Dear Parents and Friends
Welcome to this, my first newsletter of this remote term. I am writing this sitting in my sunny garden, which is a slight departure from my usual posture when penning my newsletters. Though there are, of course, very many negative aspects to the situation we have been in for the last few weeks, there have also been some very striking positives; and it has to be said that the weather has been one of those. I think we can all imagine how much worse this confinement would’ve been had it taken place during a dark, wet and cold November, for example.
So what other positives has there been? Well, for one, I have heard many people comment on how much they have enjoyed getting back to some of the simpler things in life; and many of those people following up with a comment about how they hope that things may continue in that vein once this is all over. People have also learnt how easy it is to make some difference to someone’s day merely with the nod of the head or a quick hello, as you detour around them in the street or the park in order to maintain the requisite 2-metre distance. My next door neighbours are a fairly ordinary family, I would say, but I have noticed them sharing some new activities over this holiday period; learning to play chess in the garden, mum getting to grips with the family trampoline, having their first ever camping trip (to the end of the garden), and even sharing a game of “Hunt the Flipflop”!
Often these harder times are a springboard for creativity too, and I am sure that you have seen a variety of rainbows in windows around and about, for example. I was particularly taken with this collage that Temperance in Year 6 did as a way to express her own experience of the situation. Powerful stuff.
Just prior to the start of term a small group of us met in the staff room (socially distanced, of course) to package up books and other effects to send off to pupils ready for the return to remote school. That kept the local post office busy for a good hour, and indeed it was good to spend a few hours with those colleagues too.
Many of our pupils have had their first taste of live teaching this week and it has gone very well indeed on the whole, welcomed by both parents and pupils and, dare I say, quite enjoyed by most of the staff too. We are not quite there yet, I know, so we’ll keep working to improve as we go along.
Year 1’s new topic is Fantasy Land. This week they have been looking at maps and how to create their own map of their house, and next week they will be looking at making imaginary maps. Looking forward to that!
Year 2 have got straight back in with their PLDR (Plan, Learn, Do, Review, for the uninitiated) and have made good use of their home territory for finding inspiration and resources for their first project of the term. There was also a very practical aspect to their maths, designed to allow them time away from the screen where possible. Interesting to see both the child’s-eye-view, and the teacher’s...
First day back for Year 3 and kitchen cupboards have been emptied! The children weren’t sent off to do the household chores (though we're sure they're being helpful at home!) but were investigating different sorts of packaging as part of their new thematic learning topic, Think Change. As term goes on they'll be learning how packaging is disposed of and decomposes, and using found and household objects in their create and thematic lessons.
For Year 4 the new theme is Zootropolis, and both classes have had a creative start to the term too. Funny what you can find lying around when you really look…
Year 5 have had a smooth oceanic start to the term for their new topic of Ocean Adventure with Miss Wynne Powell helping get the creative juices flowing.
At Dame Bradbury’s we like to think of ourselves as all being learners, the staff as much as the pupils; and this remote teaching has certainly given me and my colleagues the opportunity to learn about different ways of teaching and different ways of reaching out to our pupils and our parents. It has not been easy, and I know the challenges will continue, but I also know that the calibre of our staff is such that they will rise to these challenges and do the very best job that they can in difficult circumstances.
I’d like to thank you for the very many messages of support that we have received. These do a huge amount to boost staff morale, as you can imagine. It would be good if there were more places of work where generosity of spirit were more forthcoming, and maybe this will be one of the positive outcomes of the current situation. Let’s hope. We are certainly in for the long haul, and I have heard the analogy of this being a marathon rather than a sprint. What I am very confident of, though, is that the strength of the Dame Bradbury’s community, built up over time through the efforts of all its members, will pull us through; and that we will come out as strong, if not stronger, at the other end.
I do hope that you continue to stay well.
With my best wishes
Head of Dame Bradbury’s 5-11