Coronavirus Updates

Letter From Mrs Byles 03/04/2020:

Dear Parents/Carers

During these unprecedented times, we appreciate that work situations are shifting and money may not be coming into the household as it was before.  We recognise that there may be families in our school community who have had to apply for benefits, where they have not been needed previously.

 

If you find yourself in this position, one of the ways in which we can support you is by signposting you to apply for Free School Meals. Whilst school is closed, the Government are offering all children who qualify for Free School Meals a weekly term time £15 shopping voucher, in order to support with food bills while your child is at home. To qualify for the shopping voucher, even if your child is in Reception or Key Stage 1, you will need to apply to East Sussex County Council.

 

You may qualify if you receive any of these benefits:

 

Further information can be found here

https://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/educationandlearning/schools/school-life/meals/free/

 

An online application is easy to do, and we have been assured that the claims are being processed within 5 working days.  As soon as school receives notification that you qualify for Free School Meals, then we can begin to send you the shopping vouchers.  The link to apply is here

https://eyeeonline.eastsussex.gov.uk/synergy/Parents/default.aspx

Please note the voucher scheme does not cover the universal free school meals scheme (free meals for all Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 chidren)

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if we can support you further- we’ll do what we can to help.

 

Kind regards

 

Rochelle Byles

Acting Deputy Headteacher

Letter From Mr Alexander 24/03/2020:

Dear Parents/Carers,

 

During this period of school closure, we plan to use the internet to be able to support your child and family in continuing some learning, and to help you provide some structure to your day. I must stress that none of this is compulsory. Please don’t worry about ensuring everything is completed or handed in, we are primarily providing this to be helpful to families who are stuck at home and to provide some structure to your days.

 

For all children, we are providing interactive work for them to complete and submit to their teacher on a vehicle called Google Classroom. Google Classroom enables teachers to upload assignments, suggestions, tasks, links and more to the children in their class or year group. The plan will be for something new to be available each day, starting on Wednesday 25th. Some teachers have already begun to do this, so there may now already be some ideas and suggestions available to use. All the teachers are new at this and have only just begun to explore this new way of working with children, so be patient!

 

Google classroom is available to all with a Gmail account, and I have organised one for your child. We of course suggest that you monitor the email content, as we will not be able to. The format for the email addresses are as follows:

 

Email: firstnamelastname@battlelangton.e-sussex.sch.uk (so johnsmith@.... If your child’s name has a hyphen, so does the email address.)

Password: <please see ParentMail notification> (if you haven't received the notification, please contact the school office for the default password) (this will need to be changed on first log in, so I advise you do this or supervise)

 

You can access Google classroom on any internet enabled device, and if you can’t complete the task online as you only have a phone, children can complete the task on paper, ask parents to photograph it with their phone and upload it to the classroom.

• Go to www.classroom.google.com

• Log in with the email details above

• Click the + sign in the top right corner and select ‘join class’

• Use the code below for your child’s year group

 

Reception: bb3jkef

Year 1: bpfxvkr

Year 2: ertr6jm

Year 3: vfkxpcn

Year 4: xuohprz

Year 5: wyniri7

Year 6: xp63qag

 

For children in Years 2 to 6, we will also be providing online lessons via a program called Zoom. This app will allow teachers to share the screen on their computer and talk live to children also in the room. Children will be able to type back to their teacher to ask or answer questions. This, again can be done on any device, including a phone, but will be better on a tablet or laptop computer of some kind. We will not encourage children to use webcams, and you will need to monitor any personal use the more tech savvy children attempt.

 

The app is available on both the Playstore and Apple Store. If you are using a PC, go to www.zoom.us – use the resources tab in the top right corner and download the Zoom Client.

 

The teacher will send an email invite to the live session when it is happening. Again, teachers haven’t done this before, so it is likely to not be perfect in the early days. These will begin after the Easter holidays.

 

We hope this will help to structure your days at home with the children, as well as ensuring that they do not fall too far behind. You can choose to do as much or as little as you like. We hope that it helps to keep you sane during what could be a long period of disruption.

