On Wednesday March 18th, Boris Johnson announced that schools in England were to shut to all pupils apart from the children of key workers and those of vulnerable pupils on Friday March 20th.
Thus began a period of new challenges but a time that saw our school supporting the local community in so many new and exciting ways.
On Monday 23rd March, the day that national lockdown was announced, a new school was born. A school that was part real and part virtual offering a blend of in-person learning to key worker/ vulnerable pupils and remote learning to everyone else.
Over time more than 50 pupils were educated in our key worker bubbles that became known as the Magpies, Swallows and Kingfishers. These bubbles were taught by a variety of teachers and the children enjoyed accessing the learning their teachers had set them online as well at taking part in projects/ theme days and work inspired by key texts.
On May 11th, Boris Johnson announced that schools would reopen to Reception, Y6 and Y1 pupils from the 1st of June.
Eventually we reopened our doors more widely to these pupils on the:
15th June Y6 (Puffins, Flamingos and Eagles)
22nd June Y1 (Owls and Doves)
29th June Reception (Robins and Swans)
The children, inline with government guidance were in groups no larger than 15 with a bubble teacher and TA assigned to each group. The children quickly adapted to new procedures and expectations in order to ensure that are school was covid19 secure.
Y6 - approximately 40/60 pupils returned in y6 including children that attended in the key worker bubbles.
Y1- approximately 25/57 pupils returned in y1 including children that attended in the key worker bubbles
F2- approximately 30/47 pupils returned in F2 including children that attended in the key worker bubble.
We also invited all pupils in Y2-Y5 back to visit their class teachers for a 2hr session so they could meet their friends, have some closure on the current school year and meet their new class teachers.
We had this many pupils return :
Almost overnight we were thrown into a whole new world of remote learning, and our parents were suddenly expected to embrace Home Schooling their children! We made extensive use of our school website and Marvellous Me – a Home School communication site. Teachers found so many creative ways to provide a full weekly timetable of Home Learning activities and lessons, including daily maths, phonics and English, which the children were able to do at home; and even our youngest Nursery children had daily play activities to try!
Click this link to our class pages to see the huge variety of work teachers provided over the whole Lockdown period.
We kept in touch with regular phone calls, emails and Marvellous Me Messages. Quite early on parents told us how much the children were missing seeing their teachers, so we began to make videos of teachers telling stories and delivering phonics and maths lessons for the children to watch. It helped make us all feel a little bit closer together! Click this link to go to our video centre and watch some of the brilliant videos!
Many of our parents really impressed us with how well they supported our children with some of the amazing work they did at home. Here are just a few of the hundreds of photos that were sent to us over the Lockdown period.
In school learning for Key Worker Bubble
Our key worker children participated in home learning at the start of each session. Following this they would take part in a focused subject based on a text which was used throughout the week. They also had a daily PSHE session to support their well being during this time.
We used the following texts, subjects and PSHE areas to ensure children were exposed to a range of academic and emotional support.
Focused Weeks and Days participated in during this time
Safeguarding and well-being
During lockdown our DSL team have completed over 140 home visits and have made hundreds of phone calls home to see how the children are coping and if there is any additional support that families need. Class teachers have also completed regular phone calls home and have shared how wonderful it was to speak with the children about their learning and lockdown experiences.
We have carefully considered the individual needs of our families during lockdown and as the weeks progressed we offered time in school to pupils who were struggling.
We have been working closely with Chris Easton at Bestwood Church who kindly prepares 10 well being bags for us each week as well as meals for the local community. The church also provided school with numerous Easter eggs which were delivered on Easter Sunday to some very surprised children! We have tried to reach as many families as possible with well-being bags, Dianne Finnie has delivered over 150 during lockdown!
All DSLs have worked closely with social care, targeted family support and the police to get the right support to families at the right time. The police and Wilkinsons have also provided treats for all of our key worker children
We have been able to provide laptops for families who do not have devices at home and delivered countless work packs to support home learning.
Dianne Finnie has tirelessly supported the Bestwood community throughout lockdown and received a hamper from the Bestwood Policing Team in recognition of her dedication. Dianne has supported all staff with deliveries and her incredible knowledge of addresses in Bestwood and Top Valley!
Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities
Ongoing support has been provided to all our children, including children with SEND, in a variety of ways since lockdown began. Weekly home visits and telephone calls have been a great way to keep in touch with our children and families and see the exciting things they have been doing (and see how the children have grown!) The children have always been excited to see us or speak to us on the phone and either show us something they have made or tell us about something they have been doing.
We have continually provided families with resources to use at home and hand delivered a whole range of support materials including social stories, sensory packs and personalised work packs.
Our excellent relationship with support services has continued during lockdown and school staff, children and families have been supported or offered support by the Autism Team, Behaviour Support Team, Educational Pschology service, Sensory Team and CAMHS. Parents have remained informed of support available to them via messages on Marvellous Me and school staff have accessed a range of training opportunities via Microsoft TEAMS and Zoom.
The Autism Team have continued to support some of our Year 6 children and families who are transitioning to a new school for September which has been very beneficial and has helped allieviate any worries or concerns.
Our Learning Mentors have always been on hand to give a friendly call to any children who have felt worried or anxious during the lockdown or to chat with any children who have been worried about returning to school.
