Coronavirus Disruption

Coronavirus Disruption

When the initial lockdown announcement came in March, we were ready, and our on-line learning programme was launched! 

With the country entering another lockdown period,  here at Fosse Bank we are proud of the home learning platform that was quickly established during the first lockdown earlier in the year.

However, as soon as was it was permitted and with the help of staff and support of the school governors, the school was able to re-open on 1st June.

Each year group (“pod”) was set up with adherence to social distancing rules and each pod was allocated their individual playing field/ area and facilities – one of the many advantages of having lots of outdoor space! – Outdoor activities were encouraged and increased to achieve the best wellbeing for all.

Throughout this challenging period, we have kept our communications with parents frequent and carried out a parent survey to gather feedback. The results showed how hard lockdown had been for many working parents, particularly those with young children, and we learned from these comments.

 

Communication is key!

Dear Parents,

I am writing to update you on the practicalities for your children returning to school on Thursday next week.  We will continue to follow DFE advice but go further to do what we believe is right to keep your children as safe as possible.

From 3rd September we will:

  • Be in pods with one or two classes and their staff allotted to each pod; (Y5, Y6, Y3 & Y4, Y1 & Reception, Kindergarten & Little Fosse);
  • Children should bring their school bag to school with snack, water bottle, and pencil cases for years 4-6. These bags will stay under the individual’s desk. PE bags should not be brought in.
  • School uniform will be worn on most days, but on PE days, (the timetable for which will be on the website on Tuesday), children should wear PE kit to school. A spare set of clothes should be brought in their school bag in case they get very wet or muddy during PE.  Spare clothes are not expected to be school uniform as they may be squashed in bags.
  • Have temperature checks on entry;
  • Break time snacks to be brought to school by children and kept with each individual;
  • Normal catering will resume, but eating with their own pod;
  • As advised over the holiday, we will resume before and after school provision from 7.30am, and to 6pm. Food will not be provided before or after school so children attending before school will need to have breakfast before they arrive, and those attending After School Club will need to bring a snack with them if required.
  • Play areas will be separated as now, but each class will have a designated hard surface area as well for when the grass is too wet;
  • Early Years will return to the main school building, but continue to be outside as much as possible;
  • French, Music, PE and Forest School with specialist teachers will recommence.
  • Swimming will resume for years 1-6. Kindergarten and Little Fosse are currently not able to swim as the Swimming Association states that staff cannot be at close quarters with children in the water. We will let you know if this changes.  Staff will, of course, rescue any Y1-6 child who gets into difficulty in the water.
  • Homework will be set, often using Teams for Years 3 to 6.
  • Have staggered entry and exit from the school.

 

A bit more on the home learning platform….

  • With Microsoft Teams, Assignments, pre-recorded material on Sway and live teaching on Zoom, year groups were taught maths and English live every morning.
  • Virtual break out rooms enabled additional staff to take small groups out of the main classrooms.
  • Further lessons were taught in the afternoons and parents decided how much afternoon screen time they wanted for their child.
  • Below Year 4 most children needed to be running around outside in the afternoons. Many lessons involved physical activity, pupils baked raspberry buns together online, for instance, made bug hotels, and learned about time by counting how many jumps or trampoline bounces could be made in five minutes.
  • The younger children, while needing more parent time to help them, were also very comfortable with the technology. Daily phonics and maths was interwoven with activities such as ‘Joke Fridays’ and story-telling.
  • The Early Years class had a head start as teachers and parents were used to communicating on Tapestry. Phonics and maths were live every day, but also recorded so parents could access these lessons at convenient times. The children loved having their teachers read stories to them and the most popular activity was Early Years staff dancing!

 

A sense of community

As a small school we pride ourselves on the sense of community that we impart across the whole school. Despite the difficulties of remote learning, we were able maintain this sense of community by organising a weekly Zoom assembly  for the whole school. The children were able to see everyone and celebrate house points and birthdays.  Whole school activities included den building, designing super- heroes and all manner of activities, adding to a sense of being part of the school.

Our PTA, the Fosse Association, also helped enormously.  The transformation of our annual summer overnight camp-over (which normally takes in the school fields) into a fabulous ‘virtual Camp-over’ was a big success, with many families camping in their gardens or under canvas in their homes.

 

Comment from Headmistress

Overall, as Headmistress, I am very pleased with the how the school has been able to quickly adapt to this ever-changing environment. With a tremendous effort from both teachers, support staff and parents we have been able to continue to provide an education with minimal disruption. Being a small school has been particularly advantageous, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of staff and children as we swiftly installed control measures. Just having the children back in school, happy and so accepting of the ‘new normal’ reminds us all how lucky we are to be part of this community.

 

Resources for mental health and wellbeing can be found below.

Places are available throughout the school from September and whilst we cannot conduct prospective parent visits we have created a Virtual Tour to try and give you a snapshot of life at Fosse Bank. If you are interested in joining our family then please do get in touch and we can arrange a virtual taster day for your child so they can meet the class teacher, pupils and sample some of our remote lessons.

Kind regards

Alison Cordingley
Headmistress

Fosse Bank School

Daily Updates from the Department of Education can be accessed via this link https://www.gov.uk/government/latest?departments%5B%5D=department-for-education