Spring Term 2021 Newsletters


Welcome to the Spring Term Newsletters page.

Below you will find all the updates that were put on the COVID-19 Notification Page in the Spring Term 2021:  (Normal Newsletters were not prepared at this time)

Wednesday, 24 March 2o21: Update

Dear Parents/Carers

You will be aware now that we have had a bubble closed over the past week or so.  We have contained the spread of the virus within this bubble which shows that the bubble system is working.  Thank you to everyone involved for their kindness and patience in this matter and for keeping school informed of developments at home.  We have acted as a family here and it has really worked… I am beyond proud of you all.  Thank you.

Social Distancing and Face Coverings: I am outside most days both in the morning and in the afternoon and the overwhelming majority of people observe social distancing and also wear a face covering.  I know that some people are exempt from wearing a face covering however, we have an increasing (but small at the moment) number of parents who are not wearing a face-covering on site and this is not fair to those that are.  The virus is still prevalent in our area (as we know from our Y3 bubble closing) and the spread of the virus can be quite rapid.

Thank you to everyone who is continuing to wear a face covering on site… it really is much appreciated by everyone in the community… we are all in this together.

Today has been our Down Syndrome Awareness Day and we have asked the children to come in odd socks to show that although we are all different we are all the same.  Our beautiful Alfie is a classic example of this and just as all our children do, he brings great joy to our school.  If you didn’t watch this wonderful video yesterday then please do so today:

It does me every time!!  The purpose of today to emphasise that although we are all the same we are also different because that is how God made us.  We are all equal in God’s eyes!

Easter Egg Raffle:  For those of who who have been involved with the school for a long time will know the eggscitement that is caused by the eggsstravaganza that is the Easter Egg Raffle… it is a thing of legend and the children love it.  We aren’t doing all the usual Good Shepherd things this year for all the obvious reasons but this was too good a thing to miss… and given we missed it last year, we were determined not to miss it this year! Raffle tickets are on sale in the classrooms until Monday and are 20p each or 6 for £1.  The draw will be on Spy Wednesday or Maundy Thursday depending on our timings and assemblies etc. There will be lots of prizes and lots of fun to be had even though we will have to do it on Google Classrooms… ziggaziggarrrrrr! (You have to be there to understand!!).

Football Training: The football training for Y5 and Y6 has started again and Miss Wordsworth is also starting training for the girls.  Safe equipment for these training sessions is essential really and shin-pads and football boots are seen as essential.  We all appreciate that children have grown and shops are closed but if you can ensure that they have the right kit it would be appreciated.  We do have some spares in school and we are happy to share these in the short term.  Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

God bless you all and…

Stay safe.   Stay strong.  Stay well.  Stay socially distanced. 

Stay at home and protect the NHS… Remember… It’s NOT over yet! 

Mr Hutchinson.

URGENT NOTIFICATION: TUESDAY, 16 MARCH 2021

Dear Parents/Carers

Due to a positive case of CV-19 we have closed the Year 3 bubble following advice from the DfE, PHE and Leeds City Council.  The parents/carers in Year 3 have been informed and the Y3 children and staff have been told to self-isolate.  A separate letter has been sent to the parents/carers of Y3.

The letter below is for the remaining parents/carers/staff in school.  It advises you that there has been a case in our school and that we have closed a bubble in school.  School remains open to all pupils except Year 3. Please be vigilant for the signs of CV-19 which are included in the letter but remain as they were before:

·         A fever of 37.8 degrees or higher

·         A new, continuous cough

·         A change in or loss of taste or smell (or both)

I have asked you all to be vigilant through this period.  This is why.  The virus is still out there and can still make both children and adults alike very ill.

Please read this letter very carefully:

Covid-19 Letter to Parents 16 March 2021

Thank you for your continued cooperation in this matter.

God bless you all and…

Stay safe.   Stay strong.  Stay well.  Stay socially distanced. 

Stay at home and protect the NHS… Remember… It’s NOT over yet! 

Mr Hutchinson.

YEAR 3 PARENTS ONLY:

If you need to loan the use of a Chromebook to assist with Remote/Home Learning then there are plenty available.  Please contact Mrs Jackson in the office and she will assist you in getting a machine to help.  Thank you.

Mr H.

Week beginning Monday, 8 March 2021:

Friday Update!

Well, what a week!  It has been wonderful to have all the children back in school and they have generally been on top form!  To be fair many of them have tired during the last couple of days, especially the younger ones, and as a result their behaviour both in and out of class has been fractious to say the least.  Tired children are quick to cry, quick to fall out and even quicker to make poor choices.  It is absolutely vital that they have a calm weekend and get some proper rest… early nights and good sleep is the order of the day!  It feels very much like the beginning of the year again except it isn’t! The children have been out of school for 8 weeks but we haven’t!!  If you could have a gentle (or not so gentle!) word about working hard, doing the right thing (all day! all week!!) and really being good, that would help.

Can I also ask a big favour… please can we stick to the rules this weekend.  We have had already heard stories about families mixing in our community and frankly this isn’t fair! I am hearing tales of bubbles closing in schools all lover Leeds and we really don’t want that here if we can avoid it.  I know you’re fed up and I know it’s Mother’s Day and I know you want to go out and mix it up but it’s not time yet!  Please be patient and do the right thing… then every Sunday can be Mother’s Day!!  If we mess it up now then the unlock will be delayed and it will be an awful summer of more lockdowns.  We have come so far… stay the course and keep going!!  Don’t be that family please. Thank you.

Can I say a big thank you to all the staff as well for this week.  They have planned some lovely activities for you young people and as a result they have had a lovely time.  Seen some great things including life-sized dinosaurs, been to the Queen’s Knicker’s Tea Party and seen what Y5 can do to a potato! Creativity at it’s best!!  All in the name of National Book Week.

