Newsletter – 11th June 2020

Despite the announcement earlier in the week in the news that schools would have greater “flexibility” over who can attend, we have no information as yet from the Department for Education on who should receive priority over the remainder of this term for attendance at school. We had been working under the assumption that children would be given the chance to attend school at some point because that is what we had been told. We are meeting tomorrow with our governing body to consider what options we may have moving forward but, without information from the government on who is now supposed to take priority, we may have to wait a little while longer.

Because of the reduced class sizes, all our teachers are required in the direct daily teaching of our Year 6s along with more groups of key worker and vulnerable children but they are keen to engage with their own class children who are out of school too. Children in Years 3, 4 & 5 are all working on the same lessons in school as the children should be at home so please send any pieces of writing or other work in on the class emails then teachers can provide direct feedback and encouragement. If you are struggling with anything at home, please contact your class teachers. We are already working with many families and our learning mentors are helping with anxiety issues and other problem areas that are presenting themselves as the lockdown drags on.

We have been in regular contact with families that we considered to be more vulnerable, like those involved with social care, child protection cases or those with EHCPs (Education Health Care Plans) and many parents have been in touch where they have needed something extra that has arisen during the time they haven’t been in school. We have provided bespoke learning packs, for example. Where a child is not working at the level of the rest of the year group or is struggling to access the materials online, we have printed individual packs for pupils that they have then collected. We have also purchased laptops and provided these for pupils who did not have access at home as the government scheme was taking too long to arrive. If you need help, please let us know via your class teacher.

We can’t do direct teaching live streamed into your homes, sorry. The NEU have advised against it for safeguarding reasons and a number of our teachers are teaching other year groups so trying to livestream their current class wouldn’t work logistically either. It is also something that would not have been sustainable as we opened up to a greater number of children.

Teachers will be sending out e-postcards to children as recognition for their hard work in keeping up with their online learning, sending work in and completing tasks on MyMaths and TTRockstars. The teachers will also be sending out videos to challenge the children with some tasks that are not just maths and English related, more along the lines of the creative tasks that we have on our home learning page:

https://chalkwellhall.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Creative-homework-Y34.pdf.

It looks like we aren’t going to get to have a sports day this year so our PE leads, Mr Robinson and Mr Smale, are working on a series of challenges that the children can take part in at home and then send in their results to add to their house totals so we can celebrate team and individual performances.

We share your frustrations and wish we could have more of the children in school. We have already secured more staff for September, which means we will be in good position to have extra teaching hours available to us to help provide catch up lessons in school for those who need them in the Autumn term.

Thank you for your continued support.

Newsletter – 5th June 2020

It has been fantastic to welcome back our Year 6 children, along with an increased number of key workers, this week. They have all stepped up to the plate brilliantly and have taken the enforced changes completely in their stride from day one. They have kept to the social distancing rules at all times and found new ways of playing that don’t involve any contact. My thanks to parents as well for not crowding at the start or end of the day, it has made movement around the school site easier and much less stressful than it might possibly have been!

 

 

Life is, by necessity, rather different in the classroom but teachers have tried to make sure it has been fun for the children and they have been coming out at the end of the day smiling so it certainly seems to be working.

Because we need to break into much smaller groups to ensure effective social distancing, it has taken all our available teachers just to cater for the Year 6s and the increase in key worker children. We will have to wait and see how the government decide to proceed with their plans to send in more year groups. When we know more we will update you.

We do have some lovely news to share which is that Miss Winders is expecting a baby! Our huge congratulations to her, she will be heading off for maternity leave in the Autumn so we still have her for the rest of term.

This weekend should have seen us head off to PGL with 150 of our Year 3&4 children which sadly cannot happen. PGL have not been forthcoming with refunding payments to parents so we are working on recouping the money through our own insurers for you. Please be patient while we work to recover the funds and we will let you know when our insurers give us more details.

The planned Year 6 September residential for our current Year 5 children is currently on hold while we wait to see how the land lies for school trips in the future. We will update you as soon as we have more information available.

