I hope that this email finds you and your families safe and well. It is the end of the first week of the Summer term and the fifth week of being locked down. Normally, I would be welcoming you back to St John's, and giving out key dates and information about the forthcoming term. However, things are different and I find myself as the Headteacher of a "virtual school". I thought I could still welcome you and your children back to school, and share some news with you all.
The Teachers and Teaching Assistants are very busy at home: preparing work online, making videos for the school YouTube page and phoning to check that children in their classes are ok. If you have several children, you may be getting sick of the phone ringing! We are just trying to ensure that every child feels special and can talk to an adult that they are familiar with. Mrs O'Keefe and the Office staff are also working hard to ensure that children who are vulnerable, or who are entitled to free school meals are receiving the support they need. I would like to thank the amazing staff for all the work they are doing to support the St. John's Family during this time. Next week we will be sending the children a video from all the staff which we hope will make them smile and bring a little bit of the St John's magic into your homes.
I would like to wish Ramadan Mubarak to all of our Muslim families. As a church school, we support children to grow in their faith- whatever that faith may be- and this is a special time for many of them. I know that lots of you will be observing the fast over the coming month, and I pray for you and your families, as you observe this special time during lock-down, making family visits and gatherings impossible. As we say in school: God is Good, All the Time; and I know that He will be close to you during this month.
The government got everybody excited recently, by announcing that they would be providing laptops to support vulnerable children during lock-down. As is always the case, they then sent out the details of the offer which stated that: "Eligible children will only include those with a social worker, care leavers and disadvantaged year 10s, who are due to sit their GCSEs next year." If you have a social worker, they will be discussing this with you. Other than that, we do not have any eligible children.
Finally, St John's is open to provide childcare (but not education) for children of key workers between 9am and 12pm. All the advice is that children and staff are safest at home and so much as I love spending time with them, I would rather they were not at school. Not only do I want to protect the children, but I also need to look after the staff, and so I want to limit the number of people that are in the building. Therefore, we will be strictly following the advice to only offer this to key worker children for whom it is impossible to be at home. I have been advised that children should only be at school if it is not safe for them at home. As we are in week 5 of lock-down, most of us have already put things in place to keep our children at home. However, if your circumstances have changed and you have no other option, please email email@example.com and let us know.