Well done to you at home too.  I have been catching up with some of your children over what you have been doing at home and I am blown away!  Well done everyone… let’s just hope we get a clear run from now till the summer and get these kids learning and loving (school) life again by living it to the full!

Sunday is the Fourth Sunday of Lent (Lataere Sunday… Rejoicing Sunday) and Father will wear rose coloured vestments.  He only does that twice a year once in Advent and once in Lent. It is also Mothering Sunday and time for us to be grateful for all our mothers…. those who are with us and those who are no longer with us.  It is time to pause and say a huge thank you to all Mums for all they do, all they are and all they mean to us.  I miss my Mum every day and I always remember her in my prayers.  Celebrate but please remember what I wrote above… stay safe and legal please! Remember we DON’T FAST ON SUNDAYS IN LENT!!

Have a lovely, restful weekend and let’s hit the ground running on Monday again!  We’ve still a lot of learning to do before Easter!

God bless you all and…

Stay safe.   Stay strong.  Stay well.  Stay socially distanced. 

Stay at home and protect the NHS… Remember… It’s NOT over yet! 

Mr Hutchinson.

In twenty years time…

People will not ask the children of 2020 if they caught up with their studies.

They will not ask them what grades they made, despite the year off school.

They will ask them with wonder ‘what was it like?’

They will ask them, ‘How did you cope?’

‘How did you feel?’

‘What do you remember of those days?”

They will listen in awe to the tales of clapping on doorsteps for the medical workers.

They will sit open-mouthed to hear of daily walks being the only life we saw and how much we missed human contact and gatherings.

They will be amazed to know about empty supermarkets, online concerts, birthdays spent on a screen and a life lived inside.

They will listen, then sit back with amazement and say, ‘Wow! You went through so much.’

So think about what you would like your children to take away from this whole year.

Tell them they are not behind.  Tell them they are not missing out.

Tell them they are extremely special indeed and they will be forever made stronger by this unique time.

Tell them catching up is not even a thing because they have grown so much in so many other ways.

Remind them too of the fun stuff, the family jigsaws, the window rainbows, the zoom bingo.

The feeling of safety and togetherness amidst the chaos.

Let them take that thought with them through life.

Change the narrative now and it will travel far.

Tell the children they are not behind.

They are special.

Donna Ashworth

Thank you for such a calm start to the day yesterday!  The children entered school perfectly and we had an absolutely lovely day in school.  They are loving being back in school with their teachers and their friends.

The end of school was a little more chaotic but it always is but also just as calm in terms of everyone being in the right place at the right time.  Although it wasn’t as smooth as the morning, it wasn’t as bad as it has been and most people heeded the advice given and came to the car park at the right time.  Thank you for that and thank you for your patience in the car park. Please can you ensure that Grandparents who are collecting know exactly what time to come… if we keep recycling the places then there will be plenty for every family and I will make sure that everyone who comes at the right time gets a place… that’s if we don’t have people sitting in their cars for half an hour!

Surprise Visitors: We’ve had a super day in school today… some very interesting visitors! You’ll have to speak to Nursery, Reception and Year 2 to find out whose been in school to welcome everyone back! There are some pics and vids on the Twitter @StTheresasRCPS

Thank you also for the effort made with school uniform.  Much appreciated.

Year 6 Residential to Whitby 2021:  I have been busy planning the Y6 Residential to Whitby for the week beginning 14 June 2021… if all goes to plan this will be the week before the grand ‘unlock’ so I am VERY hopeful that we will be able to go to Whitby this year.  All of the planning and preparation needs to be done now or we won’t be ready and able to go.  We have everything crossed that we will be able to go and enjoy the thrills and spills of the Whitby Experience.   Everything is booked and you should have had a letter (Y6 only) asking you to sign up for the trip and complete the Y6 Leavers’/Whitby Hoodie form.  Both these forms will need to be returned ASAP please!!

I understand there will be more anxiety around this trip this year but we will be supremely Covid-Safe this year.  I am speaking to the children about this visit this afternoon and I am planning to speak to parents about it on Thursday night on Google Classrooms at 7.00pm.  We have sent out the Parents’ Information Letter with an explanation of the costs involved; Mrs Collins has asked specifically this time that parents/carers pay online as this is much easier to track who has paid what and when. This makes the staged payment system work much better.  Thank you for your anticipated cooperation here… this is going to be a wonderful experience for our young people and excellent preparation for High School as well as brilliant for their Mental Health having been cooped up all year! EXCITING TIMES!

Year 5!  I haven’t forgotten you!  Malham is booked and we will be looking at the arrangements for you very soon!

Sacramental Programmes:  Mrs Gairn has been in touch with me over the remaining scarmental programmes for the year.  The Y6s will be confirmed NEXT Wednesday, 17 March 2021 at 7.00pm. A letter went home yesterday with all the details on what time to be there and what the arrangements are. The numbers in church will need to be limited so please read the letter carefully.

First Holy Communion:  We need to complete the programme for Year 5 first which we will do in March/April and the Y5s will make their FHC on the weekend of 8/9 May 2021.  Further details to follow in a letter from Fr Pat Wall.

The Year 4s will then need to make their FHC having made their confession earlier this year! This will be after the Y5s and their FHCs so the Y4 programme will begin later this term (29 March 2021) and into the summer term; the FHC celebrations for Y4 will be over the weekend of 15/16 May 2021. Further details to follow in a letter from Fr Pat Wall.

