Our first newsletter of this new (and very different!) term...
Newsletter 14- Thursday 23rd April 2020
Dear Parents/ Carers and CHILDREN of Tudor Primary,
Welcome to our first newsletter for the final term of the academic year. Whilst the children would normally be settling back into their Tudor classrooms after two weeks out of school, our priority is to ensure we are working to support and engage over 400 children in separate classrooms all across our community- it certainly is a situation that we have never had to deal with before (and hopefully we do not have to experience again!)…
A strong ‘start’
First of all- a big well done to all of you for your efforts so far. Speaking as a parent as well as the headteacher of your school, home schooling is not an easy situation to deal with. There are so many factors that affect how each child can adapt and respond and, as a school, we must pledge to do what we can to support families who are trying to juggle so many things at the moment. As my web update shared at the start of the week, aim to find a balance within your own situation that you can deliver. Despite what they say (and try to convince you of!), children ‘need’ structure as this provides them with familiarity qnd security- this, then, reduces anxiety. Children are ‘more likely’ to be receptive and alert in the morning and feedback tells us that the more formalized activities within the Home Learning are easier to deliver at such times. Whilst the setting is different, as much consistency with a ‘normal’ school ‘routine’ will support your young learners.
The teaching team at Tudor will provide learning activities that are accessible. However, especially in these first few days, do not feel pressured to complete everything and do not expect it to be perfect. There are just so many different factors and, from the outset, Tudor has tried to limit the potential of obstacles: we are not relying on parents to print out huge amounts of pages/ worksheets because research tells us that this would severely restrict the majority- it’s not just the printer itself is it- it is also the price of the ink!
We have also streamlined our own planning so that there are themes of study that are consistent across different year groups. Once again, we will continue to empathise with the situation of parents rather than simply expecting families to get on with it. Part of this is responding to the feedback and views of parents. Partnership is more vital than ever.
Supporting with Home Learning
As the above demonstrates, we are ALL on a learning curve but I firmly believe that the Tudor community’s curve is more gentle than of many other schools. In addition to the (approximate) £10k investment in printed materials, we have also differentiated the use of the online learning platforms for the different year groups. Tapestry continues to be used expertly by our parent community in the Early Years and we are using SEESAW in Years 1 and 2. We have been using this learning platform for a few years at Tudor with select classes and it provides a good step up from Tapestry. To help here, the team are creating bespoke support videos to help families and if there are particular things you are finding difficult, then please do contact the school or your child’s teacher.
In KS2, google classroom is able to support the home learning and this is an online learning platform that your children are likely to use more and more as they progress through their schooling. It has increased capability (and can integrate with other operating systems/ software) and the children are able to access a range of google driven programs to help them learn. Once again, the teaching team are creating our own support videos to help families use the technology which helps children continue to feel part of their class.
Maintaining those Tudor strengths…
In relation to any of the learning platforms, we do expect that children engage and behave in these ‘virtual classrooms’ with the same high standards that we achieve whilst at Tudor Primary. As you know, Tudor has invested a lot in E-Safety in the recent past because we are aware that children find it difficult to manage their actions and choices when online. A virtual classroom is STILL a classroom and we expect the same standards of engagement as we would when in school. We will support this further by providing additional E-Safety lessons as part of our planning over the next few weeks.
Looking forward- what next?
It was nice to see so many parents (with appropriate social distancing!) at the end of last week when families were able to collect the learning packs. The most common question I was asked was obviously ‘How long will all this continue?’ I am unable to give a clear answer and any predicted date would be pure speculation. Reports in the press indicate a June return as the earliest possible date but this would also be with additional measures (such as a phased return). In relation to this, the safety and wellbeing of the teaching team must be recognised. At present, the teachers of Tudor are working incredibly hard with the online learning and, because they want to do the best for the children, they have been working (even) longer hours to try and meet the needs of everyone. Responding to emails and notifications throughout the day and into late evening is not sustainable. What it does evidence, though, is that our teachers are keen to keep your children progressing academically and socially. We ALL have to find that balance, teachers included!
Fitness and FUN!
Mr Higgins’ fitness videos continue to prove popular. Each day there is a fun fitness challenge that offers something different. If you feel brave, record your own efforts and share them with us. You might even find yourselves on our website/ twitter page. Go for it!
Tudor in the community
Tudor Primary is proud of how we are going that ‘extra mile’ in the local area. We have provided 100s of gift packages to vulnerable residents and many additional important deliveries are made every day to help our community. If you see any of our team out and about, do give them a wave! We are all #TeamTudor
Once again, please recognise that as a parent myself I recognise how difficult it is to meet the needs of children (and each other) in this difficult period. I have mentioned to many of you before that parenting two children of my own is harder than managing the education for 450 others! At the moment, we are all having to do everything. Let’s ALL look forward to a return to normality when our Tudorites can return with their big smiles.
Let’s do all that we can to make sure that day comes sooner rather than later.