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27th March 2020
I hope that this letter finds you and your family safe and well. In these very challenging times it is important for us to remember that we are part of a strong, Christian community whether we are in school together or at home with our families. Please be assured that although our school gates are closed to most children, our community and the spirit that defines us is very much alive. If over the next few weeks or months, you need to speak to a member of staff to seek advice or support, we are here for you. Simply pick up the phone and call the school or send an email and we will get back to you. We can be a listening ear, offer ideas and suggestions for the behaviour, well-being or learning of your child or signpost you to agencies that can offer support if you are struggling with any other aspect of family life. Please don’t be afraid to use us.
Free School Meals
If your child is entitled to free school meals, even if they are not attending school, we are able to provide a free packed lunch that can be collected from school. Please let the office know if you are eligible for this and would like to collect a lunch. To avoid food wastage, we ask that you do not order lunches if you do not intend to collect them.
As the government has requested, we are currently offering childcare to those who are identified as vulnerable or the children of keyworkers who have no suitable alternative. This provision successfully began on Monday and both staff and children have enjoyed a variety of activities each day. I am very proud that the school is able to offer this service so that vulnerable children have the consistency that school offers and critical workers can continue to fight the Covid-19 virus.
I’m sure that you will join me in offering our sincerest thanks to those critical workers amongst our community who are keeping the country running and especially to those who are working in the NHS and social and health care to fight this virus and look after those who are sick or in need of care and support. Those amongst us and the wider community of keyworkers remain in our thoughts and prayers each day.
Safeguarding and Child Protection
Portsmouth City Council’s Child Protection and Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) continue to operate throughout this time and should be contacted if you have any concerns about the safety or well-being of a child. Myself and Mrs Warren can also be contacted at school as the Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSL) if you need us for advice or support on any safeguarding issues.
With the majority of children now keeping safe at home, we have tried to offer a range of home learning opportunities. Your child should have access to online apps, their class blog and homework as well as the daily activity tip delivered to your phone. Please do not overly worry about home learning or expect too much from yourself or your child. Try to keep a manageable routine of learning, play, family time and free time and if things with home learning become difficult take a break. There are many every day, fun activities that can be used as learning opportunities such as cooking together, working out television viewing schedules, counting out every day objects as you tidy drawers or cupboards or mending/making things. They can even write a letter to their teacher via the school office! If you have access to the outside, gardening, obstacle courses, building shelters are all fun activities that can entertain children for ages. Be patient with your child and yourself – this is a new way of working for everyone.
I have no new updates on our current situation or for how long these measures will be in place. Due to the recent government updates on the seriousness of the situation, we are expecting school to remain closed for the weeks immediately after the Easter holidays but as yet this is not confirmed. I will update you as soon as I know anything new. As we are being told regularly, the best thing that we can do is to follow the advice that we are being given – stay inside except for the essential journeys that have been identified – and keep ourselves, our families and others safe.
Thank you for being a fantastic community and for adapting so well to these sudden and unprecedented changes. Please continue to keep in touch with each other by phone or message and let’s make sure that everyone in our school community has the support and help that they might need in what for many will be a very difficult time.
I am really missing you all and the buzz of school life but I hope that you are staying safe and well and can assure you of my prayers.
6th March 2020
Welcome to the new pupils who have joined us this term. We also welcome some new Learning Support Assistants who will be joining us over the next few weeks and getting to know our school routines as well as our pupils and their families. I hope that they very quickly feel settled and part of our community.
The nurse will continue to hold drop-in sessions once every month in school. If you would like to discuss any health concerns that you have for your child – bed wetting, asthma, allergies, frequent illness etc – sign up for a 10 minute slot at the office.
Admission Policy 2021-2022
The school’s admission policy for 2021-2022 has now been agreed and is available to view on the website.
Our recent review at St John’s was very successful. It provided us with the opportunity to discuss the teaching and learning, identify the strengths of our school and also explore what we can do even better. We were delighted to be graded as a ‘Leading school’.
Keeping Safe Week
During the week beginning 23rd March, as part of our continuous work on safeguarding, we will be reminding children how they can keep themselves safe. The lessons will be appropriate to their ages but explore safeguarding issues such as extremism, bullying, online safety and looking after ourselves. Mrs Warren will be sending out a letter with further information about the work that the NSPCC are coming in to do with children.
