This week at Bentley...
I attended Yann’s final ‘Live at 5’ at St Mary’s last Sunday evening and he asked me to say a huge thank you to all the children, staff, governors and parents for the special cards, school video and messages to wish him and his family well as they move to their next adventure. They will be much missed but Gemma is holding the fort and we have great plans for this Easter to continue the strong links between Bentley CE Primary and St Mary’s.
Despite the rain, it has been such a joy to see blossom and daffodils everywhere. This week the staffroom chat was all about driving home in the light! Spring is here at last.
We had a brilliant book filled day yesterday for World Book Day. Please see below for more details.
I look forward to seeing many of you at the Bentley Quiz tonight. Mr Goddard has the questions under lock and key! Thank you to Mrs Drew, Mrs Tewkesbury, Mrs Siers and Mrs Patey for all their voluntary work to make this a fun evening. Thanks to all of the PTFA but in particular to Kathleen Proud, PTFA Chair, for masterminding the whole event. Doors will be open from 7pm and the quiz will start promptly at 7.30pm.
Mrs Katy Pinchess, Headteacher
After the recent government announcements at the end of February we have now moved into a new phase of the pandemic where Covid impact will be much less.
Some things will stay the same as previously;
- Staff or children with COVID symptoms or a positive test should not attend school (note: symptoms continue to relate to the three main symptoms of COVID-19 which are a recent onset of a high temperature, a new continuous cough and loss, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell).
- Self-isolation expectations should be checked with the NHS at the time of a positive test (via this link), but currently remain as being for up to 10 days from when your symptoms start. Many people will no longer be infectious to others after 5 days.
- We continue to ensure good hygiene for everyone, maintain appropriate cleaning regimes and keep occupied spaces well ventilated.
The UKHSA guidance is clear that children should not attend school if they have any of the three main symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19 and guidance for parents and carers states ‘Pupils, staff and other adults who have COVID-19 symptoms, should follow guidance on people with COVID-19 and their contacts.’
Other changes in school;
- Staff are no longer expected to take part in asymptomatic testing.
- Parents and carers may enter and exit through the main gate in the mornings. We will continue to keep the far gate open at this time to allow flow for a swift exit! Please be patient and polite in allowing people in and out at drop off and pick up as we return to the pre-Covid ‘norms’.
- Please see below for drop off and pick up arrangements.
- We will no longer hold seating plans for where children sit, nor we will be required to contact any visitor about Covid
- Facemasks are no longer required for visitors inside the building but remain optional inside and out. Some people may feel less safe than before so we may actually see more masks being worn.
- There will be no markers on the playground anymore.
- We will continue to have the Office Communications box which you can use for letters, donations etc. We know that life is busy and you are still welcome to email in messages or changes to life (e.g. playdates etc) to email@example.com so that the teacher gets these.
- In Reception we recommend that parents/carers wait on the 100 square for ease of movement but there is no expectation to queue! As soon as the member of staff comes to the wooden gate the children may come into school.
- At 8.45am the pupils in Year 5 and 6 may proceed straight into class.
- At 8.45am there will be a member of staff on the wooden courtyard gate next to the Rainbow Room. All children in Years 1 to 4 will enter through this gate.
- If you have a very urgent message for a teacher then please share this with the staff member.
- A real positive of the new Covid expectations has been Junior pupils becoming more independent and leaving school to walk home or meet parents outside the school gates. We would encourage this to continue.
- We will no longer have the markers for the classes on the playground but request that parents/carers in Years 1-5 wait on the playground along the hedge as you have been doing. Staying a little further back allows other parents to move freely and for teachers and children to be able to spot you.
- For pupils in Reception class the teacher will dismiss them from the corner of my office (by the recycling bin!). Please can you wait on the 100 square and spread out so the teachers can see you. The children are dismissed in the order they line up and we ask you to wait so the staff know they have made eye contact with you for safety.
We will continue to hold contingency plans in case we need them. Looking back over the last half-term, when we have had very high staff absence due to Covid, I am not entirely sure how we kept going! We always want to have children in school for face-to-face learning, but this has been very hard to manage; we may yet need to make difficult decisions if we cannot staff the school safely due to Covid. Hopefully the spring months and new Covid expectations will help, and we can move on with all our upcoming plans for Residential Visits and special events.
As soon as the Governors have updated this information on our Covid Risk Assessment it will be up on the website.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
urgent - Please help!!
The gardening team have been working on a special Queen Elizabeth themed project for Mother’s Day. All children need a plastic bottle for this surprise. Please send your child into school with a clean two-litre plastic bottle next week (a clear Coca-cola/lemonade one rather than a milk bottle please). If you have more than one available that would be great to ensure everyone can take part! there will be a collection box out each day on the playground for these.
Thank you …
… to the Bingham family for the large bag of books they donated this week
… to everyone who sent in donations of pet food, blankets and towels
World Book Day
This year’s World book Day has been great fun and we all enjoyed being back in school together this year to share our love of reading. This year the fun was definitely back and it was amazing to see the wonderful imagination involved to create super character costumes!
Face paints, repurposed and creative sewing, cunning fancy dress all made for lots of fun and the children clearly enjoyed themselves, proudly coming into school and sharing ‘who’ they were as they represented authors, books and characters. Staff did not let the side down and they were all dressed as ‘Where’s Wally?’ characters, which allowed for a very amusing game of find the headteacher ‘Wally’ in our whole school assembly!
As well as costumes the children enjoyed a streamed author visit with three super authors; Tracey Corderoy, Tom McLaughlin and Ele Fountain. They wrote book reviews and enjoyed lots of fun book related activities, including a special book themed school dinner and a whole school story swap. A brilliant day, which we hope will inspire a continued love of reading.
Thank you so much to everyone who has already raised money and returned forms for the ‘Ready, Steady, Read’ sponsored readathon. There is still time to get involved – click here for all the information
Life can sometimes feel overwhelming. Reaching out to others may feel like a challenge at times and knowing where to look for advice is sometimes difficult. The Red Cross have some excellent resources which could help you learn skills to help you cope.
Click here to access their free wellbeing pack, which is full of activities to build resilience, cope with worries, and connect with others. You can also download their Kindness pack for children, listen to their podcast, and find wellbeing cards in multiple languages.
There’s also lots of helpful information on our website – you can access it by clicking here
Covid, financial pressures, relationship issues, worries about the state of the world, and the horrific Ukraine situation…we all have a ‘worry list’ and for many of us this has led to a trauma reaction. All staff have had training opportunities to support children with trauma reactions, but we have had less for us to support ourselves as adults. We have added a useful sheet used in a recent Police Trauma training for DSLs (Designated Safeguarding Leads). You may find it helpful to self-audit for vicarious trauma reactions. Trauma happens to us all and when it does, we need to be kinder to ourselves to help us feel better.
Red Nose Day
Children are welcome to wear (name labelled!) red noses with their normal school uniform on Friday 18th March. The Year 6 prefects will be running a stall with treats for playtime snacks as a special one off. If you would like to ‘get your bake on’ please do, as Year 6 will need some help to feed 200 children! Please label your tin or Tupperware and we will ensure it gets back to you afterwards. All children may bring in £1 if they would like to purchase a snack and support the Red Nose Day fundraising.
These are taking place for Year 5 and 6 on the 24th and 25th March. A text requesting some parent/carer help, from 11.30-1pm on those dates, was sent out via the PTFA reps, but we have had no volunteers step forwards. Please let the school office know if you can help as soon as possible so we can still go ahead with these.