How to talk to children about Coronavirus

If your child is asking questions about Coronavirus and the current situation and you’re not sure how to answer them, there are some great articles and video clips from CBBC’s Newsround.
The information is reported in a way that makes it easy for them to understand what is going on in the world at the moment. Take a look at
You can also visit the Home learning resources page here for a handy guide on how to talk to children about Coronavirus.

A letter to all our lovely parents and carers….

To all our lovely parents and carers out there,

We know that these are difficult times and I am so sorry that we cannot be open for you. We have full confidence in each and every one of you that your children are in the very best place they could be right now, with their loving family.

We do realise that some of you are working from home, so you are juggling working as well as ‘home-schooling’ so we have tried to offer you a flexible approach, which can fit your family, needs and circumstances. The clear advice and guidance from the government is stay at home and if at all possible to keep your children at home.

As far as homeschooling your children goes, we could give you a time table, lots of worksheets and tell you what to do each day, we could give you printed booklets and targets and tests and ask you to mark them… but we are not going to do that. That is an unrealistic ask as every families’ situation is different.

We hope that you will see this as a time to cherish being with your children, enjoying being together, being curious, creative and imaginative. Get outdoors, enjoy the sunshine, talk, share, paint, draw, read stories, write poetry, explore nature and play games, play lots and lots of games.

The value in learning through play is vast, there is a huge research base which clearly proves that play is the fundamental basis for learning, indeed children develop language, fine and gross motor skills which leads to reading, writing and mathematical understanding, reasoning, problem-solving, risk taking, critical thinking, etc… and the list goes on… I have added a guide to ‘loose parts learning play’ on the school web site. It can offer you lots of suggestions and ideas.

If you choose to do more formal sessions then these ‘teaching’ sessions at home don’t need to be long. 1 to 1 is much more intense thank school and so you and your child only need to do short spells with lots of breaks and fun mixed in.
Establishing and keeping a routine can be helpful and make the children feel secure. Regular meals, set bedtimes, knowing what they are doing in the day can all help towards making children feel safe.
They need to value what they are doing when playing. For example playing Lego they often use these skills… imagination, fine motor skills, problem solving, creativity, sorting and finding, maths (shape), patterns and physics. Play is a child’s work!

We have full trust in you but if you need our support for ideas or resources we are available for you. The last thing we want to do is make things more stressful for you over this time.

We realise that for some of you a flexible approach is fine but for others you may want a more bespoke timetabled day of learning. I am more than happy to offer guidance, you can email me with your thoughts, ideas or even plans and I will help in any way I can.

We have given you lots of links to fantastic resources for you to access, which will meet the needs and interests of your children. You recently had a snap shot so you will know where they are with regards to their milestones in learning. Miss Budden is creating a resource that will support you in matching activities to where your child is currently working. So if you are unsure of what to choose, this will help point you in the right direction. We are putting up regular ideas on our website and PTFA Facebook and School Facebook pages. You are already sharing so many wonderful suggestions, resources, ideas and activities that you are already doing together, it is so lovely to see this so please keep posting.

Here at school we also learn through projects based on history, geography, science, art, Design and technology, etc. Our English work is based around a picture book, story or novel. If you want ideas for projects we are happy to help.

We are not expecting you to become teachers; we have no expectations on how you should provide your children with home learning. This is up to you, your circumstances, your family’s needs. Once this is all over and things begin to get back to how they used to be or how we would like them to be moving forwards, we do every thing we possibly can to ensure that your children make great progress. I personally think that they will benefit greatly from this precious given time with you and come back to school more grounded, knowledgeable, skillful and have more understanding about their place in this world and how they can cherish their planet and fellow humans.

Some of you may want to know how much time should you spend on structured learning, as a guide we would say a maximum of 2 hours a day, this includes learning through play.

We have trust in you totally and you can do this. You know your children and what is best for them, just being with them, talking, discovering, exploring, reading, and play is very valuable learning.

With all our very best wishes, stay safe.

You can do this!

Sarah and all the team

Important message for key workers about school provision during closure

As a school we are required to provide provision during normal school hours during the current closure to children of key workers who have an essential service to provide which makes it impossible for them to provide care for their children themselves as a family. The DfE advise that every child who can be safely cared for at home should be. Note we have also put links on our website and Facebook to help you identify as a key worker. Guidance on which key workers are able to access this provision requires interpretation, but broadly speaking you need to meet the following criteria.

