Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

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

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

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

Ideas from Childnet International

Primary aged children may find the opportunity to spend lots of extra time using their online devices hard to manage. With lots of their entertainment and social time coming from the internet, it can be hard to know when to switch off.  Use our activities below to help them manage their online lives whilst staying at home.

WEBLINK

Updated online resources.

For those of you who like a bit of structure in your lives; here’s what various celebrities
are offering you and your kids for free daily to help with their education while schools
are closed:
9.00am – PE with Joe Wicks https://youtu.be/6v-a_dpwhro 10.00am –

Maths with Carol Vorderman http://www.themathsfactor.com 11.00am – English with David Walliams
https://www.worldofdavidwalliams.com/elevenses/
12.00pm – Lunch (cooking with Jamie Oliver)
https://www.jamieoliver.com/features/category/get-kids-cooking/
1.00pm – Music with Myleene Klass
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQh2wgJ5tOrixYBn6jFXsXQ
1.30pm – Dance with Darcey Bussel
https://twitter.com/diversedancemix/status/1241098264373592065
2.00pm – History with Dan Snow (free for 30-days)
https://tv.historyhit.com/signup/package
4.00pm – Home Economics with Theo Michaels (Mon/Wed/Fri)
https://www.instagram.com/theocooks
Non-daily events include:
Science with Professor Brian Cox, Robin Ince & Guests https://cosmicshambles.com/stayathome/upcoming-schedule
9.30am Wednesday 25 March – Geography with Steve Backshall
https://twitter.com/SteveBackshall/status/1242058846941712385
For your older kids, here are 50 free revision resources for 11+, GCSEs and A-Levels:
http://www.eparenting.co.uk/education/50_free_revision_resources_for_gcse_a_level_11_ plus_and_sats.php

For kids/mums/teachers and book lovers
There are now 4 online resources for free:
1) Amazon Books are open for free;
2) 17 virtual museums in Europe have free online virtual visits; 3) Cambridge Books in the UK offer 700 books for free reading; 4) Broadway in the United States offers free online operas.
Amazon Global Audiobooks are free:
Audible Stories is available for children who are temporarily unable to go to school around the world. Listen to all audiobooks for free, with content ranging from preschool to classic literature, no download of apps, no login required, no ads, with languages like English/German/French/Italian/Japanese.
stories.audible.com/discovery
Free online virtual visit to 17 museums in Europe: https://www.demotivateur.fr/article/visiter-des-musees-sans-bouger-de-son-canape-le- plan-parfait-pendant-la-quarantaine-19057
In response to the epidemic, Cambridge Publishing, UK, offers 700 online reading editions of their books. The free reading period is until the end of May, and includes some Christian and theological works. https://www.cambridge.org/core/what-we- publish/textbooks#
Online Broadway Musical, all FREE:
https://www.insider.com/stream-broadway-musicals-plays-for-free-online-limited-time-
coronavirus-2020-3

Closure Letter

Dear parents and carers,

As you know we have closed our doors this afternoon with no idea of when we will reopen them.  It is an unprecedented, challenging and uncertain time for staff, children and yourselves.   Whilst very few of you will see us over the coming weeks, we will try to be here for you as much as we can.   We, as a staff team, are incredibly proud of the manner in which the children have conducted themselves over the last few days.  The situation is unprecedented in our lifetime and they have maintained their positive, kind and focussed approach to all aspects of school life.

In relation to queries over the remote learning the children are doing, we will publish four days’ worth of work on the Monday and the answers with explanations on the Friday from Monday 20th April.   Please do as much or as little as you wish.  The work is being provided to help you through this time and must not become an additional pressure.  Teachers will also respond to queries sent to the class email addresses.

These are;

Year 3                                                                             Year 4

jellyfish@signhillsacademy.co.uk                              starfish@signhillsacademy.co.uk

turtles@signhillsacademy.co.uk                                 seals@signhillsacademy.co.uk

lobsters@signhillsacademy.co.uk                             dolphins@signhillsacademy.co.uk

Year 5                                                                             Year 6

sealions@signhillsacademy.co.uk                             seahorses@signhillsacademy.co.uk

sharks@signhillsacademy.co.uk                               mantarays@signhillsacademy.co.uk

barracudas@signhillsacademy.co.uk                       swordfish@signhillsacademy.co.uk

 

If you require pastoral support, signposting to additional services or advice, Mrs Davie and Mrs Heinzmann are available between 9am and 4pm on the mobile numbers below.  You can also email them at support@signhillsacademy.co.uk.

