Friday 3rd April 2020
How are you all doing? In some ways it feels like such a short time since I wrote to you last; in others, it is like someone has pressed some big remote control button, slowing the days down
I tend to walk through the village for my constitutional most lunchtimes and it has been a pleasure to bump into so many of you. Well, when I say ‘bump’ I mean shout at you from at least 2 metres away. Just that bit of social interaction has been very welcome;
being talked at by Mrs T talking to Mrs T is a joyful experience but it is a welcome change to converse with other adults. Interestingly, one Dad I had a natter with was prepared to offer me a considerable amount of money if I would take his children back to school with me. (I have to say, when he mentioned he’d throw in some toilet rolls and a loaf of bread, the proposition became almost too much to resist).
Hopefully you are getting into some kind of rhythm, with the whole school work/child care/working from home situation. As we mentioned last week, there is no right or wrong to this; what works for one family may not be possible for another. For some people, I am sure there is too much work, for others not enough. PLEASE do not worry about this; whatever you can do is great. Some reading each day, maybe a bit of maths and some form of writing would help keep things ticking over no end. HOWEVER, there are going to be days when this is just not possible or you simply can’t face cajoling your youngest into writing yet another sentence about plants. When this happens, no one is to get uptight or worry what the school will think or whether they are damaging their children’s education. It is not a problem. You’re doing just brilliantly. Pour another cup of tea and watch Homes Under the Hammer. The work isn’t going anywhere and tomorrow is just fine.
Once again, any activities you can do as a family, including board games, cooking, gardening, bug hunts, den building or anything else, are just as valuable. We set up a huge marble run in our house this week which was the absolute highlight for my children. Can you get the marble from one end of the lounge to the other without it touching the floor? Lovely stuff.
So, I tried working from home on Tuesday while caring for my two. Mrs T was looking after children in her school so I was left with strict instructions about what was permissible, alongside an exacting timetable to keep
the children me on the straight and narrow. Fine, fine. I’m a teacher, I deal with this sort of thing every day. I mean, how hard can it be helping my own two children for a few hours?
9:00 – 9:30 Joe Wick’s Workout: oh my days, the man’s trying to kill me. My thighs are burning, there is sweat pouring off my brow and now he is telling me to do bunny and kangaroo jumps.
9:30 – 10:00 Shower time. Yup, Ok with that.
10:00 – 11:00 Maths: ‘Sam, PLEASE concentrate. You have been writing your 2 times tables for one minute, you don’t need a drink. What, how can it be 23? Is 23 in the 2 times tables? What? NO!!! It’s an odd number… yes, yes it is, it ends in a “3”.’ Not going well.
11:00 – 12:00 Writing: Maths has over run by 15 minutes so we are off schedule already. The dentist then phones to cancel our appointments, whilst arranging new ones for August (rather optimistic, if you ask me). There’s another 10 minutes gone. ‘Soph, you’ve written everything in simple sentences, where’s the variety and control of sentence length? What do you mean, “What do I mean?” All those techniques we have talked about over the years and your teachers have instilled in you. Yes, you have heard of them. OK, let’s start at the beginning. Tell me what a compound sentence is. NO!!! Fine, fine. Let’s just leave it there for today.” Things are degenerating.
12:00 – 1:00 Lunch: I can do this. (although we are now an hour behind the schedule; if this carries on, no one, least of all me, is going to get their ‘free play’ time). You had dippy egg yesterday? Mummy said it was down for today… tough luck you’re having it again.’ ‘No, don’t start crying, it’s not worth shedding tears over.’ (That last part was Sophie speaking to me). This is just awful.
The less said about the afternoon the better. Suffice to say, we accomplished 5/8s of nothing and I am now on the naughty step with Mrs T. Where I am going with this? Many of us have days like this so please don’t think you are the only one. Chalk it down to experience and start again tomorrow.
The work we have supplied is intended for term time only. Please feel free to dip into it during the Easter Break but do not feel obliged to do so. If you have run out of work and could do with a bit more, please refer to the activities we made available to you on the school websites. Please be aware that we simply do not have the capacity or the facilities to mark individual work at the moment. When the children are back in school, we shall ask them to bring their work and share the bits they are most proud of with their teachers. If you need any more work books, we shall leave a box outside of the main entrance, between 10:00 and 2:00, from Tuesday 14th April. As ever, please be mindful of social distancing if you are collecting a book.
Thank you so much to everyone who has been making rainbows and displaying them in their windows. They look so jolly, cheering me up as I drive around. This week, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to draw/paint/collage a river and surrounding countryside. If it could have a nice big meander in it, so much the better. Place this below your rainbow as it will be the start of a giant picture over the next few weeks, one installment at a time.
While these strange times are going on, the rules that keep us safe still apply, some more than ever. I have included a link to an online safety module which you can work on with your child/children. This is a really good tool and useful to remind them of how to use the internet appropriately, especially at this time when we are all relying more on websites and online communication. The first two modules are available now and two more modules will be released next week. Each module is 15 minutes in length.
Have a lovely weekend. Play safely, take care and look after yourselves. Once again, I hope this update comes across in the spirit it is intended. In no way is it meant to trivialise what is happening at the moment. Hopefully, it provides a very small distraction and keeps you up to date with a few bits and bobs.
Wednesday 9th January 2019
I cannot tell you how pleased I am to finally be here with all of you and your children. Everyone has been so welcoming, in both schools - I really do feel very lucky. Whichever school I am in, I will endeavour to be on the school gate, trying to desperately learn names (if I am honest - not my forte) and getting to know everyone a little bit better. Although, I have to admit, I did make a small, tactical error on my first morning: my lanyard was trapped inside my coat so I was merrily saying “Good morning”, but no one knew who I was! A few parents were more than a little disconcerted, and more than a touch wary, of this strange man!
We are in the incredibly fortunate position where both schools in The Strawberry Line Federation are already high achieving and places where children flourish. Moving them forward and in new directions is going to be so exciting and a challenge I cannot wait to embrace.
Just to put some ‘flesh on the bones’, I am a family man with two gorgeous (?) children, a little boy who is in Reception and a slightly bigger girl who is in Year 4. Originally from Weston-super-Mare, I have spent much of my career teaching in Reading and then moved back to the South West five years ago to take up my first headship at Wraxall CE Primary School. In my spare time, I love to watch sport, absolutely any sport will do, but I have a particular passion for Bath Rugby, Tottenham Hotspur Football Team and Somerset Cricket (my viewing of sport does not drive my wife mad at all!).
If I have not had the opportunity to chat with you yet, please do find me in the playground; I would love to make your acquaintance.
Mr Ben Tucker
We read this article recently which is very powerful reading. It really helps to explain the importance of children reading everyday. Check it out:
For your information, our Designated Safeguarding Lead across the Federation is Mrs Victoria Sheppard with Miss Angie Stevens deputising in her absence. If you have any safeguarding or child protection concerns, please do not hesitate to contact either of them.