This week we had our half termly assembly lead by St Thomas’ Church. The children always love these sessions and we are so lucky to have such strong links with our local church.
Our Key Stage Two children have been having yoga sessions to support both their physical and mental health. These have proven to be very popular, and we are pleased to say that our children down the hill at Key Stage One will also get the chance to have a go shortly.
I cannot believe that we only have a few months left with our Year 6 children! We are busy putting plans in place for them to do an end of year show and for their leavers’ gift but we also recognise that the transition to high school can increase anxiety. The children in both Y5 and 6 have had an anxiety workshop to support them with managing these feelings and of course, Mrs Simpson is always on hand to offer support and advice.
Our parental survey was overwhelmingly positive but some of you did ask us to look at lunchtimes further. This week all our support staff, including midday supervisors have received behaviour management training from our Teaching School.
Now for some really lovely news- Mr O’Shea and his girlfriend became parents for the first time on Saturday. I am sure you will all join me in offering congratulations on the birth of the beautiful Ella Esme O’Shea. Mr O’Shea has started his paternity leave and will return to school on 24th May.
Some of you may already be aware that two of our children – Jonas and Bella- have both donated their hair in the name of charity. These wonderful acts of kindness, along with Scarlett’s during the first lockdown, have led us to start a new school award. ‘The Greetland Academy Community Spirit Award’ will be given to our children when we hear that they are going above and beyond to make a difference. Jonas, Bella and Scarlett will all have their names engraved on the trophy in school as the first recipients of this award.
Next week I will be spending some time in each of the classes and I am very much looking forward to talking to the children and seeing their fantastic learning.
Finally, I would like to wish Eid Mubarak to any members of the school community who are celebrating Eid today or yesterday.
Well, the weather has certainly taken a turn for the worst but at school all the children are still working as hard as ever. They have returned from the Easter break looking smart and ready to learn. I am sure they all enjoyed the fact that they could meet up with others outdoors over the Easter break as we edge ever closer to some level of normality.
We have been able to start up some after school clubs over the past two weeks for year group bubbles at both sites. Whilst this is a long way from our usual breadth of offer, we are pleased that we are able to offer something to the children and have great plans for when things return to normal.
This term, our Y6 children have the opportunity to work with our Poet in Residence and our Musician in Residence (like Y4 and 5 have done previously). This has been funded by the Elland Cluster of Schools and is such a valuable experience for our children- I cannot wait to read their finished writing.
Our Y5 children are busy recording their first ever podcast! These will be available to listen to on the school website so watch out for more news on this shortly.
On Wednesday, we had a visit from the Trust School Improvement Team. They spent time with myself and the leadership team and in our Reception, Y5 and Y6 classes. They were blown away with what they saw (including the robin’s nest in our Reception entrance). Some of our children even spoke to them to tell them all about Greetland Academy and were a credit to the school.
And that’s the end of another term and we find ourselves two-thirds of the way through the school year! It has been so wonderful to be all together again as a school community and the birthday party certainly was the perfect way to celebrate this. It has also been wonderful to see the return of some lovely weather- the children were so excited to be able to get out on the field.
Our Trust walking challenge is complete and together we have managed to climb the world’s 100 highest mountains 10 times over which is 5037km in total- go Team Greetland! A special mention needs to go to Charlie Greenwood who managed to cover a whopping 366km!
I know I had to share a bit of sad news yesterday about the vandalism at our KS1 site. Whilst this was very disappointing for us all, what was amazing to see was how our wonderful community all rallied round to offer support. Thank you so much to those parents who contacted us to offer their help. Luckily, there was no major damage and we have informed the police.
