Newsletter – 10th July 2020

As we approach the final week of this very different school term, our teachers have been looking at ways to help their classes share their memories of the year, just as they would if the classes were in school.  In last week’s video, your class teacher asked your child to send in a message (either as a video or photograph) about their memories of their time in class or even just as a message to their classmates. These messages are being put together by the teachers, along with messages of their own, to provide an end-of-year celebration of sorts for the whole class.

 

We really want to include all of the children so even just a short video message to their classmates, or a Love-Actually style picture with a message on a board, would be great (if they are camera shy, just a message will be fine). Please send in these messages to your child’s class teacher email address by Wednesday 15th July.

 

There is going to be a fair bit of information coming your way over the next week, so be ready for some not so light reading! We have been working through all the details in the government guidance for full opening in September so we will be able to give you the full update next week with all the start and finish times and the other procedures that we need to put in place to make sure that everyone is safe for when we return.

 

We are aiming to get Conkers Before and After School Club up and running again in September too, although it will have to work in a reduced capacity to start with to stay in line with the guidelines. We will give you the details of this next week as well.

 

Thank you to all who responded to our learning materials survey, it has really helped inform our planning. We will upload all of the material for each year group to the website on the home learning page and paper copies for those who requested them will be available for collection on Tuesday 21st July, 9am – 1pm from the school office.

 

11+ camp email confirmations have been sent out today. If you were expecting one and haven’t received it, please let us know so we can make sure you are on the list.

 

Thank you for your continued support.

Newsletter – 3rd July 2020

We have just received more details about the guidelines we have to follow in September so that we can safely open up the school to all and finally have everyone back together. We will be working on these over the next couple of weeks and then send out more detailed information about how we are going to operate in the new academic year.

The government recently announced plans to help pupils catch up on any learning they have missed out on during the lockdown. While we await further details and guidance on what these plans will be, we would like to ask our CHJS families about whether you would like some additional Maths and English resources from us over the summer and in what format. We will then use this to inform our planning. Whether you wish to keep the summer as a holiday, or if you would prefer some learning resources, we want to be able to support you and your family in the best way we can. Please be assured that, whatever you choose to do for your family, the CHJS team will all be ready in September to support you and your family in returning to what we hope will be a more normal school environment.

To complete the survey click SUMMER RESOURCES SURVEY and please reply by 10th July.

Thank you to all of those Year 5 parents who got their 11+ responses back. We will let you know exact details next week with your class and start and finish times.

We have had loads of great responses for our remote sports day and other challenges this week. The scores for sports day were really tight in 4 out of the 5 events with sit ups proving the decisive discipline for our winners, Colchester, who just pipped Hedingham to the title! Thanks to all of the many that took part and sent back their scores and congratulations to the winning house and your stomach muscles of steel!

In TTRockstars, well done to Colchester again for the highest points and Hadleigh for the highest number of competitors.

Mountfitchet proved to be the brains of the bunch this week with a win in the quiz!

More congratulations are in order as Mr Halsall heads off on paternity leave today with the imminent arrival of his first child – many sleepless nights ahead! Mr Smale and Mrs Farrell will be looking after 6SH in his absence for the final couple of weeks of term.

A little reminder for our or our Year 6 leavers about T-Shirts and the Yearbook. Could you please send your permission, photos and answers to tracybeard100uk@yahoo.com ideally by the end of today if at all possible.

Thank you for your continued support.

Newsletter – 25th June 2020

We were delighted to hear the news that we can look forward to all pupils returning full time in September. We have just under 200 pupils regularly in school at the moment, with all our classrooms in use because of the restrictions for class sizes, but it will be fantastic to get back to something nearing normality in the new term.

 

For parents who are collecting children at the end of the day, could I please ask that you follow the one way system through the playground and move on swiftly as crowds are starting to gather now we have a lot more children and it is making distancing a little tricky.

 

You will receive a video tomorrow from your child’s new class teacher for September. Their current teachers have already passed on lots of information to each new class teacher so they are all prepared for the new year. If you have any questions or would like to make contact to update them ahead of September with any new additional information you think might need sharing please do so through the email address given in the video.

 

We have distributed transition packs to our Year 6s where they have been sent to us by the secondary schools. If you haven’t been sent anything yet please check the individual school’s website.

 

We are aware that many 11+ summer camps may not be able to run during the holidays so we will be running one ourselves for Year 5 pupils who are considering taking the selection test in the Autumn term. We will send you a sign up letter with dates and other details next week. The CSSE have released an update for Year 5 parents on their website https://csse.org.uk/examination/ with their preferred options for the test, including possibly moving the date if they get permission from the DfE.

 

We are working on putting together learning materials for the summer holidays, for those who wish to keep their home learning going, and we will send out more information about this shortly. We have strong links to external tutoring companies that we use for certain groups of children already and we will be looking to expand on this in the Autumn term alongside intervention work in small groups in school to help children catch up where necessary.