Mrs Davie            07871734186                      Mrs Heinzmann                                07395948325

 

If you or your children become ill, please follow the government advice and visit the NHS website https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

 

Please continue to check our school website and the blog.  As things start to return to normal we will update you with information about returning to school.

We appreciate how patient and understanding you have been, particularly given how many of these changes have been incredibly sudden.  We understand that this latest move will have an impact on you and your family and it’s far from ideal, but we’ll continue to keep in touch with any updates as the situation develops.

Once again, thank you for your continued support during this difficult time.

Take care,

Mr Steve Carr

Headteacher

Year 5 Allotment

As part of the allotment topic, the children in year 5 have made some wooden planters. They had to use hammers and nails to assemble them. The planters will be varnished and placed in the allotment in preparation for planting this year’s crops.

Sport Relief

Please can all children remember to bring their outdoor P.E kit tomorrow as they will be participating in Sport Relief activities throughout the day. We do not require a donation but Sport Relief wristbands are on sale for £1.

World Book Day 2020

This year both Signhills and Signhills Infant Academy will be celebrating World Book Day on Friday 6th March. Our theme is Fairy Tales so we would like the children to come dressed as their favourite character from a Fairy Tale.
Ideas might include Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Goldilocks and the Three Bears and there will be a prize for the best costume in each year group.
During the day the children will take part in a carousel of activities across the school to foster a love of books and reading.
Thank you in advance for your support.

End of Term Events

Please complete the slips below, as appropriate, for events taking place before the end of term and return as soon as possible.

Name of child____________________________________________ Class__________________________

Christmas Dinner- Tuesday 17th December. Only complete this slip if your child usually has a packed lunch and would like a Christmas Dinner. All orders for Christmas Dinner must be returned by Friday 29th November. After this date, any orders must be online through Chartwells until Sunday 8th December.
• I would like my child to have a Christmas Dinner and I enclose the £2.22 payment.

Signed_______________________________________________(Person with Parental Responsibility)

Cinema Visit – Friday 20th December. If you would like your child to participate, please complete this slip.

• Film choice: Frozen 2 (PG) Abominable (U) (Please delete as appropriate)

• I enclose the £4.00 payment.

Signed_____________________________________(Person with Parental Responsibility)

End of Term – Friday 20th December. If you would like your child to leave at 2pm, please complete this slip.

Please delete as appropriate:
• I will collect my child at 2pm.

• I would like my child to be sent home on their own at 2pm.

Signed_________________________________________ (Person with Parental Responsibility)

Upcoming Dates

We hope you have all had a nice couple of weeks and enjoyed any Halloween festivities. As always, the run-up to Christmas will fly by. Below are some key events for this term.

Open Grammar & Punctuation Lessons
You, or other family members, are invited to work alongside your child in a ‘normal’ grammar and punctuation lesson. Please limit participants to a maximum of two adults per child and do not bring younger siblings.

Year 3 Monday 11th November 09:05 – 09:35
Year 4 Tuesday 12th November 09:05 – 09:35
Year 5 Wednesday 13th November 09:05 – 09:35
Year 6 Thursday 14th November 09:05 – 09:35

Please use the main entrance to attend your child’s open punctuation and grammar lesson.

Poppy Appeal
Poppies will be available at school from Monday 11th November if your child wishes to bring a donation.

Children in Need – Friday 15th November
To support Children in Need this year, children may come to school in uniform with ‘mad hair ‘on Friday 15th November. Please bring a £1 donation.

Non-uniform Day-Friday 22nd November
To support the Christmas Fair, the children are allowed to wear non-uniform and bring chocolate for the creatively-named ‘Chocolate Tombola’.

Operation Christmas Child (Shoeboxes) – Thursday 28th November
Many thanks to those of you who have already filled shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. Please ensure that any shoeboxes are brought into school by Thursday 28th November.

