Latest School News

We will now colour code the latest news, as we are aware that many of you have limited time at the moment - red is  essential info, orange is good to know and green is if you have time.

Friday 3rd April 2020 - Happy Easter

Dear Parents,

We hope you are well.

Please find below a Time Capsule document that was given to us by David's family in Year 3 - this will be an excellent way for children to capture this moment in time. If you cannot print it out, we will be leaving some in a box outside the front of school which you can collect (school will still be open over the holidays as OOSC  is running for key worker pupils)

Please continue to check our website for the latest news and to see what pupils have been doing at school and at home. we have some lovely Powerpoints of the photos we have so far. There are lots of sites with activities for children over the Easter break. Please continue to send photos in to admin@stmarysbs.org.uk

Take care and have a Happy Easter.

 

The Staff and Governors at St Mary's 

Tuesday 31st March 2020 - Our website pages

Dear Parents,

We have been busy adding as much information as we can on to the website. Please check all the pages under the 'Essential News and Information during the Lockdown Period' button. There is the latest home learning news, news from the church and a large assortment of information regarding safeguarding, mental health and well-being to support everyone through this difficult time. Jo Creese  has also included some excellent advice and information on work, benefits and other agencies under 'Parent Help - Advice and Services'.

To keep the children in touch, we are also uploading photos to 'What we have been doing at home' Blog. Please feel free to send a photo a week f your child/children to admin@stmarysbs.org.uk.

If you need any support during this period, please contact us.

Many thanks

Dawn Lane

School Business Manager

Friday 27th March 2020 - North Avon Food Bank

Dear Parents,

In this extraordinary time of uncertainty the North Bristol Food Bank have contacted us to confirm that their service is expected to remain open during the foreseeable future. We will be able to issue vouchers for families facing additional hardship with the isolation and school closure, and who are at crisis.

Every case will be considered on a family to family basis, against a set criteria issued by the Foodbank (for example benefit changes/delays, low income, no access to public funds, homeless, delayed wage, decreased income). Please do contact school if you feel you are in need of items from the Foodbank over the coming weeks. Contact can be made by emailing admin@stmarysbs.org.uk and marking ‘Confidential FAO Jo Creese/Dawn Lane’ or directly by telephone (although answering may be limited in the coming weeks) to ensure confidentiality around this sensitive situation. We encourage you to consider this during any hardship.

Kind regards,

Kathy Burden, Staff and Governors

Monday 23rd March 2020 - URGENT KEY WORKER INFORMATION

In view of tonight's announcement from the Government, St Mary's is reducing its staff to the minimum. School will now only be open to pupils who have both parents classed as key workers in order to protect both staff and pupils. This stipulation does not apply to lone parents, vulnerable children or those with EHCP. Please can everyone email admin@stmarysbs.org.uk as soon as possible to tell us whether your child will or will not be attending school tomorrow. Many thanks

Monday 23rd March 2020 - Essential Website Information

Good morning all,

So today we all start online learning, whether at home or at school if you are a key worker.  We appreciate that this is new to everyone and is going to be a challenge but we are trying to make it as smooth as possible.

Please take time to look at the main home learning/homework page on the website - it will be updated regularly. Everything for this week's online  learning can be accessed through the homework button in the normal way. There will be emails  sent over next few days with login details for different sites but we are trying to cut down on the number of other emails we are sending you and have therefore created a 'Home Learning News Blog'.

Please therefore regularly check the following pages on the website:-

Essential News and Information

We are working as hard as we can to ensure as much information is available as possible.

If you have an urgent query, please email admin@stmarysbs.org.uk, marking the subject as Home Learning, and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Many thanks and take care

Dawn Lane

School Business Manager

Sunday 22nd March 2020 - Key Workers

Dear Parents

Tomorrow we open as a Partially Open School for Key Worker Children. We currently have a relatively large number of parents planning to send their children in. I would like to reiterate that parents make sensible decisions about whether they need to send their children into school. The government guideline is that school places are only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors previously specified, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision.

It is important to underline that schools, colleges and other educational establishments remain safe places for children and staff . The fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.”

The Government have now placed a requirement on key worker parents to obtain confirmation from their employer that, based on business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service. Please can you provide this information as soon as possible as we have to record it for the Local Authority attendance data.

