This week at Bentley...
I have had the pleasure of reading with the vast majority of the children this week as we have been conducting some reading checks (see below more detail on this in the Lexplore section). I have been pleased with how courteous and thoughtful our pupils are – on top of their fluency and resilience. Well done children! We have also noted in the staffroom how independent children are becoming and they have really wowed us with coming into school this term without support from mums and dads. We have also heard great reports of many of the upper juniors making their own lunch boxes now too – excellent life skills everyone!
A few reminders about drop off which is runs on the front playground from 8.40-8.55am with doors opening at 8.45am;
- No one should be coming onto the school playground before 8.35am. We can only have bus children and breakfast club children on site at this time for safeguarding reasons
- As the mornings are getting darker we have seen a rise in late marks for some children. Please ensure children are on the school site with time to get into class before 8.55am. Registers are taken promptly and we need children in class ready to start the day
- Sorry but parents and carers are NOT allowed into school nor the school hall at this time due to our COVID restrictions. This includes use of the hall toilets so please ensure younger siblings use toilets at home
Look on Tapestry or Seesaw to see some super images of what has been happening at school this week… Year R’s apple picking, Year 1’s progress in portraiture, Year 2’s bandaging fun for the Florence Nightingale work, Year 3 and 5 playing basketball, Year 4’s RE storyboards on Noah and the Flood, and Year 6 saying goodbye to their old classroom and hello to their temporary new one!
Mrs Katy Pinchess, Headteacher
Hampshire Schools have been directed to cease any showrounds on site so we are switching to phone calls and virtual solutions for our 2021 new intake. We are aware this may be frustrating for potential new parents but are sure you will understand the need for reducing adults on site at this time when the R rate is rising nationally and locally.
We understand there have been some entertaining interpretations of COVID related terms and procedures from children. Thank you to parents who have been in touch with great questions and we hope the facts below will help to make things clearer for you at home! Please don’t hesitate to email in a question (it will probably help others too!). Please look again at the COVID changes at School document to see what is in place if you have not done so already – you can download it from here.
Q. Are the children eating lunch out of egg boxes?
A. No! Please ignore some ‘fake news’ being spread! If your child is a junior they have a biodegradable box with their lunch in it. They always wash their hands before eating. The tables are cleaned before use and afterwards. Much of the food is finger food for ease but the children are provided with cutlery if needed. The juniors have been having picnic lunches for this half term as we worked with HC3S to plan how to deliver hot dinners to all children. This will resume after half term now that HC3S are fully ready for the new COVID catering requirements, and we are able to activate the cleaning required so both of the school bubbles can use the dining hall.
Q. Are the children missing out on the whole school experiences and Collective Worship?
A. Yes and no. We are all missing our normal whole school gatherings in the hall BUT we all gather together for worship for three out of five mornings a week. We are doing this by Zoom and classes rotate who comes into the hall with the leader of the assembly so they still have this experience too. It has been lovely that children still sing Happy Birthday, lead prayer and participate fully. The children adapted to Zoom Collective Worships well in lockdown and this has blended the school and home versions together and now feels quite normal to us in school. We cannot sing altogether as a school, but the classes are doing singing and instrument lessons still by using the halls for these.
Miss Wiggins launched the in house competitions last week and was really pleased to share that there are going to be some virtual inter school competitions this term too. We are really lucky to work in Hampshire where schools are being so creative trying hard to keep things going for the children – as grown-ups we need to be realistic about what is and isn’t possible, and support the activities which are taking place. As a school we have been over-whelmed by your take up of school clubs led by our super teachers and the wrap-around care support staff, and are delighted so many children are enjoying these.
Q. Why do so many things have to be different because of COVID? It seems ridiculous when rates are not high in this area.
A. Schools were directed to set up over the summer holiday for the long term. Unlike many other facilities it is planned that schools will stay open (in term time only) whatever is happening with COVID. This means our procedures may have seemed rather ‘over the top’ but, now so many areas of the UK are in lockdown again, in most cases all the schools continue to stay open.
Whilst there have been some schools or bubbles in schools closing in Hampshire this has generally been linked to adult cases and the vast majority of state schools are fully open. This seems to reflect that our tightened procedures are paying off. We remain very aware that a positive case is likely to come, but feel well prepared on how to deal with this, with the minimum disruption to the whole school community overall.
A big thank you to YOU at home for supporting us with following the rules too. Staff have unanimously told us that they are feeling safe and positive about our school actions too.
Q. What is the Recovery Curriculum and what does this mean for my child?
A. The term ‘Recovery Curriculum’ is being used by different people and can mean different things. At Bentley we started researching the impact of closure very early on in lockdown as we realised that 2019-20 was going to be very different. Staff and governors read and thought hard about the impact of missing a significant amount of school time. We thought about how children would be affected and how we could support them when they came back to school.
