Well – none of us expected that we would find ourselves in this position once again, but one thing we learnt from the first lockdown is how strong we are as a school community and so we know that we will get through this new lockdown together.
I want to reflect on the last week and what we have all manged to achieve.
With no time at all, we have all had to stop, respond, and adapt to a new way of life; an expectation that at times has felt so far out of reach.
Overnight, we have had to close the school to all pupils other than those who are eligible; prepare and provide a remote home learning package for all and organise new routines for in school and at home. What an achievement!
When I have walked round the school this week, I have been filled with pride as I saw our incredible teachers and support staff successfully adapting to new styles of teaching in and out of the classroom and using technology to its advantage for our home learners. Our fantastic office team have supported our families with any queries and our catering team have not only served hot meals across school and to the other schools we provide food for, but also packed up our own Free School Meal bags for those families most in need. Our wonderful, inspirational children have taken all of this change, yet again, in their stride – our young people, learning at home and at school, are truly a credit to you.
With that said, I can only imagine how overwhelming and stressful this situation is for our parents/carers at home! Having to suddenly alter home routines and juggle own work patterns, whilst trying to support learning for your children, with many households doing this for more than one child, is an enormous ask! My sincere respect goes out to you all: it is no easy feat I’m sure.
Know that you’re doing a fantastic job and that now the first week is over, as we make any final tweaks, things will become second nature soon enough and part of our daily life.
As ever, please do let us know if we can help you in anyway and continue to contact the school for support. Our new Senior Learning Mentor (Mrs Simpson) starts next week and will be able to offer further pastoral support to the children whilst they are at home.
A huge round of applause to you all!
I cannot believe that we have already completed an entire term! Time certainly does fly when you are having fun.
Firstly, I just want to take a few minutes to reflect on what we have achieved since September:
We opened the school with robust COVID restrictions.
We have continued to respond to Health and Safety information and adhered to more and more restrictions to keep ourselves and our community safe.
We have found ways of using technology to ensure that the children don’t miss out on valuable learning.
We have delivered exciting learning opportunities for all the children and also supported them emotionally to settle and get back to learning.
We have found new ways of doing things so that the children don’t miss out and so we can come together as one school community- Zoom assembly, Children in Need, Halloween and Mrs Nash’s special assembly to name but a few.
We have become published poets (although Covid ruined the chances of this happening in time for Christmas)!
We managed to deliver a COVID CHRISTMAS that the children and staff thoroughly enjoyed.
We have carried out online parents’ evenings to ensure that parents’ worries about the effects of the lockdown were eased.
We have managed a successful bubble system including some hot dinners and breakfast club provision.
We have welcomed new members of staff ( Mrs Bennett, Mrs Bridgestock, Miss Khan and Miss Cottam) who are all an asset to the team.
Staff in every role have gone above and beyond and carried out activities that wouldn’t normally fall under their job description- all without complaining – what a team!
And we have all (children included) been turning up every day with a smile on our faces 🙂
It certainly has been a festive few weeks here at school. Last week we had our annual Christmas Jumper day where the children and staff also got to eat a delicious Christmas dinner- it really was yummy!
That naughty elf also made an appearance again, if only by video. He had ruined Santa’s Christmas Tree in the North Pole and Santa knew that there was only one school who would be able to help him- The Greetland Academy. He sent our children the challenge of using their maths, science and design skills to build him a new tree for his home in Lapland. I am sure you all saw the photographs of the finished trees on Facebook and hope that you managed to vote for your favourite. I can reveal that the winning trees were made by Reception and Class 4A.
This week our children completed the Reindeer Run for Overgate Hospice dressed in their new reindeer antlers! We cannot thank you enough for your generous donations to such a worthy cause- I know it will make a huge difference to Overgate.
Last week we had a virtual visit from our MAT Executive Team and they were so impressed to hear about everything that has been going on in school since we returned in September.
Today was our first ‘Star of the Term’ assembly of the school year. Unlike other Friday assemblies where the teachers select a deserved child for a certificate, this award is given by the whole class who democratically vote for their star. Well done to all our winners for this term- I wonder who it will be next term! It was wonderful to hear some of the reasons why the children had been chosen- we really do have such fantastic children here.
A letter has been sent out separately to introduce you all to our new Senior Learning Mentor /Pastoral manager Mrs Simpson. I am sure you will all get to know her in the new year.
