Newsletter

Newsletters are emailed out to parents and carers every week on a Friday. If you do not already receive you can read it here or have it emailed by contacting the office on: office@hollypark.barnetmail.net

To see the full colour version of this week’s newsletter including photographs please scroll further down this page. You will also find there a full list of previous newsletters.

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Here is our latest newsletter:

Summer Holidays and September

The Secretary of State for Education has confirmed that they are not asking schools to open over the summer holidays, and there is no expectation that schools should open for vulnerable children and children of key workers over this period. 

Yesterday, the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, announced plans for all children and young people to return to full-time education at the start of the autumn term in Parliament. New guidance was issued to schools for September.

The plans include:

  • The assumption that all children will return to school fulltime
  • Attendance at school in September will be compulsory and parents who do not send their children back to school in September will face fines. 
  • Robust hand and respiratory hygiene
  • Enhanced cleaning arrangements
  • Grouping children together
  • Avoiding contact between groups
  • Arranging classrooms with forward facing desks if possible
  • Staff maintaining distance from pupils and other staff as much as possible
  • Maintaining distinct groups or ‘bubbles’ that do not mix
  • Older children should be encouraged to keep their distance within groups
  • Schools may keep children in their class groups for the majority of the classroom time, but also allow mixing into wider groups for specialist teaching and wraparound care if possible
  • All teachers and other staff can operate across different classes and year groups in order to facilitate the delivery of the school timetable
  • Avoid close face to face contact
  • For children old enough, they should also be supported to maintain distance and not touch staff and their peers where possible. This will not be possible for the youngest children and some children with complex needs
  • Schools should make small adaptations to the classroom to support distancing where possible. That should include seating pupils side by side and facing forwards, rather than face to face or side on
  • Groups should be kept apart, meaning that schools should avoid large gatherings such as assemblies 
  • Movement around the school site kept to a minimum.
  • Schools should avoid creating busy entrances and exits
  • Schools should also consider staggered break times and lunch times
  • Schools should consider staggered starts or adjusting start and finish times to keep groups apart as they arrive and leave school
  • Schools should maintain the adopted process that has been agreed for drop off and collection,(no parents on the school site) including that gathering at the school gates and otherwise coming onto the site without an appointment is not allowed.
  • Supply teachers, peripatetic teachers and/or other temporary staff can move between schools.
  • For individual and very frequently used equipment, such as pencils and pens, it is recommended that staff and pupils have their own items that are not shared.
  • Classroom based resources, such as books and games, can be used and shared within the bubble
  • Resources that are shared between classes or bubbles, such as sports, art and science equipment should be cleaned frequently and meticulously and always between bubbles, or rotated to allow them to be left unused and out of reach for a period of 48 hours (72 hours for plastics) between use by different bubbles.
  • It is still recommended that pupils limit the amount of equipment they bring into school each day, to essentials such as lunch boxes, hats, coats, books, stationery and mobile phones. Bags are allowed.
  • Pupils and teachers can take books and other shared resources home
  • Parents and staff should engage with the NHS Test and Trace process
  • School kitchens will be fully open from the start of the autumn term and normal legal requirements will apply about provision of food to all pupils who want it, including for those eligible for benefits-related free school meals or universal infant free school meals.
  • It will not be necessary for schools to make significant adaptations to their site to enable them to welcome all children back to school.
  • In the autumn term, schools can resume educational visits.
  • There will be no overnight educational visits in the Autumn term
  • The curriculum remains broad and ambitious: all pupils continue to be taught a wide range of subjects but make use of existing flexibilities to create time to cover the most important missed content. Schools may consider how all subjects can contribute to the filling of gaps in core knowledge, for example through an emphasis on reading
  • Substantial modification to the curriculum may be needed at the start of the year, so teaching time should be prioritised to address significant gaps in pupils’ knowledge with the aim of returning to the school’s normal curriculum content by no later than summer term 2021.
  • Relationships and health education (RHE) for primary aged pupil schools and relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) for secondary aged pupils becomes compulsory from September 2020, and schools are expected to start teaching by at least the start of the summer term 2021.
  • For pupils in key stages 1 and 2, school leaders are expected to prioritise identifying gaps and re-establish good progress in the essentials (phonics and reading, increasing vocabulary, writing and mathematics), identifying opportunities across the curriculum so they read widely, and developing their knowledge and vocabulary. The curriculum should remain broad, so that the majority of pupils are taught a full range of subjects over the year, including sciences, humanities, the arts, PE/sport, RE and RHE.
  • For PE, outdoor sports should be prioritised where possible, and large indoor spaces used where it is not
  • Schools should consider the provision of pastoral and extra-curricular activities to all pupils designed to: support the rebuilding of friendships and social engagement address and equip pupils to respond to issues linked to coronavirus (COVID-19) support pupils with approaches to improving their physical and mental wellbeing
  • Routine Ofsted inspections will remain suspended for the autumn term.
  • The early years foundation stage profile, and all existing statutory key stage 1 and 2 assessments, should return in 2020 to 2021 as normal in accordance with their usual timetables. This includes: the phonics screening check in Y1 key stage 1 tests and teacher assessment in Y2 the Year 4 multiplication tables check key stage 2 tests and teacher assessment for Y6
  • Reception baseline assessment has been postponed until September 2021

