Click to view a joint statement regarding possible wider school openings in June. The statement has been agreed by Cllr Suzy Horton, Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Families at Portsmouth City Council, and the chairs of the primary and secondary head teachers in Portsmouth.
Dear parents and carers,
I hope you and your families are well. I would like to give you a brief update regarding the current situation.
Wider school opening
Over the last week or so there has been much speculation and guidance about returning to school for those currently being educated at home. I have written to year six parents separately as they are the first year group that we are being advised to take in at the earliest date of 1st June. We are currently developing risk assessments, procedures and protocols to allow this to happen following the government guidance, which has been released intermittently over the last week or so.
If as a year 6 parent you have not yet communicated whether or not your child will be taking up a place, please can I ask that you respond to email@example.com with this information as soon as possible.
There is a stated aim of all of our pupils being back in school before the summer. This is something we would welcome as long as this can be managed as safely as possible. We will await further guidance on this as it would mean no social distancing in classrooms if all pupils returned.
Home learning will continue for all year groups. In our conversations with parents, some have expressed their concern regarding the amount of home learning they are able to achieve. Please do not worry unduly about this. We are fully aware that there may be gaps in learning and, when children eventually return to school, our curriculum and lesson design will be adapted to address this. Our primary goals initially will be to re-establish routines, a love of learning and the social interactions many will have been missing.
We will set some work on the website for next week, which would usually be our half term holiday but please use your judgment as to whether your child accesses this. It is not compulsory and is there to provide activities to alleviate boredom as well as to continue with learning.
We are continuing our discussions and information sharing about pupils with our feeder and secondary schools. It is too early to say what transition events will take place but please be assured we will do our utmost to ensure the best possible arrangements for all our children. This will also apply to our internal transition arrangements.
Free school meals
There have been significant struggles with the voucher system. The company in charge of this distribution (Edenred) has not been able to cope with the volume of requests and we have been working on this continuously since the middle of the Easter break. It has been extremely frustrating for us as a school and I know it has affected many of you. However, it does appear that many of the issues have finally been resolved.
As ever we are still available to support you so please do contact us if you are facing challenges in any way.
Plans for opening Craneswater Junior School for year 6 pupils.
As you will be aware, the government announced last Sunday evening a broad proposal of year 6 children returning to school with the earliest possible date being 1st June. Over the last week, a number of publications have been made available, at different times, which has made clear and precise planning difficult. Therefore, what follows is based on current guidance and will inevitably be subject to further change.
- Children will be split into separate small group ‘bubbles’ and will not mix with other children outside of their ‘bubbles’. We are aiming initially to keep this below eleven pupils. However, this may change depending on issues such as the availability of teaching staff and any increase in pupil numbers.
- The drop off and collection times for different classes will be staggered to reduce traffic around our site.
- Your child may not be taught in their own classroom by their own teachers.
- We will not be able to guarantee 2 metre social distancing between children. However, classrooms will be adapted and children will be encouraged to maintain social distancing.
- We will be putting a number of procedures and hygiene routines in place which will help to minimise the risk of infection but please note that the risk of infection will not be completely eliminated.
At this point in time, to assist our planning, I would be grateful if you would give me an indication of whether you intend to send your child into school whenever the opening date is confirmed. There is no compulsion to do so. It is entirely your choice and the usual guidance on school attendance has been suspended.
Please respond by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your child’s name and a simple: Yes (my child will be attending) or No (my child will not be attending). This is not binding and you will be able to change your mind at any point.
Thank you for your support in this matter and please rest assured that our priority as a school is the health and safety of all pupils and staff. We are doing our best in challenging circumstances to plan a safe return for our school community.
I hope you are all well.
Week 3’s home learning is now on the website and you can now see the previous two weeks home learning as well.
This is the Easter holiday and so this learning is optional. It is for you to decide how much your child does. Please have a look at the home learning with your child and you can then decide on which activities you want to complete.
On the year group home learning pages of the website there are instructions as to how to upload documents to Purple Mash so that teachers can see them. You DO NOT have to do this but, should your child want to show some of their home learning, or indeed any activity such as something they’ve baked or a picture they’ve drawn, then they can do this through Purple Mash.
Within this software, there is the facility for children to email their teacher securely and safely. Teachers will respond to these at least weekly.
Please can I stress that this email system is for child to teacher communication. As a parent if you wish to email and enquiry please do so via the usual address: email@example.com
Phone calls home
In order to keep in contact teachers will be trying, periodically, to phone each family to say “hello” to the children and see how they are getting on. The number will come up as “No Caller ID” (or similar) as the majority will be phoning from their own home.
