As we come up you half term I wanted to let you know how pleasing it was finally seeing parents come in to our new building for parents’ evening. It’s been a long year without seeing visitors, and many of the parents who came had their first visit inside the new building and were impressed by what they saw. More importantly, it gave parents the chance to meet staff face to face and, despite Covid, to see how well the children have been doing and looking at their work. Hopefully from September you will all be able to to come in for parents evenings and annual review.
In the meantime we are hopeful that our planned sports day and barbecue this summer will be able to go ahead. If you have been watching the news this week you will be aware that some uncertainty has developed about the planned ending of lockdown restrictions on June 21st. If there is a change we may have to cancel; the government is set to make an announcement on June 14th, so fingers crossed. In the meantime please continue to follow the rules around self isolation if anyone in your family develops symptoms or tests positive.
I have been working closely with Katie to ensure a smooth handover when she takes over in September. We are expanding by 2 more classes, so there is a lot of work to do, but it’s great being able to leave things in her capable hands, and I know she is really keen for everything to be in place. Because of the work around recruitment and organising classes, we are likely to be quite late informing you which class your child will be in next year, but should know early in July.
We all wish you a good half term week – the weather is looking good so hope you find the time to go out and about with your children, even if just to the local parks.
Over the last couple of days the Governors have been undertaking a selection process choose the right person to take over my role as Headteacher from September. Against a strong field, including external candidates, I am delighted to announce that my successor will be Katie Goodwin, currently our KS2 Deputy Head. I know Katie is looking forward to the challenge, and I am sure that she will enjoy it as much as I have.
In other news, we will be holding parent’s evening meetings throughout the week beginning 24th May. We are planning to allow parents to come in to school for these, but they will not all take place on the same evening and other restrictions will be in place. Any parent who would prefer a remote session will be able to book one – more information will be provided. We also hope to hold some outside events where parents can come into school. These will take place in the second half of the summer term after the 21st June relaxation of Covid rules, and will hopefully give you the chance to meet other parents and start to rebuild the sense of community that has always been a strong part of our identity.
A reminder that half term is from 31st May – 4th June and the school will be closed for an INSET day on Monday 21st June. We break up for the summer holiday at 1:30pm on Wednesday 21st July.
Hope you all enjoy the bank holiday weekend.
Nick Dry, Headteacher
We look forward to welcoming all pupils back to school on Monday.
For the first 2 weeks, classes will be following interim arrangements to reduce the risk of Covid transmission, and also following an adapted curriculum to help them readjust to school life.
This will include:
- Addressing their social and emotional needs.
- Restricting movement of staff, so they work within an extended bubble of 4 classes.
- Assessing pupils learning, particularly in areas that have been difficult to deliver remotely, and addressing gaps.
- Additional therapy input, particularly for language and communication needs, through our Covid recovery plan.
The first week will be a Science week where classes will be involved in practical learning related to Science, something that has been difficult to deliver remotely and will enable pupils to learn co-operatively and socially.
We understand that many of you will have been affected by illness or bereavement during the pandemic, and this may have been traumatic for your children. We are able to provide support for your child in school , using social stories and circle time activities, and if appropriate, the support of play or music therapists. If you feel your child has been affected by these issues, please let your child’s class teacher know using WeDuc. You may also contact our family liaison worker, Juliet Bellagambi, who can discuss any support you or your child might need.
We’ll be keeping the bubbles and movement around school restricted until Easter but will be able to use additional learning spaces around school again after the Easter break in line with Government guidance. By that point we anticipate that pupils will be back into school routines and on track with their learning, though we do understand that for many children, it will take time for them to catch up.
We hope that this will be the start of a return to normality. In the summer term we will be able to invite parents in for resumption of coffee mornings.
Parents evening meetings will now take place on 26th May, and we hope to hold these in school.
We look forward to welcoming all pupils back to school on Monday 8th March.
School transport has been organised and we have revisited our risk assessment to ensure that we operate as safely as possible, with the aim of reducing Covid transmission in school, and reducing the size of contact groups as far as possible.
Infection rates in Croydon have fallen very quickly, and will be even lower when we reopen, so we are confident that it will be safe to do so. There are also additional measures in place that should reduce risks for everyone. These include twice weekly testing of staff, and special school staff in Croydon finally being included in the vaccination program. Most of our staff were vaccinated over the half term holiday.
There is still a high risk of a positive case occurring and if this happens, the same measures will apply, including 10 days self-isolation for contacts. If this happens, we will inform you to keep children at home as soon as we can and reinstate virtual learning for classes affected.
