I hope this message finds you safe and well during what continues to be very strange times.
Over the last few weeks we have welcomed back children from Reception, Year One and Year Six.
I am delighted to say that they have all settled back into school life very easily, although obviously it’s not the usual school life they are used to.
I am sad to say, that after nearly two decades of service at Ashleigh, Mrs Walsh has decided to retire at the end of this term. She has been a class teacher over the last 19 years for an unbelievable number of children, nearly 600 in total! In addition to this, her work in the Arts and especially Music, has left school with a superb legacy. This was recently recognised by the award of the Music Mark and a Gold Award from the Arts Council. It is hard to measure the impact Mrs Walsh has had on Ashleigh over the years, as she has made such a significant contribution in so many areas of school life. Whether it was on trips, whole school events, shows or in the day to day life of school, Mrs Walsh has been at the centre of things, and has always kept the best interests of our children at heart. She has repeatedly demonstrated absolute dedication to school and I know that the staff and children will miss her more than a few lines in a letter can ever convey. Although we wish her all the very best in the next chapter of her life, we are selfishly hoping that she will find time in what is likely to be a busy retirement, to keep in touch with school, perhaps even, having a role in our future music successes. Many thanks Mrs Walsh, Happy Retirement.
September 2020 onwards
We have been planning and looking ahead to what September may look like in school for a number of weeks now. At the end of last week, Gavin Williamson, the secretary of state for Education revealed guidance from the government and DFE for the wider reopening of schools in the new academic year. Although detailed, it also raises a few questions, which local authorities will be asking for clarification for over the next couple of weeks. What we can say at this point, is that school will be open to all children, full time, from September.
In many ways school will be similar to how it was pre COVID19, and in others, very different. Many of the lockdown procedures we have put in place to minimize contact between children and staff will continue when we reopen completely, but there will be some things which just can’t take place or will have to be delayed until it is deemed safe enough. For example, we won’t be able to have assemblies or whole school gatherings, as children will be kept in year group bubbles and won’t be able to mix. We will be reorganising the school day so that a staggered start and end is possible, to minimise contact between parents and children from different bubbles. The one way system around the school building will continue to help with that. Children will be expected to wear the usual school uniform, so please ensure over the holidays you prepare for that in the same way you usually would.
Next week I should be able to tell you whether wrap around care, i.e. breakfast club and after school clubs will be able to operate, either in a modified way, or at all.
Many of the ways teachers deliver lessons and organise their classrooms will have to change in light of the guidance from the DFE, so for example, desks will be arranged all facing the front and direct contact between staff and children will be minimised as much as possible.
How we do parents evenings and other school events will in all likelihood change too. The use of technology will help us to overcome some of these hurdles, but as anyone who was in the New Intake Zoom meeting last week will know, things don’t always work perfectly first time! I am sure that as we progress through the Autumn term, some of the things which we thought we couldn’t do, will become feasible, and we may have to adapt others processes to make them work more effectively for us.
Before we finish for summer, I will send you more details of what you can expect when your children return on Tuesday 1st September.
End of year arrangements
Next Monday you will receive your child’s End of Year Report via email. We obviously don’t usually email reports, but are doing so this year in order to minimise risks for parents. Please find attached to that email, a separate document which you can fill in and email back, if you would like to make a comment on your child’s other accomplishments out of school. As usual with the reports, you will find out who your child’s next teacher will be.
Our last day of term is Monday 20th July. We are continuing to follow our published calendar as instructed to by the DFE. Our finish time at the end of term is usually 1pm. Due to the staggered start and end of each day, we will have to finish at different times that day too.
So just for Monday 20th July the school day is as follows:
As ever, please ensure that you drop off and pick up at the allotted time and follow the one-way system round school, so as to avoid contact with parents/children from other bubbles.
As I have already mentioned, I will write to you again before we finish for summer, with more details about September onwards.
Stay safe and well,
This was sent via email to all parents