As mentioned in a previous message our ability to stay open depends on staff’s health and the health of their family members. Currently we have 17 members of staff off due to self-isolation because they or a member of their family are showing symptoms. This number may well rise each day. We will be operating on a rotation of skeleton staff from the school to ensure safe working practices at this time. The provision will be for school hours (8:55am – 3:30pm) and will have limited taught content; children will be following work set online by their class teacher as we will be catering for a wide range of ages. Please check the school website / Parent Mail daily as if we do not have enough staff capacity, we will have to close until there are sufficient staff members to provide a safe environment for your child.

To remind you – children should wear school uniform and bring their PE kit and a packed lunch unless they are KS1 or FSM.

Once again, thank you all for your continued support and patience while we move into our next stage.

Take care

 

Kathy Burden, Staff and Governors

Friday 20th March 2020 - Message from Staff and Governors

Dear Parents and Carers,

As stated in a previous letter, during the school shutdown period, staff will be busy preparing work which will be uploaded on to the school homework pages at regular intervals. (See previous letter for details). Alongside this there will be useful links to online learning platforms that all children can access – e.g. Jo Wicks – live streaming PE lessons.

Mrs Lane will be busy working over the weekend redesigning the homework website in order to facilitate home learning. It should be ready by Monday morning, however I ask that you are patient with us as we get this ready.

I suggest that during this time of school closure you run your child’s day as similar to a school day as possible. This will of course depend very much on the age of your child/ children and yours and their wellbeing/ health.

For e.g.:

9:00am – 10:30am – school related activity

Break

10:45am – 12:30pm – school related activity

Lunch

1:15pm – 2:15pm – school related activity

Break

2:30pm – 3:30pm – school related activity / learning

Other suggestions: board games, jigsaw puzzles, card games etc are also very valuable educational activities. Please ensure your child takes regular breaks, has plenty of fresh air and exercise when possible.

Finally I would like to say that as we close our school for a partial shutdown I would like you to remember that we are still a school community and although we may not all be together we will be thinking of you and supporting where we can. During our assembly today we will reflect on all that has been achieved so far this year and end with our School Prayer. (see attached) Please find time to share this prayer with your child / children throughout the coming weeks and remind them of our school values. (see details on website).

A special message to all Year 6 parents- Please be reassured that we will arrange a time in the future, when the school is fully open, to celebrate the end of Year 6’s primary school year.

Thank you once again for your continued support.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Yours sincerely,

Kathy Burden, Staff and Governors

Friday 20th March 2020 - Key Worker Information

Dear Parents

You or your partner have indicated that you are a key worker and therefore your child/ children will be attending school during this partial opening period.

Please see below details of school attendance for Monday morning:

Government guidance around self-isolation still applies – if your child or any member of your family has shown symptoms then please do not send them to school for 14 days

  • · School start time: 8:55am and end time 3:30pm – At present there is no Breakfast club
  • · or afterschool clubs available due to staff capacity
  • · OOSC is intending to open for current and any new children needing places. Please see link to make contact with Owner Cath Purchase www.oosc.co.uk
  • · Sandwiches, fruit and snacks will be provided at lunch time for all KS1 children and any Free School Meals children– other children will need a snack and packed lunch
  • · All children will need their PE kit in school
  • · Normal attendance policy applies – if your child is not attending school please phone the school to provide the reason
  • · There will be no tuck shop available
  • · Please remember the government guidelines on social distancing whilst on school premises
  • · Please check parent mail / school website daily as school opening depends on staff health – we will only be able to open if there are enough staff members able to come into school.

Thank you for your cooperation in this – Please be patient as we are currently working out the details of how school from Monday will function. We will do our very best to maintain a varied school day for your children.

Our intention is to keep school partially open for as long as we can to support all those in key roles doing such a fantastic job in helping the country manage this crisis.

Take care

Kathy Burden, Staff and Governors

Friday 20th March - KEY WORKERS - ALL PARENTS TO COMPLETE THE PARENTMAIL FORM

Dear Parents,

The government have now issued their official list of what is a Key Worker. Please see the document below.

If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision.

We ask that parents make sensible decisions about whether they need to send their children into school. The government guideline is that school places are only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

It is important to underline that schools, colleges and other educational establishments remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.”

