Letter to parents 01.05.2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

As we come to end of week six in lockdown and the beginning of a new month, I wanted to update families with some of the steps we are taking in school to further improve our current offer, to support our community, as we adjust to the impact of the school closure.

We have been really impressed with the many examples of varied work being sent in by students. It’s lovely to see so many imaginative responses to the work set. We are also aware of some families who are finding the work difficult to manage for a variety of reasons. We want families to be reassured that we do understand, and I thank those families who have been in touch to explain their current circumstances.

Staff are setting learning activities for a class but within that class there will be a range of young people who have different levels of confidence with the topic. This, in reality, means some children are whizzing through it and some find certain topics a little more challenging. As a general guide, learning set should equate to half the time children have lessons in the subject every fortnight (if they have four hours of Maths in a fortnight, their work should take two hours, but certainly no more than four). If your child gets to a point where they are working past this, please stop and submit the completed work.

These are certainly unprecedented times, and staff are becoming more aware of the limitations of online learning – we are as new to this as you are! This week, I have approved trials with some classes using Microsoft Teams (a video-conferencing facility). We need this work alongside the Government’s laptop scheme to ensure families without internet are not further disadvantaged. I will share further details as soon as I can.

Some families have asked when we might reopen. Unfortunately, we have no news and await further instruction from the Department for Education (DfE). Announcements are often made at the daily briefing from Downing Street and this is also when schools find out. We are, however, planning various options, so when the announcement is made, we are as ready as we can be. As Gavin Williamson announced this week, when schools do reopen, it’s likely that this will be a phased return. 

At Saltash, our moto is ‘Achieving More Together’ and over the past few weeks, I have seen many examples of our community coming together and ‘achieving more’ working as part of a Team. We have a team of ‘scrubbers’, led by Mrs Snowdon, who have been busy making scrubs for NHS staff; we have donated our googles from Science and DT to frontline workers; and our catering team has worked hard to prepare Care Packages for those in our community who are in need of food. Please contact Miss Pearce if your circumstances mean that you are in need of a weekly Care Package (dpearce@saltashcloud.net) – you do not need to be in receipt of Free School Meals. Equally, please let me know if your child has been involved in any activity to support others during this difficult time: this is the perfect time to demonstrate our core value of ‘empathy’.

Clearly the current situation is difficult for us all. If any of our young people are experiencing a strain on their mental health, please direct them to our website where they can find links to contacts and organisations who may be able to help. Livewire is also continuing to offer their mental health support remotely and we are working with Young People Cornwall to further improve our support services. Details will follow soon.

We realise how difficult this situation is and the changing demands on families. We wish our community all the very best and thank you for your continued support.

Kate Littledyke

Headteacher