This week at Bentley...
For many this week has developed into a new home routine and it has been great to hear about some lovely new family traditions, the new skills and a slower pace of life for us all. On the flip side, I know many of us are feeling increasingly anxious. There will be times where everything being so different and out of control makes tempers flare, tears pour and worry can take over. This includes us in school too as we deal with this unprecedented time and we struggle to do jobs which are not best suited to working from home.
Some things do not change however and the ‘end of term feeling’ came upon me today. Holidays are eagerly anticipated by ALL children (and staff and parents!) and I think we will all be ready for a change to routine and a break from ‘Virtual School’. As ever, we recommend children keep reading but whole heartedly suggest you put aside the workbooks and allow the children to rest and relax.
We know it is not possible to go away, but you might like to try some activities in our Easter suggestions booklet which can be found at the foot of this page, or some of the other activities we have uploaded onto the Virtual School page on the school website - but also feel free to ignore them and just ‘be’.
Before we left school, the very lovely Vicki Coombs kindly provided each of the children with some dwarf green beans - instructions to grow these at home at are the foot of this page - she reports they are very easy! We would love to see pictures of their progress once you have planted them.
I am very pleased to say another special Bentley tradition is we end our Easter term with Yann at St Mary’s and he has made a short video to be shared with all the children – click here to enjoy it before you sign off for the holidays!
We have contacted the few key workers who urgently need childcare over the break, but should there be a change of circumstances and this affects you then please contact us as usual through our usual email address - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mrs Katy Pinchess, Headteacher
We do not know exactly what will be happening in the long term with the lockdown procedures in place. At this time it seems we will be in the same situation after the Easter break, but this may of course change. Over the Easter break we will be shut for the holidays for all ‘usual’ business so please do not expect a reply to emails and the phone will not be answered.
We are following government advice that, "If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be" and we continue to promote self-isolation and appropriate social distancing. This also means we cannot have pick-ups from school or deliveries that are not vital nor urgent. We have had a request for the library to be opened, to print out and deliver hard copies of workbooks or to open school to collect exercise books. We are really sorry but these are just not possible or allowed currently. If your child is zooming through their exercise books we are delighted to hear it, but would ask you buy them an additional book yourself or use paper or any suitable writing book available instead. These books are entirely for home use and children will not be expected to bring them back into school.
We have also heard parents are sometimes printing out pages of work for the day. Where at all possible teachers are trying to design work to be written out and it is entirely your own preference to print. We would advocate not printing and certainly not in colour – check your printer settings. If it would help you to purchase workbooks for your child’s age range you are welcome to do this but as a school we have tried to set work to help avoid this where possible. Headteachers have also been told the government are working with the BBC to provide learning support for all children for this emergency period, but we have not been given more detail at this time. There is a list of books which has been sent to school if this helps you but do not feel any obligation to purchase these workbooks as teachers will continue to provide learning after the Easter break. Click here for the link and then select your child’s year group for a list of relevant titles.
For everyone there are many more questions than answers at this time. Please remember all children across the globe are being affected by this and your child is not going to be ‘behind’ when they return to school. We are all in this together and whatever school children attend they will all be affected. Senior Leaders in school are already starting to plan adaptions, and even some changes, to help support everyone back into school life for when we get to this point. In the meantime all we can do is to keep calm, and try to keep positive.
FREE SCHOOL MEALS
We appreciate for many people these are difficult times financially. If you believe you may now be entitled to Free School Meals, please click on this link to check your qualification. If you need any assistance with this, please contact the school office via email. All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence.
TIME TO SHARE!
We have had some lovely examples of connecting with family at this time...
- My son is doing his daily reading with his grandma by phone. It helps me because I can get started with my work online and she is really enjoying it too.
- Huge thanks for all the lessons, we have all actually quite enjoyed home schooling now that we have found a rhythm. We occasionally recruit Granny as support via FaceTime, which I highly recommend!