 

Any technical questions can be passed to me head@battlelangton.e-sussex.sch.uk

 

Kind regards

 

Mr G Alexander, Acting Headteacher

Letter From Mr Alexander 23/03/2020:

Update from Mr Alexander regarding Keyworkers

Dear Parents and Carers

 

We have now processed all the two key worker families and offered places to them all.  We have a limited capacity now to offer to single key worker families.  If you previously applied and haven’t received a letter, you have been unsuccessful in the first round, and will be considered again now.

 

You are reminded that where at all possible, children should be kept at home.  This is the very clear message from those coordinating the national response.  We will only have a skeleton staff in school, and will be trying to distance the children from each other to protect them.

 

Should we get more responses that we have capacity for, we will select children based on the information you provide us. 

 

Thank you to those who have written to the school to praise our efforts to keep everyone as safe as we can, it is much appreciated.  I am effectively asking our staff to risk being exposed to this virus, and therefore exposing their own family members.  I must balance your family’s need to go to work, with the safety of all concerned.

 

Currently, 11 teaching staff are having to self-isolate due to either having symptoms of the virus, or having a severe underlying condition that means they have been advised to stay inside.  I also have 4 support staff who are also in this position.  So that we can continue to provide care throughout the period, we have built a rota system so that staff can cover for each other when they or a member of their family inevitably become sick.  It would be socially and morally irresponsible of me to do otherwise.  This is a main reason for limiting the number of children in school to the numbers we have.

 

If you have no other option other than to request childcare, and at least one of the adults in the household is a key worker who is vital to the ongoing efforts to fight Covid-19, please use the link below as soon as possible.

 

https://forms.gle/ctnHGiqTKNNjGVMj7

 

We will be in touch if you are successful.  Please don’t come to school unless you receive a letter saying you can do so.

Kind regards

 

Mr G Alexander

Acting Headteacher

Letter From Mr Alexander 20/03/2020:

Dear Parents and Carers,

 

This morning the guidance on how schools can best help the community was finally published, and now I can begin work on trying to organise our effort.  It is an incredibly complex situation, and I need your help and patience to do it.

 

Due to the very short notice for us to organise this, I need to CLOSE THE SCHOOL TO ALL CHILDREN ON MONDAY 23rd March.  My staff and I need a day to try and organise this re-purposing of the school.  We will re-open for a small number of children on Tuesday 24th March.

 

The purpose of closing schools is to stop people from mixing; it is very clear that ALL of us need to stay home where we can to stop the spread of this virus.  This means not going to work for the vast majority of us.  We have been asked by the Government to help keep vital services running by providing some form of childcare for a small number of children whose parents work in vital services.  However, the list of vital services is so broad that I predict around half the school community might fall into it.  We cannot and will not put children and adults at risk by exposing them to others unnecessarily. 

One way in which we are supporting the community in these difficult times is by providing some teaching and learning activities for your children whilst they are home with you.  I know the thought of a potential 4-month holiday stuck in the house with my 6-year-old strikes fear into my heart!  I can only imagine many of you feel the same.  Therefore, by keeping our teachers working remotely to support your children at home, I hope we will help provide some structured activities for your family, as well as enabling children to not fall too far behind.

Our support staff teams will be working in shift patterns to supervise small groups of children whose parents both work in jobs vital to the fight against the virus.  These small groups of children will be spread out through the building to reduce the chance of infection.  They will be supervised completing the online learning as set by their teacher.  However, we only have capacity to do this safely for approximately 10% of the school.  I have to consider the fact that I have many members of staff who fall into vulnerable groups and are therefore advised to stay at home.  I have to consider that inevitably members of staff will get sick, or a member of their family will, and they will have to self-isolate.  I have to consider that many members of staff have children of their own and may not be able to send them to school.  Therefore, I ask that parents are mindful of all of these things when asking for help with childcare.  The childcare we will offer will be working hours – 7.30am to 5.30pm.

