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Newsletter - w/c 28/09/20

Dear Parent/Carer,
Please see below for a message from the Headteacher along with notices about school life:
A Message from the Headteacher
We are aware that many parents and carers feel increasingly worried about the risks of coronavirus and their child's safety and we understand these concerns given all we are hearing and seeing in the media.  
Regarding children's safety, it is important to note that primary school-aged children remain unlikely to get seriously ill from coronavirus; it remains adults, particularly the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, who are at risk of becoming seriously ill with coronavirus.  For that reason, we urge our parents/carers to do the following:
  • Make sure only one parent/carer drops off and collects their child/ren
  • Wear a face covering on the school premises, particularly when entering the School Office area
  • Make good use of the flexible drop off (8:35-9:00am) and collection times (3:00-3:25pm) to avoid the crowds
  • Do not gather on our school premises or outside the gate
  • Telephone or e-mail the school with your questions instead of visiting the School Office - the Office Administrators have been asked by the Headteacher to use the intercom to speak to parents/carers before allowing them to enter the School Office area as many parent/carer queries can be answered in this way 


We are trying very hard in school to give the appearance of normality so that every child feels safe and happy, and we know many of our parents and carers are behaving in the same way at home and when they visit school.  
Although the children are washing their hands more than usual, sitting in rows, playing in zones at break and lunchtime, and arriving/leaving school at times they wouldn't usually, all else is being kept the same for them - we do not draw attention to our enhanced cleaning measures as we want the children to focus on learning and playing with their friends.  
Regarding the children, our greatest concern is the effect school closure is having on their education.  As an example of this, we completed our first phonics assessments this week in Reception, Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3 and we are already realising the effects of school closure on children's reading skills, where 15% of our Reception children are reading at age-related expectations, 38% of our Year 1 children are reading at age-related expectations, 9% of our Year 2 children are reading at age-related expectations, and 34% of our Year 3 children are reading at age-related expectations.  Our staff (and children) are not afraid of a challenge and they will work incredibly hard to make excellent progress with reading this school year.  Miss Holland (Subject Leader for Phonics) has already organised staff training and selected children for catch-up phonics sessions, and Miss Griffiths (Subject Leader for English) has invested a lot of money in additional books for children to read in school (and to borrow to read at home) to give all our children the best chance of catching up with their learning.  We know we will have the support of our parents and carers with this too - please click here for a reminder about how to complete your child's reading record.
Please continue sending your children to school, only keeping them off school if they are truly too ill to be in school, remembering that the symptoms of coronavirus remain a high temperature, a new persistent cough, and/or a loss of taste/smell.  
It is our job to educate your children and we can only do that well if they are in school with their teacher, teaching assistants and friends.  
Yours sincerely,
Mr D Short
A Return to Hot Meals
We have organised extra tables and chairs for our Main Hall so that we may feed one year group in the Dining Hall while feeding another year group in the Main Hall.  This allows us to return to serving hot meals from Monday 28 September 2020, something we know the children (and their parents and carers) will be very pleased about.  
Please find the menu here, noting that next week we will be on Week 2.  Please also note that for next week only, Thursday's food will be served on Tuesday, allowing for Thursday 1 October 2020 (which is a census day for schools) to be a Burger Day where there will be the option of a beef burger or a vegetarian burger served with potato wedges, sweetcorn and assorted salad.  
If your child is in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2, school meals are free for every child.  This is called Universal Free School Meals and is funded by the Government.
If your child is in Years 3-6, unless your child qualifies for Free School Meals, the cost per meal is £2.60 (which equals £13 per week).  You can pay using the SchoolGateway app or you may bring cash to the School Office.   Please note, if you incur a debt of more than £13, we will not feed your child a school dinner and we will request you bring in a packed lunch from home for your child until the debt is cleared.  Each time a parent/carer incurs a debt, it increases the cost of school dinners for other parents and carers which is not fair.  
If you have a child in Years 3-6 and you think your child may be eligible for Free School Meals, please click here to read about it and apply.  If you want some help with this, please telephone or e-mail the School Office, requesting support from Mrs Pace (Office Administrator).  
Coffee Morning - Wednesdays
It has been very useful having the feedback from the parents who have attended our Coffee Morning with Mrs Bye (Family Support Worker) - it is because of those parents that we arranged extra tables and chairs to bring hot meals back to the Dining Hall sooner than planned.  If you would like to attend the Coffee Morning, all you need to do is turn up on the front playground on Wednesdays and meet Mrs Bye under the canopy.  
Children's Birthday Treats
Although it is not a school expectation, lots of parents and carers like to give their child treats to share with classmates on their birthday.  We are more than happy for parents and carers to do this; however, given current events, we would kindly ask parents/carers to not send in homemade baked goods or store bought large cakes and instead send in individually-wrapped confectionery or non-food items (e.g. stationery).  
Kind regards,
The School Office Team
Hurst Drive Primary School    
01992 624099