Our ability to stay open depends on staff’s health and the health of their family members. Currently we have 16 members of staff off, due to self-isolation because they or a member of their family are showing symptoms. We will be operating on a rotation of skeleton staff from the school to ensure safe working practices at this time. The provision will be for school hours and will have limited taught content, children will be following work set on- line by their class teacher as we will be catering for a wide range of ages. Please check the school website / parent mail daily as if we do not have enough staff capacity we will have to shut.

Once again thank you all for your continued support and patience while we move into our next stage.

Take care

 

Kathy Burden, Staff and Governors

KEY WORKERS LIST

Thursday 19th March - Free School Meal Arrangements

Dear Parents

Due to school closure, we have made up some work packs to support home learning for children who receive Pupil Premium. However if you are able to access the school website please use the Class Homework site for school work and use the work packs as an extra support.

If your child is currently not in school or not likely to be in tomorrow, please contact the office to make arrangements for collection or delivery.

As you are entitled to Free School Meals this provision will continue through the form of vouchers. We can arrange food vouchers to be posted or preferably emailed (as an e- voucher) once this is in operation.

Please see link below for further government guidance.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools

As far as we know food banks will remain open in the usual locations.

If you need any other support during this difficult time please do not hesitate to email the school (admin@stmarysbs.org.uk) and we will do our best to help you.

Regards

Staff and Governors at St Mary’s

Thursday 19th March 2020

Dear Parents,

The government advice on who will be classified as Key Workers will be released at some point today. As soon as this is available we will send it out via ParentMail as a form. Please review this list immediately and  respond by 10:00 am Friday morning at the latest. I am sure you will appreciate that in order to make provision for partial school opening we need to know how many children will be attending.

I would also like to take this opportunity to say thank you for all the lovely comments, messages and offers of help we have had from you all. They are much appreciated.

 Take care,

 Kathy Burden, Staff and Governors

Thursday 19th March 2020

 

Letter from South Gloucestershire Council

 

Dear Parents/Carers,


I am writing to provide you with information on how South Gloucestershire Local Authority and school leaders will respond to the government’s announcement yesterday (18/03/20) on school closures.


Yesterday afternoon the government announced that schools will close on Friday 20th March 2020, until further notice, for all children, with the exception of the children of key workers and vulnerable children (defined as those with a social worker or Education Health Care Plan). The list of key workers is being published tomorrow and your child’s school will be sharing this information with you as soon as it becomes available. Each school will be contacting its parents/carers and asking whether you fit into these categories and wish your child to continue to attend school.


We need to get a sense of how many families may require this provision, so that we can plan to meet this need. We are working with school leaders to put plans in place rapidly to respond to the Government’s requirements.


A lot of the detail linked to the announcement has yet to be published, such as how the provision for free school meals will work and how qualifications will be awarded in the absence of exams. We appreciate that this could be really upsetting for young people who have worked so hard but the Government is committed to working with the relevant bodies to ensure that young people are able to move onto their chosen destination without disruption. We will of course, keep families informed about this once the Government has published their strategy.


During the school closures, schools will be providing resources and learning ideas, including online activities, for you to support your child at home. We know this is a different way of working for us all. Schools will ensure they keep in touch with their parents/carers via their website and through text/email communication to let you know when their school will re-open.


The last week has been very challenging for us all but staff in our schools are demonstrating enormous commitment to maintaining high standards of education to our children and young people. The Secretary of state said in his speech to the House of Commons that headteachers, teachers and staff who work in schools are central to the country’s response. Through working together, I know we will rise to this challenge and make the difference our country needs.


We thank you for your continued partnership in working to overcome this situation together.

Yours sincerely,

Hilary Smith
Head of Education, Learning and Skills

Thursday 19th March 2020

Dear Parents and Carers, 

I would like to share with you our preparations for school closure.

Staff are busy preparing work which will be uploaded on to the school homework pages at regular intervals.

See below for work expectations:

Work for children to complete per week

  • 5 x Maths lessons  (initially these will be based on revision, but will move to new learning depending on length of school closure)
  • 5 x English lessons (initially these will be based on revision, but will move to new learning depending on length of school closure)
  • Spellings
  • Reading every day
  • Times tables
  • Research project for class topic
  • RE work –related to Easter
  • Useful websites to support learning

 In order for the children to complete this home learning we will send home a new exercise book for all children on Friday. If your child is not in school we will have a table set up outside school on Monday morning so that you are able to collect the exercise book if you wish.

