Final Newsletter for this Year!

This has to be strangest ‘end of year’ ever!

Suddenly we are here at the end of the school year, and it doesn’t feel like it at all! Nothing is as it should be and we all feel slightly unsettled by what is going on!

Thinking back across the whole year, we have had some great achievements and exciting events. Joseph reaching the final of the BBC Radio 2 500 Words competition was fantastic; Watching Year 1 set fire to their buildings to emulate the Great Fire of London was incredible; taking the Y6 pupils to see the wonderful The Lion King, good job we did that early this year! All of these things remind me why we are here and for the past 17 weeks I have been managing a very different school. I hope you agree that the staff have all been amazing; they responded to a completely new way of working and to all of my expectations immediately and the range of activities posted on the school website has been incredible. I have had other schools contacting me regarding the work and complimenting the school on the quality of the resources. However, you have all also been amazing in the home learning that has taken place. Most of you have been thrust into the role of teacher, one you wouldn’t have chosen, and yet you have coped incredibly well. You have managed to give your children one to one time which we can’t always do and they have seen how interested you are in their work. That is why we would like it brought into school at the start of the new term so that we too, can value it!

Many of the things we usually do at the end of the year, we have been unable to organise this year. One of those is our cultural display. Usually I ask you if you would like your child and family represented on our map in the entrance hall. Clearly, this year I have been unable to do that. So, for a change if you and your child would like to appear on our cultural display, please email me a photo of your child, with family if possible, telling me where your family originates from. I will take this as permission to display the picture. I will be working on this display at the end of the holiday. Let’s see how many countries of the world we can get represented!

We all appreciate that we are living in an economically challenging world and there may be things we are offering as a school that you feel you cannot afford for your child to do. PLEASE contact me on an individual basis. We have access to clean, nearly new uniform and PE kits and also funding for certain activities. All conversations will be treated with the utmost confidence. We have also been told that the thresholds for accessing free school meals are changing and so more of you might be able to claim this. If you think you might be eligible for this, please contact the office and they will assist you.

Returning to school in September will be exciting for us all, but we also recognise that there will be anxieties and concerns. We are in the process of writing Action Plans and Recovery Plans so that we are ready for the start of term. We have done our first risk assessment but know that guidance is set to change over the summer so we will not release that until nearer the beginning of term.

We have been quite lenient with uniform and hair styles over the last 8 weeks. When we return in September, these rules will be tightened and I would ask parents to support us in this.

Details regarding uniform can be found under Parents Information.

The Year 3’s will be given their first striped tie on the first day of term in September.

All uniform items can be bought at Beat uniform shop in Hitchin at competitive prices and the jumpers and cardigans will all have the school logo on them.

Hair should be clean and neat and cut in a reasonable style. ‘Hi-fashion’ styles are not allowed. Girls with long hair should tie this back for safety. Hairbands should be plain and in the School colours. Boys’ hair should be kept short and not longer than the base of the shirt collar. Please use the summer break as an ideal time for children to have their hair cut!

The Health & Safety advice to all schools is that NO body jewellery should be allowed in school because of the inherent dangers to personal safety and also the safety of others.  The medical advice to us is that pierced ears are perfectly safe to be left, without earrings, during the day and can be fitted with them on return home.  Additionally we are advised that if any girl is going to have her ears pierced, then it is recommended that this is done at the beginning of the summer break to allow time for healing.  I should add that there will be no exceptions to this rule.

There will need to be minor adjustments to the timing of the school day in September. These will only be by 10 minutes or so. We will also be having staggered break times and timed slots for eating lunch. Much of this is still under discussion and will be released to parents before the end of the summer holiday so we know we are working to the most up to date guidance.

Throughout lock down I have tried to keep you all updated with the latest advice regarding online safety. We all know that our children have been accessing phones and tablets far more than usual. I have been shown some disturbing Instagram posts by some of our very young children. PLEASE check the privacy settings on phones and tablets. Do you know who your children are talking to? Do you know what Apps they are using? Is YouTube on Auto loop? If so, change it quickly, unsuitable clips can appear very suddenly. There will be a focus on online safety in our IT lessons when we return and a revision of our pupil and parent Acceptable Use agreements. The technology is great, it is a powerful medium, but it is also dangerous and we simply want to protect the children. On a separate matter please let me know if your child has no access at home to IT equipment, or if they have limited access due to your work commitments. We just want to ensure we are ready to act if another lock down were to be forced upon us.

Finally, I want to say a big thank you to all pupils, staff, parents and governors. This has been the most challenging 5 months of all my years at William Ransom, yet I have had the unwavering support of those around me. The staff and the governors have shown their concern for me and have helped me make some very difficult decisions. When we return in September my hope is that there will be some semblance of normality. We will endeavour to run the school as we always have done and that everyone feels safe and well.

We look forward to welcoming the children back on Wednesday 2nd September and we wish our Year 6 all the best as they transition to their Secondary Schools.

In the meantime, stay safe, stay well and be kind to one another!

Kind regards

Mary Driver