Lent 2021:  Ash Wednesday was in the half term holidays and with that came the beginning of our second Lent in Lockdown!  I am aware that we have already sacrificed so much throughout this Pandemic that to ask our young people to give something else up almost seems mean.  That said, it is still Lent and we are still called to do something extra for this period of time.  As in the past I would encourage you to give up things or doing extra things for a week at a time then it is a little more manageable for them… and not such a trial for you either!  The following are just suggestions:

Week 3 (w/b 8/3): Back to school… try to smile at someone to brighten their day every day and be gentle with yourself and others… this is a week for kindness and gentleness. 

Week 4 (w/b 15/3): Rejoicing week: Try to do something every day that makes someone you love happy… set the table… make your own bed… be kind to your brothers and sisters… ring grandma/granddad… do something kind in school… try extra hard at school.

Week 5 (w/b 22/3): Almsgiving week… think about something you can do or give up to help others who are less fortunate than you… perhaps try and give some pocket money to the CAFOD box or support the Lent activities in school… buy an Easter Egg Raffle ticket this week!

Week 6 (w/b 29/3): Holy Week… let’s focus on the Easter Story this week and try and make sure we learn something new this year about the things that happened that very first Easter.  Do I know what happened on Palm Sunday… The Last Supper… In the Garden… On Good Friday?  Make this your Easter Promise or Easter Prayer.

Missio Videos: You might the following little video vignettes from Missio helpful to watch (they are probably more suited to the slightly older ones… even some for High School age!)

You might just enjoy them for you… never mind just the children!!  Our Lent needs watering too sometimes! The following is a calendar which you might also find useful with tips for Lent:

Lent Calendar 2021

AND REMEMBER MUMS AND DADS… you do NOT fast (or give anything up) on Sundays because every Sunday is a memorial of Easter Day… especially in Lent!

And finally… Thank you again for your kindness and patience over the past few weeks.  None of it has been easy for anyone and you have done an amazing job.  It is truly wonderful to have everyone back in school and I am overjoyed that our young people are back where they belong.  Thank you for your lovely comments, both written and in the playground, about our wonderful school.  I do believe this ‘time’ has brought us closer together.

Please make sure you look at your drop-off and pick-up times and please don’t come to the car park too early… if you come at the right time then everything flows so much better!

God bless you all and…

Stay safe.   Stay strong.  Stay well.  Stay socially distanced. 

Stay at home and protect the NHS… Remember… It’s NOT over yet! 

Mr Hutchinson.

Week beginning Monday, 1 March 2021:  

Hi everyone; the observant among you will have noticed that this update was posted on Tuesday but we have been tweaking it all week hence why you’ve only had the text link today!   There are a number of important updates on this page in blue so I would urge you to read all of it very carefully please (there is some repetition so you don’t miss key things!).

NEXT WEEK:

I am expecting every child to be back next week unless they have tested positive for Coronavirus or someone in their household has.  The virus has not gone away and we must remain vigilant. There are one of two key things about next week that are very important:

·         Full school uniform please! Ties! School shoes*!!  Hair tied back!!!
·         No talk of LOST anything please!  No one has lost anything especially not learning or opportunities… it is important that our young people come back to school ready to rock and roll and with a really positive Growth Mindset and high self-esteem!  We are not behind… we are where we are and it is NOT their (or anyone else’s) fault.
·         We will be doing the daily mile every day next week… please send in some suitable shoes to run in (for them to change into!)
·         Attendance is mandatory… not optional!  I want everyone back in school.
·         Please come at the right time especially at the end of the school day. Please see the timetable above!
·         The school car park and main gates won’t be open until 2.30pm at the earliest; please do not clog up the car park before it’s your time to collect!  The main gates will be closed from 2.15 so please do not come early. Please do not park on the road either if the gates are closed. 
·         Next week we want to hear every child read their reading book.  If you have any reading books at home then please return them ASAP.
*I know one or two people have mentioned to staff that their children have grown out of their school shoes. Please make every attempt to get some sorted for ASAP but I am also conscious that many people are experiencing lots of hardship; this is highly desirable but not essential, especially if things are tight at the moment.  I know you’ll do your best!  Thank you.

LCC Risk Assessment: I have updated the LCC Risk Assessment above and also the drop-off and pick-up times for NEXT week when everyone returns. It is very important that people stick to these times as this means that we can get everyone into and out of school safely without compromising social distancing rules… WHICH STILL APPLY!

LCC V5.01 – Covid 19 RA 8 March 2021

Below is a letter that has just come through from the Director of Children’s Services, Mrs S Tariq OBE and Councillor Prior who is the Chair of the Education Committee at LCC:

LCC letter to parents March 21

March Plan: The plan for March 2021 and the reopening of the whole school to all pupils is published below.  There are some nuance changes to staffing because the CEV/CV lists have changed and some staff have been advised that they should not be in school until after Easter at the earliest.  Some of the guidance after the tables have also been amended so it might be worth taking a bit of time to read it if and when you can.  The information about drop-off and pick-up times is published above too on a separate page.  Please make sure that EVERYONE who drops off and/or picks-up your children (esp. Dads and Grandparents if they don’t normally do it) know exactly what to do… especially with regard to driving up to the main building! The March plan is here:

The March 2021 Plan for the Return of All Pupils.

BASC Parents/Carers: YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DRIVE UP THE DRIVE NO MATTER WHAT THE TIME IS OR HOW QUIET YOU THINK IT IS.  This is is to keep the area up towards school reserved for staff and deliveries.  Once this is all over and done with then staff will not be parking up there either and we will have the mini-buses back there!

Road to Unlocking: I am very concerned that because PM Johnson has made his declaration know and published his roadmap to unlocking that people seem to think this is all over.  Professor Jonathan Van Tam, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for PHE, has been VERY direct in his messages to everyone that we risk losing all the good ground made by the excellent vaccination programme if people think this is all over and that we can all go straight back to normal now.

