The Headteacher's Blog
Welcome to Lydgate Junior School.
We aim to ensure that all children receive a high quality, enjoyable and exciting education.
We feel that our school is a true reflection of the community we serve. Lydgate children are well motivated and come from a range of social and cultural backgrounds. Within the school community we appreciate the richness of experience that the children bring to school. This enhances the learning experiences of everyone and it also gives all pupils the opportunity to develop respect and tolerance for each other by working and playing together. We want your child's time at Lydgate to be memorable for the right reasons - that is, a happy, fulfilling and successful period of his/her childhood.
Welcome to Year 3!
The Y3 teachers are Mrs Dutton & Mrs de Brouwer (3D/deB), Mrs Holden (3SH), Mrs Noble & Miss Roberts (3N/R) and Miss Wall (3AW). We have three Teaching Assistants who work within the team: Mrs Allen, Mrs Dawes and Mr Gartrell.
We will use this blog to keep you up-to-date with all the exciting things that we do in Year 3, share some of the things that the children learn and show you some of their fantastic work. We hope you enjoy reading it!
The Y3 team.
Welcome to the Year 5 Blog page.
The Year 5 teaching team includes our class teachers, Mrs Loosley (5NL), Mrs Rougvie and Mrs Jones (5RJ), Mrs Webb and Mrs Ridsdale (5WR) and Miss Cunningham (5EC). Many children are supported by Mrs Hill, Mr Swain and Ms Kania (the Year 5 Teaching Assistants) who work with children across the 4 classes. Our Year 5 teaching team aims to create a stimulating learning environment that is safe, happy, exciting and challenging, where each pupil is encouraged to achieve their full potential.
As a parent or carer, you play a massively important role in your child's development and we'd love to work closely with you. Please feel free to make an appointment to see us if you want to discuss your child's attitude to learning, their progress, attainment or anything else that might be on your mind. We'd also love to hear from you if you have any skills that we could use to make our Year 5 curriculum even more exciting. Are you an avid reader, a talented sportsman, a budding artist, a mad scientist or a natural mathematician? Would you be willing to listen to children read on a regular basis? If so, please contact your child’s class teacher. Similarly, if you have a good idea, a resource, a 'contact' or any other way of supporting our learning in year 5, please let us know.
We are working very hard to ensure your child has a successful year 5, please help us with this by ensuring your child completes and returns any homework they are given each week. If there are any issues regarding homework or your child finds a particular piece of homework challenging, then please do not hesitate to come and speak to us. In order to help improve your child’s reading skills, increase their vocabulary and develop their comprehension skills, we also ask that you listen to your child read and ask them questions to ensure they have understood what they have read.
We look forward to keeping you up to date on the exciting things that we do in year 5 through our year group blog.
The Year 5 Team
We are the children in Y6 at Lydgate Junior School. There are 120 of us and our teachers are: Mrs Shaw and Mrs Watkinson (Y6S/W), Mr Bradshaw (until Mrs Parker returns) in Y6AP), Mrs Phillips (Y6CP) and Miss Norris (Y6HN). Also teaching in Year 6 is Miss Lee (Monday - Y6AP, Tuesday - Y6HN and Wednesday - Y6S/W) and Mrs Grimsley (Tuesday -Y6CP).We are also very lucky to be helped by Mrs Ainsworth and Mrs Biggs. We use this space to share all of the great things that are happening in our classrooms. Join us each week on our learning journey....
Thompson’s Law (of kitchen utensils) states, quite accurately, that kitchen utensils expand to fill the cupboard space available.
If you have ever moved house, or had a kitchen refitted or even had a kitchen extension you will know at first hand the literal truth of this observation. You go from one food cupboard, one for crockery and one for pans and maybe three drawers to the full catalogue kitchen with a central island and push spring opening doors and at least three cupboards for each area. You unpack, sort, place carefully in the swing-out baskets and well-positioned internal shelves, and lo! The cupboards are full.
