May 1st 2020 Mai 1af

Dear Parents and Carers,

May is here, although I’m sure you’ll agree, current circumstances make knowing what time it is, what day it is and indeed what month it is less of a priority! I can confirm it is Friday though, hence this newsletter and the weekend awaits, with no need to log into Google Classroom for a couple of days!

Many of you will be aware that we have been contacting our families this week, to check how you are, to offer support to you in being able to deliver our home learning activities and to see if there’s any other way we can be of assistance. We want to be able to give you any guidance you need to overcome any difficulties you may have faced, whatever they may be. Having spoken to many of you myself and also gained feedback from the other teachers, we are extremely reassured that our pupils are happy, safe and well, if a little bored and dare I say it, missing school! It’s a relief, knowing their wellbeing is really good because we then know it also puts them in a good place to approach their home learning with enthusiasm (although I acknowledge that many may need a nudge to do so, as they would if they were here in school, which is where your efforts are much appreciated!) Not all phone calls have been made as yet, so bear with us. We will hopefully have reached out to everybody by the end of Monday.

It was also a relief to hear directly and also through feedback from my staff, your gratitude for the efforts we are making to facilitate positive learning experiences for our pupils, despite the obvious constraints and challenges on many levels. We are doing our best and are constantly learning ourselves. Your resilience and positivity as parents and indeed pupils, to overcome the barriers that have been put between us are heart warming and I appeal to all of you to keep going, do your best and above all keep smiling. Distance may well have been put between us in the partial lockdown we experience, but from the phone calls I made, I got a sense of community existing between our pupils be it via Facetime, WhatsApp or indeed on the X-Box! I’ve also seen it myself on Google Classroom this week and it is a delight to see this resource develop and blossom in its use and its potential. Throughout the school, it is a perfect platform for direct communication between teachers and pupils. Pupils are able to comment and that link through their work and the interactions between them is something really positive. If you are still encountering difficulties logging onto Google Classroom, please let me know and I will phone you to try and walk you through the steps of enrolling. If you have any ICT problems and we can help in any way then please let me know and I’ll see if we can assist.

Once again, we met as a staff this week in a virtual online meeting (which remains an interesting experience!) and discussed Google Classroom at length. We agreed going forward, that we want Google Classroom throughout the school to be the focal point of the pupils’ home learning experience from now on. From there, activities can be set by teachers, feedback given and positive interaction between teacher and pupil can take place. It is also a way that pupils’ learning can develop more independence, putting less pressure on you as parents to be directing the home learning. Pupils can get on with tasks, needing less input and intervention by yourselves, which I’m sure you’ll agree can only be a good thing! It is not without its problems, so please remain patient as staff are also developing their expertise in setting tasks. When pupils have finished their work on Google Classroom, if they want, they can go on to their activities on other platforms like Purple Mash, Manga High and so on. This then gives you the opportunity to manage the time spent doing the home learning yourselves and make it work for you better. As I said in my twitter post yesterday, please keep in touch as we’re here to help!

There are also some other snippets and news I’d like to share with you.

Firstly, young Daniel Roberts in Year 2 came a cropper off his bike, fell heavily and had to undergo an operation to manipulate both the radius and ulna in his arm. That’s a proper injury – I saw the pictures! I’m pleased to say he is on the mend and home with his family. I am sure I speak for us all in hoping his recovery is quick!

We have some good news to share, because Luna and Mollie in Nursery now have a baby brother each. We extend our congratulations to the families.

Betsy Cadwaladr Health Board are providing free online courses for parents, called the Solihull Approach. They come highly recommended and I have provided the information you need, as an attachment to the email which is also to be found on the twitter feed.

Have a good weekend and please continue to stay safe.

As ever, my best wishes to you.

Yours sincerely,

Bryn D. Jones