Important Information for Parents: 18.6.20
We have now been away from school for almost three months. Whilst we have received a huge amount of thanks and praise for what we have been providing, we are also aware that there has been some discussion among families about our Myatt Garden offer during this time.
When schools were first closed , we had no idea what was in store and the early indications suggested an extended Easter break. I am so proud of the Myatt Garden Team who have worked so hard in a difficult situation to adapt to the challenges as they arose in a constantly moving situation.
Over this time we have:
- Continued to stay open for key workers and vulnerable children.
- Battled for many hours to ensure food vouchers for all our families entitled to FSM.
- Supported families to apply for Universal credit and Free School Meals.
- Provided well-thought out home learning.
- Made phone calls home.
- Produced regular PE and music sessions.
- After the Easter holidays, when it became clear that lockdown was going to continue, we trialled See Saw in Year 6 and rolled it out to the whole school.
- Used Seesaw to respond to children’s learning.
- Provided ongoing contact and support to families that have needed additional support.
- Delivered food parcels.
- Provided food vouchers to families that have suddenly found themselves in very different circumstance
- Provided printed learning packs for families without internet access
- Visited families to deliver learning.
- Shared our ‘Reach for the Stars’ video.
- Provided weekly emails to families and the children.
- Provided Zoom meetings for our nursery children.
- Provided secondary schools with detailed information to support Secondary transfer.
Throughout this time we have tried to remain flexible, respond to needs and stay true to our values of inclusivity. As with all organisations, we have had to think carefully about how we deploy our available resources to best meet our school community’s needs, whilst managing staff sickness and the welfare of staff who have needed to shield or are carers for others.
We have tried hard to maintain a consistent offer, providing a range of quality learning tasks that enable families to learn in ways that make sense for them. Thank you all for supporting your children at home and doing your very best in difficult circumstances. Our priority alongside making learning accessible to all, is the well-being of our families; we are very aware that many of you asked for home learning that was flexible, did not require attendance at specific times of the day and was as stress free as possible. We have a fabulously diverse school population and as always there is a wide variety of views within it. Sadly, we do not have inexhaustible resources and are therefore unable to provide everything for everyone. The government have bombarded schools with guidance and documentation, but there are no specifics about what should be provided. It is for each school to decide at a local level about what best meets the needs of their community and we have tried our best to do this.
I am hugely proud of what we have achieved.
In the last few weeks we have had to completely rethink how we teach and re-examine every aspect of the school day. The care and consideration we have given to this is evident in the manner that our Year 1 children have so successfully returned to school. A huge thank you for all the lovely messages from Year 1 returners this week. We anticipate the same smooth return for Year 6 and Reception next week. The vast majority of Myatt staff have been busy preparing for children’s return and will be teaching in one of our 10 bubbles from Monday.
Now that arrangements are in place and we are clear about the demands and the resources needed, we have been able to prioritise what we can provide moving forward.
Over the next few weeks:-
- A member of staff will be calling all children that are not in school in June and again in July.
- Despite the government’s advice ‘Now that primary schools will be opening more widely, larger numbers of staff will be needed to provide face-to-face teaching at school. This means that it may be more difficult to maintain the same level of provision for pupils in the year groups who are not eligible to attend, or for those pupils in year groups who are eligible to attend but who themselves cannot. In these circumstances consider how Oak National Academy or other remote education platforms can provide additional support for learning, as well as how learning delivered in school, if manageable, could be made available to pupils learning remotely.’, we will continue to prioiritise our quality home learning grids for all year groups.
- Year 6 and Sertac will be producing a Year 6 ‘virtual extravaganza’ to mark their time at Myatt Garden.
- Despite the majority of teachers who are able to attend school being in school teaching, we will continue to post learning on Seesaw and respond to children’s work. Much of this will now be done by teaching assistants.
- We will be producing quality transition materials for every year group and providing a specific video for year 2 children transitioning into Year 3.
- We will be providing all children who have not been in school an opportunity to return for an outdoor meeting with their teacher to close the year and be introduced to their new teacher.
- Our staff will also be offering additional support in school to some of our most vulnerable children.
It is important to note that life has been made more difficult for us, when a problem with our ceiling was identified. Remedial work is required and we have been instructed to not use any of these rooms on the top floor of our building until work can be undertaken in the summer holidays. This has meant four classrooms are out of action. Once our Year 6 and Reception class start on Monday we will only have one spare classroom available. I would like to assure everyone that we have done the very best we can with the resources available.
As a school we have not, nor will we be, prioritising live lessons via Zoom or any other online platforms. They of course have their place and can work particularly well when motivated learners opt in e.g. my yoga class! But they can also be very stressful for young children and families and are not accessible by all. Whilst some families would like this, others have been clear that they do not. We have had to make decisions about what we can offer, what can be accessed and what we can sustain. We believe that the choices we have made have provided good quality learning, been supported by a range of resources, provide online options if desired, and the ability for families to pick and mix in line with what works for them.
Alongside our planning for this term, we have also been preparing for all children to return to school in the new school year, adjusting our expectations and focusing on how we will support, encourage and engage children. We have produced a specific Recovery Curriculum which we believe will support children as they return to school.
We have no idea what September has in store. We will certainly continue to re-evaluate our offer and adjust what we do to meet the changing needs of our community. Whatever it holds, we will be ready and we will do it well in our Myatt Garden way.