Information Update: 23.4.20

I hope you and your families continue to stay well.

Phone calls home
It has been lovely to hear from so many of you so far this week. Teachers have been busy making calls and if you haven’t received one yet, we will be in contact soon. Please note, these calls will probably show as ‘Private Number’ on your phone, so please answer we are keen to speak with all families.

We have had wonderful feedback from the children and you, about Sam and Sertac’s videos – another one from Sertac went live today. It’s lovely to know that their special talents are still being enjoyed by our school community. You have shared your home learning experiences, asked for advice, given us valuable feedback and hopefully been reassured. I cannot stress enough that we are here for you, so please don’t struggle alone …. pick up the phone or drop us an email and we will respond.

I would like to assure all of our families that we are working very hard to provide learning that is engaging, accessible and purposeful. As you can imagine this is new for all of us and we are trying to manage the expectations of families that would like everything online to others without devices or internet. All schools are doing this differently, but at the same time trying to meet their community’s needs. This is not made any easier by not knowing how long we will be learning in this way. As a result of your feedback, we are currently working on providing some packs for those for whom online learning is difficult that can be collected from school. Teachers have discussed this with individual families and we will keep you updated.

Important financial help for families
Across the country many families are finding themselves in very changed circumstances as people’s work is terminated. If you are a family who did not previously qualify for free school meals, but whose income has reduced or stopped due to the coronavirus crisis, you may now qualify for Free School Meals which would entitle you to a £15 supermarket voucher for each child each week.

I would encourage all parents and carers who have not yet applied for free school meals to apply if you think you may qualify.

Am I eligible to receive free school meals for my child?
If you are in receipt of any of the following benefits you may be eligible to receive free school meals for your child:

• Universal Credit – net earnings threshold of £7400 from April 2018
• Income Support
• Income-based Jobseekers Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance
• Child Tax Credit – net earnings threshold of £16190.00 from April 2018
• Guarantee element of pension credit
• Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

How to apply
Use this link to apply and confirm your child’s eligibility for free school meals: Free School Meals Support

If you are not eligible now, please be aware that any new Universal Credit claims may delay a result, in these cases Lewisham Council will contact you directly and advise you on the progress of the application

At Myatt Garden, we have a wealth of experience and contacts that can help, in addition to our Community Fund at Myatt Garden which is there to support any families experiencing financial difficulties. You can contact us in the strictest confidence via: 020 8691 0611 or email at: admin@myattgarden.lewisham.sch.uk and we will do our best to help.

Be kind to yourself
These are tough times and we can all benefit from advice and support sometimes. With this in mind, I have asked Rabiya McKeverne (mum of Nour and Farah) for some ideas to perhaps help families during this difficult time when we are all trapped indoors many hours every day. Rabiya has run free taster mindfulness sessions at school for us which parents have found really insightful.

I will send the helpful advice that she has put together in a separate email to everyone, so that anyone who feels that it is useful can easily access in times of need! Thank you Rabiya for responding so generously to my request.

And on that note I wish you all well. Remember you are not a teacher, you are doing your best and that is all any of us (including me) can do!

Stay safe and well.

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