Thompson’s Law is a specific extension of that classic, Parkinson’s Law, that says work expands to fill the time available, but I like to start with Thompson. It’s the same sort of principle, though with a kitchen it’s more about laying things out neatly and giving easy eyeballing on each item. With time management it may be about either getting the job done as well as you can, given the limited time available, or avoiding getting allocated any new task!
We have yet to hear numbers for how many people are out of work, how many are ‘furloughed’ and how many are confined to ‘working at home’ as a result of the current crisis, but judging solely on the impact on the school’s workforce, and the ease with which I can commute each day, it must be a very sizable slice of the adult population.
As the senior leader in school one thing I am intrigued by is what managers in other schools and other sectors might expect from their employees when they work from or at home. A single person in their own home, used to workplace employment, is going to find it quite a challenge to stay focussed on work-related tasks for a full 8 hour shift at keyboard or on the phone. And that’s to assume that you can find work-related, reasonable and useful tasks for them to do at a distance. With schools closed it must be becoming increasingly difficult for working at home parents to continue to produce significant work outcomes each day if they have their children at home to entertain, feed and possibly educate.
Teachers are not unused to working at home. There are few in the profession who can get it all done at school in normal times, even if they take advantage of the often extended site open hours. (Our school site is open to staff from just after 7:00 to just before 18:00 – a possible ten and a half hour day on site – and yet for many weeks of the year this would not be enough to complete the full set of duties.) A good chunk of planning, communicating, assessing, recording, reporting, researching, reviewing, preparing and sharing can be done away from school. But the essential contact with the class cannot. Flipped, it is the same for the children – without the classroom experience, it is not the same at all.
But what we are finding is that those elements of our role that can be done AFC (away from classroom) are simply, massively expanding to fill all the released time. We have never read and sent do many emails. We have never received some much briefing. We have never known a period of such intense updating, refreshing and clarifying. We are asking more questions and being asked more questions. We are working harder than ever to stay connected. We are preparing for all foreseeable eventualities, and getting caught out be the unforeseen ones.
I will be adding new tasks in for staff over the next three weeks of school closure – making more contacts with some children and families, starting Reports and transition arrangements, training online, contributing to planning for September changes – but we will find time for these quite easily, I think (if our own children at home allow us screen time and thinking space).
We are missing our day jobs. Every member of staff who comes in to support provision for the children of key workers is delighted to be in school and having some ‘normal’ work to do, but none are reporting a lack of work. None have asked what to do next because they have finished everything. Kitchen utensils have expanded / work has expanded to fill the time and space available.
Stay safe – we will see you soon.
One subtle change eagle-eyed parents might pick up on next week is the subtle change in language to describe what schools provide for children (with adult support) to do while schools ar e closed and the child is cared for at home.
National data shows that 97% of pupils are not at school, despite nearly 10% or adults being ‘key workers’. At our school we have about 6% of pupils attending.
Though school is closed we all (well, all the adults at any rate) want to see children continuing to learn. We know (because maths tells us) that children’s attainment takes a backward step during the long simmer holiday. If (and I have no extra knowledge on this despite being a Headteacher) schools stay shut from March right through to September (or later) then children will have missed four months of school and then had another six weeks of holiday time – no formal teaching and learning for five and a half months. There will be a huge drop-off in knowledge, skills and everything else we develop in school, we might assume. So we want to keep children doing something positive in the meantime.
We of course recognise the variation there is bound to be across the range of families we have – some will do lots, some will do little, and some will do next to none. The guidance on who should attend school provision at this time does not place those ‘next to none’ children in the vulnerable group who can be invited into school. They may simply fall behind.
Guidance and direction for schools does not make it a requirement that we provide distance learning. There are many details about safeguarding and online safety, but there is no direction or suggestion about quantity, duration or nature of what schools might send out to families to support learning at home. So we could send none and be within the margin of error! Some schools may well be streaming lessons from teachers. Some will be providing detailed learning through online platforms. Some will be giving weblinks and using platforms for two-way communication.
