Message from Mrs Lumsdon
17 July 2020 (by admin)
The end of this school year, and especially today, has been very different to any other we’ve ever experienced. We started the academic year with a vibrant school community of over 400 children with great plans and hopes for the year ahead. Sadly, because of the unimaginable changes across the world, we end the year with school having been closed since the end of March and with only a very small number of children in school each day.
However, as always, within our Castletown community we have seen many positive things shining through these very difficult times. You, as parents and carers have taken on the role of teachers, supporting and encouraging your children to complete home learning tasks. (I’m expecting to see a surge in the number of people applying to join teacher training courses!!) We’ve also heard through emails and phone calls of all the amazing activities you have been enjoying as families. All of these activities support the wider learning experiences of our children and will have taught them some really valuable life skills.
All my staff have been fantastic over this period. They have produced and adapted home learning packs each week and have been available to support both you and your children with the work if needed.
Staff have taken this opportunity to really develop the OPAL play outdoor areas ready for next term. Indoor cupboards and resources have all been tidied and sorted (currently we have filled 3 skips and I’m not sure we’re finished yet!)
I’m also very proud of the fact that we have been able to support many of you who are key workers by opening school to your children every day during lockdown, including holiday times. We know some children and families have struggled during this time and we have supported these children as best we can. It is really important to me that we continued to be here for any parents who needed our support for whatever reasons. Children who have been in school have been a delight. Their behaviour and understanding of restrictions has been so sensible.
So, onto the next academic year. Guidance from government tells us that all children will be back to school in September. As you know, when we return, children will be back with their current teacher in the same classrooms for the first two weeks to help settle everyone back into school. Information about your child’s new class teacher was included with their report. Some year groups are not moving up as classes but have been ‘shuffled’ to ensure a better balance across the year group however teachers have been sensitive to friendships when making decisions.
We have also shared information regarding the timings of the school day for all children in September. There is still a requirement that schools need to ensure, wherever possible, that we minimise the amount of people on site at any one time. We have staggered the start and end of the school day for different year groups to ensure that this can happen. Children and parents will not be able to congregate on the yards before their starting times so should not arrive early. Please make sure you are aware of the times your child/ren should be in school. Remember this virus is still around, it hasn’t gone away. We will continue to take precautions as best we can to protect our children, families and staff and it is vitally important that you support us by following the measures we are putting in place. In school, children will be taught in their year group ‘bubbles’ and will not mix with other year groups either at playtimes or lunchtimes. Because we do not want to ‘mix bubbles’ we will not, initially, be able to offer breakfast club or after school club facilities. We appreciate that these arrangements will be problematic for some families however we are doing the best we can to manage the return of all our children in September. As in this academic year only Y5 & 6 children will be allowed to walk home on their own and only if we have written permission from parents. All other children must be collected by a responsible adult.
Mrs Weldon and Mrs Buckley will both be on maternity leave next year (we will have to wait a few more weeks to welcome Mrs Buckley’s baby!) Mrs Longford has returned from maternity leave and will take on the role of SENCO, alongside Mrs Stevens, during Mrs Buckley’s absence. Mr Perrett has completed his teacher training and will be taking over one of the classes next year.
Although we have not had the opportunity to say a proper ‘Goodbye’ to our Y6 children, we all wish them the very best of luck as they move into secondary education and absolutely know that they will do themselves proud. We will bring Y6 back to Castletown for a celebration evening as soon as we possibly can in the new school year. I will liaise with CVEA and other secondary schools to make sure you are all aware of the event.
Finally, on a personal note, I would like to thank you all for the very positive comments and support you have given me and the staff during these unprecedented times. It is not a situation any of us could have planned for but your understanding has made things much easier, knowing that we were all working together to do the best we could for our children and community. Please keep checking our Facebook page and Class Dojo, (please sign up to this if you haven’t already done so), over the summer holidays for any updates. I will definitely be posting something in the last week of the holidays to remind you of all of the changes and also of any additional advice we may receive over the next 6 weeks from the government.
I hope you all enjoy the summer break. Please cross everything and hope that nothing stops us returning safely ready to begin the new academic year on Wednesday 2nd September.