As we enter another week of national lockdown, we know this period has taken a significant toll on everyone’s mental health and wellbeing. It has always been a priority at Prospect and this past term even more so, which is why I was delighted with the success of our Wellbeing Wednesday last week, as part of Children’s Mental Health Week 2021. Our students and their families (and staff as well) certainly made the most of a very much needed day away from their screens and you can see what everyone got up to in our latest edition of #PrideinProspect.
Today, our staff have been participating in a virtual INSET Day with schools in the Kings Group Academy Trust, which has been a great opportunity to share good practice with our colleagues in the other schools in our MAT. We had hoped to be able to meet in person but this will have to wait. We have been focusing on developing our curriculum for next term and beyond, as well as planning for both coming back to school and continuing remote learning. We really hope that it will be the former before too long. We understand that the Prime Minister will be setting out the next steps in the week of 22 February and we will respond to his decisions as quickly as we can. We know that 8 March is the current proposed date for schools to start to return, but we do not yet have any further details. We will, of course, update you as soon as we do.
In the meantime, I would like to draw your attention to this really helpful resource from the Education Endowment Foundation, Supporting_home_learning_routines_-_Planning_the_day.pdf (educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk) and the accompanying EEF supporting daily routines during school closures – YouTube. I have dropped into many of these lessons in the past two weeks and have been so impressed by the perseverance, effort and achievements of our students in their remote learning. To support this further, we have introduced an addition to our communication with you via Class Charts. From Monday 22nd February, teachers will notify you if your child has not submitted a key piece of work on time. This is an initial and ‘real time’ way of informing you, and it will be followed up by the teacher if the work is not subsequently handed in. We hope that you will find this beneficial in supporting your child to submit work on time for teachers to assess. All our reporting and parent consultation dates remain the same; you can find these on our website.
We are continuing to offer an in-school provision, open to all students who cannot adequately access remote learning at home and to those with a parent or carer who is a critical worker. Please contact Mr Priddey firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a place for your child. If your child is eligible for the government’s Winter Grant Scheme, vouchers issued by Brighter Futures for Children will be distributed by the school, but please note the provider is different from your normal voucher provider.
We have benefitted from two extremely generous donations from within our local community. Thanks firstly to Dynamic Planner, a local financial planning company, which has purchased twenty brand-new Chromebooks which will be used to support our students’ learning, and secondly to Revd Dr Liz Ratcliffe, Rector of St Michael’s Tilehurst, for a financial donation which also will be used to support our students. We are most grateful to those in our local community whose generosity enables us to help even more of our students.
It has been a very challenging term in many ways, but also remarkably successful. It is hard to believe that it is almost a year since we first went into lockdown and every single one of our students (and families) should be exceptionally proud of the skills they have learnt (who knew quite so much about MS Teams this time last year?), the resilience they have demonstrated and their good humour throughout.
Wishing you all a very restful half term. Stay safe.
Mr D Littlemore