Some parents are experiencing the Facebook boasting phenomena and feeling lesser by comparison, and yet others would like us to provide still more than we do already.
Those parents who are ‘working from home’ will find it difficult, to say the least, to do both well. How do they give both their work and their child’s learning sufficient attention? The answer is probably that they simply cannot.
So, this change in language. People, both in schools and at home, have talked about ‘home schooling’ for the last three weeks. Except they have not been doing this at all. They have had two weeks of school holiday, and I do wish that that was noticed – the children should have just had time off. And the one other week was not it either. ‘Home Schooling’ is actually where parents choose not to take up their right to access a formal school place for their child and they educate at home. Around 60,000 children are currently ‘educated at home’ in England. There is a process of checks to ensure safety and safeguarding, but no formal curriculum exists, no assessments are required, no terms are fixed. It is supposed to educate, but it is the parent’s choice how and when and what.
The current situation has not been a choice for a single parent. Children are not being ‘home schooled’ and are not taking part in ‘education at home’ in that formally defined way, but maybe they should adopt more of that freedom to choose.
We are being directed in Sheffield to use the phrase ‘learning at home’. The parents are likely not teachers. Homes are not schools. Households do not offer the same range of opportunities. The same chances to learn social skills do not exist in social distancing.
We will continue to offer some suggestions that we hope will keep children ticking over, help keep them edu-tained, and help parents fill the days for their children. But we will make neither insistence nor any assumptions about involvement, coverage or quality of learning.
Days at school for those few attending no not look too much like school either. Children at home are not missing out on formal education and are not falling behind in curriculum coverage. Do not fret or panic or stress if your child is not doing six hours a day; most likely few are. We will return to offering ideas for ‘learning at home’ on Tuesday next week.
RECALL NOTICE -
Due to the fast-moving nature of all plans and protocols at this moment what I wrote yesterday is now out-of-date and doe snot reflect all plans for the coming weeks. Read what follows with caution as plans from 13th April onward are NOT the same as described here.
The first (and possibly only) food 'hampers' / parcels are planned for the week beginning Monday 6th April, arriving on doorsteps by the Tuesday or Wednesday.
There are so many incredible things going on in response to the Covid-1 9 crisis. I am in awe of the planning and preparation that has taken place and the speed with which they are being put into full-speed action.
Schools have closed. School provision for ‘key workers’ has opened up. Easter holiday provision was detailed, planned, offered and taken up. Home schooling ideas were formed and shared. Communications have been enhanced. Big names in music, film, TV, sport and other areas of culture and literature have put together podcasts and other online resources. Subscription services have gone free-of-charge. Working from home has established. Social distancing has gone from being an unknown phrase to being the normal behaviour. Queuing, something the British feel skilled and experienced at, has become expert level. Praise and thanks, in public and out loud, is the norm. Support for every conceivable vulnerable group has been promoted and given.
22% of the national school population is eligible for Free School Meals. The Government decided to close schools. In doing so they have separated those children from that daily free lunch. At our school it is only 26 children – a little over 5% - but that meal may be essential in ensuring a healthy diet and avoiding family household poverty.
The simple answer would be to open up at lunchtime and have those children attend for lunch – but this conflicts with all the guidance about staying home and staying safe. It would inevitably increase the number of contacts for those children, other children in school, staff at work and then families back at home. It cannot be done safely. And so another system is needed.
Within two weeks of announcing school closures the Government announced the launch of a school meal voucher system, a £3.00 a day supermarket voucher scheme, to be issued weekly.
Except it’s not quite as simple as that.
We still want to uphold national school food standards, we still want cost efficiency, we still want to promote a healthy range in the diet offered, and we want to ensure that the money goes on the intended outcomes. Going straight to a universal voucher scheme runs too many risks of not doing that.
So before the voucher is a middle option; a weekly food parcel or ‘hamper’. The organisation of this on a local and national scale is extraordinary.