I cannot end this message without mentioning the special visitor who came to KS1 this afternoon -Santa himself! Luckily, all headteachers have a personal hotline to the big guy and so I was able to provide him with our full Covid risk assessment to ensure he could still visit us in a safe way. He even got his elves to drop off the children’s gifts three days earlier so that they could be quarantined before we gave them out!
It just goes to say that I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. As you know, tomorrow is a training day for staff and the children will be at home; we will all be returning to school on Monday 4th January. I can’t wait to hear all about the children’s Christmas celebrations on our return.
Another two busy weeks and we can now finally start the build up to the most magical time of year- Christmas!
Firstly, I would like to share some happy news with you all. Last week, Mrs Read gave birth to a little boy named Albert (Bertie) who will be a much-loved brother for her other two children, Florence and Stanley. I am sure you will all join me in wishing her and her family well and we hope that when things do eventually settle down, she will be able to bring him in for lots of cuddles.
We cannot thank you enough for your support on our Children in Need Day- the children certainly found some very creative ways of breaking the rules. I am pleased to say that they all returned to their normal rule abiding ways on the Monday. Through your generosity we managed to raise £595 ,which is amazing!
Our eagerly anticipated poetry book is now on sale and features the work of all our Greetland community including our parents. A letter has been shared on Seesaw with a link where orders can be placed. The book really is something that we as a school are very proud of and will make a fantastic Christmas gift or keepsake of what has been a very difficult year.
Our nativity has been cast and the Year 1 children are busy with their rehearsals and I, for one, cannot wait of the live screening of their performance. The Christmas tree also arrives in school on Monday evening and every child will have the opportunity to make a decoration to hang. We have decided to place the KS1 tree in the conservatory this year so that parents can see it when they pick up of an evening. We are also planning on doing the Reindeer Run for Overgate again this year and further information about this will follow shortly.
I know some of you may be worried about our annual visit from our special friend who lives the North this year, but worry not! We have managed to speak to Santa and his team of elves and he is fully aware of our risk assessment processes and will still be able to visit Key Stage One albeit socially distanced and he has arranged for the presents to arrive by reindeer three days before so that they can be quarantined before being given to the children.
You will have seen on Seesaw that the children have carried out work based on the NSPCC ‘Speak Out Stay Safe’ learning materials. This package aims to help children understand abuse in all its forms and how to recognise signs of abuse; that abuse is never a child’s fault and that they have the right to be safe and where to get help; and the sources of help available to them, including the Childline service. Supporting our children with safeguarding is a key element of our curriculum and the resources provided by the NSPCC helped to deliver such important messages in an age-appropriate manner- even featuring Ant and Dec at one point -or as some children referred to them, ‘those two guys who are in that castle’!
Finally, the wonderful Mrs Nash leaves us today after over 20 years of service to the school. During her time with us she has made such a difference to so many children’s lives and she will be greatly missed. We held a special assembly for her this morning and she has asked me to send out a thank you to you all for your support over the years and for the lovely gifts and messages that she has received.
Since we returned to school we have been determined to resume to as much normality as possible whilst keeping everyone safe. These last few weeks have shown how, with a little thought and the use of technology, we can continue to offer a broad and balanced curriculum and encourage parental involvement in school life. This week our Year 5 children took part in a poetry and music workshop lead by our Poet in Residence (Winston) and our new Musician in Residence (Paul Harding). The work they are carrying out in our school is funded by the Elland Cluster and aims to support creative writing through immersion in the arts. I know the children ,and staff, really enjoyed their sessions which were fully risk assessed to allow for them to come into school and perform in front of the children. Whilst I am growing tired of looking at my own face on Zoom, the app has proved invaluable to us as a school. When children are required to isolate, they are able to join our Friday assembly securely and this week one of our amazing teachers , who was required to isolate, taught her class remotely ensuring that their learning wasn’t disrupted. I previously shared that we had started to run two sports clubs for the Year 4 and 5 bubbles- sadly the government have asked for this provision to stop during the current lockdown but this has not stopped us! Mr Bade is going to deliver a club using Zoom- Joe Wicks eat your heart out! We are hoping in the new year to offer online keep fit sessions for all our children. The response to our ‘Mystery Reader’ project has been amazing and there is nothing more rewarding than seeing children excited to hear a story. Thank you so much to those who have already sent in a video for the children to watch. Today is Children In Need day and I’ve been amazed at the ways the children have found to break our uniform rules! It was a tough decision but the prize for the best rule break goes to Peter in 4G, Rocco in 4A and Isaac in 1A. In the interest of democracy, we opened up a vote for the children as to what the staff should do for Children in Need and the winning option was a great choice- watch out for pictures of us all in our finest sleepwear on Facebook! And finally- please do check out our new and improved website. We hope that you find it to be user friendly but if you have any feedback, please do drop me an email. I would like to thank you all for your support with our request for parents to wear face masks at pick up and drop off unless you are exempt. I am so proud of our school community and how we have continued to pull together despite the difficult situation we all find ourselves in.