- We now have a weekly Zoom call set up by our teenage nephew so the whole family can talk together. It took a bit of work and a lot of messy tries but is working well and the children show something they have created this week.
- My daughter finds it hard to connect on the phone and we don’t have very good Internet but I send a photo of her doing something during the day on my phone to her dad and her nanna once she goes to bed. We can then talk about it and it is better than talking about the news.
And on coping…
- Thank you for the work provided by school. It has helped us to get into a routine.
- We have had several meltdowns, but a big breath…and we start again.
- We look forward to Miss Smiths’ timetable each day. Getting it makes us feel as though she is with us at home.
- When there is a bad day there is always tomorrow!
- We have set up our own reward systems and there are top rewards (computer access or a favourite cartoon) for doing household chores like helping with the washing up.
- We must compliment the teachers, as we have been very impressed with their regular emails and downloads. It has helped the children to be diligent with their work.
- We have settled into a good routine which works for us. We start with Joe Wicks and then they cover their work in the mornings and then we all relax into our won things in the afternoon. It is helping us all to stay sane. Thank you for sending the work through in the evening. It has literally saved the day in our house so that we can be organised each morning.
- We adapt the lessons where needed and sometimes have a theme of the day. We have been on some amazing virtual museum tours.
- Thank you for sharing, it is good to know that I am not alone.
- We all do Mr Maliphant’s PE session together which is fun. My son LOVED the floor is lava! We like Joe Wicks too but it finished me off the first day and I need my strength!
- My children struggle with being independent so we have set times when I support them and read things through and then times when they have to solve it or move on. This works most of the time and has allowed me to do the housework or be online for work.
DESIGN AN ECO-HERO COMPETITION
A few weeks ago, Madam Jones spoke to the children in collective worship about a competition to design an Eco-Hero. Since then, you will have been sent a letter about how to enter the competition. Madam Jones has now extended the deadline until when schools reopen thus giving children a lovely long time to complete their entry.
It is really clear that the children are very knowledgeable and passionate about the issues facing our planet and we hope they now feel empowered to make changes, however small they think they are. Changes we talked about include using reusable water bottles; switching off devices and lights when not in use and picking up litter.
ACAN – Alton Climate Action and Network – was formed in June 2019 with the aim of bringing people together to do something positive for the planet and our community. Since then, many amazing initiatives have been set up within our community – Alton Repair Café and the Community Cupboard. Coming soon we also have the ACAN Community Hub which will be based at Alton Community Centre as a central place for groups, activities and events for all ages. In addition, they are still hoping to host the Eco-Fair at some point in the future – sadly it has had to be postponed due to the Coronavirus. Click here to find out more. We have also added an ECO Council page to the school website - you can find it here.
Please see the foot of this page to download information about how Hampshire are supporting SEND at this time.
ADDITIONAL HELP AND SUPPORT
Have you visited our website and found the ‘Need some help?’ link click here to access it. More resources are being added here linked to the current situation. You can also find an excellent resource for YOU on that page which includes a new resource called ‘Reassuring myself’ by Maureen Bowes.
MENTAL HEALTH OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
Please click here for the Hampshire CAMHS website, which has a significant amount of information about their services and other useful information at this time.
There was updated information from the government about Internet supervision and safeguarding on 1st April - click here to access it
We have heard from Network Rail and wanted to pass the information to our parents.
Due to the very high level of trespassing on the tracks by young people in your local area, Network Rail in partnership with Learn Live are working to help raise awareness to students across the UK educating them about the dangers of the train tracks through interactive digital delivery.
The video at the link below is designed to help educate students before going back to school and help to protect them while being off school.
Do you live in a VIVID home?
VIVID, a social housing provider, is offering free devices and Internet connections to families who live in our homes. These devices are available where:
- A person is deemed as ‘extremely vulnerable’ and has received an NHS letter telling them to stay home
- Families who have school children who are unable to complete their homework due to lack of devices.
This offer is only open to people who live in a VIVID home.