No 176

03 April 2020

Dear Children, Parents and Carers,

Firstly, my weekly message to the children,

If we’d been in school this week, it would have been a week celebrating Easter! It’s always such an optimistic week full of hope. We always look back at the term and celebrate all that’s been achieved. My particular highlight is our Easter service when all of us gather in Holy Trinity Church, across the seven year groups. This year it will be different – we’re not able to be together. The message however is still the same. God loves each one of us so much, and sent Jesus to rescue us and bring us hope! Jesus returning to life reminds us that love overcomes even death! God sees all the things that we’re struggling with at the moment, and promises to keep us safe. What are you finding really difficult about being stuck at home? Have a think about the message of Easter – how does it bring hope, even in these strange times?

Strangely, this is the last day of term! If we were in school, you’d be excited about the holiday ahead and I’d be reminding you to look after each other and yourself until we meet again. I’d be encouraging you to think back over all the weeks in school and to pat yourself on the back for all that you’ve achieved! So even though we’re not together, I still want to say well done! Think of something that you’re especially proud of learning recently, tell your family about it and be proud! Over the next two weeks our home-school ideas will be a bit different. As it’s not term time, we thought we’d suggest some ways to stay busy and enjoy yourselves. The first week has an Easter topic focus. If your family doesn’t celebrate Easter, you can still enjoy learning about Easter traditions. For week two of the holiday, we’re going to focus on our school values with lots of creative ways to think about each one. I wonder which one is your favourite? A zest for learning? Imagining the journey in another’s footsteps? Embracing the future? Everyone knowing they are treasured and loved as a unique child of God? Which one can you put into practice over the coming weeks?

After the Easter holidays, we’ll make a start on the summer term topics and get back to our daily maths and English – even though we’ll still be at home. I’ll write again then. I hope you have a very Happy Easter! Stay safe.


And now to our parents and carers:

Thank you so much for your emails of encouragement to the staff team about the home-school ideas that they are working hard to provide each day! Please do not feel under pressure to do everything that is suggested – all of us are having to adapt to a different way of managing family life, and I would hate for our support to end up causing more anxiety and stress. Feel free to pick and choose what works for you. It is helpful for children to maintain some sense of routine, and I know that many of you are settling into a routine that works. The teachers are so delighted to receive email updates from you and your children! Try not to be overwhelmed by comments from other families about how they’re running their home-school…every family situation is different and you know your children better than anyone!

One of the most challenging aspects of our current school set up is the absence of any live interaction. After Easter, we plan to provide weekly Zoom meetings. Year groups will be in touch about the details for these. I know that some of you would like more teaching, and others want less. Please be patient with us as we adapt. Remember that in some homes, with lots of siblings and parents working from home, internet time is limited. There are plenty of other online resources now available if you would like to provide more home learning – we’ll be signposting these on our Twitter feed and through year group suggestions.

After Easter, rather than teachers using their individual emails, we are moving over to a generic year group email. This means that teachers working in school caring for our key worker families, can share the load of responding to emails from their class. It also means that should any of us become unwell, your child will still feel in touch with staff. The year group email addresses are: For reception rec@htpd.surrey.sch.uk, for Year 1 year1@htpd.surrey.sch.uk, for Year 2 year2@htpd.surrey.sch.uk etc. If you could put the name of your child’s teacher in the subject line of your email (eg For Nick, for Georgie etc.) that will help with managing the account.

With so many of us interacting with each other online, I do want to draw your attention to the importance of helping children stay safe. Whilst chat rooms, Zoom, Whatsapp etc are providing much needed social opportunities for all of us, please do be careful to supervise your child. I’m sure you’ll all have heard about meetings being joined by unwelcome guests who then behave badly and share explicit content or are abusive. Make sure any meetings are password protected and only include people that you trust and be ready and vigilant to close the meeting in case they are hacked.

Here’s some entirely different news, I’m delighted to tell you that our Pitch Crowdfunder appeal is now over and despite the exceptional situation, it proved an amazing success. With the final total coming in at £12 612, we are still planning to go ahead with a pitch refurbishment! Obviously, we’ll get back to fundraising again when times are more settled, and there are different priorities on our minds at the moment, but I do want to pass on my thanks to all those who have contributed.

