19 March 2020
I am writing to update you, as best as I can, regarding arrangements at Galley Hill for the coming weeks. As you know, this is a rapidly changing situation and the details being provided to schools are still somewhat limited.
As of the end of tomorrow (Friday 19 March), the school site will be closed for the majority of our children. We have been making plans for providing learning opportunities for children who are away from the school site and you have already received an exercise book, pen or pencil and your child’s Purple Mash login.
Teachers have also been asked to ensure that by the end of tomorrow, all children in school have the following things to take home (as appropriate for their age):
If your child does not come home with these things tomorrow, please speak with their class teacher immediately. If they come home with them today, please feel free to keep them at home to reduce the risk of them being ‘accidentally’ left tomorrow.
Our school website will be utilised for setting work for those away from the school site each day. On the ‘pupils’ tab of the website, you will find ‘class pages’ and there is a page for every year group. By 9am each day, your child’s learning for that day will be recorded. There will be up to four tasks for each day and this will include a range of activities, some of which may be online, creative, expecting a written response in one of the books provided or physical.
We have set up a class email address for each class which can be used to respond to tasks or ask questions related to the learning. These email addresses will be monitored by the class teachers and TAs between 9am and 3pm on each usual school day (not weekends or in the Easter holidays) from Monday 23 March until we reopen. Staff will endeavour to respond to emails on the same day but depending on illness levels, those who are working in school each day etc this may not always be possible. These addresses are for learning related queries only. The teachers have been instructed not to respond to other questions relating to general school enquiries. The address for each class is their class name. Please use the appropriate address for your child’s class:
Nursery – Amber@galleyhill.herts.sch.uk
We know that some of you may not have access to the internet and we have been asking you to identify this to us all of this week. We have produced packs for each year group with about one week’s work within it. You can request this pack from your child’s class teacher or put your name down for one being sent home tomorrow at the office. We will be making additional packs for each week we are closed and these will be available for collection from the school each Friday (with work for the next week) from 10am to 3pm.
You will have heard on the news that we will be remaining open for vulnerable children or those whose parents are key workers. We have been provided with criteria for ‘vulnerable’ children and have contacted parents of all of those today to discuss whether they require a school place. At the time of writing, we are still awaiting a list of what is going to be considered a key worker however we have already asked that anyone who thinks they may fall into this category and who needs to continue sending their child to the school site to email email@example.com as soon as possible so we can make appropriate provision. Please include the words ‘Key Worker’ in the subject line. We will be contacting all parents who have made this request at some point tomorrow to confirm arrangements. As requested by the Secretary of State for Education, we are also making provision to have the school site open for the children of key workers during the Easter holidays should it be required.
The other enquiry we have been having is around those pupils entitled to free school meals. I would like to make it clear that there is a difference between ‘universal free school meals’ which is available to all children in Reception and Years 1 and 2 and the free school meals provided to low income families. It is only children in this second group for whom we are investigating provision. You will have heard on the news that the government is looking at setting up some kind of national voucher scheme but at this stage, no details have been released. In the intervening period, we are looking at working with our colleagues at Herts Catering to provide a free packed lunch for eligible children that can be collected from school each day. If you are eligible for free school meals and want us to provide you with further details of how you can access your child’s entitled lunches and the vouchers once details have been released, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with FSM in the subject line so we can let you know of all further details as and when we have them.
One item away from coronavirus that was due to be on the newsletter this week, is that Mrs Yates is sadly leaving us at the end of this term (3 April). It is therefore likely that tomorrow will be her last day in school. She has been an amazing member of our team over the last three years and she will be very much missed. We wish her and her family the very best of luck and happiness in their new home and sure you all share this sentiment.
I wanted to reiterate to you all that although the physical school site will be closing tomorrow for most pupils, the Galley Hill community will very much be open even if this is in a virtual capacity for most of you. We are absolutely committed to the children at our school and all staff members will do all they can to support your families as much as we can. This is a stressful and uncertain time for everybody and community spirit is more important than ever. Thank you for the support you have shown us so far and to the staff for their unwavering commitment. I wish you all good health over the coming weeks and look forward to us being reunited in the school building as soon as this crisis is over.
Mrs E. Birch