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Spring Newsletter 3 [Friday 22nd January]

Dear Parents & Carers


I’d like to thank all our parents & carers again for ensuring your children have accessed their remote education as well as they have – the vast majority of our pupils are fully engaged in their home learning. It is so important to keep their learning ticking over.


However, please don’t beat yourself up if sometimes things don’t go to plan. Maybe you’re seeing other families post on WhatsApp about how they are having a perfect time, learning in perfect harmony with their perfect children. You, meanwhile, are rocking gently in the corner of the kitchen, muttering softly to yourself (“It will over soon. It will be over soon. It will be over soon.”), whilst your child runs round pretending they’re a pterodactyl, completely ignoring their teacher. This is okay. Some days will not work out & you may feel you have let your child down - you have not. We all know home schooling is difficult. Members of our staff are facing the joys of learning with their children at home too – some days they can be driven to distraction (or a nice glass of red) & they are meant to be the professionals at all of this! It is important that you keep your child’s maths & English (including phonics & any guided reading) going throughout this – this is what your child’s class teachers are wanting to see on a daily basis. Make sure your children are reading too. Maybe work on their times tables also – can you imagine how good your child would be by March if they do 5 or 10 minutes practise a day?  So, try to complete the maths & English work set by your child’s teacher each day, along with reading & times tables; anything else is a bonus & you deserve to give yourself a treat at the end of the day. The government has set daily targets with regards to the time children should be tackling each day – you know what’s best for you & your child – I won’t tell Gavin Williamson if you’re an hour or so short on the occasional day if you don’t.


The teachers delivering home learning are working flat out. I held a Google Meet with them yesterday & to be honest they were not looking their most alert: Mrs Fortune had dressed a shop mannequin in an ‘I love Yorkshire’ T-shirt but claimed to have been present throughout; Miss Pickford was asleep on the couch with her dog; Mr Grant sent his 18 month old daughter along on his behalf – she did make some excellent contributions to our discussions though. Keeping on top of giving children feedback, helping with any issues, responding to parents is akin to keeping a dozen plates spinning. As you can imagine, with up to 34 children in a class, at times, they are becoming swamped in a tsunami of emails & messages. They need to be able to prepare work for the following day as well as having some time to switch off & relax. As a result, I have told them not to respond emails/messages before 9am, after 3pm & not at all at weekends. Woodlands’ teachers are so conscientious in wanting to the best for our children & families they will run themselves into the ground if I’m not careful.


A safeguarding reminder: please remember that all children/families can see what’s in the background of the screen your children are joining the Google Meet on…


The government has announced that all statutory assessments in primary school will not be going ahead this academic year. The Y1 phonics screening test, the Y2 SATs, the Y4 times tables check & the Y6 SATs are all cancelled. The EYFS profile is not mandatory this year also.


Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education, has said that schools & families will be given two weeks’ notice of when schools are to reopen. There has been no official statement that we will be returning to school after February half term but following the ‘two weeks’ notice’ plan we should find out by Monday 8 February if this is going to happen.


Once again, thank you for all the messages of support you have been sending to our staff – they are much appreciated.


Take care

KD Williams


Last word

A Roman legionary walks into a bar, holds up 2 fingers & says,

“Five beers please.”