As the government announced yesterday schools are to be kept open for key workers and vulnerable children. More clarification about this will come from the government today. Once we know more about this we will send out further information.

 Thank you for your patience with this and for your continued support at this unprecedented time.

Yours sincerely,

 Kathy Burden

Acting Head

Wednesday 18th March 2020

Following on from the latest government directive this evening, schools will be closing from the end of the school day on Friday. We will now continue with our plans on how we can best support pupils in educating at home.

Further information will follow tomorrow when we have had advice from the local authority on how we will manage this difficult situation, including how to best support vulnerable pupils and those that have parents that are key workers.(Please appreciate school opening and all other support will depend on the health of staff and their families)

Please bear with us while we now focus on the next stage of what is undoubtedly going to be a challenging time for all of us.

Kathy Burden

Acting Head Teacher

Wednesday 18th March 2020

We have been asked by the  Local Authority Safeguarding Team to provide you with following information, should you require it.

Access and  Response Team – 01454 86 6000 (during working hours)

Emergency duty team – 01454 615165 (out of hours)

Police – 101 for non-urgent issues & 999 if urgent and an immediate response is needed

Domestic Abuse Concerns - Next Link South Glos domestic abuse telephone help lines are open 8:30am – 5:30pm Monday to Friday and
9:30am – 1:00pm on Saturday 0800 4700 280

Mental health support - CAMHS (if young person is currently under CAMHS) – 01454 862431 or if you are concerned that you are not able to keep your child safe or they are not able to keep themselves safe then take them to the Accident & Emergency department at Bristol Children’s hospital or call for an ambulance.

Food banks links for families living in South Glos

https://oneyou.southglos.gov.uk/eat-well/food-poverty-support/

Food banks links for families living in Bristol

https://www.trusselltrust.org/

https://eastbristol.foodbank.org.uk/get-help/how-to-get-help/

Parents worried about exploitation - https://paceuk.info/ or for confidential help and advice, call Pace on 0113 240 5226

CHILDLINE – 0800 1111 or visit their website www.childline.org.uk

Samaratins – 116 123

Mental health apps approved by NHS - https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/category/mental-health/

Wednesday 18th March 2020

Dear Parents / Carers,

I am writing to give you updated advice regarding our current situation at St Mary’s.


The government is currently still expecting schools to remain open (in order to reduce the impact of school closures on families and, in particular, workers) and we intend to do this as much as possible for as long as possible. We have, for example, many parents who work in health or other organisations dealing with the pandemic. Due to proactive and careful management we have been able to cover staff who are absent and will try to continue to do so in the coming days unless circumstances significantly change. As such, we will continue to be open, as normal, to all year groups and will update you on a daily basis. Please note in the event of too many staff being unable to work we will look at partial closure of the school and finally fully closure.


We understand that parents will naturally have concerns about schools being open given the general ‘social distancing’ advice being issued. If parents are particularly concerned about their children mixing with others and increasing the risk of contagion for vulnerable family members, then it is for you as parents to decide on the most appropriate action for your family. In terms of your children (or anyone else in the household) showing any possible symptoms, the advice on self-isolation is unchanged from yesterday and we would ask parents to use the online advice from the NHS / Public Health England to decide whether family members should be self-isolating.

When pupils are ‘self-isolating’ they can complete work using the web links sent out in a previous message. Please be aware that the ability of teachers to set specific tasks for pupils not in school is limited, as, if in work themselves, they are teaching their normal lessons. Should we progress to partial or full closure in the coming days or weeks, then we will be issuing more specific guidance to all pupils and parents about how we will be maintaining appropriate continuity in learning and clarify our expectations of students in that case.  If you think you will be unable to access online learning when the time comes, please contact the school and we will provide paper copies of work where possible.


We will continue to keep in regular contact with parents, with updated information on the school website.

Finally I would like to say the support and understanding from our school community:  staff, pupils, governors and families at this incredibly testing time has been wonderful. Everyone is ‘stepping up’ and taking on additional duties in order to keep our school open. 

Take care

Our thoughts and prayers are with you all


Regards,


Kathy Burden

 Acting  Head

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