In addition to all the great things that have been taking place at home, we have given all children who have returned to school to work in a bubble, including children with SEND, a very warm welcome back and have provided them with a socially distanced curriculum that is still fun and engaging. Our staff rotas have been tailored to meet the needs of the children and we have ensured that our children have been able to be supported by their familiar adults where necessary.
Feedback from the Special Needs Team has been very positive which has been lovely to hear and we were informed that, "Southglade has provided access to education through the period of school closure with bespoke work." Nottingham City Special Educational Needs Team.
A survey was sent to parents. 55 responses were received. Some of the key data findings:
95% of parents had accessed our school website to support their children in remote learning
90% of parents agreed or strongly agreed that their child had engaged within the home learning
25% of parents found home learning easier than expected, 33% found it as expected and 42% found it harder than expected
Parents had accessed or received the following support services:
- reading book swap service 40%
-use of purple mash 80%
-use of times table rocks-tars 80%
-phonics videos and resources 50%
- weekly learning resources 75%
- emailed class teacher for advice and support 70%
- accessed BBC Bitesize or the National Oak Academy 60%
- video and audio resources 55%
Quotes from parents during lockdown about home learning and key worker support
‘Great staff. Always feel supported by Southglade Primary School.’
‘Happy with the support received’
‘We are very grateful for the help that we have had and continue to have’
‘Thoroughly enjoy home learning’
‘Happy with the support children have been given in Nursery and Y3. We don’t do home learning everyday but when we do it has been very good’
‘We have felt very supported by the class teacher. And grateful for the work and that there is no expectation if child doesn’t want to engage sometimes’
‘It is better now there is a weeks worth of work so it easier to plan for the week ahead’
‘Difficult having 2 working parents and trying to fit in school work. The resources have been brilliant and helpful’
‘He is lucky to have such an amazing teacher’
‘I feel we have been given the best support for home learning through the website and also phone calls from the teacher. I personally have felt fully supported throughout’
‘Just a little note to say thank you for all the help you have gave my child in the time he has been with you. Have a good holiday. Xx
Just wanted to send a kinda last email I guess! Thank you for being my child’s class teacher this year I know she loved havin u and is gutted she can't have u again. Thank you for all ur supported over last few months we have really appreciated it. Gonna miss the emails. She has decided to finish for summer already so sorry we haven't sent any work last week or so. She just doin time tables.
I hope u have a lovely summer and enjoy the break.
Take care and all the best
Hope you are keeping well and safe
We just wanted to say a huge Thank you for all the support and teaching resources that you have provided during lock down.
He speaks very highly of you and he has been delighted that he has been able to spend his 2 days a week at school with you.
We are just gutted that you were unable to teach him for the full year.
You are a great teacher with lots of compassion and this shows within the children in your class.
Hope you have a great summer, hopefully see you soon x
You have been an amazing teacher to my child and us as parents I can’t thank you enough for everything and through this pandemic your support means the world, I really hope you get to teach our younger child too during her time at Southglade that would be amazing
You have been amazing with my child and he was very lucky to have you as his teacher!
Thankyou so much for the phone call again today and for the chat. Your all doing an amazing job yourselves, I couldn’t wish for my child to go to a better school Southglade have been amazing through all of this and I can’t praise you all enough! I’m so happy that my younger child has got into Southglade too and gets to have a brilliant education with all you fantastic teachers, im proud to be apart of your school x
'I hope this finds you well. What a pity that there was no meeting for my child so he didn't have a chance to say Thank you and Goodbye to you.'
'Since we can't meet in person for now, I'm writing to say Thank you for all your hard work and the help you have been giving us, especially since lockdown. My child will miss you a lot. We wish you a great summer holiday.'
'Hi there. Just to say how much he has really been enjoying being back at school he’s loved being back with his favourite teacher.i was wondering if presents and cards are allowed as he as already got you something but I won't send it in if it's not allowed.i no he will miss you as you are the only teacher he as had since nursery and it's been a pleasure sending him to school knowing how happy he is. We are so very proud of him and his school report was lovely to read. thank you for being an amazing teacher to our little boy.'
'Just want to say your doing an amazing job with all the daily activities and task for the kids to do. It’s keeping my child very busy.'
'I’m pleased to hear that the home learning challenges would continue and I appreciate with all the hard work that you and all the teachers are doing with creating all its content.'
Thank you for staying in touch emails, calls little visits to be honest it’s made it a lot easier doing the school work knowing your always there to help & not just there for my child too, I’ll definitely miss you seeing you most days going. You definitely go the extra mile to help all the children.
Never before have I wanted to wish the summer holidays away. My child can't wait to get back to school. She asks if she can have one more day at nursery before she moves to penguins because she misses it so much. We would like to say a big thank you to you and all the staff for all the videos, as they have really helped my child feel a connection with nursery in her time at home.
Thank you for all your help and support with my child over the last year. She misses you all lots and is sad she won't be with you in September.
How we adapted based on our parent feedback
‘It would be great if you offered more online teacher led learning and weekly spellings and some more input on phonics. Even if it’s just a quick 5 minute video on a weekly basis’ – Staff were asked to put up videos twice a week on the website explaining the lessons. These were completed in a range of different ways including small lessons and demonstrations of the task.
‘There is too much. I know it is optional but when you yourself are working from home and looking after siblings it is difficult to devote the time to do the tasks properly and ensure understanding’ – We decreased the amount of work and activities we put on the website and relaunched this to ensure it was more succinct and able to be followed throughout the week.