Spring Half-Term 2021 Newsletter

Principal Introduction

Well, we made it to half term without having to close a bubble and we are incredibly proud of all staff who have been able to provide exceptional learning both online for those at home and for those in provision at school across the five weeks and equally as proud of families who have either continued to work during the national lockdown or who have tried valiantly to home school their children at home.

I think we all deserve a gold star!

As a school we have also been able to observe important national events and awareness days and weeks alongside our learning this last half term and we also have some exciting days planned for after half term too…

Children’s Mental Health Week

During Children’s Mental Health Week, children and staff in school and families at home participated in activities linked to this year’s theme of ‘Express Yourself’. This included learning more about our emotions, exploring different ways to care for our wellbeing and trying new activities that made us feel happy.

The engagement from families was fantastic and renewed our focus on looking after our physical and mental wellbeing, especially while learning at home.

Safer Internet Week (8th – 12th February)

Shireland Tech children and families took part in this year’s Safer Internet Week with the theme of creating #AnInternetWeTrust. As part of building our Digital Literacy skills, we need to think about information on the internet and being able to decide what information is reliable and we can trust.

During Safer Internet Week, we explored the ways in which we can use the internet for learning and fun; joined in with a ‘Find the Fake’ Quiz to learn more about real and fake news; and shared our Online Safety Code to stay safe online. Children also made pledges about how they would keep themselves safe online alongside over 10,000 children across the country. Thank you to families for taking part, especially during a year when we are all using the internet for learning, work and leisure more than ever before.

Virtual Family Coffee Morning

Our virtual coffee morning was a definite success! Mrs Matharu has received some great feedback from those involved and everyone felt that having time to reflect, empathise and laugh with others in the same position was a much-needed opportunity.

We are hoping to have another virtual coffee morning in the first week back so please join us – everyone is welcome! Look out for the Dojo invitation and complete the Microsoft Form so we can email a Microsoft Teams invitation to you.

Key Stage One Reading Competition Success

This half term, the children in Key Stage One have taken part in an online reading competition. Collectively, Year 1 and 2 have read hundreds of books on Bug Club and spent over 400 hours using Lexia at home! We are all so proud of what the children have achieved, and we can’t wait to see the impact of all their hard work when they return to school.

Congratulations to our winners– your Amazon Fire Tablets are waiting for you in school! Although the competition is now over, we hope that you will keep making excellent use of our online reading platforms, to continue making rapid progress! We will continue to reward reading at home with dojos so keep up the hard work!

Relationships and Health Education Consultation (10th February – 10th March 2021)

From September 2020, the Department for Education announced changes to Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) and all schools must follow the updated requirements. For Primary schools this means that all schools must teach Relationships and Health Education for children in Reception to Year 6. In our school, this will include a range of topics, including Family and Friendship, Growing and Caring for Ourselves and Differences.

As part of this consultation process, we will be reviewing our RSHE curriculum and policy so that we can be sure our provision is appropriate for our learners based on their age, physical and emotional maturity, religious and cultural backgrounds and special educational needs and/or disabilities.

We need feedback from families to help us do this. To find out full information and complete the family feedback for, please visit the Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust website: www.shirelandcat.org.uk/rse-consultation

We will also be holding a virtual discussion group as part of our Family Forum on Tuesday 2nd March at 2pm via Microsoft Teams. If you would like to participate, please email info@stp.shirelandcat.org.uk or call the school office on 0121 565 8812, before Friday 26th February. The focus group meeting should take no more than 1 hour followed by a shorter Family Forum.

New Teachers for September

We started the hunt for two, new, amazing teachers to join us in September and we broke a Trust record! We had 69 applications for the posts; teachers had heard about our school and reputation and very much want to join the school family.

The quality of applications was extremely high. We longlisted to 17 and had a virtual applicant evening this week which allowed us to meet them.

Shortlisting is over half term with interviews the first week back! Watch this space!

Half Term Ideas and Activities for Families

Half term is finally here! Usually, we would be sharing some fun and exciting places for you to visit but due to the restrictions we know this is difficult. Discover Sandwell have a programme running in the week with some online activities each day for you and your family to do together including cooking and a live session with DJ Donna. If you are interested please visit,  www.discoversandwell.co.uk/events

Support at Home

If you are facing difficulties with your family during this period and feel like you may benefit from support, please call Smethwick COG- 0121 569 7297.  

Sandwell Council are offering a COVID Winter Grant Scheme. This is for vulnerable families who have been affected by the pandemic and who may be struggling to pay bills or afford food. Please visit. www.sandwell.gov.uk/wintergrant

Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and as a trust we take all matters of safeguarding seriously. If you are worried or concerned about the welfare of a child, then please call Sandwell Children’s Trust- 0121 569 3100.

Forest School

We have great plans for the land opposite our school. Some of you may have seen my dojo post earlier this week about the landscape company who have been busy clearing the piece of land opposite our school over the last four weeks. They have been busy clearing all the litter and rubbish that has been dumped there over many, many years.

Several of our staff are Forest School trained and are already planning how we will use the place to enrich and enhance the children’s learning and physical development.

World Book Day

World Book Day takes place on Thursday 4th March 2021, and we would like to invite you to join us in helping your child to make the most of this special occasion at home. World Book Day celebrates the joy and value of books and reading, especially for children. To help get them started on their reading journey, every child will receive a £1 World Book Day Book Token. This will be a new single-use digital version, that can be printed at home or shown to booksellers on a phone or tablet screen.

At Shireland Technology Primary we will celebrate World Book Day for children at home and in provision. Your child will be invited to dress as their favourite character at home and in School. There will be a range of exciting activities and chances to win prizes; more information to follow shortly.

Mother’s Day Assembly 12th March

Sunday 14th March is Mothering Sunday. As this date gets closer, teachers will be encouraging pupils to think about and say thank you to mothers or those who look after us.

Once again, we are having to think differently about how we work with families due to ongoing restrictions, but we are really looking forward to showing how grateful we are.  Please keep your eye on Class Dojo for something very special coming soon.

Final Word

We will be waiting to hear from the Prime Minister during half term about plans for reopening for all pupils and will let you know in due course how we will organise this.

We hope that you all have a good half term and look forward to seeing Key Worker children on Monday 22nd February at 8.45am.