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Spring Newsletter 1 [Friday 8th January 2021]

Dear Parents/Carers


Can you believe it’s only two weeks since Christmas Day? Such a lot has happened in a short space of time:

  • we’ve opened school for staff INSET
  • we’ve closed school for all pupils
  • we’ve opened school for vulnerable pupils & the children of critical workers 


I wanted to use today’s newsletter to say thank you to people in our school community.
I’ll start by thanking our parents & carers. Thank you for being so understanding of the situation we found ourselves at 8.10pm on Monday evening – we felt the only way we could successfully deal with this latest lockdown was to close school to all pupils for a day. I’m sure the various WhatsApp groups were all of a-twitter (are you allowed to mix your social medias?). Thank you for being so patient when trying to access home learning on Google Classroom this week. Understandably, we had a lot of anxious parents at the beginning but as the week has progressed things have settled down & our teachers have been impressed (as usual) with the engagement of their pupils. It’s amazing how our pupils from Y1 – Y6 have taken to using this platform. Please keep getting in touch if you have any issues – we will try our best to sort them as quickly as possible. Thank you to everyone who has sent positive messages to their child’s teacher & the staff in school – a kind word means so much - I have had teachers message me, thrilled with what’s been said.
I must thank 2 lots of children. Firstly, the children at home – well done – you have been superstars! We are so happy with the numbers of children engaging with the home learning. I know the teachers enjoy the ‘Welcome’ meetings each day & love being able to interact with your children throughout the day. As our experience of using Google Classroom increases, I’m sure we will see our practice develop & make the home learning experience even better. Secondly I must thank the children who have been attending school each day – they have been wonderful too! They have been focused in class with their learning, cooperative with each other & so polite to the staff with them. They come in each day with a spring in their step, ready to learn. As per usual, we can rely Woodlands’ pupils to show their very best each day.
Next, I would like to thank the teachers for providing the home learning. The press keeps mentioning that schools are closed. We’re not. And the evidence is in what Woodlands’ teachers are doing each day. Yes, they’re not stood up in front of a class, but they are managing to deliver high-quality learning opportunities from a distance. Working in this way is not easy - they are answering up to 300 messages a day & guiding children’s learning – it’s not how they’re used to doing it but they are rising to the challenge. To see teachers interacting with all our children from Y1-Y6 in such a productive manner has been great. As always, our teachers are dedicated to ensuring your children can do the very best they can.
I’d like to thank people in the school office, Ms Roberts, Mrs Matthews & Mrs Williams, for tackling the onslaught of phone calls & emails over the last few days with such good grace. Mrs Inskip, our site manager, has, as usual, ensured the safe running of the school – nothing is ever too much trouble for him. I’d like to thank our LWAs (dinner ladies) for coming in & supervising the children in school at lunchtime – we have a wonderful bunch at the moment – they really enjoy being with children & the relationships they build are lovely to see. Thank you to Holly & her wonderful team in the kitchen – providing sustenance & good humour in equal measure.
Personally, I’d like to thank Mrs Coleman for her support – I know I can depend on her to be the voice of sanity & reason – I’m reaching for the flame-thrower, she’s pouring oil on troubled waters – I’d be lost without her.
The government is telling us to open schools to some children, teach some children at home, make sure all children have access to the same work – all the while telling us that schools are “vectors of infection.” We don’t know whether we’re coming or going. This leads me on to my last lot of ‘thank yous’. Finally, I would like to thank all the members of staff who have been in school each day with the children facilitating their learning. I am so proud of them all – they have found themselves, yet again, in a highly unusual situation & have coped with it admirably. They make sure your children are safe, happy & have a friendly face to greet them each day. It’s lovely to see your children making such positive relationships with members of staff they are maybe less familiar with. Again, I am lucky to be able to deploy dedicated staff where they are needed.
I know there has been a lot in the media about the government’s laptop scheme for schools. I’m pleased to say that we should be getting our allocation sometime next week. Please don’t get too excited, we have been allocated the princely sum of 7. Yes, seven. Not 70. Seven. We will be contacting the parents/carers they have been allocated to.
A final plea to parents. When your children are on their ‘welcome’ Google Meet each morning please check they have muted their microphones… we have already had a few incidents where the rest of class have heard things they shouldn’t – including complaints about John Lewis, private family conversations & an expletive-laden rant.

I have written such an unusually gushing newsletter this week as I have been like a bear with a sore head these past few days & need to try to enter the weekend on a positive note. I’m off the catch up with the teachers on Google Meet - I’d better watch my language!


Take care

KD Williams



Last word

I think we’re in for a spell of bad wether…