Newsreel

Jane Tosetti

Spine chillers… read some of the mini-thrillers, written in just 100 words, by Year 8 boys following their study on Gothic Horror in the summer term as part of the Young Writers scary-story competition.

All the stories will be published in a book called ‘Spine-Chillers: From the Shadows’ and as the editor commented, they were all so good that she couldn’t choose between them!

 

Phased Return to School & September Outlook
Jane Tosetti

We welcomed back Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils last week. Read more about how we are managing the latest phased return to school and the complexities of the proposed full return in September.

Welcome Back! School Site Reopens

As you will be aware from the national press and our social media channels which you may follow, children in Year 6, Year 1, Reception and Nursery were able to return to the school site last week. Some schools have not yet made the decision to reopen whilst others have do not have the resources to make the necessary adaptations to be able to comply with the government’s new extensive safety and distancing guidelines, and others are offering part days or part week attendance. We have however, invested a considerable amount of time and effort in ensuring that our arrangements meticulously comply with the guidance to provide the best possible foundation for the safe return of our children and staff. This has been logistically challenging and naturally time consuming, but we appreciate our parents’ confidence in our ability to manage these parameters and are totally delighted to have welcomed back more than 90% of those pupils who are able to return.

 

The complexities of reopening the school site to these year groups has been considerable and we are only able to do so by introducing distancing measures and keeping children in new prescribed class bubbles, adhering to new class size limits. These bubbles cannot interact with others and the same allocated teachers must remain with these class units consistently. In addition, we are still not allowed to welcome any parents or visitors on site which is very restrictive for admissions purposes.

Whilst this is very logistically challenging, we must accept and adapt to the changes and restrictions as best we can. On 9th June, a further announcement by the Education Secretary suggested that there may be scope for more pupils to return to school this term but we are waiting for guidance as to how this will work in practise and the timescales for implementation but this does clearly demonstrate how fluid the situation is and how flexible we need to be.

 

Home Learning Programme

We are so thankful to be teaching pupils once more in the school environment which is not only completely conducive to learning but also for providing pastoral care and social interaction. However, we remain very much aware of the paramount importance of supporting children in year groups which are unable to return to the school site especially as it is not certain when they may be back. We have therefore, ensured that our Home Learning Programme remains comprehensive for those children who are still being taught remotely and many of our staff remain working from home facilitating the delivery of ‘live lessons’. 

September 2020

Yesterday, the government declared a commitment to all pupils returning in September. However, whilst we remain very hopeful that school life will be relatively normal from this point, we cannot confirm the restrictions that will need to be in place and this will be determined purely by government direction and how well the spread of coronavirus is being controlled. It may well be that distancing will still need to be managed in the smaller classes, on a rota basis or with a reduced contact curriculum where, for example, sports and extra-curricular activities may not be possible or limited. We also cannot predict whether the school transport or wrap around care provision will be fully in place. Moving forwards, we may also need to, or be ready to, revert to full home learning if there is a second wave or continue to manage a hybrid combination of both home learning and in-school teaching. However, whilst we anticipate that this tenuous position may continue for some time, having successfully managed these scenarios this term we do feel equipped to adapt school operations depending on the requirements. Underpinning every direction we take, is our commitment in being able to offer onsite education to as many children as we are able to, and as complete an operation as we possibly can.

New Pupils

For those parents who have children joining the school in September, we will communicate any necessary restrictions on day to day operations for September once the government has confirmed their operational guidance. This is however unlikely to be until much nearer the time, possibly one or two weeks beforehand as the legislation is likely to shift depending on the levels of circulating virus. Whatever the dynamics for September we very much looking forward to meeting your children this autumn.

 

Jane Tosetti

Something for you to enjoy from our talented recorder teacher Miss Humphrys; The Teddy Bears Picnic made with the help of her recorder quintet Fontanella.

Learning in Lockdown
Jane Tosetti

Now that we are well into the third week of the remote summer term, you will be interested to hear more about how we have successfully managed to ensure the continuity of teaching, learning and the well-being of all the children during this crisis.

Now that we are well into the third week of the remote summer term, you will be interested to hear more about how we have successfully managed to ensure the continuity of teaching, learning and the well-being of all the children during this crisis.

When the Government announced that there would be an indefinite school site closure in the penultimate week of last term, we were able to respond with the launch our Home Learning Programme within a matter of a few days, owing to our existing and versatile infrastructure and the unique approach to education which is shared by everyone at the school.

 

Through our Home Learning Programme we have helped to ensure that children and families have a sense of routine, maintain familiarity with school life and have a medium for social interaction with classmates and teachers. All factors which have been vitally important for the children’s emotional and education stability during the lockdown.

 

IT Infrastructure

 

Curriculum

 

Well-Being

  • Our existing virtual cloud-based learning platform, Firefly, was already embedded as an effective learning and communication tool. Parents, children and teachers at the school were competent in accessing resources and used to having homework set through this channel so we could quickly make adaptations to the platform to incorporate the delivery of a remote timetable.
  • We began an iPad initiative in 2016 and every child in Year 5 upwards already has a personal school iPad so this group of children were fully conversant with digital learning and were able to quickly adapt to remote, independent learning at home.
  • Our flexible and dedicated teachers quickly embraced a new video conferencing software, Webex which has provided us with our live lesson webinar functionality and works with Firefly in a very complimentary way. In fact, we are incredibly proud to offer the largest school Webex program in the UK.
  • Through these mediums, we were able to create a remote timetable providing a combination of ‘live teaching’ using webinars which are fully supplemented by recorded lessons, resources and activities. These flexible resources have helped parents to balancing working from home whilst looking after their children.
 
  • Staff were able to develop a comprehensive remote timetable using the excellent structure of our existing enriched curriculum and the extensive range of resources which have been extended to include new ideas that particularly lend themselves to remote learning.
  • We have made home learning for our younger pupils accessible and valuable through the introduction of one to one and small group sessions to support them on a more granular basis. Every pupil, including our nursery children, has been able to access the programme and participates on a daily basis providing exceptional learning continuity and maintaining contact and routine.
  • We have remotely hosted school assemblies, complete with singing, entertaining Easter parties, sports challenges, story time and other whole school initiatives such as our Silver Letter campaign where children have written to many vulnerable members within our local community. These initiatives have particularly helped us to maintain a strong sense of community and togetherness.
 
  • Safeguarding the well-being of our children has been critical throughout the lockdown and we have continued to monitor attendance on a daily and lesson by lesson basis to ensure that every pupil is well and is accessing learning.
  • We have used remote form time to bring children together in a remote but familiar environment, celebrating events such as birthdays and giving children an opportunity to share their news or raise any concerns.
  • Our remote timetable integrates learning support for those children who have special learning needs and these children have continued to benefit from the support of their one to one Learning Support Assistants even remotely.
  • From the outset of the lockdown, we have provided comprehensive on-site care, complete with complimentary holiday and after-school provision, for the children of key workers and those children who have defined additional learning needs.

Our Home Learning Programme has really proved an excellent medium to keep children in touch with each other and ensured that they continue to feel very much that they are still attending school and are part of the school community. The programme has been exceptionally well received by parents and we will continue to develop and enrich our offering over the summer term, and for as long as the period of lockdown lasts. We do hope that the school will be open in September so that we can recommence our usual Welcome Mornings where prospective parents have an opportunity to see normal school life at first hand. Until then, you may be interested to join our Virtual Open Event which is being launched later this week so please contact admissions@newlandhouse.net if this is of interest. You can also keep up to date with news and developments on our website (newlandhouse.net) or through our social media news.