Many thanks to those of you who completed the parental survey- there was an overwhelming amount of positive responses and it meant so much to all the staff to read all the comments that were made. As always, there are things that we can work on still and we have really valued getting your perspective in helping us to identify next steps. Our website now reflects the feedback we received and after Easter, Mrs Simpson will also be reaching out to parents to ask for their perspective on how we can support our children with friendships as this is something that has become of particular concern since the last lockdown. Children have been away from their peers for a number of months and have missed out on that vital socialising time and some may be finding it difficult to be back together in bigger groups. You will have already noticed on Seesaw that all the children have been doing PSHCE work around friendships. We were thrilled to read how many of you thought that communication between home and school was a real strength. Seesaw has certainly helped with this but please also note that whilst we share all letters on Seesaw, there will also be a copy on the school website which you can find here: https://greetlandacademy.org.uk/diary-news/letters/. I do also add a copy of my Principal’s message to the website also.
We had a fantastic turn out for our parents’ evenings last week. If you did not manage to make an appointment, please do contact the office as the teachers would be more than happy to arrange to speak to you over the phone. The partnership between parents and school is so important in supporting our children’s progress. As always, the Learning Launch Pad for next half term, which tells you what your child will be learning, is on Seesaw and can also be found on our website here: https://greetlandacademy.org.uk/academic-excellence/learning-launchpads/
Hopefully, the children will all get an uninterrupted final term before the summer where we can really focus on addressing any gaps and continuing to teach the full curriculum. A detailed end of year report will be sent out in July but, as always, if you want to discuss your child’s progress at any point, please do contact the office to arrange a phone call with the class teacher.
This morning we had our second ‘Star of the Term’ assembly of the year. These are my favourite certificate assemblies because the winners are decided by the children- and what a great decision they all made. Congratulations to all the winners!
We are pleased to say that we are starting some after school clubs again after Easter. With the current restrictions we are limited as to what we can offer and whilst it is far from our usual provision, it is a step in the right direction towards some level of normality. Letters have been sent out to those year groups where we can offer a club.
Today we will be having a covid-secure visit from our good friend ‘The Easter Bunny’. He is coming to drop off his sweet treats for all the children at KS1 and we know he is thrilled that he will manage to see the children this time as last year we only managed to capture him on video in the KS1 woodland due to the first lockdown. There is also an extra treat for all our children courtesy of FOGS who generously gifted every child and staff member with an Easter egg- a huge thank you to them.
COVID SYMPTOMS AND RESULTS REMINDER:
If your child should begin to display symptoms over the weekend, please book them a test and keep me updated using the email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be on call over the Easter weekend in case we do have a positive case and need to notify families of the need to isolate. As it stands, I am not awaiting any test results and am hoping this will remain the case. After the weekend, please do continue to notify us of any positive cases/ isolation periods.
On behalf of all the staff, I would like to wish you all a lovely Easter break and we will see you all on 19th April.
What a wonderful day we have had! It’s a year today since we closed our doors to most children as a result of the first lockdown and I know that at that time we could never have imagined what this year would bring. One thing we have learnt is how strong we all are as a school community. All of us will have now had a birthday under some form of restrictions and we are so pleased that we have been able to celebrate those missed birthdays in true Greetland style.
It has been a truly remarkable day. From the playground discos in the morning with bubble machines, the visit to KS1 from Twinkle the Bear, the live sing-along Disney session for KS1 and the magician’s performance all on Zoom, the Tik Tok Dance parties at KS2 and the party games enjoyed with our friends at West Vale Academy- the day has been action packed and full of fun and joy.
There are so many people to thank who made this day possible.
Firstly, our wonderful kitchen staff lead by Mrs Thompson. They made the most amazing party lunch and catered for 400 children today. There was also the added bonus of a birthday cake (with sparkler) for every class to enjoy.
To our amazing staff who planned such a fantastic day for our community and who stayed late and arrived extra early to decorate the building – thank you so much. A special mention to Mr Pascall who has been making sure the local media cover this day along with being our resident DJ for the KS2 disco and to Mrs Figura who managed to get us the magician, sing-a-long and Tik Tok parties all for free.
Thank you to our wonderful ‘Friends of Greetland School’ who funded the birthday gift that every child received. We even visited the homes of those children who were isolating to make sure that they still got their birthday gift and cake- we could not have anyone missing out!
