Dear Parents / Carers
Return to school
The first minister presented an update today about the situation in education in Wales.
Pupils will not return to school until after Half Term, but if infection rates continue to fall the youngest pupils will start to return to primary schools from 22nd February. Following this, there will be a phased return for older pupils.
Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams, gives assurance that she will provide timely information to allow parents and schools to prepare for the return. Please also be assured that I will pass on any further information as and when I receive it. As usual, it’s an ever-changing situation, but we will try to keep on top of it! Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Thank you all for your continued support for your children during home learning. Our engagement levels are very high, both in attendance at the Google Meet sessions and in completing tasks set by teachers. We continue to take feedback on board and look to addressing things that need tweaking.
What’s going well
- Live Sessions with Google Meet - we have had a tremendous response to the Google Meet teaching sessions. One of the main messages I have received from staff, parents and pupils is how much they enjoy the face to face sessions. This has improved their confidence in learning and their understanding of the tasks set. Please can you make sure children are appropriately dressed for the live sessions and are ready to learn, ie have any equipment ready and are not finishing breakfast etc. Thank you
- KS2 drop in sessions and staying on after the inputs by teachers have been positive. Pupils are taking advantage of the drop-in sessions to ask questions and are re-visiting the recorded live sessions to refresh their understanding and consolidate their skills.
- Recorded tutorials – these are having a great impact on the work levels of younger children in particular, where they can see their teacher or teaching assistant modelling a lesson.
- Submitting allocated work - we have a huge amount of work submitted every week of a very good standard through both Google Classroom and SeeSaw. Thank you for supporting your children in doing this (my particular favourite this week was a graph completed by year 6 on how much chocolate I could eat in a day!).
Things we are working on
- We are aware that in live sessions older children often take opportunities to ‘chat’ with each other. This is completely understandable, as they can’t meet in person at the moment and miss each other. There are times that teachers will facilitate a discussion and times they will need the children to be listening and muted.
- While in many cases, pupils’ work is submitted very quickly and on completion, sometimes work is submitted en masse and much later on in the week. Please, therefore, ensure that your child only submits work that teachers have allocated for submission, and that they do this as soon as it’s completed and within the week it’s been set. (I appreciate that some children will be completing work on weekends and at different times so please don’t worry if you are in this situation). Thank you.
- In response to parental feedback about some pupils having to wait until 11am for their live session, we have now arranged for sessions to start earlier and occur simultaneously, so that pupils have less time to wait and can start their work sooner.
- Audio feedback – it is really good for children to hear their teacher’s voice – Google Classroom has just enabled a feature to allow teachers to give verbal comments to the children rather than always written.
- Technical problems are sometimes unavoidable, but where we can, we are addressing these speedily.
Working Together Wednesdays
Thank you so much to those who have already engaged with our Lakeside Winterwatch and sent in photos, videos and pieces of work. The PTA trail will remain available in the local area over the weekend, in case you haven’t had a chance to do it yet, and obviously activities will remain on the web site for whenever you want to access them.
Next week’s Working Together Wednesday celebrates National Storytelling Week and we will be making, telling, hearing and watching all kinds of stories. We will have a special guest – Joshua Morgan (who is already known to some pupils) – who magically builds the story of the Greek myth Theseus and the Minotaur for KS2. Mrs Williams tells the story of ‘The Lion and the Mouse’, for younger children, and there will be lots of other activities, such as making story stones. I love hearing how you’ve enjoyed working together and seeing the great activities you’ve got up to – please keep it coming.
Wishing you a safe (and dry!) weekend,