Lead Encourage Aspire Respect Nurture
Thank you for your help to make this term a successful one and to keep COVID-19 away as much as possible. We are very grateful for your support in what has been a difficult year for all. We have loved having all of the pupils back in school and have been able to provide a calm learning environment with high pupil engagement, a reflection of the efforts at home to support your child’s learning and wellbeing throughout this period, despite the challenges we have all faced.
Within school we are enjoying the build up to Christmas, trying to continue with our traditional Christmas activities in a COVID-19 friendly manner. As normal, the pupils are maintaining their academic learning as during this year more than ever, we all appreciate how precious the time in school is and how important it is for the future of our children.
Throughout terms 1 and 2 we have been engaging all of our pupils in a Covid safe, broad, balanced and ambitious curriculum. When the children first returned in September we conducted a baseline assessment to allow all staff to plan learning from the children’s start points as many of them we had not seen for several months. Recently we have conducted further summative assessments to see where we need to drive pupils next term in relation to their progress across the term. I am pleased to inform you that all the children have worked really hard throughout the autumn terms and are making good progress.
With the analysis of the information that we now have we are in the process of putting together some ‘catch-up’ work for those who need it. This work will begin during term 3 and will continue up until the end of the academic year. For some children, in some year groups, this work will be conducted during the normal school day but for others this may also represent some additional learning at school outside of the normal hours of the school day. Further information will be issued, relating to ‘catch-up’, at the start of next term.
I would certainly encourage all parents and carers to continue with the practice of listening to your child read at home. Reading is the most important skill that children need to learn in primary school, as without this necessary skill they will struggle to access the curriculum independently. We are continuing to run our reading for pleasure afternoons, on a fortnightly basis, which the children thoroughly love. Encouraging your children to pick up a book and read at home, on a regular basis, will significantly improve their ability to read fluently and gain a greater understanding of the vocabulary used in context. When listening to your children read it is also important to engage with the text by asking questions at appropriate moments to gauge their understanding. As their knowledge of vocabulary increases so to will their interest in the books they are reading.
Outside Activity and Learning
Ventilation within school has been maintained at a high level as part of our COVID-19 safety measures. Pupils spend time outside as much as possible, whatever the weather, and this is having a positive effect on pupil’s physical health and mental wellbeing. Pupils are more alert in class so the extra layers are worth it!
Having a class PE day has ensured that time (or clothing) is not lost changing and great fun has been had on the field in all weathers. Class PE day will continue into term 3, with pupils coming to school in their PE kit.
We are extremely grateful to FOS who have supported the repair of our outside forest shelter. The rotten decking boards have been replaced, when it was discovered that further work was also needed on the base structure. This has been carried out and the roof made watertight and extended. The work was delayed due to a shortage of supplies but all is now finished and able to be used by the pupils, providing a valuable outside learning space and shelter during break times.
Down Syndrome Awareness Day
Thank you to everyone who supported Down Syndrome Awareness Day and sent their child into school in non-school uniform. A fantastic £245.49 was raised on the day and will be sent to the following two charities: Wouldn’t Change a Thing and Cotswold Downs Syndrome Group.
The Governing Board of the school has continued with their normal meeting schedule alongside additional meetings relating to the pandemic. As in many other areas of life, these meetings have moved online. We are very grateful to our group of governors who support the school in a voluntary capacity. Details of our Governing Board can be found on the school website.
Remembrance Day fell during lock down so plans were tailored to fit in with the latest guidelines. All classes participated in a thought-provoking online assembly led by the Revd Dana Delap. They had chance to remember and reflect on those that have fought and lost their lives for our freedom and had a moment of silence. Class 1 discussed this topic at length and created a tuff tray poppy to help them remember the key phrase.
Class 2 visited the war memorial later in the term for a sketching session. Class members were also able to share information, photos and memorabilia from family members who had served in the armed forces.
We continue with our online collective worship and assemblies. These are delivered by Mr Pudifoot, staff members or Revd Dana Delap. Collective worship has been focused on the value of Trust this term. Pupils have looked at different Bible stories that relate to Trust. This week we have looked at Mary and Joseph with the theme of ‘waiting’ also threaded in to the worship session. We have discovered how Hezekial trusted God, another week we heard about David and Goliath. Our value next term, after Christmas, will be perseverance. As we continue to cope with the challenges brought by this pandemic, perseverance in life, whatever challenges may come our way, is an important skill for the pupils to learn which will help them on their academic journey. We look forward to the Biblical stories that we can share that demonstrate this.