You have children who attend a school impacted by the UK Government closure announcement and:
• you need to go to work to carry out essential duties as a key worker, or need to work from home where it’s not possible to continue working as you’ll have very young children at home.
• you have exhausted all other sustainable childcare options as an alternative to schools (e.g. non-vulnerable partners, family members or trusted friends supporting with childcare, or children at an age when they can stay safely at home on their own).

It’s important to note that this guidance and support is in place as a last resort only. Priority will be given to those responding directly to the coronavirus threat, such as National Health Service workers. Therefore, even those classified as key workers may not necessarily receive school places.

Only those who can answer “yes” to being a key worker and the two questions above should contact the school to request provision. The decision on whether we can provide this for you will be made by the head teacher. Be aware that we have to make tough decisions in this regard, based on the information available to us at this time.

In the first instance please complete the survey. Provision would be available from 9am to 3.30pm, starting on this coming Monday.

Key worker survey for parents/carers

If you are a key worker, then you may be eligible to send your child to school during the school closure. The school is required to remain open and provide education to children in these circumstances. The school will be open from 8.45am to 3.15pm. We will not be providing breakfast or after school club. If your child is in school they will need a packed lunch as the school kitchen will not be open. Uniform is not required.

It is important to stress that every child who can stay at home absolutely must, and many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be. However this may not be possible and there is provision to support you.

Unsure if you’re a key worker?

Visit this page for guidance from the Government on what a key worker is:

Unsure if you’re a key worker that can get support?

Please take the online  survey below which is designed to help families are identifying themselves as keyworkers and get support from the school.  It will also give us an idea of the number of children who may be seeking provision from next week.

Before you complete the survey, please bear these principles in mind:

  • If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
  • If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them. You will already have been contacted regarding this.
  • Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
  • Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
  • Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.

Click here to take the survey.

Coronavirus update

Update for Friday 20th March

Key Messages for Schools and Parents

• Schools and the Local Authority are working closely together to ensure we are able to meet the priorities as set out by the government.
• In Devon, we have already taken the approach that for next week (w/c 23rd March) the majority of schools will remain open to provide a safe place for vulnerable children and those of key workers.
• Vulnerable children include children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children, those with education, health and care (EHC) plans and some others recognised as vulnerable by the Local Authority and school.
• Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings will continue to care for children wherever possible. Schools will continue to liaise with parents about these arrangements.
• Information about closed schools can be found the on the DCC website. The school will inform parents of alternative arrangements for vulnerable children and key workers should they need to close. The Local Authority will also help co-ordinate this work but the school is the first source of information as local arrangements with other schools are being put in place. A Local Authority contact number will be set up to offer advice to parents.
• Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors. Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home.
• The DfE advise that every child who can be safely cared for at home should be and they request we follow these key principles:

o If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
o Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
o Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

• Children with at least one parent or carer who are identified as critical workers by the government can send their children to school if required.
• A list of key workers is provided by the DfE and can be found at this link.
• Schools will be confirming, later today or next week, information regarding parents’ keyworker role and if a parent intends to send their child to school this may include filling in an online form. Please refer to school level information for this.
• Current transport arrangements will continue to be provided for children attending school this week and next week for currently entitled children from the above lists. These will, until after Easter, follow current timetables wherever possible.
• Families will be notified by individual schools or transport providers of any exceptions to the above.
• Information of any changes after Easter will be posted on the DCC website and via schools later next week or over the holidays
• Families are asked to look at individual school websites and their school’s usual communication methods for other local updates and information.
• We are currently working with Early Years settings, special schools and FE colleges and will aim to provide further information for these age groups later today.
• Early years providers will give more information through the early years digest.
• We also aim to publish a list of frequently asked questions.

The DfE have also provided easy to follow guidance to parents on this and a range of issues. The information can be found here.

Click here for the key worker survey.

Devon County Council Covid19 webpage.

Parents on the key workers list should follow the first principle of keeping their children at home if it all possible from Monday onwards, and to only send them to school if there is no safe alternative. Ppease be aware that this is not business as usual. We will, however, do our best to provide continuity of learning for all children whether at home or in school. We are working to an incredibly tight timescale to turn round this provision and we would ask everybody to show patience and understanding in this extremely challenging situation.

Thursday 19th March

We are currently making preparations for school closure and are working with the DfE as more guidance and legislation is brought forward. We will keep this page and our website up to date as we know more.

This is an unprecedented situation for all of us, so please be patient and we will keep you informed as best we can.