"________ _________________ ____ _____"
WEEK 11 - Friday 27 November 2020
As you will know we continue to make minor adjustments to our collection procedures. Thank you for taking this new guidance on staggered collection on board so quickly and it has already made a big difference to the congestion on site. Please remember that if you have a child in Year 1 or 2 and wish to collect from the classroom, you can enter via the Penshurst entrance and collect them from inside. Please let us know if you intend to change the entrance that you use so that we can have your children in the right place.
My concern is as always that we keep all members of our community as safe as possible and so I would ask again that you keep your children by your side as you enter and exit to avoid them crossing over with other year groups. We are so vigilant during the day to avoid bubbles mixing and just need to make sure that this follows through on the way in and out of school. Please do not think staff are rude if they remind you of the rules about social distancing while on site as they are merely ensuring the safety of all.
Keeping the bubbles apart in school is a full time job and we use every inch of the site to do so. Some bubbles (particularly Year 2 and 6) use the field and grassed areas at break. This can of course get quite muddy so please feel free to bring in spare shoes or wellies for them to change into if you want to avoid the dipped in mud look! We will assess this situation as the weeks go on and move to the playgrounds if required. Having witnessed Year 6 football (which appears to mainly consist of rolling around on the floor) they may wish to wear tracksuit bottoms over their school trousers as well.
It was lovely to see the children dressed in their civvies for Children In Need Day and we have raised a fair amount of money (we will let you know the exact amount when we bank it!) It is so nice to have these normal activities happening at this time and I very much look forward to Christmas jumper day on Friday 11 December. Remember if you don't have a Christmas jumper, you can wear a brightly coloured top or just a bit of tinsel. The Christmas trees went up in the halls this week and it is starting to feel very jolly indeed.
From Monday until 11 December we will have boxes on the playground and by classroom doors for children to drop Christmas cards in for children in their year group should they wish. These will then be quarantined and handed out in the last week.
Thank you for all of the donations that you have made to the food bank. It really will help some families this Christmas and your generosity has been overwhelming. The trolleys will remain out for another 2 weeks for collections.
Christmas arrangements summary:
Friday 11 December Christmas Jumper day (donation for food bank)
Friday 11 December deadline for Christmas cards to be quarantined
Friday 11 December deadline for photos of Christmas cakes etc to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday 16 December Christmas dinner in school
Friday 18 December online pantomime in school as a Christmas present from all the staff
Friday 18 December break up for Christmas holiday at 1.45 - 2.00pm
Have a lovely weekend.
WEEK 10 - Friday 20 November 2020
This week has been all about bringing back some more elements of normality to our school day (in a COVID secure way of course). Pablo's shop has made an appearance in classrooms so that children can see what they are saving their penguin pounds up for. It is really important that especially our youngest pupils can see what excellent behaviour and hard work brings about.
We have all been busy thinking of ideas to make Christmas week extra special this year and we already have online pantomimes booked and craft activities planned. The children will also be judging the staff Christmas cake competition and voting for their favourite. Unfortunately this will be on appearance alone as the cakes will not actually make it into school this year! Christmas jumper day is on December 11th and instead of a donation of money, we would appreciate an item for the food bank. We also plan to have a year group Christmas Bake off competition which you will be able to take part in at home should you wish to. The Christmas treats could be cookies, sweets, cakes, buns or anything else you feel like creating. Photos should be sent to email@example.com by December 11th and the entries will be judged by our Year 6 House Captains. Winners will receive a selection box and of course the title of "Star Baker".
Thank you for your continued support in keeping us safe on site by emailing or telephoning in messages for staff. If you have had to isolate during the last few weeks due to your own family situation or track and trace, work will have been provided on Google Classroom for your child. This work will match the classroom work as much as possible. As teachers are still in class teaching, work will be set including set resources and online links but will not include live lessons at this stage. You should email or phone the office if you are having any difficulty accessing any of the resources. It would be really helpful if your child could complete the work posted so that they do not fall behind the rest of the class. We appreciate that sometimes children have to share technology and that lessons may be completed at different times. We also appreciate that work may not be completed if your child were to fall ill.
If anyone in your household is taking a test, you must isolate and let us know straight away.
Please socially distance on site particularly when collecting from Y1, 2 and EYFS classrooms.
Of course this was also the week that we had to send a year 6 bubble home and we are all really sad to see this happen. When a whole year group is isolating, our blended home learning policy comes into effect where children will access a range of live and recorded teaching sessions plus online links and set work. We expect all children to participate in these lessons.
I hope you have a lovely weekend-see you all bright and early on Monday morning.
WEEK 9 - Friday 13 November 2020
Another week closer to Christmas!
