Author Archives: Signhills Blog

Junior Update

Dear parents and carers,

I am aware that it has been a while since I last wrote to you all.  As you will appreciate, the situation has been very fluid, with ongoing changes to government guidance.

As we have expanded our provision, in response to this, we have needed more staff in school which has had a knock-on effect on some of the other things we were previously able to do, such as the teacher phone calls.

As you may be aware, today we have been able to expand our on-site provision to more children.  These places were offered initially to year 3 (who have had the least time with us) and year 5 (as they have SATs next year).  Despite the increase, we are not able to bring all children who wished to return back on site and we still have capacity for less than half of the school to attend.

As we have continued to develop our use of technology during lockdown we have been making increased use of GSuite for Education.  The use of Google Forms, to send you information and seek responses, has been invaluable in allowing us to swiftly expand our offer – such as the Google Meet sessions.  We will continue to use this and also add the content of the forms to the blog (signillsblog.wordpress.com) so that you can re-refer to the information provided.

Online Learning – Whilst we are incredibly mindful that many children and families are struggling to remain motivated towards home learning over such a long period, we will continue providing work until the end of term.

Google Meet sessions – Over 100 children are accessing the online literacy and numeracy sessions with the Teaching Assistants each week. These seem to be proving very popular with the children and are beneficial to them on a social as well as academic level.  Please contact the office if you would like your child to participate.

Before the end of the year, the Google Meet sessions will also be used to allow children at home the opportunity for a check-in with school staff and their peers.  If your child is already accessing the literacy / numeracy GMeet sessions we will include them in these sessions automatically.  If your child IS NOT already accessing GMeet through school and you wish them to participate in the catch-up sessions, please follow the link below to request their inclusion.

https://forms.gle/1ZaFuNVe6twJJ2Qb6

Finally, with regards to the end of the year and arrangements for September, the academy will close to all pupils on Friday 17 July and we are due to start the new academic year on Tuesday 1 September.  We will post out your child’s annual report – including the details of their class for September before the end of the year.  As yet, there is no government guidance on how schools will be expected to operate in the autumn.  Once this guidance has been published, we will make the necessary arrangements and inform you of our plans as soon as we are able to do so.

Can I thank you all for your continued patience and support during this incredibly challenging time.

Kind regards,

Mr Steve Carr

Headteacher

New places available – Infants

Dear Parents and Carers

Firstly, thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we slowly bring children back into school and start to establish new routines and ways of working. I know it has been a frustrating and challenging time for many of you as it has been for us. Thanks also to those parents who chose to keep their child at home to free up places for children of critical workers.

As you will no doubt be aware, the Prime Minister has announced the easing of the 2m social distancing guidance to “1m+” from 4th July. We have now received confirmation from the DfE that children in school will no longer need to social distance, but still need to be in ‘bubbles’ of up to 15.

This means that, from Monday 6th July we will be able to welcome back another group of children into each year group for the final two weeks of term. In order to accommodate as many children as possible, this will be on a part-time basis. Whilst this is far from ideal, it will at least give many more children a few days in school with their friends and teachers before the end of term.

I have not yet received guidance about how we will operate when children return to school in September. As soon as I know more, I will let you know.

 If your child is not already attending school:

If you would like your child to return to school as outlined above, please email by Monday 29th June, 12 noon to school@signhillsinfants.co.uk and include your child’s name and class. Places will be limited so we will operate a first-come-first-served basis and try to accommodate as many children as possible.

Once I have allocated the new groups, I will email a letter to parents giving details of days and times and the procedures that we are currently operating under. I will also post a video on your child’s Tapestry account so they can see what to expect when they return to school.

Thank you.

Allie Majer

Art Work

At school last week we had great fun creating a wide variety of art work, from aboriginal wall hangings, to pinch pot monsters and Optical Art hands! As you can see, we certainly used our imaginations well and we all learnt new skills. Well done everyone!