The messages I out out last week are critically important and still stand certainly until we are able to mix in each other’s houses which is not allowed until 17 May 2021 at the earliest.  Please don’t be that person.  Please don’t be that family.  This is a very close knit community and people tell us exactly what is going on ‘out there’ so we do know that people are gathering and breaking CV-19 rules.   Your children also tell us what they’ve been up to as well!  This makes the other children very anxious and cross because they have a very sharp sense of justice and injustice… they know it simply isn’t fair for them to be keeping to the rules when others are not.  We are all missing family and friends.

I am reiterating the messages from last week and leaving them here for your consideration: 

·         THIS IS NOT OVER: we must maintain proper social distancing in school and OUT OF school
·         Please do NOT start visiting all and sundry with your children and young people as tempting as it is… I know they’re fed up and they’re missing their family and friends but please be patient until it is safe to do so… 29 March 2021 is the date set for more informal social gatherings OUTDOORS… 17 May 2021 for mixing indoors!

Please look at the Government Guidance in detail:  https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/963491/COVID-19_Response_-_Spring_2021.pdf 

·         Please CONTINUE TO WEAR FACE COVERINGS IN PUBLIC until instructed not to do so by HM Govt. This includes when you’re on the school site.
·         If WE ARE ALL PATIENT and go at the cautious speed of the roadmap then we will be able to unlock properly and effectively and we won’t have to delay the programme. THIS HAS GOT TO BE A COMBINED EFFORT. Everyone must continue to play their part because if the virus catches hold again they will do local lockdowns and everything will be delayed… don’t be that person! Please… for your children’s sake.

This will mean:

·         ALL pupils will be expected to attend FULL TIME from Monday 8 March 2021… attendance AT SCHOOL is mandatory.
·         We will return wearing FULL FORMAL school uniform including school shoes, ties, long hair tied back and no bags.  If it is your PE day then you can come in PE kit that day but not on other days (unless instructed by your teacher). Summer uniform is not until after Spring Bank Holiday (unless it’s unseasonably warm in May).  Daily mile every day too and we will be outside when we can get out!
·         Home learning, from 8/3/21, will only be provided for those who need to be at home because they are shielding or unwell due to the virus.
·         A continuation of staggered drop-off and pick up times… the same as before Christmas
·         You will still need to wear a face covering on site
·         Hand washing and hand sanitising before, during and after school will continue to be ABSOLUTELY VITAL
·         Before and After School (BASC) will continue as normal
·         After school sport will begin again but not straight away… let’s get everyone in first and settled
·         Hopefully we will be able to go to Malham (Y5) and Whitby (Y6)… but only if everyone does the right thing between now and the summer unlock!  There should be some information about Whitby coming home on Monday!  Exciting times.

Sunday, 21 February 2021

I hope you have all enjoyed the better weather throughout half term and have kept to the social distancing and lockdown rules! This will be brief because I have a poorly eye and I can’t see very well; I will not be in school next week and Mrs Ryan will be in charge in my absence.

School is open tomorrow, Monday, 22 February, 2020 for Critical Workers and those vulnerable children who we have made arrangements to be in school. Home Learning will also be taking place as normal.

We await PM Johnson’s announcement tomorrow for the potential reopening of the school on March 8 but as yet I have no details for whether this is the case but this is what I expect.  As soon as we know… you will know.

Please take care.  Please do your bit for Lent… as in the past the advice with young people is to give something different up each week rather than try and go the whole hog through Lent.

This is about as much as my eye can take so I’ll close now.

God bless you all and…

Stay safe.   Stay strong.  Stay well.  Stay socially distanced. 

Stay at home and protect the NHS. 

Mr Hutchinson.

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Just a couple of quick updates.  We are going to have to cancel the proposed INSET Day which was scheduled for Monday, 22 February 2021.  This was meant to be for the staff to review the curriculum plan but we need staff to be able to meet properly and we won’t be able to do that with the present restrictions.  I am also very conscious that we have been closed for 2 snow days so far and I am not wanting to lose and more quality teaching time.

Half term begins on Friday, 12 February 2021 and we will be back in school now on Monday, 22 February 2021.

Next week is going to be our annual Wellbeing Week at home and in school.  Obviously we can’t do all the usual things we would do but on the link below (please do have a look) we are proposing a number of well-being and wellness activities including a Digital Detox Day on Wednesday, 10 February 2021 where we will be encouraging you to do different activities with your child that don’t involve sitting at a screen.  Staff will send home lots of activities to do with the children but we will need the children dressed in PE type wear every day next week. Please open and look at the following:

Wellness week for parents Feb 2021

We are seeing this week as an opportunity for our children and young people to re-engage with nature, activity and mindfulness.  This has been an unbelievably difficult time for young people and we want to take this time to detox the mind! We hope you will join in with the spirit of this.  Thank you.

God bless you all and…

Stay safe.   Stay strong.  Stay well.  Stay socially distanced. 

Stay at home and protect the NHS. 

Mr Hutchinson.

Monday, 1 February 2021

Long time no speak!  That’s a measure of just how mad and busy January was in school and that’s to say nothing about how crazy busy it has been at home for you!  January certainly seemed like a very long month to me!

There are a couple of very important updates in this message today:

Firstly; we are just about at capacity in school now regarding numbers.  When I talk to my headteacher colleagues in other parts of our city (even the ones in big schools like ours) they all agree that school is very busy in comparison to the last lockdown.  The whole purpose of the lockdown is to reduce the levels of transmission in the community and reduce the amount of time that we spend out of the home.  We cannot fulfil this aim if we have nearly everyone back in school.  Lots of Critical Worker families have made the difficult decision to make other arrangements or severely cut back the time their children are in school and this is very much appreciated.  I know some families have not been able to do this and this is not a criticism of them.  Some year groups have fewer children but most are what we would deem full now especially Nursery.  Massive thanks to all Nursery parents who completed the options we asked for a couple of weeks ago… this helped us enormously.

I know that many, many parents are struggling with home learning but I have to protect the integrity of the provision in school and reserve those places for our most vulnerable pupils and those of Critical Workers.  I do understand how hard it is especially for parents of young children but in essence they are the ones with the longest time to catch up; just keep doing your best and try and stick with it.  You are all doing an amazing job! Really… you are!

Secondly; although in the main the home learning seems to be going very well, there are still one or two children that we don’t see on a daily basis.  Teachers complete an online survey of engagement and across the school we are typically over 90% in most classes with 100% in some… this is an amazing achievement on your part so well done everyone.  We all know it isn’t easy and it certainly isn’t ideal but we do know how hard you’re all trying and we do appreciate it.  For my part I am blown away by the commitment and hard work our teaching and support staff are putting in at the moment to manage Face2Face Learning in school and remote learning at home.  Everyone, from the cleaners to lunch-staff to the wonderful office staff are putting in an outstanding shift at the moment and going the extra mile just as I know you are doing at home too.  I have also updated the Remote Learning Page on this website to make it reflect the current situation.

PM Johnson suggested that we might be back in school on Monday, 8 March 2021 and I sincerely hope he is right… we want all the children back in school as soon as it safe to do so.  Let’s continue to do the right thing… stay home when we can… stay socially distanced and wear a mask in public… don’t go visiting people we shouldn’t… and do the right thing because it is the right thing to do! (Just like your children do!)  If we all do these things then the R-Rate will drop and we will be able to unlock more quickly and get schools back.  They won’t unlock this time unless the R-Rate is significantly lower than it is now!

Third, we are rapidly running out of Chromebooks though I still have a few left.  You cannot do Remote Learning on a phone so if you are trying to do this then please contact me ASAP either directly or through your child’s teacher and we will try to get a Chromebook to you.  If you have a school Chromebook but you are not using it then please return it to school so that I can give it to a family that possibly needs it more.  Thank you.

Confirmation Packs:  Mrs Childerson very kindly went to the parish centre to collect some of the children’s packs and these have now been sent home. Please complete the final sections of the programme with your children and then they will be ready to receive this hugely symbolic and important sacrament.  Confirmation is the final Initiation Sacrament and as such completes their transition from childhood to young adulthood as a Christian… time for them to start making their own informed decisions (not about going to Mass btw!  That’s compulsory for all… when we can… safely!) and time for them to start to show their full potential as a member of God’s beautiful family.  Please see the links to the Diocesan website on the Parish Links Page.

And finally… I know that none of this situation is ideal for any of us but I am heartened by the many messages of support that I have had and that I know staff have had from you.  I know you appreciate just how hard everyone is trying at the moment to keep things going as best we can.  But it is also a time tinged with sadness with over 100,000 people in our country having lost their lives to this terrible virus.  Please remember Mrs Ryan and her family in your prayers tomorrow; she is down at her Mother-in-Law’s partner’s funeral in St Alban’s.  Just to add to the tragedy, Mr Ryan (who some of you will remember taught here for a year) has not been able to go down to his step-dad’s funeral and support his mum because he is having to self-isolate.  This is beyond sad for this lovely family but it is indicative of the sacrifices that so many have had to make at this time.  It won’t last forever.  Hope springs eternal (as my mum used to say!) and as Captain Sir Tom Moore says, “Tomorrow will be a better day!” [Keep him in your prayers too!]

God bless you all and…

Stay safe.   Stay strong.  Stay well.  Stay socially distanced. 

Stay at home and protect the NHS. 

Mr Hutchinson.

Friday, 15 January 2021:

Good morning everyone!  l hope that letting you know about the snow closure last night gave you enough time to make arrangements for today.  The decision to close fully was not taken light but was taken with the following in mind:

·         The need to keep everyone in our community safe and well
·         To try and avoid trip, slips and falls and potentially put increased pressure on the already overstretched ambulance service and our local NHS service
·         To make a decision which would allow enough time for contingency planning both for staff and our parents/carers

I seem to to be spending a lot of time these days thanking you for your patience, kindness and goodwill towards school and I don’t want this to sound like it’s being made in a flippant or trite manner because it certainly is not.   We are all in the middle of an unprecedented national emergency and we are all being called to play our part… you are too as parents/carers… just as much as we are as staff and Governors.  We cannot do what we do without your support and partnership and we very much appreciate how much you are behind us at this time; it is really helping when staff are trying so hard to provide Face2Face learning as well as Remote (Home) Learning.

Laptops/Chromebooks and Remote Learning

To date I have sent home in the region of 30 Chromebooks to support learning in those families where there are not the facilities needed to allow their children to access their home learning.  I know these families are deeply grateful for this support.  The supply is not limitless so if you can continue to manage please do but if you are trying to do home learning on a mobile phone it will not work and you really need to let me know then I can try and sort something out for you.  If you have a school Chromebook at home but could manage without it then please return it to school ASAP as there are still many in our community who need these on a day to day basis.

Thank you again to everyone who is trying so hard to get to grips with the RL offer; please remember this is an entirely new way of working for us too and we will get better at it as we go along.  At the end of the day we are all in uncharted territory and we all need to keep doing our very best.  YOU ARE ALL AMAZING AND ALL OF YOU ARE DOING A WONDERFUL JOB!

FSM Hampers

The FSM Hampers were supposed to be being delivered to school today but due to being closed this has not happened.  I will advise on these as soon as I know what is happening at this end. I am so sorry that our closure has put your families under added stress at this time and we will get this sorted as soon as we can.