 

The Year 6 PGL trip that was planned for September has been moved to the Summer term of 2021. We do not know if we would have been allowed to attend or indeed how many would still want to attend in September and we wanted to avoid any uncertainty this may have caused so it has been moved to July 2021 (not in transition week) at no extra cost to parents. We will send out more details in the new academic year.

 

As for the Year 3&4 PGL trip, we have been working with our own insurers and are now in a position to give you back the money that PGL really ought to have refunded in the first place. It’s a lot of cheques to write, so please be patient with us as the finance team get them sorted over the next week or so. When we are back in the new academic year, we will have a look at the options we have for replacing what is always a brilliant trip.

 

It would have been sports day next week so Mr Robinson and Mr Smale will be sending out a sports day challenge with different activities that children can have a go at at home. Children from all year groups can take part in the activities if they would like to and score points for their house teams which will be collated and an overall house winner announced once all the results are in.

 

Stay safe.

On-Line Activities – 25th June 2020

 

Over the last couple of weeks we have been sending out regular challenges and activities for your children to attempt while at home, alongside the weekly messages from their class teachers.

 

The challenges are released via our Facebook account (https://www.facebook.com/chalkwellhall) and YouTube channel (search ‘Chalkwell Hall Junior School’). You do not need to have an account on either platform to view our content.

 

We hope you have enjoyed the range of challenges so far, from reading in unusual places to learning a magic trick or even trying to identify the school staff members from their baby photos, and we have many more lined up for you over the coming weeks – including our Virtual Sports Day next Tuesday (30th June).

 

Here is a spotlight on our latest challenges to go up this week:

 

National School Sports Week

This week is National School Sports Week and Active Essex have created daily challenges for everyone around the county to take part in. The challenges have covered very different areas, with juggling and Zumba among them, and support those of all abilities.  If you want to, you can film your challenges and share your achievements with us and we will pass them on to the organisers. More details can be found on their website https://bit.ly/NSSWEssex

 

Music lessons with Mr Winiberg

Mr Winiberg has been producing weekly music lessons every Thursday. You can find all the lessons so far on our YouTube Channel.

 

This week, Mr Winiberg’s music lesson is all about lyric writing. He plays ‘How Far I’ll Go’ from Moana, then talks about the structure (verse, pre-chorus, chorus, verse 2, pre chorus, double chorus). He then challenges you to write your own lyrics following that structure, and if you are feeling super confident to then sing your lyrics along with the track. Whether you write them down or sing them, please share your new songs with us.

 

This week’s lesson can be found here:  https://youtu.be/OsdIXDdUkUc

 

Learn a magic trick

Mrs Thompson plays the magical assistant to her son George as they set you a spell-binding challenge to learn and share a magic trick.

 

If you want to give the challenge a go, it can be found here: https://youtu.be/fyXxbo82QO4

 

Don’t forget to send us a message about how you are getting on with the challenges, about any learning you have been doing at home or if you have any questions or problems you may be having. These messages can be sent in via the class email accounts (e.g. 4GW@chalkwellhall.co.uk).

 

Good Luck!

 

 

 

 

Newsletter – 18th June 2020

We have seen a sharp increase in the number of children of key workers returning to school, as more and more businesses get back up and running, and it has been a pleasure to welcome them back. Thank you to all the key worker parents who have let us know in advance of their child’s return to school, it makes it a lot easier to plan.

 

The government have given us a little flexibility in saying we can take more children if we have room but we are still working under the directive of accommodating key workers and more vulnerable children and then Year 6 pupils before we can consider allowing any more year groups in to school. Because we need to have reduced numbers in each group, we now have 10 classes of year 6 children and 7 classes of key worker/more vulnerable children which means we aren’t going to be in a position to invite any extra year groups in before the end of term.

 

I would love to have been in a position to welcome back other year groups as a whole or in rotation but we simply do not now have the space to accommodate them. With the limited space that we have left we are working on bringing in those that need it most first, those who do not tick the government’s official vulnerable list but those who we know and have been working with who may be more at risk than others.

 

We share your frustrations with everyone not being able to attend school. Teachers want to see their classes and we know that the children would love to be able to see their teachers and their classmates in person.

 

We are trying to up our level of engagement over this half term with teachers making more regular videos and encouraging children to stay engaged with their learning so we hope that will make things easier at home. The current situation can certainly feel isolating for some so we will be sending out activities to try and get more of our children engaged with school and try to get back a bit of our community feeling by having some whole school shared tasks to enjoy.

 

The lessons provided through the Oak Academy are great for keeping up with maths and English but nothing compares to being part of a classroom and, in turn, part of a whole school. We are seeing that and we are trying to find ways to help everyone feel more included. Please get in touch with your class teachers if you need any more support.

 

Mr Linfield

Update to website & keyworkers children

We hope the children enjoyed the videos the teachers sent out to their class last week via email.  If anyone didn’t receive a video, please contact us to make sure we are holding the correct email address for you. We will be creating many more videos to try and engage and challenge the children over the next 5 weeks.

