20th April 2020
Today would be the day that our Summer Term would officially have started. I hope you all had a good Easter, even in these difficult circumstances. It is at times like these that communities really come together, and I get the feeling that this is especially true in Bedlington Station. Sadly, we do not know when this lockdown will end or when schools will re-start. This level of uncertainty is difficult for everyone and looking after our mental health should be a priority for us all. Please take the time to read through this email as it includes some important updates.
At the end of April, Miss Davidson will sadly be leaving us. She has been a fantastic teacher and our Year 1 children were having an amazing year until schools were closed. I would like to personally thank Miss Davidson for her hard work and dedication throughout this year. She has shown herself to be a skilled and enthusiastic member of staff in her first year of teaching. I wish her luck in her future career and I am sure she will be an asset to any school lucky enough to employ her when things get back to normal.
We look forward to welcoming Mrs Cowey back to school on 4th May. It is not the return to school that she would have been expecting but hopefully things will return to normal soon and we can all welcome her back into school properly.
We will continue to provide ideas and links for activities while your children are at home and we will continue to provide the weekly email/Tapestry challenge. This challenge is the only piece of work that we have an expectation to be attempted. As I have mentioned before, it is vital that that you reply to these weekly emails or on Tapestry, either with some work or a message to say how things are going. If we do not get this regular contact it may be seen as a safeguarding issue and could be reported to the local social services team.
It is important that neither you nor your children stress about schoolwork. Do what you can and when you can. It is best to do little and often rather than attempting to work for long periods of time. Also remember that other activities such as cooking, DIY and gardening are teaching the children skills that are not always covered in school. Some parents may want to do some more formal work with their children (especially as the lockdown goes on) and there are some options that are available to you. The BBC have now released a series of daily lessons that are linked to the National Curriculum for different year groups. These include videos, activities, and extension tasks. This can be found at https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/dailylessons, on Iplayer or the red button. Another option is a new resource from Oak National Academy which is also providing daily lessons for the children and can be found at https://www.thenational.academy.
Please continue to use our social media pages to keep up with what is happening and to upload images and videos of all the things the children are doing. Our Twitter feed looks great with many updates, so please keep them coming using #BSPSAtHome.
It is inevitable that at times like this, we rely more heavily on the internet and children will spend more time using computers and tablets. Please ensure that you know which sites your children are visiting and who they are communicating with. Unmonitored internet access can be very dangerous, and it is even more important now that you are aware of all online activity. Please see the guide provided for further information and if you have any questions then please ask.
We will continue to support our families in any way we can and the staff are working hard to ensure the website is up to date with new content. I am sure you all have seen the amazing stories that have been read by staff, Miss Pringle singing and using Makaton and Mrs Johnston’s fantastic Green is Great dances and birthday songs. All staff are putting a lot of effort into supplying interesting content and activities as well as looking after the children who are in school and arranging Free School Meal parcels and Station Store packages. This is in addition to many of them having their own children to care for and home school as well. I would like to thank them all for all the hard work and dedication to the children of Bedlington Station Primary School.
I have been asked about whether we will be opting into the national voucher scheme for Free School Meals. The government’s guidance is that the vouchers should only be used if we cannot continue to provide food. At the moment our suppliers are providing a good service, so we will continue to supply weekly food parcels. The voucher scheme has had a lot of teething problems, with reports of schools not being able to register and of vouchers not being delivered or being emailed over a week late. I think what we are currently doing is working well and would like to continue in this way.
Please remember that you can also request a Station Store parcel on the school website. Morrison’s in Bedlington kindly continue to contribute to this and I would like to say a massive thank you to those individuals that have also made contributions, it is really appreciated.
As always, if you have any questions please call the office and there should be someone to take your call. There will be times when we are all busy in school so if you cannot get through then please try again at a different time or email the office. Our email is monitored regularly and we will get back to you as soon as we are able.
Please keep safe and look after each other. I will continue to keep you updated with any changes that occur as soon as I can.
3rd April 2020
We are nearly at the end of our second week of school closure so I thought it would be good to update you all on how things are going.