Our friends at Baby Ballet were so generous in arranging for our KS1 children to have a surprise visit from Twinkle the Bear- the children loved it! We also received generous donations from Morrisons in Elland and Arc Recruitment and are feeling very lucky, but I must give a special mention to Magic Dan who performed a magic show over Zoom to our KS1 children this afternoon topping off what was already a magical day.
And finally, a huge thank you to the parents. Your generosity and support have really helped to make this day special. We received so many kind donations and we really do appreciate it as we know that this is a difficult time for many. We were also impressed by your dance moves in the playground this morning for our socially distanced, drop-off disco.
We have taken so many images of the fun throughout the day and we will put them all together as a video for each site- these will be shared on Facebook and Seesaw shortly.
Watch out for us on Look North tonight as they asked us to film our celebrations for their Comic Relief coverage and we also featured in the Halifax Evening Courier last night! We have managed to raise £255 through our Just Giving page for Comic Relief which is fantastic.
We really hope your little ones (and not so little ones) have had the most amazing and memorable day today. Happy birthday to all of the Greetland family – let’s hope that in the not-too-distant future, you can all join us also for a big, ‘end of the pandemic’ celebration.
We got through it! I cannot tell you how excited we all are to be opening to all children from Monday. I sent out a letter via email on Wednesday with a reminder of our procedures and start and finish times. This is also on our website (along with an updated version of our risk assessment) so please make sure that you have read it.
Our priority, particularly over the first few days, is to allow the children the space and time to catch up with their friends and teachers, to play games, socialise, celebrate lockdown achievements, and enjoy getting back to a routine. Teachers are busy planning sessions to allow this to happen. We are also planning to hold consultation sessions for parents with their child’s teacher before the Easter break (22nd and 24th March for all classes other than 4G parents who will have their sessions on 29th and 30th March) so that families can share their child’s experience of learning remotely alongside teachers sharing how their child has settled back into school life. More details around this will follow on Monday.
I know that many parents may be concerned about this current lockdown and the impact that being taught remotely will have had on your children, but our staff are amazing and highly trained and will tailor learning expertly to support all children to progress from their starting points so please do not worry.
This week we marked World Book day in true Greetland fashion. It was wonderful to link up with the children at home to see their costumes, read them a story and see their window decoration competition entries. Congratulations to Amber Rodd, Alice Walker, 2A and 3G who were the worthy winners and well done to everyone who entered. We also hope you enjoyed our ‘Where’s Wally Hunt’ around the village.
Another piece of exciting news- we recognise that we are now pretty much a year into this pandemic and its restrictions and therefore all of us will have had a birthday either under full lockdown or under some form of limitations. For Comic Relief this year (19th March), we will be holding ‘The Great Greetland Birthday Party’ and will spend the whole day celebrating the birthday that we have missed out on this year with our class bubble. Children and staff will be able to come to school dressed for their ideal party (a sleepover, superheroes, a disco, a football party- it’s up to them). Our staff are busy putting final plans together and a letter will come out shortly with more information including how you can donate to Comic Relief. FOGS have kindly also arranged for each child to receive a ‘birthday gift’ so I would like to say a huge thank you to them. If any of you have any contacts who could help provide decorations for this day (particularly helium balloons) then please get in touch with the school office. Budgets are limited at the moment but we do want to make this day memorable for our children.
I am pleased to announce that Mrs Bakes and Mrs Moran have both had their babies. Mrs Morgan gave birth to little Arlo about a month ago and Mrs Bakes had (not so little) Albie last week. They are all doing well and hope to be able to come into school to visit once restrictions are lifted. They would both like to thank you for the cards and gifts that they received before they left.
Thank you as always for your support over this lockdown period and the kind words of thanks recognising how hard the staff have been working: juggling the demands of teaching both in class whilst also providing remote education is no mean feat and they have all risen to the challenge fantastically. They really are an amazing bunch of people.
