This week in Bentley...
Like many of you I was left reeling and horrified by the death of George Floyd last week. The children in school have watched Newsround and discussed their reactions and feelings. As ever, I find solace in very difficult times in the open minds of children and determination to do better than generations before them. These are some of the things they said;
Black lives matter
Enough is enough
The worst thing you can say is nothing
You have a voice so use it
Human rights are for everyone
At school we are extremely mindful to ensure that our library is stocked with a wide range of books promoting diversity and we are not afraid to have debate and talk about ‘difficult’ subjects with our pupils. As a teacher and a reader I often turn to a book to help me and have collated a list of books which you may find helpful in tackling racism head on. You can download the list from here. There are of course many other books and resources available so please share any suggestions and we will keep our list up-to-date and available on the website.
Back at school the three weeks of preparation have paid off as we now have five Bubble groups running in school and Virtual School running for everyone at home. This is no mean feat and I am hugely grateful to the staff who are working incredibly hard in order to accomplish this. All staff are working full time and any further provision required under the government expectations will require supply teachers and off site locations. Should this be compulsory then we will start to plan for this but at this time every place open in school is full and our provision is at capacity.
In many ways this is a far more difficult time for us at school. We are following government and health advice in order to keep children and staff safe at school. Scientific evidence shows that the staff, as the adults in school, are the most vulnerable to risk of infection and I am hugely grateful for their tenacity and dedication as they have put aside their own anxieties and come to school to look after the pupils. By following our tight risk assessments with lots of hand washing and the bubble groups we were really pleased with how it is going at this very early stage.
We are very aware of the feeling of injustice being articulated by a few of you with children at home. We are certainly not running two schools at this time because we want to double our workload. We would love to have ALL of our pupils back in school, but we have not made the rules so please do lobby the government if you want to give your feedback.
A very big thank you to those who have taken the time to send in best wishes for those coming back into school. We are pleased you have trust in us and our systems.
Another big thank you to those who are supporting one another at home with your choices about returning to school. Please do not feel pressurised by social media, friends or other parents if you do not feeling ready to send your child back in, or if the decision to send one child back would upset a sibling who is not able to return yet. There is no one right or wrong – it is entirely your choice to make - and we support your decision, knowing it will be what is best for your family.
I am looking forward to a rest before restarting school for a sixth ‘bubble’ group on Monday.
Mrs Pinchess, Headteacher
Firstly, it is with very mixed emotions that we have to announce that Miss Kirby will be leaving Bentley at the end of this term. She has been at Bentley for seven years, starting as a student teacher and promoted to Infant Leader for the last four years. As Science Leader and then Sports Leader she has had a big impact on learning across the whole school, as well as being the Year 2 class teacher and looking after all the infants and their staff team. She has a new challenge ahead in heading to Ropley CE Primary School to become their Assistant Headteacher and we wish her all the very best in this new role. We know she will be making great strides in her career and will be supporting many lucky children at her new school. We are all going to miss her a lot but she will stay in touch and will remain a loyal supporter of Bentley (apart from in opposition in a sports competition!).
Sam says a huge thank you to everyone at Bentley for all the support and experiences over her time at the school. She will never forget all her pupils and has made some friends for life in her time at the school. She is currently working ‘in denial’ about leaving on 22nd July so she can continue to enjoy each and every day at Bentley to its’ fullest, without feeling sad.
Secondly we need to share that Mr Maliphant will also be on the move at the end of term. Originally appointed with the Sports Legacy money from the London 2012 Olympics Mr Maliphant has worked with us for half a day a week and also led on sports fixtures across eleven of our cluster schools. Schools are now well resourced, staff have good knowledge and confidence in delivering PE and a far greater number of children are participating in extra-curricular out of school sporting opportunities. With funding for the future uncertain, schools have taken the difficult decision that the position of joint Sports Teacher will not be able to continue but we are fortunate to have the commitment of our Alton Cluster Secondary School colleagues in continuing to help us provide these opportunities for our pupils.
Leo says he is confident all the amazing opportunities we have developed within Alton will continue. He is disappointed, obviously, that his final term which he planned to be our biggest and best year for PE and extra-curricular sport, has been thwarted by Coronavirus which has limited our time in school and made exercise and sport more difficult for all. Leo hopes everyone has been able to stay safe and active during this difficult time.
Leo will be pursuing other sporting and educational opportunities from September and we hope to keep in touch with him and hear about what he is doing.
We will of course look into means of saying goodbye to Miss Kirby and Mr Maliphant and celebrating their time in our school.
Phone calls for Parents
During this period of lockdown we have had some allocated staff making ongoing phone calls to some families. If you would like a regular phone call then please do get in touch by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Unfortunately we cannot ring everyone every week but will always try and respond as quickly as possible by email or by a phone call. Please do get in touch before things seem too tricky. There are also many people in the village who are able to offer support for a range of issues. Please contact us if you would like more information on other support that is available. We have logged requests sent in yesterday.
Phone calls for Children not in School
Miss Hand and Mrs Scott-Bromley will be making phone calls on a fortnightly basis for the pupils in the four classes they are supporting at school, and Mrs Pinchess will make calls to any Year 6 children who are not in school. If your Year R or Year 1 child who is not in school would like a call from one of our super support team, please email the office and let us know.
…to everyone for your continued support and the many well wishes, prayers and kind words for the preparations for the 1st June – it really made a difference in our morale to know that we are supported by our community.
…to the amazing gardening team for the super Rainbow of plants decorating the playground.
…to The Orangery who kindly shared designs for signage through social media which we were able to use - www.orangerycreative.com.
…to Stuart Sharpe for the donation of hand sanitiser.
…to Natalie for spending her half term making the staff lovely face masks.
…to the Norgaard family for the cleaning products.
…to the Pinchess family for the visors.
... to everyone who has organised a group activity online, whether it's a quiz, a 'PE with Joe' session, or just a group chat - interactions between families are so important at this difficult time!
A date for your diary...
Most of our diaries are pretty empty of social events at present, so I hope you will all join us for our first virtual quiz event on 17th June at 6.15pm. Abi Jackson has very kindly offered to organise this as a fundraiser for the PTFA. More details to follow, but please do pop the date in your diary!
Year 3 & 4 tackle environmental issues
At the beginning of their Virtual Gordon Brown week in May Years 3 and 4 wrote letters to local MP Damian Hinds about environmental issues close to their hearts. This week we have had some replies!
Mr Hinds has pledged to speak with Hampshire County Council about broken footpath signs. He has also said that he does not agree with the proposed site of the incinerator on the A31 and has given information about the governments plans for cutting down on plastics. Well done Year 3 & 4!