School remains open to the families of critical workers and those categorised by the government as vulnerable. We are opening school using reduced staff numbers on a rota system. This allows staff to work from home and reduces the risk of spreading the virus. I am sure you agree that the staff in school are being fantastic. They are working hard to keep you informed of the situation and to provide ideas for home learning (the ideas on the website are fantastic).
Please remember that we are in very unusual times and not to put too much pressure on yourselves or your children to ‘home school’. Do Maths, English etc if your child is willing but also spend time doing other things such as arts and crafts, keep fit, playing board games etc and just spending quality time together as a family. There are more sources of support coming with regards to keeping the children busy at home. The BBC will be producing daily lessons/activities from 20th April and their Bitesize website is fantastic. We will keep you informed of any such resources as they come up as we have been doing.
I have been so impressed with the tweets that we are seeing and I really encourage any parents that do not have an account to sign up and have a look at all the amazing things being done at home, you might want to post your own as well. If you are posting to Twitter, then please follow and tag us (@bspsofficial) and use #BSPSAtHome.
The use of the new emails should allow you keep in touch with the school and please remember to reply to the weekly challenges that are being set. Thank you to those families that completed the contact details questionnaire. I am aware that we have most people’s email addresses anyway but during this time it is not always possible to get onto relevant systems in school or from off site. This method gave us the ability to get your e-mail address to teachers much quicker than any other method. If you have not received an e-mail by the end of this week, please be patient with us but let us know by e-mailing the office ([email protected]).
School is a very strange and oddly quiet place at the moment. We limit ourselves to a few rooms and most of the school is locked up. It saddens me to think of a building that is usually so vibrant and full of learning and opportunities being half empty and quiet. We are all looking forward to the children returning at some stage in the future and filling the place with fun and enthusiasm again. In the meantime, we do what we must do to help the NHS save lives.
Earlier this week, the government announced their national voucher scheme for Free School Meals. We have been asked to continue to provide food parcels if possible and only use the voucher scheme if we cannot get supplies. I think the food parcels are working well so I am happy to continue with them. We will continue with the same system over Easter and beyond (the government are not providing vouchers over Easter). The voucher scheme currently only works with the big supermarkets including Asda and Morrisons. Both of these are quite a long way away. The Co-op is not included in the scheme which is also a reason not to use it. We will review this on a regular basis, and it will depend on our suppliers being able to continue their service.
Station Store remains open for anyone in our community to access. I am sure you will have seen the donation that we received from Morrisons and we are incredibly grateful for their generosity. Station Store is there for you so please complete the online form on the school website to request a package to be made up.
I would like to say thank you to every one of you. Thank you to the key workers amongst you for helping to keep vital services open at risk to yourselves. Thank you to everyone else for helping in controlling the spread of the virus by following the government guidelines on social distancing and staying at home whenever possible.
Stay safe and look after each other.
Mr Mark Burgess
25th March 2020
FREE SCHOOL MEAL CLARIFICATION
We have been contacted by a number of parents/carers querying that they had not received a call about FSM Food Packs.
At this time, the government are asking us to provide food only for those children in receipt of the Free School Meal benefit. You will have applied for this via the county council and will have receive confirmation after you applied, if you are eligible.
This is different from Universal Free School Meals, which is the government policy that all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 receive a free meal in school, regardless of benefits.
We have contacted or attempted to contact all parents/carers who we believe are in receipt of this benefit. If you are in receipt of this benefit and have not been contacted, please ring the school office to discuss and confirm your contact details.
As you can imagine we are trying to arrange lots of things at the moment but we hope this clarifies the situation for anyone who was unsure.
Thank you for you continued support.
24rd March 2020
Critical Worker Emergency Childcare can now be booked via the the link above for childcare from Monday 30th March. This should only be used by parents who have confirmed their Key Worker status and only as a last resort.
23rd March 2020
Last week, something that none of us had even considered happening, happened. Schools across the country were instructed to close their doors to most pupils as one of the measures put into place to stop the spread of a global pandemic, Covid 19. This is totally unprecedented, and we are all having to make large adjustments to our lives with very little notice. It is a worrying time for us all and it is all happening quickly with almost daily measures announced by the government.
