Newsletter – 24th April 2020

We have now had 3 school weeks of life in our new lockdown circumstances and our focus has been on making sure that we can stay open with a skeleton staffing structure to accommodate the children of key workers and vulnerable children and also on being able to open over what would have been the Easter break.


This has not been without its challenges. We have had a number of staff unavailable and have been as much in the dark as parents and carers about recent changes and what happens next for schools, so we have had to react with very little notice. Quite often the first we hear about things is in the press briefings on the BBC!


I genuinely don’t know when or how we will be allowed back into a regular school set up but, now that we know we will be in this situation for at least a few more weeks, and we have most of our staff back fit and well, we can make some adjustments to how we move forward for the immediate future.


We have been wary of setting up access to classes where it could not be fair or sustainable but, now we have the capacity, teachers will be sending video messages to the children over the next few school days so check your inbox.


Where parents and carers may find themselves getting stuck with their children and require a bit more advice, we have set up a direct email address for each class teacher to ask questions about learning issues – but this isn’t designed to be a general chat function from children to teachers. The email address is the class name followed by e.g. and will be active as of Monday. Teachers will check their emails from parents and carers daily but will not be expected to be on hand all day to answer back and forth. Many will be in school working already, looking after relatives or dealing with their own home schooling issues too!


We have adapted our home learning provision to include a year group specific plan with a daily timetable, for those who would like to use it, to save trawling through the many newly available websites online.  If you would prefer to do your own thing by all means do.


The majority of the direct learning is through the DfE approved Oak National Academy lessons which are very simple to follow and teachers have added extension activities in maths for children who finish quickly or like a challenge. Teachers have also added guides for parents and carers in how to help give on the spot feedback to children with their work for reading, writing and maths which are along the same lines of how we would work in school in the classroom.


For example:


Teachers have added some creative activities that children might like to have a go at that aren’t from the usual curriculum:


The full curriculum map detailing all the topics that are planned to be covered can be found here


What we have also achieved, with the support of our community and coordinated by Mr Hanshaw, in terms of upscaling production of face shields has been remarkable. Around 3000 have been produced and delivered to hospitals, care homes, pharmacies and other frontline workers who needed our help. The money raised by generous donations has meant that we have been able to do our bit in these unprecedented times. Thanks to all who have donated money, made deliveries, helped in the assembly or manufacturing process or have donated materials. A huge Chalkwell Hall team effort has made many people safer and happier in the work they are doing to look after us.

We are chasing up PGL ahead of our planned trips in June and September but we are yet to receive confirmation of their plans. The advice from them so far is:


Following the government advice of 23rd March 2020, our centres and offices are temporarily closed to protect our customers and staff. We have made arrangements for as many staff as possible to work from home, but we apologise that we are unable to offer our usual levels of service. If you are due to travel before 31 May 2020, a member of our team will be in touch with you shortly to discuss alternative arrangements. Please bear with us whilst we contact customers in date order of travel.


We are monitoring government announcements closely and for travel after 01 June 2020, currently unaffected by current restrictions, we will be in contact should the situation change and your booking be affected.


For now, don’t make any further instalments, when we have any updates we will let you know.


Thank you for your continued support and stay safe.