We immediately set up daily work for home learning, rather than weekly work, to keep contact with you at home and also to try and make sure children continued with a routine and that every day could be a fresh one. We were really pleased by your take up of this as parents, and children have come back to school having engaged with this learning very positively overall.
Our research showed that in other world events leading to significant time out of school, children actually did not suffer hugely in gaps in learning. Sometimes the follow up led to a real appreciation that school doe matter – both socially and emotionally, as well as for academics. We have certainly seen this at Bentley and our current attendance of 98.3% reflects pupils and parents seeing the positives in being together in our school community.
We prioritised a lot of playtime and outdoor time in September to help children to come back together as a class team. This has had good impact. Outdoor learning has now returned to school with playtimes, visits and our Runtastic sessions building up the school team miles to get to Sitahuma!
The Recovery Curriculum in the classroom consists of excellent planning for maths and English put together by the Hampshire Inspectors with a huge wealth of expertise. Children are reviewing previous learning, catching up on what is missed and moving swiftly onto new learning. By Christmas we plan to be back on track with their typical year group expectations. Children should NOT be worrying about this as, for them, the learning is very typical in the way the day is structured. Experience and research tell us that doing more and more English and maths would not work and children would not be enjoying the wider curriculum. We continue to teach all subjects and support every child with their full curriculum entitlement.
We are getting some additional funding to support ‘Recovery’ work. Teachers have already had a day out of class to assess and talk to children. The children have formed good routines and we have worked on class and school expectations to remind them of what we expect at Bentley. They have responded really well to these and we have been very pleased with their behaviour and learning.
What we have noticed so far…
- Most children are really happy to be back together with friends
- A small number of children are struggling with attachment. Only a very few have regressed academically over lockdown. We have support in place with our ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) and teacher intervention support programmes
- Some more introspective children are a little overwhelmed by the everyday (and non-stop) socialisation of school life, which they were previously more used to. You can help them at home by planning some quieter times at the weekend and after school; listen to them but don’t let it stay on the negative - talk to them about the positives of friendships.
- Our youngest children had less time at school in the first place and, despite being prioritised to come back first by the government, we can see that they have the biggest ‘gaps’. Not necessarily with academic work but in their personal, social and emotional learning. Don’t be surprised if things they were doing at home on a 1:1 have regressed. At school we are still using the curriculum but are they are sometimes struggling with leaving parents, taking turns, being a kind friend or being independent. They have missed out a chunk of this learning and you can help them by setting up routines and expectations at home to support those in school e.g. they put on their own coat and carry their own bookbag, they take turns with siblings and adults, they have a small household chore.
- Children did learn all sorts of new things from their home educators and most of us defaulted to ‘how we were taught it’. We have seen a lot of children now using terminology in phonics and maths strategies from previous times. Don’t worry! This will all be addressed and sorted eventually. (If however you are home learning again please use the Read Write Inc site for spellings no matter how old your child is – we don’t say ‘curly c’ and ‘kicking k’ anymore! AND Mrs Rushin’s Calculation Progression should be printed out in every home to save many parents with homework queries…it is AMAZING and shows all the current steps you need).
What you can do at home…
- We have found it useful to think of this return to school like a more momentous change – such as starting school or starting a new job. Children, parents and staff have ALL had to readjust. Be kind and tolerant and encourage your child to do the same. It is not about one perspective and if your child is struggling with ‘other’ children/staff expectations be aware that this is them telling you that they are struggling. Some might want to return to being at home with you all the time in the way we were in lockdown. This is remembered very fondly by many of our children. Encourage them to look on the positives and try to model this with them.
- Remember that children are getting tired now as we head to half term – they can often be intolerant and niggly so set earlier bedtimes and ensure eating and exercise are both well addressed.
- ‘Parents evening’ is coming up. Please complete the parental form with any concerns so we can use your 5-10 minute appointment very well
Virtual Parent’s Evening
You are invited to make an appointment with your child’s teacher in the week before half term.
A short report will be sent home on Friday from your child’s class teacher with details on how they are performing in school and current targets. Our appointment slots are all set for 4.00pm - 5.15pm and in a week when there are no after school clubs running (except for football with CMSports). As we cannot have adults into school we are running this by phone appointment. This will be a five to ten minute phone call. Timeslots may be booked from 8pm on Monday 12th October - please log on to your Scopay account to select an appointment time.
Teachers will be in school making the calls and will use the booked slot times but please be aware there may be some small timing discrepancies so please be patient if your call arrives a few minutes late.
