Dear parents and carers of Stepney Park Primary School
I don’t know where the time has gone this week, but Friday and the weekend have already arrived!
As we are settling into yet another new routine, I thought I’d write to you with a quick update.
Next week’s newsletter will have some examples of the lovely work that the children have been doing in their remote learning.
Thank you !
First of all, a great big thank you to you: the parents and carers of Stepney Park Primary School. Almost all of you have embraced remote learning with commitment and great amounts of effort. We feel we have made a very promising and positive start to our spring term Remote Learning, and this would not have been possible without your support. So on behalf of staff and children: thank you! We know it is really difficult for some families, in particular for families where parents work or where there are other challenges, and your support is much appreciated.
You may have noticed that we focus on Reading, Writing and Maths for the majority of time in our Remote Learning. This is to ensure that children do not fall further behind in their key skills, and will find it easier to catch up with where they need to be once they can return to school. We will make sure that children will also have access to other subjects, once they have completed the core subjects.
Our Learning Journey :
Remote Learning is not totally new to our school, of course we have had 2 previous whole school closures (March to June and for 5 days in December), as well as a number of year group closures. We have learned so many lessons from each occasion, and whilst we know that remote learning can never be as good and replace face to face learning, we feel that we have made great strides of progress. Many of our staff and children (as well as our parents) did not have any experience with Chromebooks and Google classroom, and look at them now! I have visited a number of class Meets, and it is lovely to see how confident even our youngest children are in joining and taking part in online meetings, how well they understand how to access apps, and how independent they are becoming in accessing the slides, videos and activities. Even Reception children who have now all been given an iPad, are managing to engage with remote learning. Well done to all.
Teachers and TAs are taking part in training sessions all the time, and so many of our staff who previously were a bit nervous of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) have become real experts, it shows that we are all life long learners.
Our children too will become real experts, this generation of children will be more confident with ICT than any generation ever before; ‘every cloud has a silver lining’, as they say.
We will make sure that we have a strategy in place for the continued use of Chromebooks for ‘blended learning’, both in class and at home when things return back to normal in the future, when the pandemic has passed.
We know our Remote Learning has not yet been perfected; like almost all other schools in the country, Remote Learning was completely new to us a year ago.
We have learned and tweaked things along the way, and are currently in the process of a comprehensive Self-evaluation activity.
Very soon, we will be asking parents for their feedback. This will be done via Google Forms and we would love to hear from you. Please let us know what you think has worked well (we all need to hear nice things every now and then; teachers are no different here), but please also let us know where we can make improvements and how we can support you better.
Health and wellbeing:
Screen time: we try and limit children’s screen time where possible, although this is not always easy. Please try and keep children away from their chromebooks after school hours. We will be contacting you soon with a weekly timetable, which will identify times for children to have down times and be away from their screens.
Please remember that we are including PE and yoga/ mindfulness in our online learning. Your child/ren should go out with you for daily socially distanced short local walks so that they get enough fresh air and exercise, to allow them to develop in a healthy way.
Please try to make sure that photos of completed work which are uploaded (so teachers can check the work) , are clear and sharp. It is quite difficult to see the children's work if they are blurry. We may soon decide to ask children to write using a pen instead, as this may be better.
Remember to email admin if you have any questions, instead of using the children’s emails. Admin will forward the emails to teachers so they can respond to parents.
Key workers and vulnerable children who come into school:
School starts at 9.00am and finishes at 3.30pm. Parents need to arrive on time, so staff do not needlessly need to bring late arrivals to classrooms or wait with late pick-ups.
I was very pleased to see that infection rates are finally beginning to come down around Tower Hamlets. Let’s hope that the vaccination programme in London will pick up pace soon and that falling infection rates are going to continue, so we can begin to look forward to having the children back into school and have some normality back into our lives.