It is still very important that you follow the Covid rules and seek a test if anyone shows symptoms in your household, and isolate as necessary.
Attendance of children is mandatory, which means all children should attend unless they are ill, shielding or self isolating or a leave of absence has been agreed. There may be some children who are now on the shielding list until 31st March. Please inform us if this applies to your child, so we can provide some remote learning with their class.
After such unprecedented times, I am sure you will share with me the hope that this is the beginning of the end, and that we can gradually reduce the restrictions in school and return to a normal way of operating at some point in the near future, and be able to invite parents into our new school building.
Thank you all for your patience and support during this period.
From 1st-5th March we are celebrating World Book Week and this year we are focussing our celebrations around the stories and poems of Julia Donaldson! She wrote some of our favourite stories including The Gruffalo, What the Ladybird Heard, Superworm, The Snail and the Whale, Room on the Broom and so many more!
During the week, in your online lessons or at school, your teachers will be sharing Julia Donaldson stories and activities.
On Friday 5th March we would love it if you could dress up as your favourite book character (it doesn’t have to be a Julia Donaldson character) and send your teacher some photos for our school display. We would also love some photos of you reading at home or somewhere more unusual!
The World Book Day website (www.worldbookday.com) is running weekly competitions – this week they are asking you to send in photos of Books That Make You LOL – to kick off Show Your Shares, this week’s competition is all about what makes you chuckle! Your favourite funny reads, or you sharing stories in a silly way. Are you reading dressed as your favourite funny book character or giggling over your favourite comic? Please send in photos directly to the World Book Day website and to your class teacher so that we can display them in school too!
Below is the link to print your own £1 book token – it can be printed and used in shops like Sainsbury’s or Asda or shown on a phone screen in some participating shops. Please see the Ts&Cs at the bottom of the voucher to see where it can be used.
We are having an international cook off! We would love it if you could send us photos of a dish you have cooked with your parents! Please send photos to Frederique (email@example.com) or Claire Winters (firstname.lastname@example.org) by email or on Weduc!
Frederique has set us another Rights Respecting School challenge, to write a postcard to our buddy schools in France and New Zealand. You could make one on paper or complete the Postcard 2Do on Purple Mash.
I am writing to update you on the current situation. This is an extremely challenging time and all our staff understand that the parents of children with special educational needs find it particularly difficult and distressing.
The overriding message from the government is to stay at home, and this is because we have infection rates which are probably higher than the first wave, particularly in London where 1 in 30 people are believed to be infected. Unless people follow the advice, this will continue to rise. Approximately 1 in 100 people infected will develop serious illness. Many of our families are likely to have been affected by serious illness and bereavement caused by Covid. We have had several staff whose families have been affected by bereavement related to Covid, and one pupil who was hospitalised for more than 6 months, fortunately now recovering well.
The new strain of Covid does not appear to cause symptoms in most children that are any more severe than the previous strain, although we have a small number of children who are particularly vulnerable because of pre-existing medical conditions, who could become ill if they caught the virus. However, children are more likely to catch it, and spread it than before. This includes people in your family support bubbles. If we were fully open now it is likely the school would be continually closing bubbles, as well as greatly increasing risk to the whole community.
The risk of transmitting Covid in our school is greater than it is in most other schools. We cannot organise children so they have no contact outside the classroom with other bubbles – they are mixed on transport, they mix on the playground and they require a team of staff to work with each group who cannot avoid contact with each other. Our children also cannot be expected to socially distance, or wear masks, though we have worked hard with them to understand the importance of handwashing and good hygiene.
Our staff are not tested routinely, and have not been prioritised for a vaccine. If the government were to do this we feel it would really help us plan to open the school up fully.
We know you want your child to be in school. Our staff do too, they love working with your children, and seeing them learn and develop. However we can only have all children in school when it is safe to do so.
At the moment, by keeping provision only for the children of critical workers and our most vulnerable children who cannot safely be looked after at home, we can reduce the risks and keep our school community safe. We will provide remote learning sessions to all children at home and keep in touch through regular calls. We are updating the web site with more resources them, and parents on the Facebook site are sharing links that they find useful to support each other. If you are not already a member of the parent Facebook page, then search for ‘Parents of St Nicks Purley’ and request to join.
Throughout the coming weeks we are planning to expand on site provision as the risk of Covid reduces. In the first lockdown , we managed to provide rota’d provision for all pupils in the second half of the summer term, and it is our intention to do this again when it is safe enough to do so.
Thank for your continued understanding and support and I hope that you agree that this is the best course of action to ensure we all stay as safe as possible.
If you would like to support the case for teachers being vaccinated, please sign the petition: