Letter from the Headteacher 16th October 2020
16th October 2020
As we rapidly approach the end of our first half term, I want to say a huge thank you to you all for your support. Starting as a Headteacher of a new school in the middle of a pandemic was always going to be challenging. However, I have been made feel hugely welcome by staff, children and the community and have really enjoyed my first half-term - despite the Covid challenges!
I have loved watching the children in the morning skip happily into school with big smiles on their face. Watching them re-establish friendships after being away from school for so long and seeing them in lessons, so eager to learn, has been very special. School is different but the children have responded really well to the changes.
As we move into the winter, we know it is likely we may have to send home bubbles if we have confirmed cases in school. If we do have to send children home, we are hoping that as many families as possible can access remote learning and we have a plan in place, ready to go, in the event of closure. We are asking that, if you haven’t already, you ensure you and your child are able to access Google Classroom. Please do share with your child’s teacher if your child hasn’t got access to the right technology. We may be able to support you, if school needs to close.
With new restrictions in place, we are asking for your continued support at the school gates. Please wear a mask when you are dropping off and collecting your child and do not gather outside the gates. Please wait on the other side of road if you are early. As restrictions become tighter, and cases of the Coronavirus increase in the community, we now have to insist that children use the correct gates in the morning and afternoon. Children must go to their correct year group gate. We understand that having to go to different gates in the morning is difficult and takes time. However, gates remain open from 8.45am – 9.00am to give you sufficient time to drop children off. We understand that there may be a small number of parents where this causes them particular difficulty, for example where they have disability, are heavily pregnant or have a child with specific needs. Please let us know if this is the case so that we can make arrangements to support you.
Friends of the Winns
I met with Clare Sydenham recently who told me about all the great work that Friends of the Winns have done to support the school over the years. Although we know that we are not able to plan for events in school, we are hoping we can continue to find ways to continue the great work. Clare is organising a zoom meeting next Wednesday at 8.00pm – I am going to be joining the meeting and it would be great to see you there! See Friends of the Winns newsletter that was emailed out this week for a link.
Free School Meals
Some of you will know that schools receive additional funding for children who are entitled to free school meals. That funding is used for a number of different things, including extra tuition for children, subsidised music lessons and trips. Families who were entitled to free school meals also received a weekly £15 supermarket voucher for each child when school was closed. We are asking that if you haven’t applied and think you might be entitled, that you do so immediately. The process is incredibly simple and only takes minutes. We can help you to do it in school if you contact us or you can go on the Waltham Forest website and complete the application there. You will be told straight away if you qualify. We are particularly asking families of children in Nursery, Reception, Y1 and Y2 to apply. This money makes a huge difference to what we can do in school, and in this current climate, every penny counts! Please do apply – it only takes minutes.
Your child will be entitled to free school meals if you or your partner get one of the following:
Income-based Job Seeker's Allowance
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
The Guarantee Credit element of State Pension Credit
Support from the National Asylum Support Service (NASS)
Support from the Local Authority Social Services Asylum Team (SSAT)
Child Tax Credit, provided that you are not entitled to Working Tax Credit (but see below), and your annual income (as assessed by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) is £16,190 or less
Working Tax Credit for four weeks after your employment finishes
See link below
Couple of reminders…
Parent’s evening is next week – teachers are looking forward to meeting you via Zoom . If you can’t access Zoom, teachers will call you. Please use your child’s year group email, if you need to get in touch.
Don’t forget to download the Marvellous Me app to your phone so we can share good news with you. Your child brought home a letter with a code. If you have lost this , let us know and we can send you another one.
Please don’t be late collecting your child. Staff are having to spend a lot of time standing at gates at the moment, often in the rain. Please be on time.
All children from Year 1, 3 and 5 should be collected promptly at 3.15pm. Please leave immediately once you have collected your child at 3.15pm.
Year 2, 4 and 6 should be collected at 3.30pm.
Reception children are collected between 3.10 pm and 3.30pm.
Statement from Cllr Clare Coghill, Leader of Waltham Forest Council
The Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced London, Essex, and Elmbridge have been placed in the Tier 2 'High' Covid risk category and new measures to contain the virus are in place. Cllr Clare Coghill, Leader of Waltham Forest Council, said: “I know that many of us have been dreading this announcement - no one likes to have restrictions put on their lives. “We have seen a rise in cases and the inevitable deaths that follow across London and in Waltham Forest in recent weeks. We all now must change our behaviour to ensure we don’t see the level of deaths we saw earlier in the year. “The changes will be in effect from Saturday 17 October and will mean that you cannot mix indoors with people from outside your household. You will still be able to meet smaller groups of friends and family of up to six in outdoor settings whilst maintaining a two-metre distance. “These changes will mean hardships for us all but we should be under no illusions: If the virus continues to spread, if we see more people being admitted into hospital, and if we see more people tragically dying greater restrictions will be put on us all. “I share residents’ concerns around the coming weeks and months, especially those with underlying health conditions. It is everyone’s responsibility to wear a mask, keep a safe distance, and ensure you do not visit other households indoors. “I am so proud with the way the Waltham Forest community reacted throughout this pandemic and followed the guidelines. I know our residents can step up to this challenge and that we will come through this together.”
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter – it is rather long so well done for sticking with it! We know the next few months are going to be very challenging – do reach out to us if you need any support. We will do our best to help in any way we can. Try to stay positive and enjoy this evening!