In these difficult times, some families may be struggling for a wide variety of reasons. We have put a link on our website https://www.craneswater.portsmouth.sch.uk/parental-updates to City Wide Support for Families. Within this document, you can find links and contact telephone numbers regarding support for housing, benefits, food supplies, health and well-being. There is also a link for parenting surgeries at the bottom of the page. However, if you are struggling in any way and are unsure where to go for help please contact us at school and we will try to support or direct you to someone who can.
I hope you are all fit, healthy, and managing well in this very unusual time.
Firstly, I would like to thank those parents who have heeded all the government advice regarding whether to send their children in to school or not. This sensible approach has enabled us to minimise the number of staff and pupils in school and maintain safe distances within classrooms.
I would also all like to thank all the staff who are coming in to ensure we can support key workers in their vital roles in managing this situation.
Learning at home
We will be putting up a new set of home learning on the website today and will continue to do this on Fridays from now on. The learning tasks and activities set are to support learning and provide structure for the day. Many of the activities are designed to be completed independently which is good for your child and will hopefully allow you to get on with other things.
We would suggest, depending on your child’s age and maturity that, activities should only be for between 25 and 45 minutes at the most. Then it will be important to change the activity and/or have a break. Some children will only be able to manage much smaller chunks of time.
We will continue to set activities for what would normally be the Easter school holidays. This is because we appreciate that many of you may have already given your children a break from schoolwork (which is important) and that you may find it beneficial to maintain a sense of consistency!
For those of you who like a bit of structure in your lives; here's what various celebrities are offering you and your children for free to help with their education and enjoyment while schools are closed:
9.00am - PE with Joe Wicks https://youtu.be/6v-a_dpwhro
10.00am - Maths with Carol Vorderman www.themathsfactor.com
11.00am - English with David Walliams https://www.worldofdavidwalliams.com/elevenses/
12.00pm - Lunch (cooking with Jamie Oliver) https://www.jamieoliver.com/features/category/get-kids-cooking/
1.00pm Music with Myleene Klass https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQh2wgJ5tOrixYBn6jFXsXQ
1.30pm - Dance with Darcey Bussel
2.00pm - History with Dan Snow (free for 30-days) https://tv.historyhit.com/signup/package
4.00pm - Home Economics with Theo Michaels (Mon/Wed/Fri) https://www.instagram.com/theocooks
Non-daily events include:
Science with Professor Brian Cox, Robin Ince & Guests https://cosmicshambles.com/stayathome/upcoming-schedule
9.30am Wednesday 25 March - Geography with Steve Backshall https://twitter.com/SteveBackshall/status/1242058846941712385
Free School Meals
At this difficult time I understand that some families may be losing their income streams. I would like to direct you to this section of our website where you can find application forms for Free School Meals: https://www.craneswater.portsmouth.sch.uk/statutory-info/school-meals-1 The local authority are still going to be processing these forms.
We are in discussion with the local authority who may be adapting how meals are provided for those eligible for Free School Meals and not attending school. This may be in the form of food boxes/parcels. As we receive more information, we will let you know.
On a final note, please do contact us if you have any major concerns that you think we may be able to help with. Whilst we may not be able to help directly, we may be able to direct you to another agency who can.
The Government has taken the decision that all schools will be closed from the end of the day today, Friday 20 March. They will remain closed until further notice, except for some vulnerable children and children of parents or carers who are critical workers and who absolutely need to send their child to school. This is a key part of the Government's measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).
Government's advice is that if children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading. They have set out the following key principles:
- If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
- If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent or carer who is a critical worker who cannot look after their child in any other way, then educational provision will be available for them.
- Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
- Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
Portsmouth City Council have put a significant amount of relevant information about a number of these current issues on their website. Please visit this through the link below.
Key workers and vulnerable pupils
Parents and carers of vulnerable pupil, as defined by the government, are being contacted directly either by Miss Turner or Mrs Braham so you will not need to read the following as arrangements are being made.
Overnight, the government has updated its advice to parents and schools regarding key workers and who should attend school.
The main message remains that: “If it is at all possible for children to be at home then they should be.” However, if this is not possible, the list of key workers broadly covers the following: Health and social care, Education and childcare, Key public services (justice system charity workers etc.), Local and national government (if essential to delivery of Covid-19 response), food and other necessary goods, public safety and national security, transport or utilities.
If workers think they fall in the critical categories above, they should confirm with their employer that their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service. Please see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers for further guidance.
If, once you have checked the above and you qualify for this, please email . And include the following information:
Name of child:
Parental occupation and name of employer: (We may need to see evidence of this such as an NHS card or contact details of your employer)
Once this information is received, we will contact you with confirmation of a place for Monday or a request for further details such as your role in a business continuity plan for an essential public service.