There are around 4,600 children eligible for FSM in Sheffield. The plan is to prepare a weekly food hamper for each and every one of them and then to have them swiftly and freshly delivered to their front doors. This is a system that did not exist two weeks ago. We may be hearing of local stores delivering locally – but maybe only twenty boxes at a time. This is the equivalent of over 200 such shops setting up the exact same standard scheme within two weeks, at no additional cost to schools or the recipient.
Schools are being urged to help the delivery process. The local authority’s catering contractor has no established experience or structure for delivering across the city. It has not got the capacity to transport so much to so many places in such a short period and at such low cost.
The plan has it that, where numbers are low, schools will receive the boxes on Tuesday or Wednesday and then deliver them themselves. The vast majority of each school’s pupils live locally to that school (in its catchment area) and so it is hoped that they will have the ability to distribute the parcels.
We could put the parcels outside the school front door, and ask parents to come to collect, but that we consider to be a risk we should avoid – too many people gathering in one place, too many journeys taking place.
For our school it is 26 parcels going to 24 addresses, all bar two in the Sheffield 10 postcode area. It looks like a route of around 15 miles in total to get round them all. At the moment this looks simplicity itself and I am sure we will have staff lining up to do the task.
There are two parts of the process that are staggering – what putting together those 4,600 boxes of canned, tinned, cartonned and fresh produce will look like, and how the chain is turned off when no longer needed.
So we expect, straight after what would have been the Easter Holidays (Tuesday 14th April), we will start receiving weekly food parcels and then passing them on the same day to 24 households. We hope it helps. No doubt we will get thanked for what we are doing, and yet it is a mere nothing in the scale of things.
Like many of you will have done, I stepped outside my front door yesterday evening to join the tribute to the entire NHS and social care staff team across the country. I blew a vuvuzela loud enough so my eldest son could hear it at his house two streets away! I clapped along with my next-door neighbours.
We, at school, are proud and humble at the same time, to be able to help in our own tiny way by offering essential child care for the real heroes - the critical workers.
We will be open over what was to be the Easter holiday. We have so many staff offering to be here that we could have a 3 to 1 adult to child ratio! We are happy to help in a small way a gigantic effort by the nation. We will be responsible by only having the necessary staffing level each day. All other colleagues are told to stay at home and limit social contacts.
What we must all do, the scientists and medics tell us, is to stay home, stay safe and save lives.
Dr Who, Jodie Whittaker, posted this message:
Easter is a time of hope. It is a message of triumph and overcoming the worst of times. It carries the important message that others are there for us, that love will overcome, and that God is eternal - this is not the end of things. (It's why we have not said 'goodbye' to the children - because we will see them again soon.)
Make a rainbow and send us a photo. Join in the annual Easter Egg Model Competition and send in an entry - see emails. Check out the weekly music and 'dance' video from school staff. Do a little of the learning activity we send out. But most importantly right now, stay home and stay safe. We will be together again soon.
As you will know the government has taken the decision to close schools from Friday 20th March. The government has published guidance about how schools will continue to support vulnerable children and the children of key workers.
The guidance makes clear that our priority, as a country, is to do everything that we can to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.
That is why the government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.
It is important to underline that schools, colleges and other educational establishments remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.
Schools are, therefore, being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children:
- children who are vulnerable
- children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.
Vulnerable children include children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.
Parents who are critical to the Covid-19 Response
Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined below. If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in a critical sector, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision.
Many parents working in these sectors may still be able to ensure their child is kept at home and every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.
Please, therefore, follow these key principles that the government has set out:
- If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
- If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
- Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
- Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
We anticipate that our Sheffield schools will be open to support the children and young people that need to come on Monday.
If arrangements need to change in the days and weeks that follow, for example because there are not enough school staff to remain open, your school will keep you informed.
I am proud that all Sheffield schools have made such magnificent efforts to support our children and young people during this difficult time. We will be continuing to provide for the children of the other critical workers of our country. It is an essential part of our national effort to combat this disease.
Please help this effort by following this guidance - if your child can be safely cared for at home then that is where they should be - not in school on Monday.