We are not sure at this point what this may means in practice for breakfast club or after school provision. We await further guidance on all of the extra matters and some of the practicalities. Of course we have all seen how fast things change (as in Leicester)  and although we will be planning for September along these guidelines and working out what this will look like at Holly Park – things could all change and final confirmation will be given by the government in August based on scientific advice. Unions also, I am sure will be having conversations with the government, not in an obstructive way but to seek clarity on some of the points in order to protect children and staff as much as possible. I feel that for now we can assume that children will all be back in September and I will of course keep you informed with more information as it becomes available.

PHSE Activities

PHSE stands for Personal, Health and Social Education. Recently several of the Holly Park staff have taken part in  Barnet led Zoom courses which have talked about preparation for return and also how important PHSE will be when we do return to school to get pupils back into then learning zone emotionally in order to be ready to learn. In fact this is an area the government have also highlighted when children return. The courses were excellent and made us think more about the importance of a rounded Holly Park child who thinks, feels, has opinions and considers the people and the world around them. The courses really got us thinking and since then we have been trying hard to try and get children more school ready after such a long time away.  We have looked at certain values we have chosen as important at this time, we have done values assemblies each week on the website and then an activity to follow it. We have increased the PHSE we have asked children to do. We have revisited our Holly Park learning skills and have looked at one each week with an assembly and activity. We have really thought about The Rights of the Child and how they link to our lives and that of others. We have followed Picture News which highlights current affairs on a national and global level and are quite thought provoking. Recent PHSE activities have looked at Black Lives Matter, Co-operation, Diversity, Acceptance, The Right to Belong, kindness, teamwork, statues, emotions, routine etc. All of these topics are highly important and great for provoking family discussion and really developing vocabulary with your children at home and exploring their thoughts on these matters. They help children to discover their own ideas and their place in the world and to be confident individuals with their own opinions. Thank you to all of the parents and children who have engaged and responded well to these activities and sent work in – the response has been very positive with a good take up and engagement. The activities are designed to be thought provoking and reflective and for children to start to get a perspective of themselves, who they are and how they fit into their families, their school and the wider community beyond.  It has actually really highlighted to me that this is what Holly Park is all about – so much more than just the academic.

Past newsletters really reflect what we have been doing over the last half term since we went on the courses and they showcase what we have tried to do for our children on top of the National Curriculum to support them to be in an emotionally ready place for learning when they return to school.  From September, PHSE will feature highly in our school improvement plan and will have prominence in all that we do – in September and beyond.  Personal Development is something we do very well at Holly Park – in fact it was outstanding in our last Ofsted and PHSE plays a large part in that.  There is also a new PHSE primary curriculum for September 2021. Mrs Mehtar is our PHSE lead and we will hear more from her next academic year about the new curriculum. This will also fit well with our path to being a Gold Rights Respecting School and to our work on behaviour management, resilience and zones of regulation.  I think we can feel proud of the PHSE work we have done in the past term. The children who have engaged in it fully will have benefitted hugely.

