Thank you for the huge amount of support which has been flooding into school during this past week. I feel truly blessed to be part of such a kind and caring community. School staff have been under huge pressure and it is reassuring for them to know that their efforts are appreciated and recognised by the community they serve. Emails, phone calls, smiles and waves, cards and even chocolates have been most gratefully received over the last few days – thank you!
We are proud to have kept the school open for “Key Worker children” during this difficult time, even while a number of local schools have closed their doors. Thank you for helping us to do this by taking responsible and difficult decisions to keep children at home unless there is no other safe option. This has helped us to keep staff and key worker children safer in school. Thank you for this too.
Our staff have also been busy this week supporting our children who are not in school but whose families may need additional help from the Catholic Children’s Society and from food vouchers. We have made gifts of food parcels to some families who are in self-isolation or working long shifts and have found it difficult to get to the shops. I am pleased that we have been able to help some families in difficult situations and would encourage you to let us know if you or anyone you know would like to benefit from help of this kind.
I know for many families the first week of lockdown was very difficult; there have been a lot of changes to our daily routines and children’s (and adults’) emotional wellbeing can be easily destabilised. Many of us are creatures of habit! I know for those parents trying to work from home and manage their children’s learning, it has been an almost impossible task! Well done for all you are doing at home – you are all awesome parents!
Please don’t put pressure on yourselves – I know there is a lot of “noise” on social media about the perfect home-learning set up and parents taking on the role of educators… Don’t go there! Although difficult, the lockdown gives us all a golden opportunity to spend more time with our wonderful children – do make the most of it! Enjoy this time together as much as you possibly can and don’t get too hung up on paper-based learning! Especially not this side of Easter and while the weather is so fine. On our website you can find some lovely examples of the learning activities our children have been doing in school and at home over the last week. It would be great to receive some more for next week – we are keen to give the children a shout-out and encourage them with their home-learning.
I am in contact at the moment (virtual of course!) with around 20 Surrey headteachers and there are draft plans for a coordinated approach to home learning for all Surrey primary schools after Easter. These plans are in the earliest stages at present, but I anticipate they will be rolled out after the Easter break if, as seems likely, the schools are still closed at that time. I will keep you posted when there are more details, but please don’t worry about the Summer Term.
I’m sharing a couple of resources on our website which may support with adult and child mental health during this period of social isolation. The Corona resource for children has been shared with some children already but they may appreciate a refresher. The Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing document is aimed at adults but may benefit the whole family.
Finally, while parents are becoming so much more involved with their children’s learning, I thought it might be good to remind you of the Cardinal Newman “Curriculum Intent” – our vision for what we aim for our children to achieve while they are at Cardinal Newman. It naturally includes key skills (Maths and English) but also takes a creative and open-ended approach to learning. We are probably as far from a worksheet-based pedagogy as it is possible to be! We aim to develop the children’s practical skills, their characters and consciences as well as encouraging their curiosity and developing their investigation and research skills
We would love to hear how you have been using our Curriculum Intent to inspire your home learning – photos or short descriptions of your activities would be most welcome! We look forward to sharing them with you on our website next week!
Thank you for all your support and resilience during this challenging time for all of us. Please do continue to be the kind caring community we know we are.
All best wishes
Please click here for this week's collective worship