Dear Parents and Carers,

I hope you have all had a good week. The children have continued to amaze me with their engagement, resilience and wonderful learning! Some pupils did surveys involving taste testing to ensure their bakes for ‘The apprentice’ would be appreciated by buyers. Who would have thought mint and orange as a taste combination for Millionaire’s Shortbread would work?! Some pupils have done some great learning in maths. One pupil developed his maths skills using a stopwatch to time how long it took him to complete different challenges and recorded the results. Another child has been counting in 1s, 2s, 5, and 10s.  One class have been busy weighing things in order to make the best cakes possible and want to let us know they know they are going to win ‘The Apprentice’! Other pupils have worked really hard to overcome sensory difficulties and have smelt, licked and tasted new food items. One child said ‘Good morning’ for the first time. Another pupil signed a member of staff’s name. The Head Boy and Girl and some of the Prefects helped with an assembly video with hardly any time to practice. Some pupils have been doing artwork in the style of Jackson Pollock and one pupil played the xylophone to the tune of ‘I am the Music man’. Our two new pupils have settled in wonderfully and other pupils did great work at Forest school. I hope these little snippets give you a flavour of all the wonderful learning that has taken place. 

I know many of us are desperate to return to normality and reading more Covid information can feel quite draining. However, it is important to recognise we need to remain proactive as the pandemic continues despite the easing of some restrictions.

 Please do read the following carefully because if we continue to work together and be extremely vigilant we can ensure school can remain open for as many children as possible ongoing.

Advice to All Parents – Single suspected case

We have a suspected Covid case in school. On the advice of Public Health England the small number of children who have been in close contact with the individual have received a phone call and letter informing them that their child must stay at home for 10 days. Please be assured this is an entirely separate and unrelated case to the one earlier in the week.

The school remains open and your child should continue to attend as normal if they remain well.

What to do if you develops symptoms of COVID 19

If you get any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste):

  • get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible
  • anyone you live with must self-isolate until you’ve been tested and received your result
  • anyone in your support bubble must self-isolate until you’ve been tested and received your result

This means that your child must not come to school.

What to do if your child develops symptoms of COVID 19

If your child develops symptoms of COVID-19, they must not come to school and should remain at home for at least 10 days from the date when their symptoms appeared. Anyone with symptoms will be eligible for a PCR test (the normally available test type) and this can be arranged via https://www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.

All other household members who remain well, must stay at home and not leave the house for 10 days. This includes anyone in your ‘Support Bubble’.

Further information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

The 10-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.

Household members should not go to work, school or public areas and exercise should be taken within the home.

If you require help with buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, or walking a dog, you should ask friends or family. Alternatively, you can order your shopping online and medication by phone or online.

Household members staying at home for 10 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community

If you are able, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.

If your child does develop symptoms, you can seek advice from the nhs.uk website at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/check-if-you-have-coronavirus-symptoms/. If you are concerned about your child’s symptoms, or they are worsening you can seek advice from NHS 111 at https://111.nhs.uk/ or by phoning 111.

How to stop COVID-19 spreading

There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with COVID-19

Do

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards

Further Information Further information is available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Regular Testing

Another way we reduce the spread of covid is through regular testing. For the staff team this has become part of our weekly routine now and the LFD tests that we use are now available for all adults in households with school and college age children without symptoms can now access regular rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing.

Undertaking regular, rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing helps reduce transmission of the virus. Parents and other adults in households with children at school or college, who do not have symptoms, can now access regular, rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing. This includes childcare and support bubbles.

 

Tests are fast, easy and completely free. There are different ways for a household, childcare or support bubble to collect their test to take at home, twice-weekly:

 

·         through your employer, if they offer testing to employees

·         by collecting a home test kit from a local test site – anyone aged 18 or over can collect 2 packs of 7 tests

·         by ordering a home test kit online – please do not order online if you can access testing through other routes, this frees up home delivery for those who need it most

 

If you have any queries about the tests, please call 119 (free from mobiles and landlines). Lines are open every day from 7am to 11pm.

Children of primary school age (and below) without symptoms are not being asked to take a test.

 

Testing is voluntary, but strongly recommended to all who are eligible. Alongside the vaccine, washing hands, wearing face coverings, and maintaining social distancing, rapid testing plays a vital role in reducing transmission rates. Getting into the habit of regular testing as part of our everyday lives will help us all to play our part and do what we can to protect each other.

 

Please do take up this offer if you can. Whist your children do not need to take the tests if adults around them are doing so this will help reduce transmission in our community. Thank you.

Internet Connected Devices – many families have internet connected devices for their child or home.  They are devices or toys that connect to the internet via WiFi, Bluetooth or USB cable.  Internet connected devices can send and receive data, respond to voice commands and be controlled remotely using a smartphone app.  Examples of internet connected devices include:

 

  • Smart speakers, such as Google Home and Amazon Echo
  • Wearables, such as Fitbit and Apple watch
  • Smart meters measuring household energy consumption
  • Toys with voice or image recognition, such as Hello Barbie and Furby Connect
  • Robots, drones and other mechanical toys, controlled via an app, such as Dash and Dot

 

Many people don’t realise that internet connected devices have the same risks as devices like smartphones and tablets.  These can be more likely to happen if the devices aren’t used or set up properly.  Some of the risks of using internet connected devices are:

 

  • Other people accessing your device and content without you knowing.  You may not be able to see that someone’s connected to your device, but sometimes developers or hackers can see your content
  • Baby monitors, children’s tablets and even remote-control helicopters or drone toys, can be hacked and used by people outside your home
  • Internet connected devices can collect personal data, including audio and visual data

 

The NSPCC gives tips for keeping your family safe in relation to internet connected devices here.  The key points are:

 Do your research

  • Read any instructions
  • Check apps and settings
  • Set up parental controls
  • Switch off devices you’re not using
  • Talk to your child

 Five Nights at Freddy’s (FNAF)

 Some children have been watching YouTube clips called Five Nights at Freddy’s (FNAF) and playing the video games which are available in a number of formats for different devices.  Five Nights at Freddy’s is a horror video game that uses jump scares and tension tactics designed to scare players and is very intense for younger children.  Even watching clips on YouTube can be unsettling.

 The games are rated 12+ but despite this rating, merchandise and cuddly toys on sale are aimed at much younger children.  There is sometimes a perception that the age rating of a game reflects difficulty, but this is not the case.  Five Nights at Freddy’s has a dark back story with horror and murder as themes.  Many young children do not have the emotional capacity to cope with the game content or video clips and exposure to them can be damaging to mental health and social development.  Children are extremely vulnerable to fear and it is often difficult to alleviate once it’s there.

 I wish you all a lovely bank holiday weekend and look forward to seeing everyone again on Tuesday 4th May 2021.

Kindest regards

 Catriona Goldsmith

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