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January Update

I wish to pass on a huge thank you for your support over the past few days following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday night. Head Teachers and school staff were sat, like you, watching the news briefing at 8pm without any prior knowledge at what it may contain. It was suspected that a lockdown may follow at some point and that we would have a few days, as we did last March, in order to reorganise plans, however, that was not the case. Indeed, we had left the classrooms on Monday evening set up to welcome over 600 pupils back to school after the Christmas break! Thankfully, we had already drafted a letter in preparation for such an eventuality and created the booking form for Parents of Key Worker and Vulnerable children, so it was just a case of a few adaptations in order for us to share it with you.

For those of you who have been parents/carers at Battling Brook for a number of years, you will know that it is our intention that school remain open for our children regardless of external factors, for example, snow. Indeed, we are often open on such days when many schools close, so the decision to remain closed on Tuesday was not taken lightly. We, like a number of other schools felt the additional day was essential in order to be well prepared for planning things such as, blended/dual learning and having a clear register of children who were expected on site. I appreciate that the closure had an impact on many families and I can only apologise.  I hope that you know the school well enough to know that this decision was taken as a last resort.   

Moving forward, I hope that you are starting to get to grips with the home learning. At present, all staff remain in school in order to support both the children who are attending each day and those working at home. Please rest assured that this includes support for parents too. If at any point over the next few weeks you need help with anything technical, work or emotionally related please get in contact via the class email and a member of the phase staff will respond as quickly as possible. In addition, our Pastoral Team are available for phone calls should you need advice or a listening ear.

Provision for home learning will be quite different than that experienced last year as we now have the Google Classroom platform which will be utilised by Years 1 to 6. I understand that there have been a few issues regarding the formatting of some of the documents sent home, for this please accept our apologies. We are all on a steep learning curve and I thank you for your patience and understanding whilst we iron out these teething problems. As I have already explained we have staff standing by to deal with such issues; please simply contact us via the class email for assistance rather than taking to social media! Staff will be available between 9am and 5pm in order to respond to anything sent to the class emails.

Staff are preparing a few videos to share with you and your children and we hope to provide some pre-recorded lessons, led by teachers, over next week in order to provide some variety for everyone. Don’t forget Joe Wicks returns next week for ‘P.E. with Joe’ so if you are keen, willing and able, that is a fantastic way to incorporate some physical activity.

We understand that home circumstances are different for all of our families and we are acutely aware that many families have more than one child and electronic devices may need to be shared between children. This is why we have decided at the moment to provide pre-recorded sessions, (rather than live lessons) which will be accessible at any time, so that all children can benefit, rather than the few who are lucky enough to have individual technology.

It is important to note that should your circumstances change, and you become a Key/Critical worker please contact the school and we will do our best to accommodate you. At present, everyone who replied via the form and on time, received their requested place at school. That said, we have 5 times more children in school this January, than we did during last year’s lockdown in March. At the moment we have not had to ask for proof of eligibility in terms of Key/Critical worker status but should request for places become unmanageable this will be something that we will have to put into place. The message from the Government does however, remain the same: stay at home if you can. We fully appreciate the difficulties of home learning which is why we have reassigned staff in order to provide the necessary support for you all.   

I hope this gives you a little update as to where we are as a school. Please take good care of yourselves and stay safe.