I would like to say a massive thank you to you all for the support and understanding that you have shown towards the school and its staff last week. We have had some lovely messages of well being and offers of help. This is really appreciated.
School staff are now expected to come into school to provide childcare for critical staff and vulnerable children. This means that when in school our staff will run a higher risk of exposure to the virus. For this reason, we will be running on a skeleton staff to minimise the possible spread of the virus. No children should come into school unless this has been previously arranged. If it has not been pre-arranged, it will not be possible to look after the children due to lack of staffing. Government guidance is that, if at all possible, your children should be at home as this is the safest place for them. Bringing them to school should be seen as a last resort even for key worker families.
We will continue to communicate the situation with parents and inform parents of key workers and vulnerable children of any changes to our arrangements. We will also keep in touch with families entitled to Free School Meals. Please understand that we have never done this before so if things do go wrong, we are doing our very best.
I respectfully ask that you all follow the government’s advice around social distancing and, if appropriate, self-isolation. If everyone does not do this, then the hard work and risk of front-line workers in the NHS and all the other services that are critical to the government’s efforts to stop the spread of the virus will be in vain. Please keep your children at home and do not allow them out into the community to gather with their friends. We all have to change the way we live our lives for the time being and it will not always be easy, but it is important.
I would like to express my appreciation to the school staff who did a fantastic job last week under a huge amount of pressure. I had to self-isolate due to a new and persistent cough. This meant that while I was in contact with the school, I was limited in the amount I could do. The staff handled the situation in a calm and professional manner that meant that key messages were given to parents and effective plans were made for the upcoming weeks.
I wish everyone the best in these difficult times. Please look after each other and stay safe.
Mr Mark Burgess
20th March 2020 - Free School Meals/Station Store
As outlined by the Secretary for Education on Wednesday, schools will continue to provide provision for lunches for those children in receipt of Free School Meals during the crisis.
Today, we started to contact our FSM eligible families to enquire if they would like to take up our offer. If you have not received a call yet, you will hear from us on Monday.
From Wednesday next week (25.3.20), and Mondays from the following week, parents/carers who have taken up the offer will be able to collect a food package for the week in order to supplement food already at home.
This will ensure you have food for children’s lunches.
While we can not outline specifically what each package will contain, we will ensure there is enough food for the meals, with a range of items - including some for hot and cold meals,
For those of you who are collecting a package, we aim to have them ready for collection between 10am and 12pm on Wednesday next week and then between 10am and 12pm on Mondays following that. If this changes or there is a delay for any reason we will let you know.
If your household is self isolating, please let us know via email at [email protected] and we will arrange for packages to be delivered, observing appropriate social distancing.
You can of course opt out, or in if you have declined at the moment, of the service, at any time.
Just let us know.
Please remember, we also have our ‘Station Store’ Food Bank in school. While we can no longer allow customers to come in to shop themselves, we can still put a food bag together for just £1 for any families in our school community who need a little extra support.
Again, if you would like to use this service, please email the school office. Bags can be prepared for collection or for delivery if your household is self-isolating. Station Store food bags will be available from Monday 30th March.
20th March 2020 - Childcare information
Children of Key Workers attending childcare at school must bring a packed lunch unless on Free School Meals.
There is no expectation that the children come in their uniform. However, if it’s easier for you then of course their uniform is fine. Please don’t send them in their best clothes though. They will be painting, playing outsides etc.
20th March 2020 - Childcare Booking
Following telephone conversations to the relevant parents/carers earlier, I would like to inform you that our 'Covid-19 Key Worker Childcare Booking' is now to those parents/carers in confirmed Key Worker roles.
Unfortunately, technology has failed us already and the booking system isn’t quite up and running (Please forgive us - lots going on!)
When it is up and running we would like to ask that you book as far in advance as possible in order to allow school staff to best prepare for the numbers and age of children who will be attending each day.
We are aware that your working schedule could change at short notice and we ask that you keep us informed as much as possible.
For bookings for next week only, please email [email protected] with the days and times you require childcare. We will be open to children from 8:15am until 3:00pm at the moment, though we will be reviewing our times based on staffing availability.