We are a Church of England school and therefore enjoy strong links to our local church in Blockley, St Peter’s and St Paul’s. We have been able to share with you details of the Living Advent Calendar that the Church are running. A new window in the village will be illuminated on each day of advent and stay illuminated in the evening until 6th January. We have strong links with the church and are normally able to visit the church for class group interactive, teaching sessions with members of the church community, alongside school worship for festivals such as Harvest, Remembrance and Christmas. This year we are really pleased that we will be able to visit the church for separate class bubble Christingle services. Children will visit the church on Tuesday or Wednesday next week (15th, 16th December 2020), in their individual class bubbles. Each class has a time slot and will be joined by a socially distanced Revd Dana Delap to lead the Christingle Service. Currently protocol means that each child will not receive a Christingle but they will have a class Christingle and instructions can be found online to make these at home and explain their meaning.
Save the Children
Save the Children have a yearly Christmas Jumper day which we always support as a school. This year is no different in that respect! Pupils and staff are encouraged to come to school in their Christmas Jumper – homemade additions to a normal jumper are fine with a suggested donation of £1 to be dropped into the collecting buckets at the entrance gates on the day (Wednesday 16th December). We look forward to seeing a vast array of jumpers and fully entering into the Christmas spirit. Christmas jumpers need to be worn on top of normal school uniform (PE kit for Class 4).
On Christmas Jumper day we will also be enjoying our Christmas lunch. Normally this would involve the whole school, pupils and staff sitting down to eat a Christmas meal together with much help from FOS. However, we will have to run things differently this year to ensure pupils remain in their class bubbles. Nevertheless, the pupils and the adults in their bubbles will sit down together in a decorated hall with their own cracker (suitably quarantined beforehand). Thank you to FOS for the crackers and decorations. Unless you have already contacted school to state that your child wishes to have a jacket potato, vegetarian or bring a packed lunch, then all pupils will have a Christmas turkey meal with chocolate brownie.
Father Christmas is operating this year under COVID-19 rules and will still be able to make a visit to school on the afternoon of 16th December. He will fly in and take a walk around the outside of the building so that he will be able to say hello to each class bubble through their open exterior door. He may even be able to deliver a sack of previously quarantined presents!
Class 1 have been writing Christmas letters to Father Christmas and were able to take a walk to the post box to deliver them this week.
Each class is planning their own class bubble party, complete with party food. Pupils can wear party clothes to school, if they wish, instead of school uniform. However please ensure that these are still warm and suitable for outside play and activities on the school field.
Class 1 Friday 18th Wear warm party clothes to school (break times on the school field)
Class 2 Friday 18th Wear warm party clothes to school
Class 3 Thursday 17th Wear warm party clothes to school (suited to the outdoors)
Class 4 Thursday 17th Wear warm party clothes to school
Class 5 Thursday 17th Wear warm party clothes to school
As part of the festivities each class will also have the opportunity to watch a Christmas film in their class group during the final week. A sweet treat will be on offer during the film. Class 5 are looking forward to watching ‘A Christmas Carol’ as they are reading this book in class.
Nativity and Carol Service
The nativity is a much-anticipated event of the year and a key milestone in the development of KS1 and Reception pupils as it allows the children a chance to perform in front of an audience, which provides the opportunity to develop their speaking, listening and acting skills.
Unfortunately, we have been unable to put on a performance which Blockley has become known for, however, Class 1 and Class 2 have been very busy practising and performing within their class bubble. Class 1 completed a nativity and Class 2 sang carols. These events were recorded for Class 1 and Class 2 parents. We are really proud of how well all the children learned their lines and words and have performed them, despite some nerves!
Please can all children come to school in their PE clothes on their normal PE day next week (with the exception of Class 5 who have their party on Thursday). Class 4 can bring an additional sweatshirt into school if they wish to change out of their Christmas Jumper for PE.
Class 5 wear warm party clothes on Thursday 17th.
This Christmas we are pleased to be able to support our local food bank. We have been informed that Christmas specific items would be appreciated – sweets, chocolates, cake, mince pies, puddings. A collection box will be located on the steps of St George’s Hall on Friday 18th December. Items will need to be left by 9.30am.
FOS, with the help of the community, have created a Festive Gingerbread Trail and Prize Draw which runs from 12th December until 2nd January 2020. Further details can be found on the FOS page of the school website. It is a fantastic activity to be able to do with the children over the festive period.
End of Term
Term finishes on Friday 18th December.
Classes 1 and 2 – School ends at 2pm – please collect your children promptly.
Classes 3, 4 and 5 – School ends at 2.10pm – please collect your children promptly.
There is no After School Care on Friday 18th December.
If your child test’s positive for COVID-19 over the Christmas period please forward your child’s test result to firstname.lastname@example.org stating when they started to show symptoms.
We wish you all a very happy Christmas and hope you manage to have an enjoyable break. We look forward to welcoming pupils back to school on Tuesday 5th January. Class bubbles entrance gates, staggered start and end times will remain the same.
With festive good wishes
Blockley School Staff