Here we go again

This is not the start of term that I would have wanted, or indeed that I expected given Government assurances at the turn of the year that schools were a priority and that primary schools would remain open.  However, we find ourselves in lockdown 3 and working exceptionally hard once again to meet the needs of all in our school community.  Do please be aware that the staff in the office are exceptionally busy fielding calls and emails on an enormous range of issues.  Occasionally it may take time to get through on the phone, and requests made by phone which require a response by email may take some time to action given the current workload.  Your patience with and politeness to our colleagues in the office is appreciated.

Equally, all classroom staff are now operating in two learning environments; the real here in school and the virtual on-line.  This is alongside planning and resourcing all of the children’s learning and then assessing the work that is submitted by all of the pupils.  Families who are learning remotely are asked to pose any questions about learning tasks using the chat function on Microsoft Teams rather than ‘dialling in’ using the call function.  Teaching staff will then work through the requests as they come in with replies that may be through the chat or the call function as appropriate.  Please remember that colleagues are juggling a number of demands with their classes, so responses to queries will not be immediate.

Having both professional and domestic experience of remote learning, I know that it is challenging for families and can at times be stressful.  Please be assured that all colleagues are working as hard as they can, and are constantly exploring new avenues of learning and communication which may take some time to bed in, so again your patience and politeness is appreciated.

With this latest enforced partial school closure we are seeing immediate high demand for in-school places to allocate to the children of key workers and those deemed vulnerable.  Indeed the anticipated pupil numbers on site could very soon be so high as to defeat the very purpose of a partial school closure as a means of securing social distancing and household lockdown.  Therefore, please remember that in-school provision should only ever be used by those who qualify where it is absolutely necessary, and where adults are engaged in essential work leaving them with no alternative but to send their child to school.  Adults who work part time should only book on the days when they are at work, and families should try their utmost to secure domestic arrangements before reverting to booking a school place.  Whilst this may sound restrictive, it is an essential element of keeping the school site, with the children and the staff in it, as safe as possible.

Finally, looking back to last term, may I offer huge thanks and congratulations to all in St Peter’s for all the fundraising they undertook.  The staff raised £107 for Macmillan nurses through a socially distanced coffee morning in September, Year 4 raised over £40 for Guide Dogs, the school raised an impressive £605 for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, and over 400 cans of food were donated to the school to pass on to the Waterlooville Food Bank.  Many thanks to you all.

Mr R Cunningham

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