As far as we know, the 11+ will still be going ahead in September. The application website is now open and on there you can find all the information you need to apply at https://csse.org.uk/.  The deadline for applications is the 1st July. There are also plenty of free past papers on their website to have a go at (including answers) and I am in the process of securing some more practice materials to share with Year 5 pupils which we should be able to send out next week.

Thank you for your continued support and stay safe.

 

Letter from Chair of Governors

I hope you are all safe and well. You will by now have heard the sad news that Mr Linfield will be leaving us at the end of the Summer Term to move to France. I am sure you will all join me in thanking him for his hard work over the last 6 years with us and wish him well for his new adventure.

 

In line with the guidance we have been given by Southend Borough Council, Mr Hanshaw and Mr Birkinshaw will take up the posts of Acting Headteacher and Acting Deputy Headteacher in September. We will then look to organise permanent arrangements for the longer term but we are delighted to have two such capable leaders stepping up to continue moving Chalkwell Hall forward in the interim period.

 

I have been in to school on a regular basis over the lockdown period to check on the arrangements for the key worker and vulnerable children and the school has performed a great job in making sure they are well looked after as well as staying open over the holiday periods.  The school is busy prepping signs, taping floors, rearranging furniture, cleaning and organising timetables in anticipation of a return for more children. We have every confidence in being ready and as safe as possible for the 1st June if the Year 6 children are able to return on that date.

 

I have also been helping with making and delivering face shields for frontline workers and Chalkwell Hall, led fantastically well by Mr Hanshaw, has made our whole community proud in the work they have done to help keep so many others safe. Well over 13,000 face shields have been produced over the last few weeks – a brilliant effort all round!

1st June arrangements – update letter

Having worked through all the guidance from the DfE, we are in a position to open safely to our Year 6 pupils (and an increased number of children of key workers) on 1st June if that proposed date goes ahead.

 

Having risk assessed our building and staffing provision, we have made arrangements for all Year 6 pupils to be in school at the same time. Please share this information with your child so they are prepared and ready to go when they come in to school. If you are planning on keeping your child at home, please let the office know so we can organise our classes accordingly.

 

The teachers will be splitting the classes in half based on their knowledge of the children and taking into account factors such as social, learning and behavioural needs so that the groups can be effectively taught and safely managed.  All the Year 6 children will be taught by their class teacher and a different teacher they are familiar with, in rotation, for a week at a time.

 

We will obviously need to reduce the class sizes for effective social distancing and will need to stagger the start and finish times of our days to make sure we do not have crowds of people in our limited outside spaces.

 

Dropping off (at the main gate only):

If children can walk to school safely on their own this will reduce crowds at the gate. If they cannot come on their own then please be prepared to drop off and not hang around while maintaining a 2m distance from other individuals.

 

Year 6 children will come in to school through the main gate and go up the stairs to their class. If children aim to arrive at the following times we can maintain a steady stream of traffic in one direction towards their classrooms.

 

6RM – 8:35        6RW – 8:40       6SH – 8:45        6AF – 8:50         6AD – 8:55

 

All key worker children will come in through the main gate and will enter through the Year 3 classroom doors from 8:35-9:00. Year 3 in 3GB, Year 4 in 3OS and Year 5 in 3AH.

 

Collection:

If children can walk home from school safely on their own this will help reduce crowds. If you are collecting please do so individually if at all possible. All parents will need to enter through the main gate and leave the playground via the gate between the two schools (London Road) please. This will keep everyone heading in the same direction and reduce the congestion we usually have at the end of the day at the main gate.  Please ensure you are following social distancing when on the school site to collect children.

 

All Year 6 children will come out on to the playground at the west side (by the boys’ toilets exit door).

 

6RM – 2:50       6RW – 2:55       6SH – 3:00        6AF – 3:05         6AD – 3:10

 

The key worker children will exit from the same classroom doors they entered and can be collected between 3:00-3:15 from the playground or at other times during the school day from the main office if necessary.