Virtual Sports Day – Friday 10th July

As we won’t be able to have a sports day this year, we have decided to hold a virtual sports day. We will send you a letter with a description of the events (perhaps accompanied by a photo or short video). There will be eight events. We would like children to wear sportswear in their house colours and to have a go at doing the events either in your garden or in a nearby park. Children will score a point for their house if you send a picture in for each event they do. Therefore – IF they send in a picture of them doing all eight events then they will get 8 house points for their house. Children in school that day will be able to do the events in school. There may be extra house points on offer for creativity – especially for photos of parents doing an event!   

Collecting PE Kits and Books

We realise that many parent would like their child’s PE kits back to wash and to see if they still fit. We also need to send home the exercise books that we have for this academic year. We need to send them home in the safest way possible. We are therefore asking you to come and collect on Wednesday 15th July.  This is a quiet day in school as only the HUB children are in school.  Class teachers will come to school at 9am and put out the books in piles and the PE kits on the floor. Each year group will then be given a time slot throughout the day to come and collect the kits and books.  For Health and Safety reasons we can ONLY offer this day. We cannot keep PE kit and books or put them aside if you have already left for holiday etc If you cannot attend on this day because you are working or are on holiday, then please make arrangements for a friend, relative or neighbour to collect. Only one person may enter the school grounds to collect.

All books and PE kits that are not collected on this day will need to be disposed of so that the school can be thoroughly cleaned over the holiday. They will be disposed of at the end of the day on 15th JULY. Please do come and collect. Times for each year group will be given nearer the time.

Book Amnesty

On 15th July when you come to collect books and PE kits we will also have a box in the playground and would ask you to bring back any Holly Park books that you have at home. Most children will have a book from school in their book bag – either a KS1 book corner book or a KS2 reading challenge book. Please bring these back on 15th July so that we can put everything back ready for September.

Staff Gifts

Apparently there has been some discussion on year group WhatsApp chats about gifts for staff at the end of term. A couple of parents have also emailed me to suggest that we put a box in the playground on 15th July for anybody who would like to give a gift or card to staff. We will do that. There will be a box in the playground if you wish to do that.

Emma Harrison

I am writing to let you know that Miss Harrison will be leaving us at the end of this term and will be taking up a post as a class teacher at an international school in Madrid in September.  Miss Harrison has been with us for two years and two terms. A chance to move and teach abroad is a very exciting opportunity for her and we wish her good luck in her new position. I am sure that several staff will go out and visit in the future!

Statues

Statues and monuments can mean different things to different people. As time moves on, society changes and so it is important for us all to reflect on what we value and choose to celebrate collectively. A statue is put up to tell stories, to honour a person or an event, to preserve a memory, to celebrate someone’s achievements, for decoration. Many statues of people, placed in public areas, have been selected because they have accomplished something in their city, country or even the world. We may not always agree with who deserves to have a statue to celebrate their achievements. This is because we do not always share the same values, as we are all different. Following protests campaigning for Black Lives Matter, demonstrators in Bristol pulled down a statue of a former slave trader, Edward Colston and threw it into the harbour. It is likely that the statue will now be placed in a museum. Many other famous statues have been in question in other parts of the UK, with issues regarding what they represent and if they should be given such prominent positions in towns and cities. The task was to design and draw a statue of someone the children believe deserves to have a statue of them made. This could be someone they know or someone famous or an animal.

Learning Skill – Creativity

Creativity is about the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness. Being creative is great fun. There are so many ways we can be creative.  It is great to just be creative when you can do your own thing with no instructions – just what you want and how you want to express yourself. We asked the children to do something creative – anything. We gave them some ideas as prompts if they wanted them.

Value – Kindness

Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. Kindness means that you treat everyone the best that you can. No matter who they are or how you feel about them you treat them with fairness and respect. We might think of nice things to do and say all day but when we act, that is kindness. It is good to do random acts of kindness especially in these times of lockdown. We asked the children to do six acts of kindness and record them on a kindness tree. There were so many, here are just some of them. The children commented on lots of kind things including: I helped my mum fold clothes, I smiled at my friend, I told my mum and dad I loved them, I helped mum & dad with the washing up, I called a friend, I made my bed, I gave my mum space to work.

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A welcome letter from the headteacher: Introduction letter – September 2019