It has been wonderful to have all children back in school for the final four weeks of the spring term. Thank you for your help in supporting this return to school, your kind words of encouragement and for following our risk assessment procedures.
I would like to let you know how we have used part of these last four weeks to plan for the support that we will provide during the summer term. We have listened to feedback from our recent surveys, completed assessments in reading, writing and maths and investigated DfE guidance on how to best support children’s recovery from school closure.
During the first week back at school children, teachers and parents completed surveys to help evaluate and develop our remote learning provision and to identify key concerns about returning to school and the impact of school closure on children’s development. Not surprisingly, two major areas of concern were identified: academic concerns and Mental Health and Wellbeing concerns.
Many parents were concerned that children had fallen behind academically, in relation to their peers and national expectations. They were also concerned that children had missed learning key concepts, which predicate future learning and hence were worried about their child’s progress next year (especially if children were moving phases or transferring to secondary schools.) Some parents were concerned that the school would place too much emphasis on academic recovery, to the detriment of creative and enrichment activities. Other parents wanted the school to focus on children’s mental health and wellbeing, to help children recover from the impact of two prolonged periods of school closure.
Analysis of children’s responses indicated that they were very excited to return to school and overall, they had very few worries or concerns. Some year groups raised specific concerns – transition to Year 6, missing parents and siblings, settling back into the school routine, finding work hard, friendship groups may have changed, worried about another lockdown etc.
Y1 – Y6 children have just completed reading, writing and maths assessments. EYFS teachers have assessed children on all seven areas of learning. These more formal assessments, together with teachers’ daily observations of children’s learning, have helped to identify particular areas and key knowledge that we will need to focus on during the summer term and beyond.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
Sarah (Place2Be) and Sian (MHWB lead) have worked in classes across the school to acknowledge and discuss the worries pupils may have about COVID and returning to school. They talked about ways to maintain good mental health as well as provide ideas and strategies for a healthy mindset, where to get support and what to look forward to. We plan to continue with more sessions in classes throughout the summer term.
Through our partnership with the WAMHs project, we have been allocated a new CAMHs worker in school (CWiS). Lora joined the WP team in March and is currently planning support and intervention around sleep hygiene; as this was identified as an issue for many children in the pupils’ survey. We have also been joined by Temi who is our new MHST (Mental Health Support Team) worker in school. She started a series of online workshops and support for parents on 8.3.21, which runs for 6 weeks. Both Temi and Lora will be planning further interventions based on responses from our whole school community (parents, staff and pupils).
Our plans for the summer term
• We will use the Pupil Surveys and our Wellbeing Workshops to provide specific and appropriate support to individual year groups – reflecting the concerns that children raised during their surveys.
• Literacy and Maths lessons will include a focus on the teaching of key knowledge, skills and concepts that children have missed / misunderstood due to school closure.
• Modify the teaching of foundation subjects, focussing on teaching key concepts and knowledge, to ensure that the curriculum coverage is maintained.
• Provide intervention for children that need additional support in literacy and maths.
• Our CWiS and MHST worker will plan and deliver online parent sessions and targeted support groups
Despite an obvious focus on the teaching of literacy and maths, to help support children’s academic progress, we will continue to provide a creative and vibrant curriculum. Until we are able to return to regular school trips, we will arrange for workshops and projects within the school setting, to enrich children’s experiences and develop their understanding. We are particularly looking forward to a whole school ‘Protest Project’, where Nursery to Year 6 children would look at aspects of protest. This project will run during the summer term and will be supported by the Hackney Museum and involve collaboration with several artists.
Reports and Parents’ Evenings
During a normal academic year, we meet with parents during the autumn and spring term to report on children’s progress and wellbeing. Parents also receive an end-of-year report, where we provide end-of-year levels for children, identify academic targets and also comment on the child’s experience of the year.
This year we have had an online Parents’ Evening meeting, during the autumn term and have met with many parents on Google Meets. When children return to school for the summer term, we want to maximise teaching time above administering assessment tasks for reporting levels and we have therefore decided to hold a face-to-face Parents’ Evening Meeting in July, where teachers will share children’s reports with parents and discuss progress and targets. This will replace the missed spring term Parents’ Evening. Further details of the July Parents’ Evening Meeting will be provided nearer the time.
We hope that this letter explains how we have listened to children, parents and teachers in order to construct the most appropriate academic and wellbeing support for children now and in subsequent years.
If any child at William Patten tests positive for Covid-19 from Friday 2nd April – Tuesday 6th April, it is vital that you inform the school KLaw@williampatten.hackney.sch.uk immediately. We would then liaise with the Public Health England Health Protection Team for guidance on next steps. Therefore if you receive an email or text from school during this time, please do read it.
If any family has to self-isolate when we come back after the holiday, please email myself or Carole CSpanton@williampatten.hackney.sch.uk as soon as possible.
Easter holiday activities
There is NO compulsory holiday homework for the next two weeks – but if you find yourself with time to spare, or just feel like creating something, we have some ideas and links for you on Google Classroom. We have found lots of activities to keep you busy and allow families to express their creativity. You could: design a chalk pattern for Holi, paint an egg for Easter, make a DIY Animal Vase, start a colour challenge jar or learn how to grow flowers from seeds.
Happy Place Artwork
Where is Your Happy Place? We’d like you to create an artwork about your happy place. It might be somewhere you went during lockdown, somewhere that makes you feel safe and happy inside, or somewhere you are looking forward to going to in the future.
All the links and projects above are on GC. If you do participate, please remember to upload a photo for us to see. We would love to share on the school Instagram page! We can’t wait to see what you get up to.
Wishing our families a very lovely break and we look forward to seeing the children back in school on Monday 19th April.