The holiday starts, and school does not sleep
School may have closed for pupils a week ago (Friday 17th July), but we actually still had to days of school term left.
On Monday staff accompanied six 'bubbles' of Year 6 pupils on visits to their chosen and allocated Secondary School, Tapton School, so that they could familiarise themselves with the buildings and floors ahead of their formal start this coming September. It was a strange business to be honest, with many of the children not having been at school physically since the end of March, but it was great to see hem, and to build a picture of their resilience and strength of character and purpose.
Though only three teachers (two class worth) are moving year group for September, another couple are moving classroom and a new member of the team will be joining us. All of them have been in this week, for discussions and removals and planning and setting up and putting up displays and so on; the sort of thing they simply could not do with the children in school the week before and the sort of thing that has to be ready for when the first child arrives on Tuesday 1st September. (I say that date because we are hosting a transition visit, like Tapton did for us, for our own 'new starters' before anyone else is here - our new Y3s are invited for a couple of hours that day.)
Then there were teachers in resetting their classrooms ready for full attendance on the first day with children in the new term. We have had 'only' 15 children in each 'bubble' during the last half term, and we are to reset to 30 plus. Furniture we'd moved out has to come back, tables need rearranging (spread, but all facing forward), all the chairs using, resources sorting once again, trays labeling and locating to minimise movement, and so on. (In some real ways it cuts against what we usually look to promote in terms of independence, as we will be trying to reduce movement in the classroom by providing everything ourselves.)
Just two classrooms have not been in use for their normal purpose this term - they have held all that furniture. So those rooms needed resetting, too, and those staff were in.
Orders were arriving multiple times daily and staff were in to receive and distribute thousands of pounds worth of new, quality reading books for example.
We always have a skip hire at this time of year, and there is always someone extra in school who looks to clear-out about now; bags of accumulated non-vitals get binned to de-clutter ahead of the next start. More staff in school.
Premises staff have worked all week; they have tried to clean thoroughly (working around other staff on-site) and delivering some of the improvements we asked for - sinks installed outside the building, ugly, old, inefficient storage removed, chairs replaced in two classrooms and old ones recycled, roofers at work trying (and hopefully succeeding) to prevent leaks into the Workroom upstairs that have gone on for three years, electricians installing gate security (so visitors will have to buzz to be let into the site from September).
I've been in as well - dealing with backlogs in some areas of lesser priority, and one or two new items of high priority, as well as supporting staff in their jobs. I also helped take down and re-display the tributes that were attached to the school fence at the Manchester Road gate - they were too good to take down and not show them respect.
Various other staff members have been remote working this week - year groups are still receiving emails from parents, and trying to respond; admin task requests are being made; safeguarding files are readied for transfer; early planning is being brought together; volunteers' offers are being vetted and taken up where appropriate.
We think that the school holiday will start next week, but we know we will be back before the end of August. I'll let you know when I see the first shoots!
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