Relationships and Sex Education (RSE)
As you may be aware, RSE becomes a statutory subject for primary school pupils from September and although it is something that we have always taught well at St John’s, it is a time for us to review our provision and ensure that it meets the new national and diocesan guidance. We will be holding a meeting on Friday 27th March to inform parents of pupils in Year 5 and 6 about the content for their lessons this year and also to consult on the changes that we propose for the future. All parents are invited.
Eat Them to Defeat Them
Hopefully your child will have spoken to you, or you will have seen the television adverts, about the current campaign to encourage children to eat more vegetables – Eat Them to Defeat Them. We are supporting the campaign at school with stickers and activities and have also given out charts and stickers to use at home.
We are following all government and local guidance in school with regards to the coronavirus. Our biggest defence, as is true for coughs and colds, is to wash hands well, use tissues to cover the mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing and to bin tissues. ’Catch it, bin it, kill it.’ At school we have reminded children how to wash their hands properly and our routine at this time is to use hand gel as children come in, for them to wash their hands and gel before lunch and gel again before they go home. There is also hand gel on the front desk for all visitors to use as they arrive and leave.
If your child is absent from school, please phone the office before 9.30am and follow this up with a letter explaining the absence when they return to school. Recently, we have had a few parents who have not phoned in when their child has been off and we have been unable to contact them. I’m sure that you understand that this then leads to additional time spent on chasing up another contact or making a home visit to check on the welfare of the child and family. Please help us run smoothly by making a call before 9.30am.
Thank you for continuing to work with us on attendance and recognising how important it is for children to be in school. As the Portsmouth campaign, #MissSchoolMissOut, puts very clearly – when children miss school, they are missing out… on opportunity, friendships and education.
As I mentioned at the end of term assembly and in my last newsletter, it is very important for children to arrive on time to school. Lateness is not only disruptive to the class as a whole but also unsettling for children who miss vital information at the beginning of the school day. I would also like to remind parents that children need to be collected promptly from the playground at the end of the day. Please let your child – and their teacher- know at the beginning of the day who is collecting them rather than phoning the office during the day with updates.
We are delighted that following an appeal for a parent governor, Dr Kizys (Monika and Benas’ father kindly offered to take on the role. No election was required in the absence of any other candidates. I’m sure that he will be a real asset to the governing body
Please remember to update your child’s contact and/or medical details regularly. This can be done via the Sims Parent Lite App or through the office.
The term dates can be found on the school website or requested from the office.
The school and nursery will be closed for the following INSET days this academic year;
Monday 29th June
Wednesday 22nd July
Thank you once again for your continued support.
Monday 2nd Start of Fairtrade Fortnight
School Nurse Drop-in
Tuesday 3rd Parents Evening
Wednesday 4th Year 2 Liturgy
Thursday 5th World Book Day
Wednesday 11th 8.45am Year 3&4 Parent W/Shop
Year 1 Liturgy
Year 5 Trip: Beaulieu
Wednesday 18th Year R Liturgy
Wednesday 25th KS 2 Penitential Service
Thursday 26th NSPCC W/Shops
Friday 27th 2.45pm RSE Meeting
Monday 30th Science and Technology Week
Friday 3rd 1.30pm Easter Break begins
Monday 20th Living Eggs Arrive
Thursday 23rd Year 6 Swimming (10 weeks)
Friday 8th Bank Holiday – School and Nursery Closed
Monday 11th Year 6 SATS – Grammar
Tuesday 12th Year 6 SATs – Reading
Wednesday 13th Year 6 SATs – Maths
Thursday 14th Year 6 SATs – Maths
Friday 22nd 3.30pm Half Term Begins
Monday 1st Back to School
Monday 8th Year 1 Phonics Screening Begins
Year 4 Multiplication Testing Begins
Wednesday 17th School Photos
Monday 29th INSET Day
Wednesday 15th 2pm and 7pm Year 6 Production
Thursday 16th EYFS and KS 1 Sports Day
Friday 17th KS 2 Sports Day
Tuesday 21st 1.30pm Term Ends