Numbers in School:

Huge thank you to all those parents who read what I wrote last week about the numbers in school and have taken measures to help reduce them; some have not taken up their place at all and made other arrangements, others have reduced their days accordingly.  I know that this is not within everyone’s gift but if you can keep your child at home and let them access the Remote Learning offer then this is by far the safest thing for you, them and your wider family… to say nothing of what is safer for our school community. Taking up the offer just because you can is not really what this is all about… my child was bored in the last lockdown doesn’t really cut it for me… we speak to the children about ‘doing the right thing, because it is the right thing to do’… there has never been a time in our history when this was more pertinent for all involved.  Thank you again to those who have reduced their take up… we do however still have in excess of 120 children in every day… this is three times as many as in March/April/May.

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School is scheduled to reopen on Monday, 18 January 2021.  I expect that site staff and I will have a big job on to try and get the paths cleared, gritted and safe for you. Let’s hope the milder weather forecast for Sunday helps to melt the current levels of snow and ice that exist at the moment.  It is certainly an ice rink at the moment!  Please…

Stay safe.  Stay strong.  Stay well.  Stay indoors when you can.  Stay socially distanced.  Report to us if you or child has the virus.

God bless you all and thank you for everything you do and everything you are for our wonderful community.

Mr Hutchinson

Head Teacher.

Friday, 8 January 2021:

Wow!  What a month this week has been!!  Thank you all for your kind words, support and patience this week.  We have had endless messages of support and kindness and all of them are very much appreciated.  Organising anything in this school is a mammoth task, purely down to the scale and numbers involved, so your continued patience with us is very much appreciated. A few updates!

Numbers in school!

The numbers in school are SIGNIFICANTLY higher than in the original lockdown and this is causing a lot of anxiety for our wonderful staff who are facing many, many vectors of transmission in school.  The table below shows how many children are in school in each year group:

Year Group M T W T F
Reception 18 21 19 21 18
Year 1 21 25 28 24 25
Year 2 20 22 22 19 16
Year 3 22 24 24 22 18
Year 4 16 19 20 20 12
Year 5 13 11 14 12 10
Year 6 19 16 21 17 20
Totals 129 138 148 135 119
% of main school 31% 33% 35% 32% 28%

As you can see, there are some Year Groups that are very full.  What I would ask is that you carefully consider your family’s circumstances and IF YOU CAN please reduce the number of days your child is in school… even if this is only for a couple of days a week… and help reduce this burden on us.  Please consider the following in particular:

·         Can you adjust your timing around you home working to allow your child to be at home for some of your allocated days?
·         The requirement for home learning is 3hrs per day… can you work around this and therefore keep your child(ren) at home?
·         Do you actually NEED the place?  Can you manage?  I know this is a ‘right’ for Critical Workers but this right also comes with a lot of responsibility too and we are all trying to reduce the amount of times people interact with others.

Right, enough said!  I’ll leave it with you.  If you would like to reduce your days please can you let your class teachers know via Dojo. Please also refer to the letter below from Saleem Tariq who is the Director of Children and Families at LCC and Councillor Jonathan Prior who is Chair of the Education Committee:

Leeds Letter to Parents 7 Jan 2021

Remote Learning!

Well done you!!!  Well done staff as well!!!  This is NOT as straightforward as it would seem for anyone involved in this process but Mrs Ryan and I are both deeply grateful for the time, effort and due diligence that is being paid to this work by everyone involved.  The daily check-ins are vital and as staff become more confident with the system the level of direct engagement will also increase.  The check-in times are also changing ever-so slightly because they were originally designed to fit with a a bubble closing not a full school lockdown.  For some classes the original times just won’t work because of F2F teaching in school!  These are the revised times… please take note!  (I will adjust the policy when I get a minute!):

Year Group Time
Reception Tapestry check-in… staff will arrange
Year 1 1.00pm
Year 2 10.40am
Year 3 9.50am
Year 4 9.30am
Year 5 9.10am
Year 6 10.15am

Please note the change in time for Y3 and Y5! (As well as Y1 and Y2… but you already know about them!) 

We have had mostly excellent feedback from the RL so far.  There have been some teething troubles as you might expect but generally it has worked well so far.  Sadly, the novelty will wear off (for them… and especially for you) and it will prove harder and harder to get them to do the work as time goes on!  We are not foolish enough to think that this won’t be the case… this is why the daily check-ins are so very important.  This is our chance to impress upon your gorgeous children just how important it is to complete the work set! Good luck with it all and thank you again for all your cooperation, hard work and support here.  We are all doing our best.

Laptops!

I have been in touch with about 24 families who have needed to loan devices to help with home learning.  If you made a request, either to your teacher or to me, and I have missed it (i.e. you have not had a text this morning telling you to collect your device) then please email me immediately on: headteacher@st-theresas.leeds.sch.uk and I will sort it out as best I can next week. There is NOT a limitless supply of these devices so please only ask for one if you desperately need it… that said… you CANNOT do remote learning on a phone but you can do it on an PS4 or an XBOX.  Please see the instructions below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This might help… it might NOT! If you need help with Remote Learning please speak to you child’s teacher and they will do their best to help.

If you do not have enough data at home and the RL is using it all up quickly then I might be able to help… please email me (address above) and I’ll see what we can sort out for you.

Nursery parents!

There is a lot of talk in the media and from HM Govt about school nurseries being fully open.  As much as I would love to be open our Nursery fully, we have assessed that it just isn’t safe for us to do this just now.  Presently the Nursery is open for the children of Critical Workers and for vulnerable children only.  Our Risk Assessments support this provision and it is our intention to continue this level of provision going forward.  I do appreciate that this is going to be difficult for some families but this is a temporary measure and we will get all the children back into Nursery as soon as it safe to do so.  The best place for any child at the moment is at home at the moment just as it is for you and the rest of the community. Given that many of our Nursery staff are also recovering from the after-effects of CV-19 and are still not fully better, then we are really left with no other option at the present time.