The clear message from the Government is that if children CAN be at home, they SHOULD be at home.

If BOTH parents work in a job which is vital to the fightback against Covid-19, please use the link below and fill in the form to ask for help.  Nobody is guaranteed childcare, if we have more demand than we have places, I will need to make some difficult decisions based on need.  Here are some of the job areas that are considered vital:

 

Health and Social Care:  Doctors, nurses, social workers etc

Education & Childcare:  Teachers, Support assistants, nursery workers etc

Local and National Government: only those working directly on the Covid-19 response

 

Public safety and national security:

Police, fire and rescue service, armed forces tasked with delivery of Covid-19 response

 

Transport workers:

Those who will keep transport systems running during response

 

Utilities, communications and financial services:

If your employer confirms that according to their business continuity plan, your role is vital to essential public service.

Essential goods production, distribution and delivery:  

food, and medicines

 

Key Public services: 

justice, public service broadcasters, charities working on the response

If we are unable to offer care, you may approach the Local Authority to see if there is something available elsewhere.   The situation may change as we go forward, and there may be a more coordinated approach by the Local Authority, creating local hubs to do this.  Until then, this is what we can offer with the short notice we have had to do this.

The advice we are asked to pass on to you from the Government about school closures is here:

  1. It if is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.

  2. Parents should not rely for childcare on those who are advised to be in the strictest social distancing, such as grandparents and friends or family members with underlying conditions.

  3. Parents should do everything they can to ensure that children are not mixing socially in a way that can continue the spread of the virus.  They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

These are extraordinary times, which call for extraordinary measures, but they will pass. Before we know it we will be blinking in the light of normality and this will feel like a nightmare we have awoken from.  Take time to look after your families, look out for neighbours and be kind to one and other.

Stay calm, stay strong and stay home whenever possible.

Follow this link to request a childcare place:  https://forms.gle/xPAyhQJbTLD1vfoh7

 

Kind regards,

Gary Alexander

Acting Headteacher

Letter From Mr Alexander 19/03/2020:

Letter from Mr Alexander regarding School Closure from Monday 23 March

Dear Parents and Carers,

I am sure you have all heard that the Prime Minister announced on Wednesday that all schools will close from Monday 23rd of March.  This is

part of the measures in place to stop people socialising together in groups in order to slow the spread of Covid-19.  These are extreme measures, and I am sure they will cause problems for all of you.

The Prime Minister also announced that some schools would be asked to provide a childcare service for families where adults work in vital services, and for vulnerable children.  At this point in time, I have no further information from the Government about what this group of families or children will entail.  I expect the case to be that if both parents (or one in a sole carer family) work for the NHS, Police, Social Care or Education, for example, we will be asked to look after children during working hours.  However, I must stress that I do not know anything for sure, nor do I get to define the group myself. 

 

As soon as the guidance comes to us, we will send an additional form for you online so that you can tell us if your family is eligible for the childcare.  I know many of you have been asking at the office or emailing for information and believe me I wish we could give it to you, but at present we can’t.  We must be patient.

I will also be in touch soon with details of the online learning plans we have for your children, whilst they are home in your care, these are planned to begin next Wednesday.

 

Until then, we are grateful for your patience whilst we try to organise this response.

 

Kind regards

 

Gary Alexander

Acting Headteacher

Letter From School Office Ref Year 6 19/03/2020:

Dear Parent/Carer

Today Year 6 pupils have taken home a pack containing work to be done in the upcoming weeks.  The children who were in school today, have been given instructions about these packs.  

 

If your child is away, please arrange to pick up a pack from the School Office, if possible, or let the School Office know if there is anyone the pack can be sent home with.  If you are unable to find a way of collecting the pack, please let the School Office know and arrangements will be made to get the pack to you.  Details will be sent our shortly with regard to the work in the packs.  Until then please can the children be doing the spellings which can be found in the pack.

 

Kind regards

 

School Office