Finally, well done to you all- you got through this! Back in January I sent you all this message:
‘What I want to say to you all (parents of children in school and at home) is WELL DONE. Whatever your personal circumstances, we have been blown away with the fantastic job you are all doing. If your child has stayed up late, played too much on their console or not done all their school work……..THAT’S OKAY. We know how much our children are loved and cared for and how they are all kept safe and that is the most important thing at the moment’.
I meant every word of it at the time and still do to this day. We have been blown away with the efforts at home.
Have a lovely weekend and I will see you all on Monday morning. 😊
Well, we’ve made it to the end of the half term. Well done to everyone: the staff, children in school, children at home and parents and carers at home who have done such a fantastic job with supporting remote education. As a nation, we are expecting the Prime Minister to announce his plans for coming out of lockdown on Monday 22nd February. We are all hoping for a return to normal schooling on the 8th March but if for some reason this does not happen, please do not panic. We will continue to provide all the support we can to those families at home. If we are returning to school on the 8th, as we all hope, then I will communicate the plans with you as soon as possible after the announcement. As you all know by now, we find out what is happening at the same time as you do and so we will need a little time to make sure we have all the measures in place.
What a few weeks we have had since my last message. At school and home, we celebrated Children’s Mental Health Week. As a school we have always valued the importance of looking after our mental health as well as our physical health and so last week we marked Children’s Mental Health week with lots of fun activities both in school and at home and then ending in Year group zoom assemblies where we could all express ourselves through our choice of outfits. It was wonderful to see all the children on our Zoom assemblies joining in with this theme as well as the children and staff in school and there were some amazing outfits.
This week saw the return of our popular ‘Well-being Wednesday’. I think everyone has appreciated the time to do activities that don’t involve screen time and ease the pressure of remote education- I have loved seeing what the children got up to on Seesaw.
Our fantastic Learning Mentor, Mrs Simpson, has been busy supporting our families at home and in school. Please do contact her if you feel she could help your child in any way. She has also posted a stone painting project on Seesaw for the children so please do watch out for that. If you could get a stone(s) and paint/colour some positive messages on them, then bring them to school, there will be a box in the office entrance to leave them. (The box will be there Monday 22nd February to Wednesday 24th February). Mrs Simpson will then line them up outside the school wall so that anyone passing can take a positive message who needs one. It would be nice to brighten someone’s day and know you have played a part of it. You can also take one, and then maybe add another when you see one that means something to you. Anyone can do it, so get the whole family involved!
It was so wonderful to join some of our KS1 children who are at home for a virtual cook-along on Wednesday. My son particularly enjoyed eating the banana cheesecake that we made. I will also be attending the KS2 one this afternoon where we are making spring rolls, which The Crowther family will then be having for tea. If you couldn’t make either of the sessions, the recipes are on the Phunky Foods website.
Mr Pascall has been working hard on our remote learning section of the website so that all information is in one place. On there you will find links to emotional and well-being support, links to access our remote learning platforms, advice for parents on supporting home learning and our policy. https://greetlandacademy.org.uk/parents/remote-education/
You will have all seen the letter that Mrs Ashton put on Seesaw about World Book Day. We could not let lockdown ruin our chances of celebrating this day. The children and staff in school can come in dressed as their favourite book character and those children at home are also encouraged to dress up and will be given the chance to show their costumes on a Zoom assembly. We really are looking forward to the window decorating competition and ‘Where’s Walley Hunt’ around Greetland and don’t forget that the children at home can also opt to join a story session with any one of our teachers in the afternoon.
So it just goes to say that I hope you all have a lovely half term break before we start again on the 22nd. I am proud every day to lead such a fantastic school with such amazing children and staff and supportive parents. Make sure you all try and take some time for yourselves as I know how challenging the last 6 weeks have been for you all. We have big plans for when we do finally get all the children back in school which I will share with you in due course.