Another great few weeks here: I can’t believe we only have one week left until the half term holiday! Our teachers loved being able to chat to you all about how your child has settled back into school over our new online system. It’s been so great to find new ways of being able to keep the channels of communication open. We have contacted the company about having the ability for more than one parent to log into the chat and I believe they are working on this before the new year. We are thrilled that we have managed to find a way that our Year One children can still perform a nativity that their families can watch (albeit virtually). We could not have had our children (or parents) missing out on this rite of passage. More information as to how we will do this will be communicated with parents in due course. We are keen for parents to be as involved in school life as they possibly can, so watch out for a letter next week about our new, secret ‘mystery reader’ project. The children at our school never cease to amaze me and last week I was faced with yet another example of this. Two girls in Year 5 sent me letters on behalf of the whole school expressing how, whilst they understood that we couldn’t hold one, they were so disappointed that they would miss out on our now infamous Halloween disco. They went on to quote an idea that they had read about in their class text and requested that I allow the children to come to school in their costumes on the last day. I think this is a great idea and we may even been be able to have a little boogie within each classroom. Knowing our staff, I’m sure they will all make an effort with their costumes too. I did say to the girls that I would agree to their request on the understanding that they wrote the letter that went out to parents and I know that you have all recently received their note! We are very proud of them both for showing such ingenuity and I know the rest of the children are so thankful to them for making this possible.
I can’t believe we have already been back a whole month- time certainly does fly when you’re having fun! The children have shown amazing resilience since coming back and have settled in to the new routines extremely well. Our aim is to make school as ‘normal’ as possible for all our children whilst also keeping everyone safe. Whilst we cannot hold assemblies together in the hall, we are using Zoom to hold whole school assemblies both on a Friday to celebrate success and through our monthly church assemblies. The children loved seeing our friends from St Thomas’ on the big screen yesterday. We are also about to start our first couple of after school sports clubs for two year group bubbles with a view to running more (at both sites)over the coming months. We feel it is extremely important to still offer our children a full, broad and balanced curriculum despite the restrictions we have. The poetry that the children have produced over the past few weeks has been outstanding (I’m sure you’ve seen some examples on Seesaw and on our Facebook page) and we will be announcing over the coming month how you can purchase a copy of our published book! On Monday, the leadership team will be joined by several parents for a poetry writing session and the finished poems from this will also be in our final anthology. We will share the video for the parent session on Seesaw next week for anyone else who wants to create a poem and we can still fit parents in if they want to join us over Zoom on Monday (just contact the office). You will have received a letter about an additional (virtual) parents’ evening that we are holding before half term. We felt it was important to have this additional communication with our families given that we are limited to the amount of contact we can have with you all. We also recognise that the last 6 months have not been easy for any of us and that you may still have worries about your children and so this virtual meeting should go some way to help ease any worries you may have and help continue the strong partnership that we have with our parents and carers. You should be able to book your appointment from Monday morning using our usual booking system. Finally, I would like to thank you all for the amazing support you have shown for us as a school- it means a lot to all the staff. I appreciate that with all these changes and new procedures it can be a little confusing but we have found that for our Greetland family, this has not been an issue and we have all pulled together.
What a fantastic few weeks we have had! We have all loved seeing the children back in school, happy and ready to learn. We really did miss them so much. They are all coping so well with the changes to normal school life. Thank you all for your support with our staggered start and pick up times: it has made it so much easier for us all. Please do continue to arrive at your allocated time and not before as it really helps with us getting the children in safely. Please also do continue to socially distance when you are walking up the drive or waiting on the roadside. Our Catering Manager has been busy working on a way that we can provide hot dinners whilst still operating within the current guidelines. We are pleased to announce that after half term we will be able to offer a hot menu, albeit it reduced in choices. Watch out for a letter in the next few weeks with further information. Our children have all been busy writing poems in school about their experiences during lockdown: there will be a letter to parents next week which will explain how you too can get involved in this project and I really hope that lots of you will- there might be a sweet treat in it for you ! Our Reception children have settled in so well to school and have been impressing their teachers- it really is like they have been with us for months!
I hope you all have a lovely weekend and enjoy this sunshine whilst it lasts.