I saw my first Christmas Tree on the streets of Hessle this morning and the children have begun to discuss Christmas in their morning circles. Penshurst has already started to practice for our Christmas activities which although very different this year will still be a big celebration in year group bubbles. We hope to be able to share snippets with you all via Google Classroom so you can share in our celebrations. Please ensure you have completed the Google form giving permission for your child to be involved in the filming.
I would like to extend mine and my staffs thanks once again for your help when on site. The one way system is still working really well and I thank you for not approaching staff unless absolutely necessary. My staff would like me to say thank you to all of you who are wearing a mask on site as it really does show your support for the school and for everyone's safety.
I would now like to take you on the tour of the school that I took on Tuesday afternoon as it truly was a wonderful afternoon of thematic learning at its best....
First stop FS1 where the children were busy acting out the 3 Little Pigs fairytale. A group of children were absorbed in building the houses out of different materials and using a fan to see which building would collapse. Early scientists and architects in the making!
Into FS2 and there were squeals of excitement as the children examined the beans that they are growing which are just beginning to show. This activity was accompanied by many retellings of Jack and the Beanstalk and there is even a giant pair of legs hanging from the ceiling.
Along the corridor to watch Year 1 pupils making their very own fossils from salt dough and clay. It was certainly messy but the children had an amazing understanding of how fossils are formed and were very knowledgeable about Mary Anning and the work she did. One child very kindly offered to help me understand how fossils are made if I was a little unsure!
The smell of biscuits was very strong as I entered Year 2 territory to find the pupils completely immersed in building replicas of Stonehenge out of said biscuits. Fortunately the children were very well behaved and very few biscuits disappeared into mouths before the replicas were completed. The children could tell me how old the site was and kindly told me that this was even before I was born.
A slightly more pungent smell was evident as I made my way into Year 3 where I found Mr Oni and Mr Thorpe dissecting fish and Octopus to teach the pupils the difference between invertebrates and vertebrates. It was certainly a very smelly lesson accompanied by holding of noses and humorous groans; however each child could tell me all about skeletal systems by the end of the lesson so job done teachers!
It seems that the smelly aspect of the tour was to continue as Year 4 were delving into the topic of tooth decay and investigating this using different liquids and eggs to see which would cause decay quicker. I am looking forward to returning to Year 4 to find out the result of their investigations and I have been put off drinking Pepsi for life.
Year 5 were also scientists and were studying air resistance by creating paper versions of a sycamore seed to see how surface area affects air resistance. The children were extremely adept at explaining the investigation and I was really impressed with their scientific vocabulary and understanding of what constitutes a fair test.
Finally a stop in Year 6. A taste sensation was taking place in these classrooms as the children sampled food that was available during WW2. Mrs Hatfield had been busy cooking up a storm at home and the children were able to taste 6 different dishes that would have been popular. Harriet informed me that,' actually some of it wasn't too bad but the carrot jam was absolutely disgusting!' Apparently vinegar cake is bearable but sweet potato chocolate spread is nowhere as good as Nutella.
I hope that has given you a taste of an afternoon at Penshurst and the variety of activities that take place just in one afternoon.
Have a very happy, safe weekend. I know it's a rainy one but on your daily exercise don the wellies and jump in a few puddles - it's good for the soul!
WEEK 8 - Friday 6 November 2020
As Headteacher of The Hessle Academy, my role is to lead the day-to-day running, and the strategic direction, of Hessle High School and Sixth Form College and Penshurst Primary School. I am supported by a Senior Leadership Team which includes a Head of School at Penshurst Primary School. Ultimately, we are accountable to our local community and to you, as parents.
The role of School Governors is crucial in this regard and we are held to account by them throughout the year via five Local Governor Board (LGB) meetings. At these meetings, they scrutinise our activities, ask questions of us and bring their own reflections and experiences, often developed in different sectors.
Currently, we have a vacancy for a Parent Governor at both of our local governing boards: Penshurst Primary School and Hessle High School. We are looking for parents who:
- can commit to attending five meetings a year
- can read and digest reports prior to these meetings
- have a keen eye for detail
- will be ready to challenge the school's Leadership Team
- are enthusiastic about making a difference to the lives of our young people
If this sounds like something that would interest you, please contact Gilly Stafford, Clerk, on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
What a lovely first week back it has been. The children have been exceptionally well behaved and engaged in their learning and there is a real buzz in school with so many exciting activities happening in the classroom. Year 4 had a particularly good start to the term in their Egyptian outfits and I'm sure will really enjoy this topic. Year 6 also enjoyed their theme hook watching the film 'Dunkirk'.
We do have some children isolating at the moment and if this is a situation you find yourself in this half term, you will find online learning available on Google Classroom. Teachers will put work on the platform as soon as possible after they have been informed of a child's isolation.