A reminder that the aim of this is to reduced the number of children in schools to help slow the spread of the virus. Your child should be at home when you are not working.
Can we please urge parents/carers to only contact school about child care if they are definitely a KEY WORKER - please speak to your employer to clarify even if your overarching field was on the list provided by the government. There are many roles within companies and institutions, that while important, may not be essential in an emergency situation.
Please use school for child care only as a last resort so we can keep the number of children mixing to a minimum.
We know this is a stressful time for everyone, especially for Key Workers who are keeping our health care systems and country running and we are here to help as much as possible.If you have any problems book sessions, please contact the office.
20th March 2020 - Key Workers
The government have release the following information regarding Key Workers. It is important to note that this is underpinned with the message to keep children at home wherever possible.
That is why the government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.
It is important to underline that schools, colleges and other educational establishments remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.
Schools are, therefore, being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children - children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.
Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined below.
Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.
Please, therefore, follow these key principles:
If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be. If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision:
Health and social care
This includes but is not limited to:
• social workers,
• care workers,
• other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers;
• the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector;
• those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.
Education and childcare
• nursery and teaching staff,
• social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.
Key public services
• those essential to the running of the justice system,
• religious staff,
• charities and workers delivering key frontline services,
• those responsible for the management of the deceased,
• journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.
Local and national government
This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.
Food and other necessary goods
This includes those involved in
• food production,
• sale and delivery
• those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).
Public safety and national security
• police and support staff,
• Ministry of Defence civilians,
• contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic),
• fire and rescue service employees (including support staff),
• National Crime Agency staff,
• those maintaining border security,
• prison and probation staff
• other national security roles, including those overseas.
This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.
Utilities, communication and financial services
This includes staff needed for
- essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure),
- the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage),
- information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response,
- key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services),
- postal services and delivery,
- payments providers and waste disposal sectors.
If workers think they fall within the critical categories above they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.
You may be ask for confirmation of this from your employer. You may be asked to provide proof of employer. (e.g. payslip)
If one parent/carer does not fall under the category of key worker, or if you are able to arrange childcare with someone else who has not been advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions, then it is excepted that you to do so as every child who can be safely cared for at home should be wherever possible.
Please DO NOT call the school office. Those parents who believe they are in a confirmed Key Worker group, and who can not arrange child care provision elsewhere should complete the Initial Key Worker Response Form previously emailed and posted online.
Eligible key workers will be able to book child care at school for their children only when they are working. Children will need to be dropped off and picked up around Key Worker shifts. Children are not able to be in school during parent/carer time off.
School staff will then contact you today to confirm your details, check eligibility and explain what will happen next.
19th March 2020
You will be aware that the Prime Minister and Education Secretary announced yesterday that tomorrow (Friday 20th March 2020) will be the last full ‘normal’ day of school. Schools will close indefinitely from then for MOST children. This is an attempt to keep the spread of the COVID-19 virus to a minimum. However, schools are to remain open for children whose parents are identified by the government as ‘key workers’.
The government is making further announcements to identify precisely which groups of workers this will be. At the moment, the following groups have been identified:
· NHS workers
· Critical national infrastructure roles such as some delivery drivers
Whilst we wait to hear the exact identification of roles from the government, we would like to take a proactive approach and begin to identify those pupils where both parents are classed as ‘key workers’ and are likely to need to continue attending school.
If both parents or, if you are a single parent, you, fall into one of these groups please complete the attached online form.
Initial Key Worker Response Form
Please understand that if only one parent falls into these categories, the other parent is required to look after the child/ren. This arrangement is to enable the countries key services to continue functioning.
We have a list of other pupils who may be eligible for a place; Mrs. Rozgowska will be contacting the parents of those pupils to talk things through.
Only children who fall into the categories identified by the government will be able to attend school. We ask for your understanding and consideration with this.We will continue to update our you via Facebook and our here on our school website.
We are also working on plans support children eligible for free school meals, we will contact you how this will be organised as soon as possible.
This situation is understandably going to cause many anxieties for families, and we hope that we will be able to continue to support you wherever possible. We will continue to keep you informed with any new information as we receive it.
