Message from the Principal
First, on behalf of the Governors, PTA and Staff may I wish all of our Moneyrea family a very Happy, Healthy and Fulfilling New Year. Last year was a steep learning curve for everyone; some of us lost income and even employment, some suffered bouts of ill health and some of our good friends and family passed on, and the hurt remains.
Our children suffered too, they lost out on learning and on so many school, family and social events. Loch Insh, Carrowmena, and East Coast Adventure missed the merry racket-making of our young adventurers. The Lyttle Memorial stage missed the showcasing of their many talents; the goals, baskets and tries went unscored; and the trophies unclaimed.
And yet, they learned so much. New stuff, like how to bake buns, plant seeds, hammer wood and be content with their own company and their family’s love and care. They came through lockdown with resilience and determination; they raised money for charity, they zoomed and made videos. And in September they came back to school and got stuck in, and we are proud of them.
We celebrated Sir Captain, ‘The Main Man’, Tom, our selfless NHS staff, and all who kept our economy going through their shop tills, delivery trucks, post bags, patrol cars, bin lorries and fire trucks etc. We owe a big debt to so many.
I want to take opportunity to thank our staff for their commitment, enthusiasm, cheerfulness and genuine warmth of spirit; they have been outstanding.
And, as the new year begins we can reflect upon the fact that we are all changed in some small way by our different experiences of adversity. We may have new priorities, maybe a clearer vision, and a kinder walk. Let’s all pray that we learn as much and more in happier times in 2021.
Happy New Year x.
NEW ARRANGEMENTS FOR SCHOOL OPENING
As you know the Minister in his inimitable style sent out his latest missive yesterday morning at 7.00am. At least he is consistent!
Based on this letter and having engaged on Zoom meetings throughout the day with our Governors, Teachers and Castlereagh Primary Principals’Group the following course of action has been agreed:
I will attempt to be clear and concise.
1. School is closed until the 11th January to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our pupils and staff and our families and to help drive down the rate of transmission of Covid-19;
2. Teachers and CAs will be in school on Monday 4th January to prepare together for the next phase in our pupils’ learning;
3. Year 1 – 6 Learning packs will be available for collection by parents on Monday 4th January from 1.00pm – 4.00pm and from 10.00am – 12 noon on Tuesday 5th.
These packs will cover the children’s first week of learning at home.
Packs to be collected from your child’s teacher at the exterior door to the classroom.
On no account should a parent enter the school building or approach a member of staff without a face mask.
The following exceptions apply:
4. Nursery will be open from Tuesday 5th January (Children wear uniform);
5. From Tuesday 5th January school will facilitate the supervision of the children of keyworkers (see list), where: (a) both parents are key workers, (b) in a single-parent family the parent is a keyworker, and, where there is no safe alternative child care provision available.
In this pandemic, it is the primary responsibility of parents to make provision for their children’s care and this supervisory provision should only be considered as a last resort.
If you feel you have no other options and wish to request a place for your child/ren, please email me by 8.00 pm on Sunday (firstname.lastname@example.org). I will then be able consider these requests. Please indicate in your email: your eligibility under the key worker definitions, your place of employment and which days you may require supervision. On Monday, I will confirm if we can facilitate your child in school for supervision. Please do not send your child to school on Tuesday if you have not received confirmation from me for attendance. I must also stress, this is not active teaching. The children will be supervised only in their completion of the home learning activities that will be provided to all pupils.
The children will be grouped Yrs1 and 2; Yrs 3 and 4; and Yrs 5 and 6 (Children wear uniform)
6. From Tuesday 5th January school will facilitate the supervision of children who have statements of Special Educational Need and children who are deemed vulnerable, where their parents are unable to look after them at home or via alternative arrangements.
7. School will be open from Tuesday 5th January from 9.00 am – midday to support our Yr7 pupils who are taking their AQE/GL exams. (Children wear uniform)
Please note there is no obligation for Yr7 pupils to attend these classes, and where parents choose to keep their Yr7 child at home, Miss Daly will make alternative provision.
Those Yr7 pupils who are not sitting the AQE/GL exams must not attend school and will have learning activities provided by Miss Daly and access to remote learning in the afternoons via Google Classroom.
Please note, the following additional mitigations will apply:
Year 7s will be taught in the assembly hall at socially distanced desks;
Year 7 pupils are to wear facemasks which must be changed each day;
Break will be taken outdoors and socially distanced, as far as is possible.
Parents are reminded that if a child in the Yr7 AQE /GL exam group should test positive the whole exam class will have to self-isolate and will miss one, possibly two tests. In this event, the Grammar schools will have to consider Special Circumstances.
The Transfer Tests will be completed in the Grammar School Assessment Centres, commencing Saturday 9th January.
8. After School Club
ASC will operate in the afternoons for children who are registered members of ASC and who are attending school as, (a) children of keyworkers, (b) children who are deemed vulnerable or who have a statement of SEN, (c) Nursery pupils who are registered with ASC, and (d) AQE pupils who are attending morning lessons.
9. Digital Learning:
If lockdown continues beyond the 11th January, as is distinctly possible, teachers will revert to remote learning methods using Seesaw and Google Classroom. More information will follow. The situation is under review.
If you do not have sufficient access to digital devices or printers etc. please inform me asap to see how we can help.
I think that is enough information for now.
Thank you for your continued understanding, support and encouragement, even when you disagree. That means a lot; and I get it, we all have different views on this, but we have a clear plan of action and we are sticking to it … until the next curveball arrives, that is!
Take care and be safe.