And finally… I think that’s probably enough for the now!  You’ve probably stopped reading this already!  Please look after yourself this weekend.  Please stay home of you can.  Please look after your gorgeous children and your families.  The end is in sight but we’re not there yet!

God bless you all and stay safe!

Mr Hutchinson.

Tuesday, 5 January 2021:

6.00pm Update:

Good evening!  What a day!!

Thank you so much for not bombarding us with emails and phone calls today… your patience, good humour and support has been very, very much appreciated.

By now ALL Critical Workers and Vulnerable Children SHOULD have been contacted and you should know if you are in school tomorrow or later this week.  Whatever requests you have made to date have been granted whether you have heard directly or not.  If you have not been contacted or you are really not sure about tomorrow then please contact me by email tonight: headteacher@st-theresas.leeds.sch.uk and I will try to allay your fears. Numbers are significantly up on last time but we have made arrangements for pupils to be kept in their discrete bubbles and be taught by staff who know them well. I will detail provision at a later date.

Children attending school should wear FULL school uniform.

You should use the same drop off and pick up times that we have using since November until told otherwise.

Remote Learning will begin tomorrow for all pupils at home.  Please be ready to log on for your check in EXCEPT Year 1 and Year 2; their check ins will start on Thursday.  Staff may well check in with you tomorrow but at a slightly different time… this is because the check-in times were if we had to close bubbles or if the whole school was closed at the same time.  Y1 and Y2 staff will be in class tomorrow morning at 8.30 and 8.50 getting ready for F2F teaching and Remote Learning!

School lunches:  lunches will be provided in school tomorrow for all pupils who want one; F2, Y1 and Y2 will get a free lunch as per normal as will FSMs pupils.  Nursery, Y3-Y6 will need to pay as normal.  FSMs pupils who are at home will be able to collect a grab-bag from school.  Provision for FSMs pupils will be made ASAP and will be a hamper as it was in the original lockdown. More details to follow.

For now that will suffice. Thank you again for your wonderful, unfailing support.  You have no idea what that means to us.

God bless you all.   Stay safe.  Stay Strong.  Stay well.  Stay home… this is NOT over.  Let’s keep this virus at bay! Together we can beat this!!

Mr Hutchinson.

 

Good morning. Thank you for not bombarding me with emails last night or this morning.  Please continue to exercise patience and we will then be able to get this sorted properly for everyone.  Please do not ring school today as this will not be helpful.

Critical Workers (CW):

We still have all the forms from the lockdown last year.  This is very helpful… who knew! What is going to happen initially is that a member of the office staff will ring you this morning to see if you want to access your CW place in school.  We will ask you what days you need and if you need to access Before and After School provision (which will still need to be charged for).  If you work part-time then your child should only be in school on the days you work; on the other days you can access Remote Learning like the other pupils. Please wait for the call and please have your work pattern ready if you know it.

Critical Workers in Reception and Nursery:

Obviously we may not have your forms in school, especially Nursery parents/carers and parents in Reception who are new to the school.  Mrs Tunstall, Mrs Ruane and Mrs Miller will put a message out on Tapestry this morning asking you to contact them if you think you fall into the category of Critical Worker (please see the link below) and they will compile a list and as above someone from school will contact you.  You will, however, need to provide confirmation from your employer that you are a Critical Worker as this is what we asked for last time.

Nursery Parents: There is some confusion around whether or not school Nurseries are expected to be open.  I am still trying to get clarity here but for the time being assume that they are open for CW and Vulnerable Pupils only at the present time.  Mrs Tunstall has prepared a statement for you on Tapestry regarding CW status.  I will update you once I have complete clarity.

NEW Critical Workers or CWs that did not access provision last time:

If you are a CW and you did not access provision last time and you want to access provision this time and we do not have a form for you then you need to email me directly on headteacher@st-theresas.leeds.sch.uk and again someone will contact you from school.  Once again, you will need to provide evidence from your employer that you meet the criteria for CW status.  This is not to be awkward, just even handed and fair.  Please check you are on the list below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

Vulnerable Children:

Mrs Strong, our Inclusion Lead, and/or members of the Inclusion Team will contact you today to see if you wish to take up the offer of a place for your child.  We strongly encourage you to do this but it is NOT compulsory… provision of Remote Learning for your child will be more difficult for them (and us) but not impossible but this is why we are strongly advising you to access this provision in school.  Thank you.

Accessing Remote Learning:

I know that there are some in our community that will struggle to access remote learning because they do not have any suitable devices at home.  This might also include not enough data at home.  We have some devices (though not huge numbers) which we can loan out to families in this period to support home learning.  If you feel that you need help with a device at home please email me directly at: headteacher@st-theresas.leeds.sch.uk and I will make the necessary arrangements for you to collect a device at school; this collection process will most probably be tomorrow though! These devices will need to be returned to school in the same condition they were sent home when we return to school.

Remote Learning (RL):

The RL Policy will be put into action from tomorrow.  Teaching staff are working on this as we speak and preparing work for the remainder of this week and into next.  HM Govt’s expectation is that there will be approximately 3hrs worth of work provided each day.  This is NOT 3hrs of direct contact.  There daily contact will take place at the allotted time… please take note of this from the policy but your teachers will let you know when this is via Dojo too. This is important because it will tell your child what they are expected to do that day.  There may also be some other content that teachers prepare to aid learning and this will be posted on Google Classrooms which will be the main vehicle for delivering Home Learning. This is NOT an exact science and will be clunky to start with… your patience and cooperation will be required here.

Thank you for your continued patience.  This is not an easy situation for anyone and your support is very much appreciated.  Please be assured we will do everything in our power to provide the very best education, care and support we can for you and your child(ren).