Before and after school childcare for key workers
As part of the government directive, they have indicated that it would be preferential for schools to support key workers with before and after school childcare. As this is normally provided through an external provider, we are currently exploring options. If you feel this would be supportive, please indicate this in your email response along with useful times. Whilst we cannot guarantee wrap-around childcare at this point in time, this information will help us formulate a response.
Thank you for bearing with us in this challenging time and for all the messages of support that we have received for our staff.
CITY WIDE SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES
Finding help, support and advice for families during the Covid-19 emergency
We know that this is a really unusual time for everyone, and that there are lots of things that can be difficult at the moment. Here are some sources of support if you need some extra help or support.
If you need to speak to someone from the council, or are not sure what you need, then please call Portsmouth City Council’s helpline on 023 9261 6709.
There are lots of other sources of advice, support and help too:
Money, benefits and housing
If you need some financial support or assistance to purchase vital items, then there is a selection of sources of help at https://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/ext/documents-external/help-for-people-in-financial-hardship-directory-dec-19.pdf
If you are concerned about your housing situation or at risk of becoming homeless, call Portsmouth City Council’s Housing Options Service on 023 9283 4989.
Food and essential supplies
If your children would usually receive a free school meal, then they will continue to be eligible for a daily meal through their school. Please contact the school for advice on how this support can be accessed.
If you need emergency food parcels, contact Portsmouth Food Bank on 023 9298 7976. You will need a referral from one of the other agencies in the city such as Advice Portsmouth (023 9279 4340 or advice.org.uk)
There are some other sources of support on the Portsmouth City Council website at https://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/ext/documents-external/ben-help-with-food-resources-in-portsmouth.pdf
Health and wellbeing
In a medical emergency, you should call 999. If you need medical help in a non-emergency, please call 111.
You can still contact your GP or go to a pharmacy for advice and treatment for minor conditions that do not need a prescription.
Wessex Healthier Together is a great source of advice about the health of children and young people https://what0-18.nhs.uk
If you have money worries, it can affect your mental health – find help and support at Mental Health and Money Advice on 023 9298 7976 or www.mentalhealthandmoneyadvice.org/en/
There are simple things we can all do to look after our mental health and wellbeing – take the NHS Every Mind Matters (one you) quiz to get started today with a free plan, expert advice and practical tips.
Positive Minds: operating a remote service, offering support through phone conversations with trained Wellbeing Advisers. Phone lines will be open Monday to Thursday, 9.30am-4.30, Friday 9.30am-4pm. To access this support, call 023 9282 4795.
Mind Peer Support: Providing virtual peer support group, every day between 10am-12noon via online platform elefriends.org.uk to offer advice and support or just to have a chat. Telephone and text support – text to 07451 276010 and someone will call or text you back, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
UMatter are no longer offering face to face support, and have moved to offer remote sessions (telephone and video call) following national guidelines – contact UMatter for confidential counselling for young people 11-25 on 023 9282 7026
Support for Parents
If you have a child with special educational needs or a disability, the Portsmouth SEND Local offer website will have up to date information on services and support for SEND children and their families http://portsmouthlocaloffer.org
Tips for looking after your mental health while self-isolating and tips for parents can be found at https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/talking-to-your-child-about-coronavirus
Motiv8 provides support and activity for young people. They are fully staffed and continue to offer virtual/digital contact with young people, families until such time that they can resume face to face provision. They can be contacted on 023 9283 2727.
Homestart offer parenting advice – this can be delivered remotely over the phone or by video calling – please call 023 9273 4400 Monday-Friday 9.00am – 5pm. There is also a limited doorstep drop-off service for crafts/equipment, and the Facebook page has helpful parenting tips – Homestart Portsmouth.
Portsmouth Integrated Domestic Abuse Refuge and Outreach Service are currently operating the majority of services and taking referrals as usual, but most are being delivered in a different way e.g. via telephone, skype etc. All refuges in Hampshire and Portsmouth currently remain open and continuing to take new referrals.
Telephone: 02392 065494
Opening hours: 9:00 am – 9.00pm Monday-Friday Weekends and bank holidays 10:00 am-6.00pm
Childline - If you are 19 or under, you can contact Childline about anything. No problem is too big or small. Speak to a counsellor straight away on 0800 1111 (freephone)
Out of Hours Social work
0300 555 1373
07465 205102 (hard of hearing/deaf clients only)
The Out of Hours team support professionals and the public outside of normal working hours with social care issues
Monday to Thursday 17.00 pm - 08.30
Friday to Monday - 16.30 - 08.30
Government guidelines Support for parents and carers to keep children safe online during the coronavirus pandemic
Young Carers Easter newsletter and family quiz
Parenting surgeries by phone consultation are available for parents wishing to discuss specific behaviour issues
Our parental support page also contains information and advice to support families during the coronavirus pandemic