Children's Mental Health Week

As you are probably aware, we are currently celebrating children's Mental Health Week. Recognising and discussing children's mental and emotional well-being is something that we always value very highly in both schools; this week, it has an added focus. As some of you may have seen in my introduction to this on the Google classrooms, the theme of this week is 'express yourself' encouraging the children to do positive things that express the way they are feeling or that help them remain positive when things are a bit tricky. I have asked the children to try to complete a 'positive stepping stones' sheet daily. I am recording another assembly later today and will talk about this more then. If you would like to further explore the theme of this week with your children, there is also a very useful website:

The parent section is very good and may signpost you to some activities that you could do together.

Obviously, the theme of the week is children's mental health but I do think it is probably worth noting here that your emotional well-being is as important! From speaking to quite a few parents, I know that many of you are finding the current situation very tough. The whole home learning situation, coupled with the restrictions of lock down, is a significant challenge for children, staff and parents alike. If the pressure of home learning becomes too much, please take a break! It is really important, particularly at the moment, that you value your family time and try to do activities with your children that you all enjoy. After next week and over half-term (15th to 19th Feb), you will be able to have a complete break from Google Classrooms... there are only about 6 days of learning to go until then! When we come back, I have everything crossed that we will only have two weeks to do, before a potential return on March 8th. I would hasten to add that I have had no confirmation of this and know as much about it as you do. I just have a hunch it will be the 8th!

I know that some of you are worrying about your children falling behind. Please let us take that worry on. When we came back in September, we baselined all the children and organised a very effective catch up programme to address any identified gaps. We have learnt a great deal for this in terms of which interventions are the most effective so are well placed to devise a catch up programme for any children who need it when we return next term.

As some of you will already know, we have, unfortunately, had to isolate the year 5 and 6 key worker bubble once again. A member of staff has tested positive having done a lateral flow test at home. She was asymptomatic and we would not have been able to take action without the recent introduction to testing for primary staff. It has also served as a stark reminder to us all of the presence of the virus and why so many of you have been required to stay at home. In the last couple of weeks, we have had more positive cases than at any time since March last year.

When school life used to be 'normal', we would have had the opportunity to have a 'coffee and catch up at least a couple of times this year. Having spoken to many of you this week, I do wonder whether it might be nice to have a 'Zoom get together' session. This would be a chance to catch up, share experiences or even the latest Netflix recommendations! It will not be a forum for discussing the content or delivery of home learning but just the general challenges we all face and the positives of course! It cannot replace a real social get together but it might go some way towards bridging the gap! As many of you will have children with you during the day, I thought a time of 7pm might work, which could of course become 'catch up and wine'! The date for Yardley will be next Thursday (11th  Feb). The zoom link is as follows:

Meeting ID: 821 4790 0845

Passcode: 141334

It would be really useful if you could let me know in advance () if you think you will attend. I will then know to look out for you in the waiting room. No pressure, just join if you would like to!

Next Tuesday (9th) is Internet Safety day and the children will all be able to access some activities related to his on the Google Classrooms. Amber Hayfield, our Computing lead for both schools, has recorded an assembly for each year group that you can watch with your children if you would like to. The focus of the day will provide a good opportunity to remind your children about good e-safety practice.

We are very aware that we are making many demands on your computing skills as parents and that many of you may feel out of your depth with this. Please do ask if we can help you with this. We can talk you through on the phone or even show you what to do in an outside meeting! There is no such thing as a stupid question here. Believe me, we will all have asked them at some point!

Please come back to me if you have any questions or comments about any of the above.