With love and prayers,
Clare

Thought of the week: “Because of Him, death is defeated. Pain is no more.” Rev 21, v4. How do you cope with pain.

Whole school notices

Financial Support 
If you are finding this time particularly challenging financially, you may want to follow this link to see what help may be available through the benefit system: https://www.swru.org/covid-19-updates/

Feel free to contact either of our home school link workers, Bridgit (bridgitb@htpd.surrey.sch.uk) or Lucy (lucyc@htpd.surrey.sch.uk) as they may also be able to help. 

No 175

27 March 2020

Dear Children, Parents and Carers,

What an unusual week it’s been! I thought I’d write my newsletter in two sections while we’re not all together. I wanted to connect with the children first and then update parents and carers too. First then to the children:

It’s been so strange in school without most of you here. If we’d been together, our thought of the week would have been about not being materialistic. That is, not relying on things, money and stuff to keep us satisfied. The person coming face to face with Jesus was the rich man who realises that money hasn’t made him happy (Matthew 19). Think about what gives you the most joy. What makes a person truly rich? Are you good at sharing your possessions? I think God is helping us to understand that all we really need is to know that we are loved.

I’ve really enjoyed seeing your amazing work that you’ve been busy with at home. The best thing is seeing you living out our school values, even when we’re apart. So many of you have seen “heaven in the moment” – the sunshine and flowers have been cheering us all up and lots of you are making the most of time outdoors. The optimistic and hopeful way that you’ve adapted to learning at home shows that your zest for learning is as strong as ever!

I’ve also been really impressed to hear stories of children “imagining the journey in another’s footsteps”. Do make sure that you keep the people around you cheery too. And if you can keep in touch with older family members online, I know that will make them so much happier as well. One girl in Year 6 has challenged her grandparents to learn the names of the capital cities, and to spell the top 100 most tricky words!

I’ll write again next week, but do keep letting us know how you’re getting on. I’m praying that you all stay safe and well – and I’m missing you very much!

Now, back to you parents and carers:

Firstly, thank you for your amazing support. Your messages of kindness have really buoyed all of us along. Thank you too for adapting so well to this new way of doing school. Please do call the school office (539033) if you’re having trouble accessing the work online. Our home-school link workers, Lucy and Bridgit are still working hard, albeit remotely. Please do email them (lucyc@htpd.surrey.sch.uk or bridgitb@htpd.surrey.sch.uk) or call Lucy on 07500 663277 (this is an old phone, so it won’t receive texts!) if you need any support. It’s been lovely to share photos on Twitter of all the different home learning activities that are going on so do keep emailing class teachers and me.

You’ll also see on our website and on Twitter that I’ve posted some of the amazing entries for the recent Royal Academy Young Artists Competition. We were so thrilled with the quality and chose a selection to go forward to the next round…let’s hope that some of them get selected to be exhibited at the Royal Academy later in the year!

We are starting to make plans for how we will move forward into next term. This first couple of weeks has been our first response – we had to adapt very quickly and make plans overnight about how to run a virtual school. We will continue to provide ideas for your children over the two weeks that follow (from Monday 6th April; these would have been the Easter break) – we intend to make these a bit different and more like a “holiday-club” approach. Each day, we’ll make some suggestions about what you might like to do to at home, but it won’t be as structured as currently. In this way, we can give the majority of our staff team a much needed rest. There will still be an update every day on the “Just to keep you going” pages – but there will just be one for HT and one for PD, rather than separate ideas for each year group. In school, it will be similar for our children of key workers.

Then, when the summer term starts (from Monday 20th April), we’ll be back with more ideas for keeping education a priority at home. That is assuming that we will still be staying at home at that point. We are exploring ways to use technology to keep in touch and will let you know about that once we have a plan. Our priority is to support you to keep your children well, to stimulate them into learning and to show them that we can still be connected and part of the HTPD community even in these challenging circumstances. Whilst it’s hard to understand the enormity of the crisis that we’re facing, I do feel that it’s reminding all of us of the things that really matter. Caring for one another, sharing one another’s burdens and walking together through the darkest of times is how we will need to live. I’m comforted by the words in the Bible that say “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.” He is, and always has been our ever-present help in times of trouble. With love and prayers,

Clare

Thought of the week: “Trust God and He will supply your every need,” Philippians 4, v 19

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