Towards the end of half term, we were kindly donated some bags from Morrisons for families in need who are eligible for free school meals. These have now made their way to school and we will be distributing these over this week. The arrival of the bags prompted many of the staff to suggest that we collect food/treats over the next half term so that we can make up our own bags for the Christmas period which we will distribute to families on free school meals or those who may need an extra hand over the Christmas break. This is a very real issue at the moment and we would like to do all we can to help. To this end, we will be placing containers at the Winthorpe and Penshurst gates from Monday 9 November for any donations. The donations will be quarantined every weekend, disinfected and stored until Christmas week. Donations need to be non perishable and have a best before date after December. Suggestions for the bags: rice, pasta, tins, cereal, jam, long life products and maybe even some festive treats. We are hoping we will be able to make up about 150 bags over the next 7 weeks and any donations would be welcomed, due to the current rules around not bringing objects into school, we do ask that any donations go into the containers at the gates and not to individual staff /classrooms.
Thank you so much for wearing masks when on site - it is much appreciated that you are supporting us to do everything to keep the school open and I know that the staff are really grateful for your efforts . Hopefully the staggered starts, social distancing and masks will go some way towards keeping us all safe.
Just a reminder that you should now only have your own household picking up your child or the household that are your childcare bubble.
Have a safe weekend and see you all on Monday.
Head of School
WEEK 7 - Friday 23 October 2020
At the end of a half-term that has felt like an entire school year, I would like to take the opportunity to celebrate the achievements that the entire Penshurst community have shown since we returned in early September.
Firstly, Penshurst has stayed open for all pupils. I know that, through absolutely no fault of their own, many schools have sadly been forced to ask pupils to stay home and we are never complacent about our own chances of staying open all year but we are still delighted that we have kept learning going for the past seven weeks. This has taken a huge toll on the staff who are exhausted. When asked what their plans are for the next week, they generally say, “nothing. Sleeping.” They have earned their rest and will come back, refreshed, to do it all over again in ten days time.
Which brings me to the pupils. Sadly, I have not been able to visit Penshurst as much this half term in order to keep staffing bubbles intact. However, Mrs Spencer has kept me fully informed about the way in which the pupils have responded to the changes to our school. They have shown such resilience and maturity beyond their years and we are incredibly proud of them.
At these times, it is more important than ever that we keep our communication channels open and that you are able to receive messages from us at all times. Our use of instant messaging and email is invaluable. Please always remember to update us if you change your telephone number or email address. Please also remind friends who also have children at our school to do the same. Remember that, if you use the Parent App to receive messages, then you must switch on your notifications to receive our communications.
Finally, when we send you a message, you will not be able to reply to it. If you wish to contact the school, please always use the email@example.com address.
I am incredibly proud that we have been able to provide unbroken education for your child these past seven weeks. I thank you for your support and hope that you and your family enjoy a lovely half term together.
Take care and stay safe
I hope you are enjoying the beginning of your half term and that the children are taking a well-deserved break. Teachers have been busy in school today working on our development plan for the year and organising our curriculum priorities for each year group. It has been a pleasure to see all of the children back in school learning about their year group themes and enjoying being back with their friends. I have watched lessons on the Hull Trawlers, famous illustrators, Barnum, diversity, land use, couture fashion, consumer choice, Peter Rabbit, people who help us and civil rights to name just a few and it has been fascinating to watch our children debate first world problems, extend their knowledge and learn new skills.
We have reached the halfway point of this term unscathed and I thank you all for your help in keeping our school safe. Fortunately, the weather has also been on our side over the last few weeks and we've not encountered the normal 'Hull Fair' bitterness; however, the rain is sure to descend upon us after half term and I would like to remind you of arrangements for collection at the end of the day. Currently, we run a 20-minute collection window from 3-3.20 and over the past 7 weeks this has become a much quicker process with nearly all children picked up by 3.10. Therefore, after half term we will narrow the collection window from 3.00-3.15 to shorten the time children are outside. We reserve the right to lengthen the stagger if the site is too busy. Please remember that if you have children in Year 1 and 2 and want to pick them up from their classroom, you must use the Penshurst Avenue entrance.
A couple of housekeeping bits... There has been a slight increase to school lunch prices of 15p which will make meals £2.25 per day after half term. Children should still bring as little as possible into school as we are so limited in space in the classrooms due to the way we have to position tables and chairs at the moment. Children should bring their PE kit on a Monday and take it home on a Friday and should bring a water bottle every day (bottles should only contain water).