Please send back your parent form - click here to download it or complete it online - so that we can use your time well to discuss any particular matter. In the unlikely case of no time suiting you please send in your parent form and highlight any particular requests and we will endeavour to arrange an alternative date after half term.
… Leo in Year 1 on the birth of his baby sister
Work starts on the renovation to the Year 6 classroom on Monday and is set to last for approximately two weeks. The children will be taught in the Sports Hall whilst the work is taking place. We look forward to sharing pictures of the ‘new’ Year 6 when it is completed.
Music lessons in school
iRock are now back in school and they have places available in some of the bands. If you are interested in your child taking part to learn electric guitar, keyboards, drums, or vocals, please click here for more information.
Our guitar teachers, Kieron and Lewis, are also back teaching in school hours – if your child would like to take up guitar, please contact Kieron at firstname.lastname@example.org to get more details.
We have invested in a new dyslexia friendly reading assessment tool. This product is a fantastic use of Artificial Intelligence in order to track how children read and where they are having difficulties. Miss Farrant and Mrs Pinchess have been trained to run the programme and the results will be monitored by our SEND Leader, Mrs Rhodes.
We have tested the pupils in Years 2-6. We use different reading assessments - DEST and READ Write Inc - to screen and check progress for our younger pupils in Years 1 and R.
As this is a new assessment for the school, our first run through has been helpful to set benchmarks but has not been validated. We plan to run this three times this year with all children and then at least once a year with all children next year. We will be sharing individual pupil results later in the year once we complete a second assessment check in January.
Last call for Christmas orders…
If you haven’t yet placed your order for Christmas cards, wrapping paper, mugs and gift tags, hurry over to Scopay and order now before it’s too late! And if your child didn’t return their artwork this week, please make sure they bring it back on Monday when all the orders will be tallied and sent off to Cauliflower Cards. Thank you for your support.
Without our big events like the Bonfire and Christmas Fair this year, we need to find new ways of reaching our £10,000 target.
THE BENTLEY SCHOOL PTFA 100 CLUB
This term we are delighted to launch a new fundraiser. The 100 Club offers the opportunity to raise much needed funds for the school and potentially win a cash prize once each half term. Here’s how it works…
Each participant buys a number between 1 and 100 for £5 for each half term – they can buy it for a single half term for £5 or buy as many half terms as they like up to the end of the school year – a maximum of £30. If you pay for consecutive half terms you will ‘keep’ your number.
On the last Monday of each half term the draw will take place and the winning numbers will be published in the Newsletter. The winners will then receive one of three cash prizes. The first number drawn will win 15% of the total monies raised for the half term and the next two will get 5%. If all the numbers are sold for the half term, this would be a £75 top prize!
Families may buy as many numbers as they wish, for as many half-terms as they wish – but there will only be 100 numbers sold so don’t delay. Just click here to log onto the PTFA website and buy your number now – as they say, you have to be in it to win it!
COMFY CLOTHES DAY
The School Council have been talking to the children and coming up with some super PTFA fundraiser ideas for ‘Special Days’ at school. Each one is a bit different and some after Christmas will be a special day spread over a week so we can share space and resources – such as Art Day and Technology Day.
The first Special Day will take place on Friday 23rd October and will be Comfy Clothes Day. Children may come into school wearing whatever they would like to – onesies, PJs, leisure wear – whatever they are comfortable in. They just need to bring in £2 per child to join in. Bring this in cash and your child can put the money in the bucket as they arrive.
Before lockdown we started 5p Fridays – children would come into school on Fridays with a 5p (or two!) and pop them in the jar in their classroom.
We’ve counted them up and so far have raised £71.55 to put towards new playground equipment. We are starting this fundraiser again from next Friday – and we hope you’ll all get involved. There will be a little end of term treat for the class who collects the most 5p pieces, so please help your child up the total for their class.
GUESS THE WEIGHT OF THE PUMPKIN COMPETITION!
This enormous pumpkin was grown in the courtyard at school and the gardening team thought it would be fun to have a Guess the weight of the Pumpkin competition. Here’s how your child can take part…
Get an envelope, write your child’s name and year on the front, along with their guess - please can we have the weight in Kilograms to two decimal points...eg 16.24KG, 100.25KG, etc.
Put a £1 coin in the envelope, seal it up and put the envelope in the PUMPKIN BOX at the school entrance in the playground.
The competition runs next week from Monday 12th to Friday 16th. The child who guesses the correct weight wins the pumpkin (of course!) and a £10 book voucher. If the correct weight is guessed by more than one child, their names will go into a hat and be drawn at random to find the winner.
Unfortunately the pumpkin can't be picked up by everyone so we thought we would take some photos to help you......may be!!!!
All proceeds go to the PTFA.