Thank you for your continued support.
18th March 2020
Following the latest government announcement, we will be closing to pupils from 3pm on Friday 20th March. This closure will remain in place until further notice. There will be some exceptions to this to help support front line staff working in the NHS and other necessary fields. As the government releases guidance on who is eligible to access the limited school opening, we will update this page.
We will work over the next two days on plans to ensure that we are able to continue to support those working to combat the Covid-19 crisis while protecting vulnerable staff and their families and will communicate these to you as soon as possible.
The link above (Covid-19 Information Page) outlines task, games, activities, links and videos to use at home with your child to continue their learning where possible. We will continue to update and adapt this information over the coming days and weeks, for as long as this situation continues, in order to help your child continue to develop and learn.
School will remain open to all pupils, who are not self-isolating, for the next 2 days. Please remember - if you or one of the people in your house have a new, persistent cough or temperature, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. Please telephone school on 01670 822326 after 9am if your family is now self-isolating. (This only applies to new cases - you do not need to call if we already know your household is self-isolating)
Thank you for supporting school during this difficult time. All staff are working hard to keep your children safe, calm and happy while we work through this.
These are extraordinary measures in an extraordinary situation which will challenge the way we live our lives for a considerable time. By following government guidelines and looking out for and supporting each other we will get through these worrying times.
Stay safe, everyone
17th March 2020
As we continue to navigate the current situation, I wanted advise you of steps we are taking in school to try to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus. The advice from the government at the moment is that schools should remain open. We will continue to do this until such time as the government advice changes or if staff illness prevents us from opening safely. In an attempt to support the effort to ‘delay’ the peak of the virus, we have introduced some new measures to how we work in school. These measures will remain in places as long as necessary and are outlined below.
• We will continue to monitor children and staff and, following government advice, will send home anyone presenting with a persistent, new cough or a raised temperature. While we know that there may be many other causes of these symptoms, it is important that you support the vulnerable by observing the 14 day ‘self-isolating’ period. This will include any siblings and other family members.
• We will attempt to limit children mixing outside of their usual class. Whole school and Key Stage assemblies are now postponed. Instead the children will have ‘class assemblies’, sharing stories, singing songs and taking part in class discussions.
• We will reduce the number of children in the hall at any time over the lunch hour, with tables and chairs more spaced out and children sitting with their own class. Packed lunches will be eaten in class and hot dinners in the hall.
• When playing outside, children will play with their own class in a designated area of the playground.
• Breakfast club is now cancelled until further notice.
• As far as possible, we will reduce the instances of shared equipment, such as pencils. Shared equipment and surfaces in class will be cleaned regularly - the children have been talked to about this and are helping to do this.
• All non-essential meetings (in or out of school), visitors (to school) or visits (out of school) in the immediate future have been postponed to limited additional interaction with the public and other schools.
• All after school clubs are now cancelled until further notice.
These steps are in addition to the increased hand washing and cleaning already going on in school.
Staff are also required to follow the appropriate government guidelines with regards to self-isolation. I have developed a cough over the weekend (which seems to be part of a cold) and am following the guidance, requiring me to self-isolate for 14 days. I am able to work from home and am in close contact with the school. Other staff will also be required to self-isolate if they or anyone in their household develop a cough or a fever but please rest assured that we will do our utmost to ensure the school runs as smoothly as possible through these uncertain times.
The current guidance from the government is:
• if you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill
• it is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
• for anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period.
We would urge you to follow this guidance in the event your child or children are sent home from school to help slow the spread of the virus and protect those vulnerable members of our communities.
We will look at numbers of children and the number of staff available each day and carry out a risk assessment on how the school can function most effectively. I must warn you that there may be a chance that we need to partially close or even fully close the school based on health and safety reasons.
To support you while having your children at home, either during household isolation or following a potential closure we are putting together a webpage with information, activities and links to support your child’s learning during this time. This will be sent via email shortly.
We will keep you advised of any changes to the above or any further information from the government as soon as we can via email and our social media feeds. Though these are worrying times, we hope we can support each other and work together to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.
Mr M Burgess