be asking year 6 parents to let us know whether or not their child will be returning to school.  Please wait until you have read this letter before contacting the school regarding this decision.

Please remember that the 1st of June is the earliest date for the phased return and it could be later if the government feel it is too early to proceed. 

Critical workers and vulnerable children

If your child fits into this category, then please read the letter that will be sent to you on Friday.  We are still open to these children in Year 3, 4 and 5.  There will, however, be some adjustments to their time in school that will need to be made in order to accommodate a larger number of children in the school building.

Thank you once again for your continued support.

Best wishes,

Odele Davies and Edward Harrison