Message from Mrs. Castell

Dear Parents,

In normal circumstances I would be wishing you a happy half term this afternoon and leaving you to enjoy a well-earned break. However, as I write we are in a state of limbo, awaiting the Government’s decision on the re-opening of schools to additional pupils. So, although I am aware you have had a lot of messages from me this week, I will be writing to you again in the not too distant future, as we anticipate further news on 28th May. In the meantime I want to thank you for your support in the difficult but necessary decisions we have had to make regarding how we can re-open some of our school. We have been getting everything in order today and will finalise the set up on 1st June. It makes me sad to look at classrooms set up for 10 children and the distance markers around the school, but this will be the new normal for a while.

It was Thank a Teacher day on Wednesday and my goodness do our teachers deserve those thanks. We have heard a lot of talk in the press about schools “re-opening”, but of course we have never closed, having been open to the children of key workers since 23rd March, as well as planning home learning, updating our website and Facebook group (which has 90% parental engagement), answering over 800 emails and making well over 1000 telephone calls to all our families. However, it is not just teachers at school that we need to thank. You have all been teaching your children so much at home, often while juggling your own work and we are so grateful for your support and engagement with the children’s learning. Your pictures, videos and messages really have helped us through some difficult days. I also want to thank the governors for their support, our site manager for looking after the school non-stop, including through the holidays and our cleaning teams for their preparation so far. Our office team have ensured the day to day running of the school continues and Mrs. Pluck – what can I say about those videos!!

A separate letter has been sent home for those returning to school. It contains a lot of dos and don’ts, which unfortunately do not reflect the warm, open welcome that we normally offer our school community, but which hopefully show the level of detail that we have to consider to ensure that daily life at school is as safe as possible. We will contact you again as matters develop over the half term. To all our families at home, you are not forgotten, we are thinking of you all and will keep in touch as we have throughout this unprecedented period.

I would like to close with an acknowledgement of Mental Health Awareness Week. In these anxious times we need to be aware of our well-being more than ever and look after ourselves and each other. I am attaching 3 ideas from Twinkl which are starting points for looking after your mental health and activities that the whole family can work on together. They identify ways you can be kind to yourself, suggest simple daily acts of kindness and a particularly lovely idea of creating a jar of things to look forward to. We all need those goals right now, so I hope you find them useful.

Please try to relax and enjoy the half term break. We’ll be in touch soon.

With my best wishes and thanks,
Helen Castell