Update: Friday 16th October 2020

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Dear Parents / Guardians,

As the mid-term break is fast approaching, I want to take the opportunity to acknowledge the fantastic effort and support given by all parents and guardians of children that attend the school. The last few months have been difficult on everyone within the school community but we have made it to 8 weeks back at school with our first school holidays just a week away!

The children have been exceptional since their return and it is a credit to every parent that they are so aware and informed of the changes to school life which has made the transition back to school a little easier for them to cope with. As a group of school going children, they are conscientious of one another and the staff, helpful, positive and their energy and enthusiasm to get back to some kind of ‘normality’ is amazing.

This year has also been a very challenging time for the staff and in spite of all of the physical restrictions on teaching and learning they have managed to create an environment which limits the impact on the children and have worked tirelessly to make school as fun and comfortable as possible. Their commitment and energy has been exceptional!

Now that we have settled back at school there are a few things that we will be looking at doing over the next half term. The first will be the reintroduction of more structured homework which reinforces or extends the work done within school. The plan across the school is as follows:

Homework after Mid-term

Homework across the school will vary depending on the class level and also the priority needs of the class as determined by the class teacher although the focus will primarily be on reading, writing, maths and mental maths.

The biggest challenge is to ensure we can set meaningful homework without sending the text books home as they would have to be quarantined for 72 hours on their return to school before being used. To get around this we are going to:

  • limit the amount of text books going home for the purpose of homework. 
  • arrange some written homework to be sent on photocopied sheets.
  • some teachers will send home separate copybooks for homework.
  • use purchased ‘transition boxes’ for each class. These are plastic storage boxes which will be used by the children to place their homework into and the teachers will leave them there for 72 hours before opening them, correcting them and doing assessments.
  • use of Google Classroom where it is deemed appropriate. For those without access to a device or the internet at home the teacher will arrange a hardcopy to be given to your child.
  • have a continued focus on mental based homework.
Some teachers have started setting some homework as a trial already however, there will be whole school engagement once we return from our mid-term break as mentioned already. Whilst there will be a common approach to homework across the school, there will be differences in the type of work set by each individual teacher to cater for the needs of their particular class.

Another important issue I wanted to address with you before mid-term is the very real situation that across the country there are primary schools who have instructed classes to isolate at home due to a positive case of Covid-19 within a classroom.

To date, we have been very fortunate that this has not happened in TETNS however, I feel it is important that we are prepared in case we find ourselves in that position in the future. Therefore, we will be sending home work packs for each child next week. These do not need to be used unless you are contacted by the school at some point to say that the class needs to remain at home. With any luck this will not happen and there will be no need for them to be used but we are trying to avoid a situation where you have no physical materials at home and you are 100% reliant on the internet again, which was very difficult for some families during the school closures last year.

Please store them away in a safe place in your home and there will be no need to use them unless it is deemed necessary at some point.

Finally, in order to enhance the children’s school experience and once again get back to some sort of normality we will be carefully reintroducing exercise trips and nature walks in the local park and surrounding area. When planned by the teacher these excursions will take place with the application of the same Covid-19 procedures undertaken within school since we reopened. Just to clarify in case anyone is concerned, the children will not be allowed to use the playground in the local park to avoid interaction with public equipment or individuals not attending our school.

I hope the above makes sense and appreciate your support with the introduction of the above.

Talk to you soon,