 

During the day:

We will have a one way system in school. Up the east stairwell (office end of school) and down the west stairwell (toilets end of school). This means the main reception will be part of the children’s route through school so the front door will be shut and you’ll need to wait for office staff to let you in so please avoid visiting in person where possible.

 

When children are in class and when moving around school, we will remind and expect them to observe the social distancing rules that have become the norm. Desks will be separated, distance markers are on the floor, equipment will not be shared, PE kits, packed lunches and water bottles will stay with them at their desk and no lockers will be in use.

 

It would be enormously helpful if children could bring in a packed lunch as the dining hall team will not be making hot dinners (we are not allowed to have everyone in one place eating together). Children who are entitled to free school meals or need to purchase a meal will have a packed lunch provided by the catering team.

 

Children will eat lunch in the classroom and will have outside time at morning break and lunch time in a zoned area of the playground where they will only be allowed to socialise (2m apart) with the same children from their half of the class. Playground equipment will be out of bounds.

 

Stationery will be provided and will only be used by the individual child. Please do not send in pencil cases, they won’t need them, but they can bring in reading books or their work books if they would like to share something they have done at home with their teacher. We are trying to minimise the number of items going back and forth from school to home and vice versa.

 

Desks will be cleaned during the day and handwashing routines will be strongly reinforced. The school will be thoroughly cleaned at the end of each day.

 

Years 3, 4 & 5 key worker children will be following the Oak National Academy curriculum in school so that all children in the year group are experiencing the same learning.

 

We would like the children to wear uniform, as it is part of the usual routine and will help make things feel a bit more normal, but we understand that growing children may well have outgrown school shoes or there may be days when it is a struggle to get everything washed.

 

Conkers before and after school club:

In line with the guidance we have received, we will not be able to offer before and after school childcare at Conkers after the half term break. We would prefer to have the facility open but, unfortunately, with the increase in pupil numbers, there would be too many interchanging groups of children and adults to make this safe enough for us to consider it acceptable. We will review this regularly.

 

During half term both schools will be closed (holiday club for key workers will be in the dining hall) for a deep clean ahead of the arrival of a far greater number of children.

 

Guidance on illness from the government:

When a child, young person or staff member develops symptoms compatible with coronavirus, they should be sent home and advised to self-isolate. Their fellow household members should self-isolate for 14 days. All staff and students who are attending an education or childcare setting will have access to a test if they display symptoms of coronavirus, and are encouraged to get tested in this scenario.  Where the child, young person or staff member tests negative, they can return to their setting and the fellow household members can end their self-isolation.

 

Where the child, young person or staff member tests positive, the rest of their class or group within their childcare or education setting should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days. The other household members of that wider class or group do not need to self-isolate unless the child, young person or staff member they live with in that group subsequently develops symptoms. Children who develop symptoms whilst in school will be sensitively isolated in 1st aid by the office team, parents will be called immediately and arrangements for collection must take priority. Please ensure we have your most up to date contact details. Please email any changes to office@chalkwellhall-jun.southend.sch.uk.

 

There may be adjustments needed in the future but we have assessed the potential risks of opening up school to a greater number of children and, while we cannot be 100% risk free, we are confident we are in a position to safely do the best we can with the guidance we have been given. If you do not wish to send your child back in to school at this time, I completely respect your decision and there will be no chasing up in terms of attendance data or possible fines so please don’t worry!

 

Thank you for your continued support.

 

 

1st June plans for Year 6

We have been very busy this week working on plans to make sure that we are in a position to open safely to our Year 6 pupils (and an increased number of children of key workers) on 1st June if that proposed date goes ahead.

 

We have made arrangements for all Year 6 pupils to be in school at the same time. We will obviously need to reduce the class sizes for effective social distancing and will need to stagger the start and finish times of our days to make sure we do not have crowds of people in our limited outside spaces. All the Year 6 children will be taught by their class teacher and a different teacher in rotation for a week at a time.