God bless you all and keep us in your prayers!

Mr Hutchinson.

 

Monday, 4 January 2021:

8.45pm update:

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement tonight and a brief strategic Senior Leadership Team meeting, and after consulting our Chair of Governors, the Diocese of Leeds and with other Catholic Head Teachers, I have been left with no other option than to close school tomorrow for all pupils so as to make the proper preparations for both provision for Critical Workers and also for Remote Learning.  As at 9.00pm this evening I still have not received any updated guidance from HM Government and frankly they have put our school and our staff in an insidious position where we cannot possibly plan for a provision that we do not have the guidance to deliver.

I fully appreciate that this is not the news anyone wanted to hear, especially coming so late, but I am not in a position to open the school for Critical Workers when I do not know how many children I need to prepare for.

I will update this page again tomorrow morning with further information for Critical Workers, families of Vulnerable Children and for the parents of Nursery and main school.

Thank you again for your continued patience here; sadly I have been left with no other option but to implement this emergency school closure.

With every good wish

Mr Hutchinson.

 

 

Good afternoon.  Thank you for your help and cooperation this morning.  People came with face coverings and socially distanced on entry to school.  People also arrived at school at the right times and the car park was not overwhelmed. We need the same tonight please at pick-up time.  Thank you.

We have over 40 children not in main school today… that is four times as many as normal.  Some parents have not sent their children in because of the risk of CV-19 which is fine if their children (or siblings) have underlying or pre-existing medical conditions.  However, just being anxious about the virus is not a good enough excuse not to send your child to school… we are all anxious about the virus… anyone who says they’re not, is not being truthful.  The Government is really insistent that all parents who can, should, be sending their children to school.  There are some pupils who are poorly and as I said below, I don’t want them in school, but this is certainly not the case with everyone who is absent today.  Mrs Gibbons will be in school tomorrow and will be making welfare calls to all our absent families.  I expect to see more children back in school tomorrow unless the situation changes dramatically for our school and we end up in a national lockdown.

In the event of a national lockdown then we will implement, as soon as we are able, the Remote Learning Policy which can be found here: RL POLICY; we may need a day to get fully organised and everything in place but we will get everything in order as soon as we possibly can.  We would expect to be open for Critical Workers and our vulnerable children, just as we were back in March/April/May 2020.  HM Govt’s advice on Critical Workers can be found on this link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision 

We will, as we did before when we went into national lockdown and schools were closed, require confirmation from employers that you are indeed a critical worker in one of the sectors detailed on the list above.  More details about how to do this will appear here if we do indeed close for a national lockdown.

You may now be aware that Prime Minister Johnson will be addressing the Nation at 20.00 this evening and I will update the school website as soon as possible once I know what the new situation is and how things are developing. 

This is a rapidly evolving situation and we will do everything we can to keep school open so long as it is safe to do so both for staff and pupils.  This is our much preferred option.  Thank you again for your ongoing support, patience and due diligence paid to our Risk Assessments.

With every good wish,

Mr Hutchinson.

Sunday, 3 January 2021: [THIS IS STILL RELEVANT: HENCE IT REMAINS BLUE]

Good evening and thank you for your continued patience with this ever-changing situation.  The latest advice I have had from the LCC Directorate is that we should plan to be open tomorrow as we had originally planned at the end of last term.  They advised that I check in with all staff to check that they are happy with the virus controls that we already have in place and that they are happy to return to work as things stand.  The situation with the new variant of the virus means that this is an evolving situation but as things stand at this point at 5.00pm on Sunday, 3/1/21, then school will be open tomorrow as per normal; including breakfast club and after school club provision.

Your help in keeping all our community safe and well is absolutely vital.  If you all abide by the following simple rules then we will be able to keep our school safe, its staff and pupils well and therefore keep it open and functioning into this new term.

Please abide by the following:

·         ALL parents/carers entering the site to drop off or collect children from school MUST wear a face covering at all times

·         There is to be strict social distancing and no gathering in groups please (this had started to creep in a little towards the end of last term!)

·         Please only arrive ON TIME in the car park… arriving early ‘to get a space’ is not helpful… the car park flow works when everyone abides by the timetable (above in GREEN) which has not changed.

·         PLEASE can only one member of the household come to school to collect your child(ren)

·         NO teenagers on site; especially those who might just want to visit because they’re not in school.  (I’m not normally against this kind of thing but at the moment it just isn’t appropriate).  If you cannot collect your child without using an older sibling then they must come alone and must be wearing a face covering and must socially distance.

If your child is ill: If your child(ren) is ill… even if they are only slightly off it, then I don’t want them in school please at the moment.  It is absolutely vital that we keep the new strain of the virus at bay.  If your child is sick or has diarrhoea then they must be off for 48hours. The symptoms of the virus have not changed but the transmission of it definitely has.  If your child has:

·         a new and persistent cough

·         a temperature of 37.8 degrees or higher

·         a fever

Then you must get them tested for Coronavirus and you must not send them to school until you have a result.

If you, or your child, has been ill during the holidays and has been tested for CV-19 and you have not already let me know via my email: headteacher@st-theresas.leeds.sch.uk then you must do so immediately then we know about your child’s illness and I can report it to the DfE (which I do daily).

I know this sounds more forceful than my usual communication style but actually I am responsible for the health, safety and well-being of over 90 staff and over 485 pupils so it is vitally important that we all play our part in keeping our wonderful community safe.

Please, please, please look after yourself, your beautiful children and your families and let’s not let our guard down at the 11th hour when we are on the verge of getting the vaccine out to everyone.

Let’s… stay safe.  Stay strong.  Stay well… and stay socially distanced and at home as much as we possibly can.  This is NOT over by any means.

God bless you all and Happy New Year,

Mr Hutchinson

Head Teacher.