We said goodbye to our amazing Year 6 children this week. The Year 6 team compiled this video to celebrate their time at Cragside.
I was asked to write a letter to go in the year book:
Dear Year 6,
I am picturing each and every one of you as I write this. I am so sorry that I did not get to share all of your Year 6 experience with you. However, even though I was not able to be at school, the Cragside staff team kept me updated on your achievements and your progress. You have all accomplished so much during your time at Cragside Primary School and the exciting thing is that this is only the beginning! Life will continue to be full of opportunities and adventures and new people and new places. Embrace life and all it offers up to you. Remember all we have taught you – not just the English, the maths and the science but the singing, the acting, the dancing , the laughing with friends and the warmth of our school family.When times get tough (and all lives get tough every now and then , as we’ve seen this year) remember to talk to someone, ask for help, listen to advice. It’s true that talking through a worry can half it. Remember, above all, that you are unique, you are precious, and you have the power to have a huge impact on our world. Leave us with confidence. Leave us with hope. Leave us knowing that you are loved. I am proud of who you are.
Here we are, nearly at the end of what has been a very unusual academic year.
It has been an extremely challenging year for all of us. We have had to adjust to living in a pandemic, something none of us have experienced before.
However, despite the stress of this year I have tried at all times to look for the silver linings. Let me explain.
When I was diagnosed with cancer in November I quickly realised that many things were out of my control – at that point I wasn’t sure of the ‘stage’ of my cancer or what treatment I would need. However, on the day that I was diagnosed I also realised that I could control what areas of life I focussed on. I decided that wherever possible I would focus on the ‘silver linings’. I can’t pretend that this was always possible – there were some very tough days – but it helped both myself and my family to remember to look for the silver linings whenever the dark clouds appeared to be gathering.
Covid-19 has left many of us shell shocked and unsettled and having to live life in a way that doesn’t suit us. It is right to acknowledge the things that have made life stressful – schools being closed to the majority of their children, not being able to see family members or friends, not being able to go to work, losing work, losing money…..the list goes on and is different for each and every one of us. These have been and continue to be very tough times.
However, there have been some silver linings. Communities have followed the guidelines and in doing so have kept each other safe. We have all been reminded of how lovely it is to hug someone. We know how good it can be to meet a friend in a park for a walk. We have been reminded to treasure people.
Today is the last day that children are at Cragside this year. Tomorrow staff will be in school preparing for the return of all of our children in September. When we return in September we will make sure that we support our children and their families in whatever ways we are able to. We know that some families have been through some very difficult times and we are here to help.
We will also be building on the silver linings – we want to make our community stronger than ever and more connected than ever. We have our own ideas but please let me know if you have thoughts about how we may do this.
Thank you for the support you have given me and the rest of the staff team during this year. It has been invaluable.
We know that families may be feeling a little nervous about September.
Please remember that Cragside staff are an experienced and enthusiastic team who are excited at the thought of having all of our children back at school.We will work hard to make sure that every child (and their family) feels safe and happy.
Our school may look a little different in September but it will feel just the same as always.
You will remember that we sent a letter out last week updating families re September.
The government guidelines have now been issued and it looks like the plan for September is a variation on Plan B.
We have sent the following letter to all families:
We are writing with a further update re September.
What will the school week look like in September?
We expect that in September our school week will roughly resemble a ‘normal’ week.
There will be some differences including: staggered drop off and pick up times; staggered playtimes; staggered lunchtimes; staggered pick-ups. There will be hygiene regimes in place to keep everyone as safe as possible. This will include washing hands before entering the school building and washing hands frequently during the day.
Will school be open on Friday afternoons?
Yes. The government guidelines allow some movement of adults between bubbles and so we have been able to cater for teachers’ PPA (planning, preparation and assessment time) within the school week.
What about P.E.?
We want to ensure that children can access two P.E. lessons a week whenever possible. In order for this to be safe, many of these lessons will take place outside. This means that we would like children to bring tracksuit bottoms or jogging bottoms to school as part of their P.E. kit.
Will Cosmic run in September?
Cosmic will be able to run in September. However, government guidelines mean that we will have to limit the numbers in order to keep both children and staff safe. It is likely that we will only be able to cater for two groups of 15 children. We are seeking further guidance from the Local Authority and will be able to share our plans with you before the end of term.
During the first week in school all school meals will be packed lunches. From the second week onwards hot meals will be available too. The menu is not changing. The local authority is increasing the cost of a meal by 20 pence. The new cost is £2.20 per meal. Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 will continue to get a school meal for free.
What about specialist music lessons?
Peripatetic lessons – both 1:1 and small group – can still take place. We will update you in September once the music service has issued their guidance.
Will there be lunchtime clubs and after school clubs?
Unfortunately, we will not be able to run the usual wide range of after school clubs during the Autumn term. We are looking carefully at what provision we are able to make and will update you in September.
What about assemblies and plays in the Autumn term?
We love getting together as a whole school every week but we will not be able to do this for a while yet. At present the government guidelines state that large whole school gatherings are not permitted and so assemblies and plays cannot take place until this guidance changes.
What will classrooms look like?
The government recommends that in Years 1 – 6 tables will be in rows facing the front. Reception will be different, there will be opportunities for a play-based approach to learning. Teachers will post videos of their classrooms on their class blogs at the end of term so that children can see what their new classroom will look like.
How will school contact families following the government announcement in August?
School leaders will make sure that all families are contacted by email. Keep an eye on your inbox.
We know that there are still elements of uncertainty in our plans for September. We know that this may be frustrating for some families. Please be reassured that we are working with the local authority, local schools and our governors to ensure that all of our children can return to Cragside in September in the way that is safest for all. We thank you for your patience whilst we sort out the details.
Today is my first official day back at school since October 2019. I have been working full-time at home for many weeks now but I was unable to come onto the school site as I had to ‘shield’. My consultant has now said that it is safe for me to work at school. I cannot wait!
Thank you for all you have done to support me during my absence – it has made a huge difference to both me and my family.