Year 6 Parent Letter

26th May 2020

Dear parents and carers,

I apologise for the delay in corresponding to you regarding the potential expansion of provision from 1 June 2020.  We have been waiting, for some time, for clarification from the Local Authority on their position in relation to social distancing in classrooms.  This information is vital to our expansion plans.

The Local Authority has confirmed today that their expectation is that 2 metre social distancing is in place in all classrooms.  This, coupled with increasing demand for Critical Worker places (which government guidance gives priority to), has a huge impact on our ability to extend our provision, as the academy’s classrooms are already undersized compared to the majority of schools.
Most classrooms in the academy can only accommodate 6 children under these criteria.   We are therefore not in a position to welcome all year 6 children back into school during this phase of the government’s plans to reopen schools.  

For Critical Worker families (including those of year 6 children), you should continue to book your places as you have done via the support@signhillsacademy.co.uk email.  If you received a text today confirming your provision you need take no further action, other than continuing to update us as to changes to your needs.  This provision will continue, but from 1 June will be located in a number of classrooms.  We will text you with the details of which entrance your child should use from 1 June.

For families of children in year 6 who do not currently access the childcare provision, we will offer as many places as we can.  We have been advised to use an admission criteria to support us in allocating places.  We will therefore initially use a needs based approach.  For all other children, we will continue to provide remote learning.

If you would like your child to be considered for a place, please email support@signhillsacademy.co.uk stating your child’s name, whether a family member is a Critical Worker and the details of your needs by midday Thursday.  From this point we will begin to allocate places, with an aim to begin welcoming the children in from 1 June.  We will inform you on Friday whether your child has a place and, if they do, details of their start / end time etc.  We understand that this timescale is incredibly tight, but the only alternative open to us is to delay starting the year 6 provision, which we do not wish to do.

I understand the frustrations that you must be feeling, we share these as we had been making plans to potentially accommodate more children, but the safety and well-being of children, staff and parents must take priority and the LA is clear in how we should interpret government guidance to do this.  

Yours sincerely,

Mr Steve Carr

Headteacher

Expanded Opening Update

18 May 2020

Dear parents and carers,

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement and the subsequent Department for Education (DfE) guidance releases, we have begun to make preparations for the return of more children to school, potentially including all year 6 children, from Monday 1st June.

We have, since the start of lockdown, provided care for the children of key workers and vulnerable children – as defined by the DfE.  This provision will continue to operate in a similar way to the current arrangements and we are aware that, as the government’s access criteria are amended and more people return to work, there may be an increased demand for places from those eligible.  If you wish to access the provision, please email ‘support@signhillsacademy.co.uk’, briefly outlining your circumstances and the days / times you require.  This provision may ONLY be accessed by booking places through the email as there are a fixed number available.

For children in year 6, as they prepare for the transition to secondary school, the DfE have stated that they ‘will benefit immensely from time with their friends and teachers to ensure they are ready’ and, as such, ‘are strongly encouraged to attend (where there are no shielding concerns for the child or their household), so that they can gain the educational and wellbeing benefits of attending’

We fully recognise, as do the government, that there will be high levels of anxiety for some families concerning a return to school at this time.  As such, we have been provided with some guidance about how we might prepare, including the operational systems we should aim to implement on 1 June.  Even with these systems in place it is acknowledged that some parents will not feel it is the correct course of action – as it will not be possible to enact 2m social distancing in the classrooms and children will struggle to maintain it on the playground / field – and they will therefore not send their child into school.  In light of this, the guidance states that ‘parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time, and schools will not be held to account for attendance levels.’

The government guidance recommends groups of up to 15 children that do not interact with other groups in the school. As such, we will need to split the year group into distinct groups. Children will be allocated to these groups, which we envisage will be taught by the same teacher each day. The groups will not be able to mix at all, including during the start and end of the day and during break times. Lunches will be eaten in classrooms. The guidance acknowledges that ‘unlike older children and adults, early years and primary age children cannot be expected to remain 2 meters apart from each other and staff.’ However, as we have done throughout the lockdown, our planning and systems will be designed to support as much social distancing as is practicable.  This will include operating a staggered start and end to the day for the different groups.