 

The teachers will be splitting the classes in half based on their knowledge of the children and taking into account factors such as social, learning and behavioural needs so that the groups can be effectively taught and managed safely. Please do not send in requests for children to be with certain people or not others – we have many factors to consider in making this work, we would not be able to accommodate every request and will not be responding to them.

 

There will be many new rules and routines to follow and we will send you a full briefing on all of these next week when we will have finalised them in line with the ever changing, and sometimes contradictory, advice given to us by the government and the education unions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Key Worker provision during half term

Our childcare provision for children of key workers will change for the week beginning 25th May 2020. Rather than being in the two schools separately, the children will be based in the Conkers Before and After School Club (the dining hall) and be supervised by Chalkwell Hall staff.

 

This provision will be open from 8:30am until 5.00pm on Tuesday 26th to Friday 29th May. We will not be open for the bank holiday on the 25th May.

 

The usual Conkers Club that runs before and after school times will not be operating in this week.

 

You may drop off and pick up at any time you need to within the hours listed above at the Rockleigh Road entrance.  Please don’t bring your children to either of the main school entrances as they will be closed.

 

Children will not be doing lessons as such; this provision is more of a holiday club set up, with games and activities to keep the children entertained while you have to be at work.

 

Please make sure that your child brings a packed lunch, drink and snacks to keep them going throughout the day.

 

You will also need to make sure that you send in any medication that your child requires if we don’t already have it in school. We will move medicines we already store from the two schools over to the dining hall for the duration of the week.

 

Please let us know in advance, either by email (office@chalkwellhall-jun.southend.sch.uk) or a call to the office, if you will be requiring the use of the childcare provision during this week then we can set up accordingly for the correct numbers.

Newsletter – 6th May 2020

With announcements imminent and speculation about easing the lockdown and returning to schools rife, I wanted to write to update you on where we are here at school.

 

We have had no indication at all from government about their plans regarding if, when or how they aim to reopen schools for any of the age groups.

 

For me to assume anything at this stage would be pure speculation so, like you, I will be waiting to hear what is said in the briefings over the weekend and then we will start planning our response from that point on.

 

We are continuing to be open for children of key workers and others who need to be here, staying in regular contact with our more vulnerable pupils and we are still producing lots of face shields for frontline workers near and far (somewhere in the region of 7000 now thanks to the hard work of our staff in school and donations from members of our local community!).

 

I’d like to apologise for any frustrating delays in receiving or redeeming vouchers through the government’s Edenred FSM scheme. We have spent hours and hours trying to remedy problems with the system and most are now getting through.

 

A reminder to all is that our home learning material is on our website which you can find here https://chalkwellhall.co.uk/working-from-home/. We have provided, for those that wish to use it, a full timetable of daily lessons from The Oak National Academy in line with the National Curriculum that can be followed easily at home without needing to hunt down or choose your own activities. These are backed up with feedback guides and extension materials. There are plenty of other resources like https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize that you can dip into, or you can do completely your own thing if that works for your family.

 

We’ll be here to do any catch up or support that is necessary whenever it is that the children start to come back into school. If you would like any support with your child’s learning, please remember you can contact your child’s class teacher on their class email address which is the class name followed by @chalkwellhall.co.uk  e.g. 4GW@chalkwellhall.co.uk.

 

Our teachers will be sending a communication to the children again next week after we, hopefully, know a little bit more about what comes next.

 

I hope you can enjoy the bank holiday weekend and VE day on Friday. Here are a couple of links to VE day activities you may wish to have a look at, one national and one a bit more local.

https://ve-vjday75.gov.uk/get-involved/     https://www.hmsleigh.org.uk/

 

Thank you for your continued support.

 

 

Letter to the children from Mr Linfield

Hi guys,

 

I usually write a newsletter once a week to your parents and carers but I didn’t have much to tell them and I was missing you lot so I thought I’d write to you instead!

