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Headteacher's Letter 17.3.21

All the most recent news from Edith

Wednesday 17th March 2021


Dear parents and carers of Stepney Park Primary School,

Welcome back to school, it certainly has been a busy few weeks! The children have settled in well, and all seem to be pleased to be back at school. They are happy to be with their friends once again and  are beginning to settle back into a school routine.  Some children looked quite tired towards the end of the first week back in school, perhaps not surprising bearing in mind the change of pace they have had to adjust to. 

We have carried out a pupil well-being survey and asked the children what they would like to do on the last day of term. They have come up with some nice ideas, as this day will coincide with Comic relief, themed ‘Superheroes’. Friday 26th March will be called ‘Smile Day’. Children can come in dressed as their superhero and may donate £1 to the Comic Relief charity.


We have noticed that a number of children come to school in tracksuit bottoms, perhaps because they have outgrown their old trousers. Children from Year 3 to Year 6 may come into school in their PE kits on their PE days, but all other children need to wear their school uniform as much as possible. Please let us know if you are struggling with this, as I know that some parents have told me that school uniform shops are not yet open or do not have enough stock. 


Children have told us via the well-being survey that they are feeling tired at school as they do not get enough sleep. Although it is difficult to change routines that may now have become well established during lockdown, can you please ensure that your child gets at least 9 to 10 hours of sleep at night? This is essential for good physical and emotional health, as well as good learning.

Parents’ survey and parents meetings

Thank you to all of you who have responded to the Parental Engagement survey. We will share our findings with you soon.

We will be holding Parent/Teacher meetings around May half term, parents will continue to be offered remote meeting slots and after school slots. We will be sending a midyear report home before this to all parents of Reception to Year 6.  Nursery parents will receive a full report at the end of the year.  There will also be a short report at the end of the school year.

Start and end of day

I agree with the parents who have raised concerns, that it is very busy with queuing parents and families at the start and end of the day. We have explored other options, but with the sheer number of families, we have found it very difficult to implement models that other schools may have followed, in terms of staggering start and finish times.  Every school operates a bit differently, has different access to the playground etc, so it is not always possible to implement what other schools have done.

There are a few things we can do to make things safer:

  • Please do not arrive early. School gates open at 8.55am in the morning and 3.28pm in the evening. 

  • The queue after school does not take more than a few minutes (around 5 minutes) to file through. It would be better if more parents arrived at 3.35 or so, when congestion is a lot less.

  • We would prefer it if only one person per family picks the children up. Older siblings can wait outside the school gate, this will also stop congestion too.

  • Use the Redman’s road entrance and the alleyway entrance in the morning if you can, as Smithy Street is disproportionately busy in the morning.

  • Please wear a face covering upon entering the playground, and do not take it off once you are inside.

  • Please stay socially distanced at all times, and avoid queueing up to leave the playground. Instead wait at a distance until the crowd has cleared a bit.

  • Please use the Redman’s road exit, even if this means a slightly longer walk to get home.

  • Please do not jump any queues. If you are in a rush, please arrive earlier than anyone else. Otherwise please join the end of the queue. Many parents have asked me to intervene when parents are queue jumping. Whilst I have been able to do this, it is not always easy to do, and I feel this should not be necessary if everyone waited for their fair turn instead.

Car use and parking 
  • Some parents have not followed my earlier requests to park away from both Redman’s road and Smithy Street and they still park illegally.  There still is a lot of double parking and even cars being parked on the pavement.  Some parents pull over by the side of the road and just let their children out of the car to make their own way in, before driving off.

  • We are working with Tower Hamlets parking wardens and have asked them to support us with this; it is really difficult for us to manage on our own, and it is dangerous for other parents and children.

  • Please consider walking to school if at all possible. I would suggest a 15 to 20 minutes walk twice a day is not unreasonable, most families live much closer than this.

  • If you do not have the option to walk, please:

    • park or stop somewhere safe and legal

    • do not double-park on the road, 

    • do not park next to a zigzag line or next to to a double yellow line

    • do not park in a private parking space

    • do not park on the pavement. 

Children with face coverings

Guidance for the DFE states that children should not wear face covering masks to school, and we are expected to ask them to remove their masks upon arrival. Can you please remove their masks before they arrive at the school gates? Thank you 

Building Works

Building works will start over the Easter break. This means that the Smithy Street small entrance will not be used during the day, as the Reception offices will be relocated to the North building (old Redlands) until around the end of the summer half term. After Easter, parents and visitors will need to come to the old Redlands school entrance in Redman’s Road during the day. This will not affect the start and end of the day, as all gates will be open.

Packed Lunches

We have raised some concerns with the caterers about the quality of packed lunches, after feedback from parents and children. Please let us know if there are some more issues with this.

Lateral Flow Tests

All families are now encouraged to use lateral flow tests regularly, to see if children are asymptomatic.

This is what the DFE says about it:

Around 1 in 3 people with coronavirus (COVID-19) do not have symptoms but can still pass it on to others. Regular testing of people without symptoms (asymptomatic testing) is important to help stop the virus spreading. As lockdown restrictions gradually ease, we all need to play our part to help protect each other. 

On Sunday 28 February, the Department of Health and Social Care announced that from Monday 1 March, households with primary school, secondary school and college age children, including childcare and support bubbles, can test themselves twice every week at home as schools return from Monday 8 March. Households, childcare and support bubbles of primary, secondary and college staff can also be tested. Twice-weekly testing will also be offered to adults working in the wider school community, including bus drivers and after school club leaders. 

Covid tests can be  collected here: 

Easter holiday - 1 pm finish 

The Easter holiday will start on Friday 26th March at 1pm. The gate will open just before that. The last day of term will be a celebration and will be called ‘Smile Day’. Children can come in dressed as ‘Superheroes’. They will all have lunch in class together, and we will provide some party snacks for them to make it extra special.

Of course we will make sure that all the adults will also be recognised for their efforts this term!


See you soon!

Kindest regards,

Edith Philipsen

Headteacher- Stepney Park Primary School.