This week at Bentley...
I personally find January a tough month with the post-Christmas blues, bills arriving and the grey days and dark nights. Illness and Covid worries seem so common at this time of year for many of us, and I sadly have a family funeral to attend today. I am also well aware of the current emotional loads for several other people in our wider Bentley school family. Our thoughts and best wishes are very much with you.
My newsletter is therefore being penned on Thursday afternoon, as I try to focus back on the many positives in life and I thought I would share some of these with you;
- I challenged our super Bentley children to look beyond face masks to ensure they make eye contact and remember their lovely manners with ‘Good morning’ and ‘Goodbye’ greetings to adults this week – and they did! Please encourage them with their social skills and good manners at home too.
- Did you know about all the great outdoor learning we have added into our curriculum this year? We have Forest School lessons for Year 5 as well as the Infant classes and Year 3 and 4 are just 12 school weeks away from their amazing residential! School staff note that time outdoors in nature with classmates is very beneficial to well-being, as well as growing future scientists, artists and environmentally minded citizens.
- We are working hard behind the scenes to plan for our ‘Bentley 2022 Year of Music’ but I can say it has been a joy to welcome our super piano teacher, Mark Hoare, back on site and hear the ‘tinkling of the ivories’ in school once more! Music is certainly good for the soul.
- The staff happiness levels went up on Thursday when the Coffee Can appeared at school. We love having an occasional treat arrive at our doorstep! We are delighted to say the lovely Coffee Can plans to keep dropping by and Amy will let us know future dates so you can plan your coffee fixes accordingly.
- The crisp mornings may require defrosting and thermals but we are enjoying the beautiful blue skies when they appear for playtimes and PE lessons outdoors
- I am always energised by the kindness of our community and thank you to everyone who has sent in a box of tissues for school this month. Every little helps indeed and it is really appreciated. You could make us even more happy in school by contacting us if you are willing to take on the occasionally voluntary minibus drive (click here for more information) and/or you contact our Year 1 and 2 teachers to offer to come in occasionally to support the Friday gardening team. We are happy to have reliable volunteers who are mums, dads, aunts, uncles, grannies, grandpas or general ‘good eggs’ who want to help! Any adult can support and it does not have to be a link to those year groups if you are interested and able to lend a hand. Again, every little helps and you will make a HUGE difference to our amazing Bentley children.
I wish all of you a positive weekend, hopefully with more blue sky than grey. I hope for us all less negative headlines of political woe and more pleasant times with family and friends. Let’s try to enjoy every day.
Mrs Katy Pinchess, Headteacher
There has been a temporary pause of confirmatory PCR tests. As a reminder, you are only asked to take a follow up PCR test after a positive LFD test if you:
- wish to claim the Test and Trace Support Payment
- have been advised to take a PCR test because you/they are in a clinically vulnerable group
- have been advised to do so as part of a research or surveillance programme
- have received a positive day 2 LFD after arriving into the UK
Yesterday, self-isolation rules changed again so if you require Covid advice for you or your child please do check the current guidelines rather than refer to ‘old’ expectations. If anyone has any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, they are strongly advised to take a PCR test, not an LFD test. If someone with symptoms has already taken an LFD test for any reason and the result is positive, they do not need to take a follow-up PCR test.
Finally, we run our own close contact expectations in school according to Track and Trace. If your child receives, a positive Covid outcome and Track and Trace ask you for close contact details please give them home contacts (e.g. sleep overs, lift shares, parties or playdates) and simply alert us at school to the case as soon as possible. We appreciate there may sometimes be conflicting advice given, but we keep tight records in school and follow the most current ‘schools advice’ so you do not need to send messages to other parents and we will issue any required updates from school.
We are working hard in school to cope with staff self-isolations during this difficult time with Covid and keep all classes open. As we said last week, we have contingency plans in place but we are currently finding it impossible to source supply cover, across all school roles. You may have seen a recent government ‘call to arm’s’ asking former schools staff to think about signing up to supply agencies to help at this challenging time. If you were able to volunteer to help cover Bentley lunchtime or playtime duties at short notice, it would be very much appreciated. Please email the school office if this is something you might be able to help us with.
Spring Term – Clubs
You should, by now, have received a text confirming which teacher-led club your child has been allocated. If your child wanted a club but you did not get a text then they are on the waiting list and we will get in touch if a places does come up. Please do let us know as soon as possible if your child has been allocated a club and they no longer need the place - we have wanting lists for some clubs! There is still space on Coding Club on a Thursday morning (Years 1-3), Movie Club on a Monday afternoon (Years 1-4) and we can now offer out a few more places in our ‘Homework Club’ for Juniors only on Thursdays, so please email the school office if your child would like a place at any of these.
Helping your child develop their writing skills
Lots of parents want to help their child with the many key aspects of writing. This has been an area where pupils struggle and we are often asked about expectations for what makes a ‘good’ writer at each year group. Mrs Miffling is running an information session over Zoom to help parents and carers support their child’s developing writing skills. She will also cover the expectations in writing across the curriculum. Would you like to join her on Friday 28th January at 10am? Click here to register and for joining instructions.
Thank you to
…Madam Jones for all the lovely books for our library
…the Wellstead family to the donation of books too!
…everyone who attended the Ofsted briefing session on Monday night for your interest, great questions and positive feedback after the session. If you could not attend, you can find the slides at the foot of this page