Thank you for your cooperation regarding Parents Evening appointments which appear to have run very smoothly. Teachers have commented on how easy the system was and how lovely it was to talk to every parent about how their child has settled back into school. Many of you have started to ask about Christmas arrangements and all I can say at the moment is that we are working on how we can still do all of our lovely Christmas activities safely. It may be that we will be recording productions and asking for permission for your child to take part so we can share these special moments with you. Rest assured that Christmas will certainly happen at Penshurst! The good news is that PHE have now said it is safe for children in Early Years and KS1 to sing again as long as they are following social distancing rules and facing forwards. Singing is so important for young children so this is much welcomed at Penshurst and means we can sing all of our phonics and times table songs again! Some of you also asked about SAT's and at the moment we have been told that Y2/6 SATs and Y1/2 phonics screening will go ahead as normal beginning with Year 2 phonics in November as they missed the June screening. We will of course let you know if we receive revised guidance.
All that remains for me to say is, have a lovely half term and I look forward to seeing you all again in a week's time.
Head of School
WEEK 6 - Friday 16 October 2020
Well it's Friday and once again I have no idea where the week has gone! I have been fortunate to watch many super lessons this week and have especially enjoyed watching Year 1 learn their sounds in their Read Write Inc. lessons. It is amazing to see how far the children have already come in their reading in just six weeks.
It has also been a pleasure to talk to the children about their lead texts in their theme lessons. The children were so incredibly knowledgeable about their novels and were obviously hooked by the stories. In Year 6, the text 'Wild Boy' seems to have been particularly engaging and I have enjoyed talking about the writer's intent and vision with the children.
When talking to the Y2 children, I'm afraid we didn't do much delving into their learning as the main topic of conversation appears to be missing teeth at the moment! I was reliably informed that, 'its ok to lose your teeth once as they will grow back .If you lose them again the tooth fairy will be cross as she is busy and you will just have to do without teeth for ever and ever and ever.'
Transitions in and out of school are still smooth despite the downturn in the weather and we hope that we will not have to make too many amendments to collection arrangements. Please remember if you have a child in Years 1 or 2, you may wish to swap to the Penshurst entrance to pick them up as you can therefore collect them from their classrooms instead of the KS1 playground which avoids the youngest children standing out in the wet weather.
On this note, please can I ask you to be vigilant when parking near the school. At the Penshurst Avenue entrance there should be no parking in front of the school gates or on the zig zags on the road. I have received a number of complaints from parents and residents regarding the parking on Penshurst Avenue and I am concerned that I have seen some very dangerous parking on corners and pavements. While I appreciate that many of you need to get to work, it would be fantastic if more of you could park away from school and walk to the gates or indeed if you live in the surrounding streets, to walk to school. I know many parents have informed the council and PCSOs of the problem and ticketing did begin on the Winthorpe Road side of school last week. Thank you to those who are helping by not parking in the bays near school at the Winthorpe entrance; this has made this side of school a lot safer for the children coming in and out of school.
On the KS1 playground we have made a minor adjustment in moving the year groups around so that the older year groups are now nearer the gates as many walk home on their own. Just keep an eye out when you collect as you may need to wait in a different area of the playground.
The colder weather has seen the return of gloves and scarves; you may wish to consider the old fashioned approach of putting the gloves on elastic to avoid them going missing. I'm pretty sure children eat gloves at this school as we seem to be constantly searching for lost woollen items!
Have a lovely weekend
Head of School
WEEK 5 - Friday 9 October 2020
Next week marks the beginning of our Parent Evening appointments which last over the last two weeks of half term. Similarly to our normal Parent Evenings, appointments will be limited to five minutes and are intended to be a quick catch up on how your child is doing in school and any areas of concern or celebrations that either teacher or parent would like to discuss. If there are issues that need further discussion, the teacher will book you in for another phone call.
Please bear with us regarding swapping home reading books as we are limited to how many we have in school. We are having to isolate books each week before giving them back out again - that's 500 reading books in isolation each week! If you find yourself without a home reading book for a day, please use Reading Eggs to access a book or in turn, read recipes, newspapers, magazines etc. Any reading is beneficial.
'Pupil of the Week' certificates will be coming home from now on as they are laminated, quarantined and disinfected. We are still trying to use online forums for all of our communication and it will be very rare when any paper makes its way home.
Behaviour in school has been very good on the whole and children have settled in well. We are just having to remind a couple of year groups about the importance of walking safely back and forth to the dining hall. We will practise this with these year groups to ensure all procedures are being followed correctly.
As the weather turns, please ensure your child brings a coat every day and that they have an outdoor PE kit with them. We will try to take the children outside for PE as much as possible. With movement in class being limited at the moment, due to forward facing desks and limited sharing, it is really essential that the children get as much time as possible outside at lunch and break to run around.
I would like to finish by saying how very proud I am of the children who, in these challenging and different times, have adjusted so well. As I walk the corridors, I see engaged and happy children, learning and laughing. They are a credit to this school and yourselves. Now that the controversial jacket potato has made a return, the only thing missing is the singing. Let's hope that also makes a triumphant return very soon!
Have a lovely weekend
Head of School