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Tunbury Primary

Weekly Bulletin: Friday 12th June 2020

Messages for children at home

Hello everyone

How are you?  We hope that you are safe and well.

You will probably have heard about this week’s government announcement, saying that all year groups will not be able to return to school this term.  We’re really sorry that some of you will be away from school for such a long time.  Everyone in Team Tunbury is thinking of you and we are so looking forward to the time when we will all be together again in school.   If you are in Year 6, I understand that this is especially difficult for you – this isn’t how primary school is meant to end!  We will continue to work with you and do our very best to make your last weeks of primary school memorable.

Next week, we are starting a series of video lessons from Tunbury teachers.  These will be a mixture of pre-recorded and live video lessons which you can join from home.  We hope that these lessons help you with your learning, as well as making sure that you still feel part of your school.  Please let us know what you think!

Take care everyone and we look forward to seeing you in next week’s lessons.

Best wishes
Mrs Austin

Headteacher’s message for parents/carers

Dear Parents/Carers,

This week’s government announcement that some year groups will not be returning to school this academic year may or may not have been a surprise, but I know it’s causing concern to many parents, children and school staff.  On our last ‘normal’ school day on Friday 20th March, none of us could have anticipated that children would have such an extended period away from school.  

With this in mind, we are keen to improve the range of home learning and support that we offer for children at home.  Teachers have been working together on these changes since our INSET day on 1st June and we are now ready to go live with these improvements.

Firstly, each year group will continue to publish home learning via the school website, but we’re making some changes to this, based in part on feedback from parents/carers.  Home learning will now be published for the whole of the following week on a Friday afternoon (starting today).  We hope that this helps you to have more time to prepare for home learning each day.

Secondly, teachers will now offer pre-recorded and live video lessons each week.  As I said in my message to children, we hope that this helps both with learning and with reducing isolation for those have been at home for such an extended period.  Please be aware that the teacher leading the lessons for your child will probably not be their normal class teacher.  With the increased number of children in school, many teachers are working in school full-time, meaning that these colleagues will not also lead video lessons.  For each year group, a pre-recorded video lesson to support the published home learning will be available on the school website by 9.00am each Tuesday (starting 16th June).  Following this, a live video lesson will be available on Thursday or Friday (starting 18th/19th June), in which teachers will review how children’s learning is progressing and set a further challenge for home learning.  Parents/carers will be emailed a link to access your children’s live video lessons and further guidelines will be included with this message.

In school, we now have children from Year R, Year 1, Year 6, as well as our key worker/vulnerable groups in Years 2-5.  Numbers of children returning to school have increased this week, particularly for our key workers, resulting in adjustments to staffing and another expansion of the number of teaching groups.  Thank you for informing us in advance of any requests for children to return to school for the first time.  To help us organise this, we are moving our deadline for notification forward to Wednesdays at 5pm for attendance starting the following Monday.  Please email the school office on office@tunbury.kent.sch.uk with any new requests, to allow us to make staffing adjustments and respond to you on Thursdays.

If you are considering returning your child to school, we understand that everyone will have questions about how the ‘new’ version of school life actually works.  We are always happy to answer any queries or concerns, particularly regarding your child’s safety and the control measures that we have in place to minimise the risk of transmission of Covid-19 within school.  Our governing body considered the full range of control measures in place prior to our wider re-opening in June, and our risk assessment remains under continuous review.  I summarise the main issues for you in these weekly bulletins, but further information can always be provided if you have concerns.

For example, this week we have had questions about social distancing within school.  School staff are teaching and reinforcing social distancing in age-appropriate ways for all of our children, but we recognise that, in line with government guidance, this is not possible to maintain throughout the school day.  It is likely that children will come within 2m of each other at some points, including when sitting on the carpet (for example, in our Reception classrooms) or when sitting at their workstations in class (for all classes), as well as for some periods when playing outside at breaktimes/lunchtimes.  However, these instances are within each teaching group.  Additionally, at transitory moments such as going to the toilet or during this week’s fire drill, children may be within 2m of members of other teaching groups for a short period. 

The set-up of our teaching groups does minimise mixing between different groups as far as possible.  At times, we have had to make changes to our staffing rota, meaning that different staff do occasionally work with different teaching groups - this avoids having to close a teaching group if individual staff are not available.  In Reception and Year 1, we have allocated one teacher and one teaching assistant to each teaching group, but in Years 2-6 there have been some changes to the teacher with each group, as well as the allocation of teaching assistants to work across two groups.

We have also had questions about our Friday afternoon provision for key worker children.  Children in this group are part of a teaching group with their peers in Years R, 1 or 6, but if attendance at school is essential for key worker parents to remain at work, then these children are remaining at school on Friday afternoons.  This provision does create a new teaching bubble for this limited number of children on Friday afternoons, before they return to their normal teaching groups on Monday morning.  We have a range of control measures in place regarding this, including use of a new, larger space (the hall or outdoors) for this Friday afternoon group, the break provided by the weekend period and additional cleaning of all areas prior to Monday morning.

If you have any further queries or concerns regarding these issues or any other control measures, I am happy to discuss these with you - please contact me via the school office.  Thank you.

Thank you for your continued support.  Have a lovely weekend – please take care of yourselves and your families.

Best wishes
Ruth Austin


Stay alert: Please remember that to keep everyone safe, we still need to follow the national guidance issued by the government.  Most importantly, remember that no-one should come to school if they have symptoms of Covid-19, which are the recent onset of any of the following:

•         A new continuous cough
•         A high temperature
•         A loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell

This applies to everyone – children, staff and parents/carers.  If a child in school displays any of these symptoms, we would move them away from others and contact you to come into school to collect them immediately.  We would also follow current advice from Public Health England on our next steps. 

Collecting belongings: Arrangements are being made for parents to be able to collect their children’s belongings from school before the end of term. We will provide more details next week.


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