If your child has a health condition which makes them ‘clinically vulnerable’ under the government guidance, you should be aware of this and consider whether you should keep them at home. Please follow any medical advice you have been given.

As ever, if there are ANY household concerns about possible Covid 19 infection – fever / raised temperature, new continuous cough or loss of taste / smell, children MUST NOT attend school.

We will continue to adjust our plans in light of new or amended government guidance and provide you with more detail about the year 6 provision as soon as we can.  In the meantime, can I take this opportunity to thank you for your support and positivity during this challenging time.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Steve Carr

Headteacher

Home Learning

Our children have been working so hard at home. As teachers, we have loved seeing pictures of their work and here is some we’ve been shown.

 

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Safeguarding hub for parents

 

Hub banner 

The Key (who we use to access professional guidance) have, through their Safeguarding Training Centre, created a safeguarding hub that allows parents to access interactive guidance on setting up parental controls on their child’s devices, as well as guidance on apps like TikTok, YouTube and Instagram and more.

Follow the link below for more details;

https://parenthub.thekeysupport.com?uuid=6fb6c515-f5cb-4c39-a882-270011f72842

Fortis Therapy Competition

We have an important mission for you…with prizes to be won!

Children! Your mission, should you choose to accept it 💪 is……

To design your very own superhero, a hero that represents you and your superpowers 💥

Really use your imagination and get creative! Draw, paint, build, craft – use whatever you love to do!

The most creative and amazing creations will win a tangle toy each week with the overall winner of the next four weeks winning a toy hamper!

Calling all parents and school teams! Please can you help? Send us a photo or the drawing of the superhero. To submit your creations, leave photos in the comments, send them in a DM, or email enquiries@fortistherapy.co.uk.

Ready… steady… go… and have fun! 🙌

Story Telling

A parent has thought of a unique way to encourage reading. Their children are reading to family members using the wonders of technology. It is a creative way of keeping in touch with family and to motivate them to read more.

Emotional Well-being

In these uncertain times we want to reassure you that we are working hard to try to ensure that we are there for you to help with any worries, concerns or support that you might need.

The Learning Mentors are available from Monday – Friday on the following numbers:

Mrs Heinzman – 07395948325

Mrs Davie – 07871734186

There is also a member of staff answering the school phone between 7.30am and 3.15pm

We are also available via email on, support@signhillsacademy.co.uk

Please reach out if you need anything, we are here to help.

Some additional links to National Support agencies are here.  

 

Enter the 2020 film competition from home

The Childnet Film Competition is now in its 11th year and is open to all young people based in the UK. The challenge is to create a short film or a storyboard with a script in response to this year’s theme.

This year’s theme:

We want an internet where we’re free to…

What are we looking for?

We are looking for films or storyboards that tell us why you want an internet that allows people to feel free and safe online and how we can make this happen. Once again we’re on the look-out for films with a positive and clear message about the ways we can use of the internet.

There are 3 different categories this year:

  • Solo category – Young people make their own film, with minimal support from an adult.

  • Group category – Work with friends or family to make a film.

  • Storyboard category – Create a short storyboard and script for a film.

Follow the LINK for more information.  Good Luck!

Field Studies Council – Live

Primary (Ages 7-11)

We are pleased to announce that the free #fieldworklive lessons hosted by Encounter Edu and led by our expert field tutors are now available to book. The sessions will build students’ geographical and scientific enquiry skills in a range of inspiring locations.

#Fieldworklive encompasses ten live lessons broadcast for different age groups, giving all students the valuable opportunity to take part in real fieldwork around the UK this spring, taking place from Monday 20th April to Friday 1st May 2020.

To book on to a session, click the link below !

Join us live as we look beneath the surface, exploring gardens, the earth beneath our feet and become explorers, experiencing wild spaces in ways that you might have never thought of before.

Soil Exploration – Monday 20th April

Creative Exploration – Friday 24th April

Habitat Exploration – Thursday 30th April