 

It’s been nearly 4 school weeks that most of you have been at home rather than here now and we really miss you. I am here every day doing all the boring bits of my job like sorting out budgets, paperwork and having meetings but I’m not getting to do the best bit which is spending time with you on trips, in the playground, in class or playing things like dodgeball! We have some children in school every day who can’t stay at home so we do have a few here to keep us entertained. The government have asked us to keep as many people at home as possible so we only have a few teachers in school at any one time (just enough to look after the few children we have) which means it’s a lot quieter here than usual.

 

I know it must be frustrating not being able to come to school (you know you miss us really!) or being able to go and play with your friends when you want to, but we are all doing this together as a team to help protect everyone that is at risk.

 

One thing that I’d like you to have a think about while you aren’t in school is our core values (bottom of the page – please don’t tell me you’ve forgotten them already!) and how you can make sure that you are meeting them while you are at home. There are plenty of opportunities for you to show just how responsible, respectful and cooperative you are with the people that look after you – adults will be feeling frustrated at times too and you can help them by lending a hand around the house even if it just means tidying your bedroom when you are asked. I did say to your parents and carers a while ago they could make use of you to do jobs like help paint the house and hoover so if you have been turned into domestic servants over the last few weeks you can blame me not them!

 

In terms of school work, everyone will be doing what they can so don’t worry what your friends are or are not doing; your family will decide what is right for you and you need to help out by cracking on with it when you are asked. Your teachers have also put some other ideas for things to do on our website that aren’t maths and English work so you might want to check that out.

 

Other than being an egg for your amusement, my life goes on pretty much as normal. I am missing football, cricket, being able to go fishing and you guys but I’m hopeful we will be able to see each other again soon and get back to doing the things we love with the people we love.

 

Take care, stay safe and be nice to those looking after you.

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 @chalkwellhall.co.uk e.g. 4GW@chalkwellhall.co.uk 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 https://chalkwellhall.co.uk/working-from-home/ 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:

https://chalkwellhall.co.uk/maths-advice/

https://chalkwellhall.co.uk/reading-advice/

https://chalkwellhall.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Supporting-your-child-in-writing-Yr-5.pdf

 

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

https://chalkwellhall.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Creative-homework-Y34.pdf

https://chalkwellhall.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Creative-homework-Y56.pdf

 

The full curriculum map detailing all the topics that are planned to be covered can be found here https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vTWwVJb_hQyPFhhr8wtm_jLcYpmRgUVqKF1M7hqO4Yke85cQCh6H3jRQOk8OLzCiyr1v1776XeakAXj/pubhtml

 

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.

 

 

Updated timetable for working from home

I hope you are all well and staying safe.

 

Now that we know we will be in this situation for a good few weeks yet, we have updated our learning at home information on our website to include the resources provided by the Department for Education. The Oak National Academy has been set up as an online classroom to help children learn at home https://www.thenational.academy/ and takes them, and you, step by step through the lesson by following the prompts on the screen.

 

Each day has a maths lesson, an English lesson and a foundation lesson (history, geography, Spanish etc).

 

We have provided, for those that wish to use it, a timetable of daily activities from The Oak National Academy in line with the National Curriculum that can be followed easily at home without needing to hunt down or choose your own activities. Within the timetable, we have also included guides for how to help your child with their work for maths, reading and writing. There are extension tasks for maths included and success criteria for different genres of writing so you can help your child see how well they are doing. There are hyperlinks to everything you need for a full week’s learning on each Year Group’s timetable and we will update the extension tasks weekly. The timetable can be found at https://chalkwellhall.co.uk/working-from-home/.

 

Also the BBC has launched its own education package across TV and online, featuring celebrities and teachers so you may wish to use some of these as well.

 

This education tool provides daily and weekly lessons for Year 1 through to Year 10. The lessons have been created with teachers and other educational experts and feature a mix of videos, animations, practice activities, quizzes and games.

 

We hope that our timetable option helps to make learning at home simpler. If you would like to dip in and out of the daily timetable and choose other activities from the other resources list then by all means do so. If you are doing your own thing entirely and it works for you and your family, then go for it!