‘Tis the season to be jolly careful!
Christmas under COVID conditions meant that things were a little different at the end of the autumn term for the school community. Instead of hosting a series of Christmas concerts and shows full of family and friends taking in the outstanding work of the children and truly setting the scene for family gatherings, we instead had to settle for recording our Christmas productions for sharing with parents and carers to watch from the comfort of their own home. Not quite the magic of a packed hall under stage lights but absolutely necessary for the situation all schools are facing. However, at a time of such disruption for our young learners, all of the staff at Littleport Community Primary School felt that it was important for us to try to maintain as many of the usual Christmas traditions as possible and so we handed out Christmas cards, ran our PTFA pocket money shop, had our Christmas lunch (including a socially distanced visit from Santa too) and decorated the classrooms. The weather even allowed us to get outside and enjoy some fun and antics in the snow – a very welcomed break from routine! At the very end of term, the whole school joined together remotely for our annual Nine Lessons and Carols. We were sad we weren’t all able to come down to St George’s Church as usual but we still enjoyed the carols and readings.
All of this was positively reassuring for the children and the whole school community were very happy that we could keep some sense of normality despite what was going on.
The beginning of the spring term was meant to be a continuation of routines of the autumn term despite concerns raised by in Parliament by MPs and teaching unions. In fact, communication went out to parents and carers as late as Friday 1st January letting them know the intended arrangements for their child’s return to school after the Christmas break on Tuesday 5th January. Staff attended the scheduled INSET session on Monday 4th January and used part of the afternoon as preparation for the classrooms to be full of children the next day. Then all of that changed. As you will no doubt be aware, on Monday evening schools across England were told that they would be closed to all but critical worker and vulnerable children and that schools needed to implement their remote learning offer. At 8.15pm Monday evening communication was in place to establish who was entitled to a place in school and the decision was made to closed the school to all children on the Tuesday to allow staff to adequately prepare for the ‘closure’ and education to resume as of Wednesday 6th January. It is frustrating to think that these plans could have been made sooner and the time at INSET used to prepare instead but the whole team acted swiftly ensuring that we were in a strong position to open as soon as possible.
We learned a lot about the home learning provision from the first lockdown and staff are now comfortably balancing face-to-face learning with our remote offer. Children at home get to experience pre-recorded English and mathematics sessions with their class teachers on a daily basis and we are back to holding regular Zoom calls to check in with families at home. The feedback from parents and carers juggling remote learning with their own work responsibilities has been overwhelmingly positive.
Staff at Littleport Community Primary School wish to take this opportunity to thank parents and carers for their support, kind words, gestures of appreciation and patience as we re-enter lockdown. I want to thank staff too for their hard work and dedication to the education of children in Littleport. These are challenging times for all and we look forward to welcoming all children back when it is right to do so. In the meantime, we love seeing photographs of our children learning from home and wanted to share some of those snaps with you. Stay safe!
Mr Adam Rivett
Headteacher, Littleport Community