We hope you are all staying safe and well during these continued challenging times. On Monday 4 January 2021, we were really disappointed when we heard the Prime Minister’s announcement informing us that we were not permitted to welcome all children back to school from Tuesday 5 January onwards. As we are sure you can imagine, the late timing of this announcement was very difficult for us to deal with in school and we recognise that it will have been very problematic for many of you too.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your patience and understanding on Tuesday 5 January and for bearing with us as we began the process of assessing many applications for critical worker places in school. Alongside allocating these places, we also had to review our school risk assessments and COVID protocols in order to plan how we were going to safely support a significant number of pupils in school alongside providing high-quality remote learning for all of the pupils who were required to stay at home. All staff are working their normal hours every day either supporting pupils in school or working from home to support the remote learning within their designated year group.

We have been so impressed with the children who began attending school again from Wednesday 6 January. They have had to quickly adapt to a number of changes in their normal routines but have settled really well, demonstrating positive behaviour and excellent attitudes to learning. We have also been incredibly impressed with those children who have engaged enthusiastically with the remote learning that their teachers have provided for them. We would also like to say thank you to all of the parents who have encouraged their child to participate in remote learning and supported them with their work. We recognise this must be incredibly difficult for many of you, especially those of you who are also trying to work from home yourselves.

We want to make you aware that the teachers have been instructed to ensure that the curriculum planned both in and out of school continues to follow exactly what would have normally been taught at this stage in the academic year. At Headlands, it is very important to us that the lessons both in school and online mirror each other as closely as possible in order to ensure that the pupils at home are exposed to the same curriculum content as those in school. If the children who are learning from home engage fully with the remote learning opportunities, produce work to the standard they would have done if they were in school, complete all of the tasks set and respond to any feedback they are given by their teachers then this should enable them to attain well and still make progress despite not being in the physical classroom environment.

Government guidance requests that school staff closely monitor pupil engagement with remote learning in the same way that we monitor school attendance. Registers for remote learning are completed daily and staff make a record of which children have viewed lessons (either live or pre-recorded). Staff also record which children have viewed and submitted work. From this week onwards, staff will begin to contact parents of those pupils who are not engaging with the online learning opportunities provided. The purpose of these telephone calls will be to offer support and advice where possible. We recognise that not all pupils have access to electronic devices yet. Last week, we received our delivery of laptops from the local authority for all those parents in KS2 who have requested one for their child. The office staff will continue contacting parents over the next 24-48 hours to arrange collection of these. Unfortunately, at the moment we are unable to submit requests for electronic devices for pupils in EYFS and KS1. If this situation changes, we will communicate with you immediately about this.

For as long as we are instructed to do so, our aim at Headlands School will be to continue to be able to provide provision for pupils with allocated places in school as well as online provision for all of those pupils required to stay at home. We are sure that you will recognise that this provision is very labour intensive and will only be able to continue as long as there are enough staff members fit and well enough to carry out their assigned duties.

We urge parents of pupils who are attending school at this time to continue to follow all government guidelines if their child or any member of their household begins to develop symptoms of COVID-19. A revised version of the school child isolation guide for parents has been recently uploaded to our website. If any child with an allocated place in school is going to be absent for any reason, parents must contact the school office before 9am on their first day of absence.

Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt gratitude to all of those parents who have sent kind emails of support and thanks either to the main school office or to the class teachers via their year group emails. We have shared all of these messages with the staff and they have been very well-received and much appreciated.
We hope that we will soon be in a position to welcome all children back into Headlands School. Until that time, we continue to send our best wishes to all of our families.