Christmas Fair- Friday 29th November
The Christmas Fair will take place on Friday 29th November between 2.30pm and 3.45pm. As in previous years, most stalls will be replicated in both the Infants and Juniors. Junior children will be allowed to attend the junior fair unsupervised from 2.30pm to 3.15pm, when they will be dismissed. If you wish to meet your child, please arrange a place with them as they will not be in their classroom when the doors open. As always, the fair will be extremely busy. Please do not bring pushchairs if possible. Any pushchairs that are required are to be left near reception please.

General Election- Thursday 12th December
Polling will be taking place in the new hall on Thursday 12th December. Please take extra care arriving and leaving.

Christmas Jumper Day- Friday 13th December
Please wear your Christmas jumpers on this day. A donation will be made to Save the Children Christmas Jumper Day appeal from the Christmas Fair.

Christmas Dinner- Tuesday 17th December
On Tuesday 17th December we will be having our Christmas Dinner. A slip will be sent out soon for those children who do not normally have a school meal but would like to have one on that day.

Cinema Visit – Friday 20th December
We will be visiting the cinema on the morning of the last day of term. More details, with permission slips, will be sent when we know which films are available to us.

End of Term – Friday 20th December
As we have done previously, we are offering parents the option to collect their children (or them making their own way home) at 2.00pm on the Friday that we break up. A letter will be issued nearer the time. As has happened previously, some families will take advantage of this opportunity, whilst other children will stay to the end of the school day, completing festive activities and playing games.

If you require any further information about any of the above, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Aimee’s Bravery Award

Our little star in year 5. You may have seen Aimee’s story in the telegraph last week. It reported how brave she was when her dad collapsed in the school holidays and she looked after him until an ambulance arrived. Aimee was presented with an award in assembly today to recognise her courage.

Year 4 Residential Trip

The Year 4 residential visit to York has been booked for Thursday 12th – Friday 13th March. The total cost will be £86 per pupil. This price includes an overnight stay at the Youth Hostel in York as well as a meal on the Thursday evening, breakfast and lunch on the Friday and visits to the Chocolate Story, York Minster and the Jorvik Centre.

If you wish your child to take part in this trip, please sign the slip and return it with the deposit of £20.00 by Friday 8th November. We recommend that payments are made using the Academy’s online payment system and we also ask parents not to book a meal with Chartwells for the two days of the trip.

Whilst it is up to parents to decide whether to pay in regular instalments or in lump sums, we ask that the following periodic balances are met:

Initial payment balance £20 Friday 8th November 2019
Interim payment balance £66 Friday 24th January 2020
Final payment balance £86 Friday 28th February 2020

There will be a parents’ meeting giving more details about the trip at 6.00pm on Tuesday 8th October.

The charge for board and lodging of £61.21 is compulsory but by law, the payment for the remainder of the residential trip must take the form of voluntary contributions. However, should these not cover the cost of the trip, then the trip will not be able to take place.

Please click here to view the full letter.

 

Parent’s Evening

Parents’ Evening: Tuesday 15th October 2019, 3.20pm – 7.00pm
Wednesday 16th October 2019 3.20pm – 5.30pm

We would like to invite you to Parents’ Evening on the above date.

On the evening there will be an opportunity for you to see your child’s books and discuss their work, progress and attitude with their class teachers. If you wish to bring your child to share in the discussion then please feel free to do so.

Please click here to view the full letter.

 

J Rock Meeting

If you would like to find out more or have any queries about performing or backstage/design, we will be holding a brief, informal meeting for children and parents at 3:15pm on Wednesday 11th September in Barracudas classroom (Year 5).

Signhills Aquathlon

This morning teams from Signhills Academy, Waltham Leas Primary Academy and New Waltham Academy took part in an Aquathlon.  The teams completed a swim followed by a run and all thoroughly enjoyed the competition.  Congratulations to Signhills who won the overall team trophy.

000

Year 5 Allotment

This is the second harvest from our allotment that Year 5 have planted and grown over the year. There has been lots of strawberries which we’ve eaten once ripe. We’re just waiting for the tomatoes to ripen then it’s all hands on deck to start preparing for next year.