 

Today we have uploaded to our website a new, more interactive timetable with some tips and advice from the year group teachers on how to approach the Oak Academy lessons for the week. It also includes ideas to support reading and your child’s wellbeing. Please click on this link to access it: https://chalkwellhall.co.uk/working-from-home, if you haven’t already done so.

 

If you or your child has any queries at all, either about their learning or general wellbeing, or would like to share what they have been up to at home, then please contact their teacher via the class email address, e.g. 3AH@chalkwell.co.uk.

 

We are seeing our key worker children numbers in school rising, and we are really enjoying seeing more familiar faces back in school.  We would ask that you let us know in advance if you will be sending in your child so that we can make appropriate arrangements if the numbers start to increase further.

 

Thank you for your continued support.

Summer Reading Challenge

Every year the school welcomes a representative from the library service to join us in an assembly to share the details of the Summer Reading Challenge. We are always proud to hear of the successes many of our children have with these challenges so are incredibly pleased that the challenge will be going ahead this year.

 

Please find the details from the library service below.

 

 

This year’s theme is ‘Silly Squad’ and the all-new digital website (https://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk/) was launched officially on Friday, 5th June 2020, with a host of fun activities, and runs right through the summer to September.

 

Families will be able to find an array of virtual ‘super silly’ curated events which will be hosted online, including games, quizzes and many different downloadable activities, with the intention of entertaining and educating children, who may be feeling self-isolated at this difficult time.

 

Children are encouraged to read anything that makes them feel happy, no matter what the format and whether or not they have borrowed it from the library or it’s something from home: fiction or non-fiction, poetry, comics, joke books and more.

 

Please note that although the council’s library buildings are still closed until further notice, we are encouraging children to continue to access our services freely through our virtual services and e-lending platforms https://southend.spydus.co.uk/.

 

Other reading resources to help at home

 

Parents have been asking about stage reading books, and many of them can be accessed for free online from the ‘Oxford Owl’ website:  https://home.oxfordowl.co.uk/

 

It takes two minutes to register for free, and the books are tablet friendly and organised by difficulty or age group to help finding the right books for your child as easy as possible.

 

For those children who may need help with their phonics/spelling, the Phonics Play scheme (which we follow in school) is currently free to use and accessible via their website:  https://www.phonicsplay.co.uk/.  It contains a lot of interactive games to help them learning key sounds and spelling patterns.

 

For those looking for something a little different, there are lots of online reading events taking place, such as the Barnes Children’s Literature Festival at home (https://www.barneskidslitfest.org/whats-on/). Also, the World Book day website continues to share a wide number of engaging resources (https://www.worldbookday.com/resources/primary/)

 

Good luck with the challenge!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Year 3 to Year 4 Transition

 

It is this time of the year that we start looking at arrangements for September. We have no hard and fast rules on this other than we look at each cohort every year and assess their needs to decide whether we leave them as they are or mix them up.

 

Following discussions with my year group team and the SLT, it has been decided that the Year 3 classes will be mixed when they go up to Year 4. They were kept together last year to support transition to the Juniors, but we now believe they are ready for and in need of some mixing with new faces to support their development as learners and socially.

 

Normally, we would speak to the children as a class and ask them to write down the names of 2-3 children they would like to be with, based on who they learn well with and not just who their best friends on the playground are! We then do our best to ensure each child got to be with at least one person from their list.

 

Given the ongoing situation regarding partial school closures, we will be following a slightly different process for organising the classes. We are asking all Year 3 families to discuss with their child about who they would like to be with for next year, and to then email in their list of names (up to a maximum of 3) to their class teacher by 9am on Monday 8th June 2020.  Even if your child has no particular preference, then please just drop us a message to let us know or just to say hi, as we enjoy hearing from them.

 

The class emails are:

3GB@chalkwellhall.co.uk

3OS@chalkwellhall.co.uk

3AH@chalkwellhall.co.uk

3NM@chalkwellhall.co.uk

 

If, as parents, you have a particular view on who you may wish your child to be with/apart from then please can you add this to the email. However, please be aware that while we will try our best to accommodate as many requests as possible, we cannot make any guarantees on the final class groupings. We have to consider a wide range of factors, such as gender balances and ability ranges, and this sometimes means we cannot accommodate individual requests.

 

We advise you to make the best decision for your child’s learning and experience at school, even if this may be a different view to other families or may lead to the splitting up of an established friendship group. We are all too aware of the modern day pressures of social media and messaging groups, and we ask that you make the best decision for your child and support those around you by not pressuring them to share or discuss their responses.

 

Please rest assured that as a Year 3 team we have gotten to know and enjoy teaching the Year 3 cohort, and we will make our decisions on groupings based on our knowledge of your child and our professional experiences to make sure next year’s classes are set up to have a successful and enjoyable year.

 

I hope you and your child have a successful conversation about what they would like for next year, and we look forward to seeing your emails by 9am on Monday 8th June 2020.