Category Archives: Uncategorized

Making the Most of the Situation

It’s always important to get transition from one class to another right, but this year has thrown up some unique challenges that we are working to overcome. In recent weeks we have seen increasing numbers of children come back to school to join our Years R, 1 and 6 bubbles, as well as growing numbers joining bubbles for the children of key workers and those in vulnerable groups.

It’s been great to have more children in school, but at the same time we’ve been very conscious of those who don’t qualify to return for one reason or another. We have been trying to orchestrate ways to see them, while also following the evolving guidelines to keep everyone as safe as possible.

Reintegration Days

As a small rural school, we are lucky enough to have large grounds. We’ve been able to make use of our setting to invite children in from years 2,3,4 and 5 for reintegration sessions. On Tuesdays and Thursdays the children come in for 90 minute sessions, where they get to spend time with their friends, take part in a Forest School style activity and play some PE games. Running 2x 90 minute sessions a week for the last 4 weeks of term, means these children are getting 12 hours in school before the summer holiday. The response has been wonderful, giving the children something positive to look forward to and the parents a small break from home learning! Coupled with the priority groups and year group bubbles, we now have over 90% of our children in school at some point during the week.

Summer Send Off

Another opportunity we have planned to get families on to the school site is our Summer Send Off. This is a PTA event, sort of like a miniature Summer Fayre. Year groups are invited to arrive at staggered times to meet their new teacher and pick up a summer resources pack. School uniforms will be available, as many children will have outgrown theirs and there will be a stall of free books that have been donated in recent weeks. Socially distanced games have been devised to be enjoyed, including Play Your Cards Right and a Penalty Shoot Out. It’s also important to us to support local and parent-owned businesses that may have been struggling during the lockdown. We’ve invited a few along to promote their businesses, make a few sales and drum-up some future trade.

Welcoming our new families

In more normal times we would welcome our new families through a series of events at this time of year to help prepare our new Year R class for September. Most of these events have been pushed back until after the summer holiday when we are planning to carefully integrate our new pupils over a few weeks. However, we were keen to make contact before we broke up for the summer to answer questions, allay fears and welcome them to our school community. So we invited parents and children to attend one of two sessions in our grounds to run through the school day, introduce the team and begin to orientate the children to their new surroundings.

Transition Videos

Each class team has produced a ‘Welcome to…’ video. In them, the teacher and TA introduce themselves, give a little teaser of their topic for September and set a challenge or two for the children to work on over the summer. The teachers have also produced summer resources packs containing ideas for practising some key skills, tasks designed to prepare the children for their new classes and #TheSidlesham101.

The Big Summer Dance

Thinking longer term, we wanted to plan something for when we all (finally) get back together. The idea is that we will do a massive dance on the school field in September. We looked at a few dance tutorial videos, but nothing seemed quite right, so we made our own. We chose ‘We Go Together’ from Grease as our music and made the videos below!

Step by step guide to our dance
The full routine

Singing Assemblies

Since the lockdown started in March, I’ve been making singing assemblies at home for our children who are in school or learning from home. The idea was to give them a bit of normality, see a familiar face and have a bit of a laugh. My own children started helping out quite a bit and that helped us not to take it too seriously and hopefully avoid it becoming too cringey.

The singing assemblies have been put together in a YouTube playlist to be shared and enjoyed at our school and beyond.

As the weeks went by, more and more children requested an increasingly eclectic variety of songs and the performances included more and more costumes and props.

What is the single best way to ensure high quality learning outside of the classroom?

I was asked to contribute a short video for TMMooc with the title ‘What is the single best way to ensure high quality learning outside of the classroom?’

Now, while I don’t feel entirely qualified to give any sort of definitive answer to this question, I reckon I can have an opinion.

I thought of several ways of approaching this question but it strikes me that the best way to ensure learning outside of the classroom is to facilitate, nurture and encourage parental involvement. An open dialogue between school and home allows parents to have a better understanding of what is happening at school enabling them to further support their child’s learning. Sharing experiences, opinions and discussions and helping make their education relevant to their wider life outside of school.