Firstly, thank you for all the messages I received after the message I sent out on Sunday. It is so important to all of us here that you know what an amazing job you are all doing and how we understand the pressures you are under. I know the news that school will not be back until at least the 8th March will have added to parents’ worries, but as I said in my message on Sunday, we will get through this together.
This week we held our first trust-wide ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ where we all went screen free for the day. It was lovely to see all the creative things that the children got up to both at home and in school. The staff were also treated to a sweet treat from Roasty Coffee on Monday in recognition of how hard they are all working. Whilst we all still hope for a return to school soon, we now know that we will not be back straight after the holidays with Boris announcing that there will not be a return before the 8th March. We will hold another wellbeing Wednesday on 10th February and we will continue to find ways to make everyone still feel connected to our school. We already have contingency plans in place for World Book Day (4th March) and will send out a letter detailing our plans before we break up.
We have now held daily Zoom meets for the past two weeks and I have managed to join every Key Stage One class for a story. It has been so wonderful to see the children smiling away, clearly so happy to be able to see and speak to us. I have also attended a Zoom assembly for each year group and have had the pleasure of playing such games as – guess the person from the baby photo, a scavenger hunt and an emoji quiz. These sessions are so important to maintain our sense of community whilst we cannot all be together.
We are pleased to announce that as an additional means of keeping everyone safe, our staff will be offered twice-weekly lateral flow tests for COVID-19 starting this Sunday. This is a voluntary scheme that aims to pick up those who are asymptomatic so that they can isolate. We will be taking these tests on a Sunday and Wednesday evening. Please note that where we have a positive test result, as with any positive result, all contacts of that person will be expected to isolate for 10 days. We will notify parents through our text messaging service and then follow this up with a letter via email. Remote learning will be provided for those expected to isolate. There may be some disruption to the remote education offer if a member of staff should subsequently become ill.
Finally, I would like to thank you all for the wonderful emails of support and thanks that we have received over the past 4 weeks. I cannot tell you how much these mean to us all and how they keep us going. We even received 4 hampers for the staffroom from Jovan’s family, which was a very generous gift for all our staff.
As we have come to the end of week 3 of the lockdown and I reflect on my own experience as a parent of two children who are home-schooling at the moment, I wanted to send you all a little message of support. Times are tough at the moment whilst we try to juggle our own jobs, children’s school work and the other pressures that this pandemic brings. There are also lots of rumours in the media about when schools may reopen, which at times are not very helpful. There is enormous pressure on our own mental health and the dark, and rainy/snowy weather hasn’t helped with this. Now, more than ever, we need to support each other to get through this together.
What I want to say to you all (parents of children in school and at home) is WELL DONE. Whatever your personal circumstances, we have been blown away with the fantastic job you are all doing. If your child has stayed up late, played too much on their console or not done all their school work……..THAT’S OKAY. We know how much our children are loved and cared for and how they are all kept safe and that is the most important thing at the moment. We know that we have high expectations here and we have set a lot of work to be done at home. We have to provide this as the government have made it the law this time round. All we ask is that you as a family do your best. If you are only able to do 30 minutes of reading and maths work here and there, that is okay- just let us know. If you want to do all the work we set, that is okay. Please do not let school work put any extra pressure on you when you are also trying to hold down jobs, earn a living and keep your children safe. Everyone’s circumstances are very different and we appreciate that. It is also fine to let your child get the answers wrong. This will help us to give feedback and support where needed and even adapt the work for the next day. If your child does find something hard, they can send a message to their teacher and they will respond as soon as they can to offer some help.
On Wednesday, we will be having a special ‘screen-free day’ both in school and for those children at home and more information about this will come out tomorrow. This day will offer everyone the opportunity to take a well-deserved break from the demands of home-schooling.
Finally, whilst we may not be open to all pupils at the moment, we are still here to offer emotional support to all of our families. If you need support, a chat, a virtual cuppa or even a cry- we are here. Take care, stay safe and remember that we think you are all doing amazing. Keep adding those kilometres to our Trust mountain challenge also as it really does help to get out in the fresh air.
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.