3rd April 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

We are now two weeks into these new circumstances.   I do hope that those of you at home with your children have had some good and enjoyable experiences with them and that the work and activities provided online and the social media feeds and website updates are proving both enjoyable and helpful.

Practical information

Ordinarily over school holidays teachers are not contactable. However, in these unusual and difficult times we do want to support our families, whether your children will be in the building or at home. Likewise, I need to ensure the health and well-being of staff. To ensure we have the right staffing in place to support in school and to provide contact with home, staff holidays have been spaced out over a four week period; some staff having two weeks consecutively and others having individual weeks.  I thought it would be helpful for you to know which teaching staff are available within a given week.

For the week commencing 6th April teaching staff who will be available are:

  • Nathan Bird
  • Marwa Sewilam
  • Sophie Loydell
  • Toni Sharpe
  • Sophie Milner-Smith
  • Emily Dyer
  • Frances Hodges (Wed, Thur, Fri)

Other members of staff will be in school too and the communication team will be making phone calls as usual. Should you need anything further please do call the school office.

FSM delivery

Either today or early next week Kaarina Dougherty, our Family Liaison Officer will be contacting those of you who access FSM to discuss the Government’s voucher scheme in order to firm up arrangements. The voucher scheme will run for term time only. Therefore, for the next two weeks the school team will again deliver lunch food for the week on Monday this week.  As per last week it will be left on your doorstep. Please do make sure you are in to collect as we cannot staff delivery times / multiple runs.

FSM Scams

We have been notified of scams surrounding Free School Meals at this current time. Throughout the country, there are reports that parents and carers of children eligible for Free School Meals are being contacted via text or email asking them to send over bank details with the promise that their child can receive support and meals during the current school closures.

Any such email or text is a scam and is not official.  If you receive an email or text asking for bank details or personal information, please do not respond and delete it immediately.  The Department for Education, Local Authority and school will never ask parents for bank information.

We also remind you to be aware of anyone who contacts you either directly or via social media offering services for your family in these difficult times.   Unless you can trust them, you should not share personal information related to you or your family as it may not be used in the manner you would have hoped.

Easter Activities

We hope you are enjoying all the videos and content we have been able to share on our social media platforms and that hey are helping you to feel like you are part of our school community. 

Next week (week beginning 6th Apr) and the following were due to be the Easter Holidays. To recognise this we will be altering slightly what content will be sharing to reflect that this period would usually be ‘down time’ for your children. We will still, however, be sharing exciting activities with you because we recognise that these are useful to support your children at home. We will be sharing two videos a day, one which will have more sensory or musical based activities and one which will have more hands on practical table top activities which you can choose to engage with. We will also continue to share our bedtime stories. Over the Bank Holiday weekend, we will have a break of posting content with videos starting again on the Tuesday after the Easter weekend.  After the Easter holidays have finished (Week beg 20th Apr) we will resume with our curriculum content and ‘What’s in the box’ videos each day.

Community webpage

We are enjoying seeing the children’s activities you have been sharing whilst you are at home so do continue sharing these. Please send any photos to us at: community.webpage@palatineschool.org  Please, when you email, indicate if you do not want the photos posted on social media too (Facebook, Instagram, twitter etc). This is not compulsory and you absolutely do not need to do this but we wanted to offer it as another way of keeping in touch. There may be more of a delay in items being posted during this period but do please send them in because they will uploaded when we are able.

Video Conferencing

This week we have trialled a business conferencing solution with teachers called ‘Teams’ (which some of you may have be familiar with through work). Although it is easy to use and will enable teachers to set up ‘class meetings’, a maximum of four people can be seen on screens at a given time. This facility will be useful for individual parent meetings / small groups but we do want to find something that could involve larger and perhaps whole class groups. A number of solutions have been suggested but we do need to ensure the security of our data within them. We will continue to work on this through the holiday period. We will also roll out ‘teams’ as a way of holding smaller meetings with you and are working to ensure we meet GDPR regulations within this.

Year 6 School residential 

Some of you will be have been looking forward to the Year 6 residential that was to take place soon after the Easter Holidays. We are in discussion with the company to make a provisional booking for July, in the hope schools will be open again. Should this not be the case and the residential has to be cancelled full refunds will be made.

As I did last week, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff team who have continued to go above and beyond to make school work and to keep our community strong. Their on-going hard work, dedication and flexibility has been terrific!

Again, thank you too, to our parent community. Your continued support is so appreciated by all the staff and the kind comments have been so welcome! We know this time has not been easy for many and that you take the time to appreciate what the staff are doing is wonderful. Thank you!

The children continue to inspire us all. Those who I see have amazed me with the calmness and the flexibility they have shown. It has been lovely to hear of the letters written to teachers, the conversations that have been had over the phone and to see the lovely activities children are doing at home.

I do hope you have a restful weekend.

If there is anything worrying you or you need any help at all please do contact us and we will do our very best to help.

Very best wishes

Kindest regards

Catriona Goldsmith


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