I would like to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a happy and healthy New Year – let’s hope that as 2021 progresses we will return to some form of ‘normal’.
I am sure you are aware that Mr Weir has now issued new guidance which states “primary school pupils will be taught remotely until 11th January, after which they will attend school for face-to-face teaching”. Therefore, from Tuesday 5th – Friday 8th January 2021, all learning will take place remotely via Class DoJo. If anyone has difficulty accessing the app, please telephone school on Monday 4th January for further guidance and support. As has been the case since last March, Class Dojo has been used to set work, share photos and as a means of communication between school and home, so this will continue in the days, weeks and months ahead.
A payment will be made to parents / guardians of all children entitled to Free School Meals for the week 4th – 8th January 2021. This payment will be made to your nominated account week commencing 11th January 2021.
Over payments made through our new online system will be credited back to your account. Again, if you are having any difficulties, please contact the school office on Monday 4th January 2021.
Supporting Children of Key Workers
The Department of Education also announced yesterday that schools would remain open for vulnerable pupils / children of key workers.
Given the alarming rate of transmission across the province, returning large numbers of pupils to school next week would not achieve the desired reduction in risk that this announcement intends. Therefore, I would please ask you to seriously reflect on your need for provision in school next week. I would also ask for you to be mindful that it is a challenge for teachers to supervise children in school whilst directing home learning simultaneously.
I would also stress, that pupils in school will not be receiving active teaching. They will merely be supervised in the completion of the home learning activities that will be provided for all pupils. This supervision may be provided by a teacher or classroom assistant.
Many parents identified as key workers may be able to ensure that their child is kept at home. There is no requirement for key worker parents to take up this offer or send their children to school if they do not wish to do so.
The initial guidance suggested that both parents had to be key workers and working at the same time, this has now changed, and the definition applies to one parent only.
Please note that any level of school supervision will be dependent on staff availability and school may have to be closed if this becomes an issue.
Therefore, if you are a key worker and believe that you need to avail of this reduced provision and are eligible, please complete the online form (please click on the link below to access the form) as soon as possible, but no later than Sunday 3rd January 2021, so that the essential arrangements can be made. If circumstances change and you no longer require a place, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
Schools are being asked to continue to provide supervision for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable. The term vulnerable encompasses those children who are in need of protection, or in need, as defined by the Children (NI) Order 1995. If you believe your child / children fit this category and wish to avail of school supervision, please contact me via email (email@example.com) as soon as possible and no later than Sunday 3rd January 2021.
Please remember that if your child is attending school:
• He / she must be wearing school uniform
• The teacher / assistant on duty in school will only supervise children as they work on their home learning activities
• Normal school hours apply
• Pupils will need to bring a snack for break time, a drink and a packed lunch
• School transport may not be available – we are waiting on confirmation
This is yet another difficult start to the new term. Please be assured that I, along with all our amazing staff, are working tirelessly to ensure we continue to keep our school community safe. We are doing all we can to support our children both emotionally and academically during these ever changing and challenging times.
Please stay safe and we hope and pray that all the children will be back in school on Monday 11th January 2021 as planned. Please keep checking your Class Dojo, school website and Facebook page for updates.