Dear Parents and Carers
As Term 4 comes to a close, I thought I would write to you to clarify where we go from here!
As a school, we are still recognizing that the next two weeks are an official holiday from school. This means that teachers will not be setting work over the next two weeks. Attached with this letter however, are some resources and ideas to support families over the holidays as we recognize that, as we remain indoors for the majority of our days, we all need a little bit of help and inspiration to help pass the time.
I may be stating the obvious here, but sometimes it never hurts to do so: school will remain closed to children after the Easter holidays and parents should not bring their child to school on Monday 20th April. We will continue to support a small number of children in school as per the arrangements in place for vulnerable children and those whose parents are key workers and who absolutely need to attend school. If there are any changes to the current arrangements, I will update all families as appropriate.
Throughout the holidays, we will be reviewing the home learning provision that we have put in place over these last two weeks. It may be that we change our provision but any changes will be clearly communicated to you, by me, before they start. Families should expect the same system to be in operation when term begins again on 20th April.
I would also like to add that this whole ‘home learning’ business is new to all of us! We probably haven’t got it right for every individual family because each family is different. As we review our provision we will always seek to put in place a system which is manageable for all, but, we will always understand that, for some families, completing all the home learning activities may be a challenge at times. We don’t want to create conflict within households. It is important that we work together, as we develop a balanced approach to home learning, and this is something that we will continue to strive for in the weeks to come.
I have asked teachers, and other staff, to contact all families from time to time over the last two weeks. This has been so that we can make sure that everyone is doing OK and to see how the home learning is going. During the holidays, we will also be reviewing this to see if our current system needs to be adapted. I hope that families have appreciated the time teachers have taken to contact them and have received the calls in the supportive spirit with which they were intended. I know the teachers have enjoyed catching up with you and your children and making sure that everyone id doing alright.
I hope you have all subscribed to our YouTube channel. The feedback has been really positive regarding the stories that staff are sharing and we also have some VIP readers: Mark Lemon and Anna Hoghton have all kindly uploaded some special videos for the children to enjoy. We are also sharing some assemblies including our weekly Friday celebration assembly. The first of which was uploaded today.
Free School Meals support
As previously communicated, we are supporting those families whose children are eligible for Free School Meals (FSM). This does not include those children entitled to Universal Free School Meals (UFSM) which include all children in Reception and Key Stage 1. This is also the case for the recently introduced voucher scheme which is only eligible for children eligible for FSM. If you think you may be eligible to receive free school meals, you can apply online through the Bristol City Council website by clicking HERE.
Despite all that is going on, we continued with our teacher recruitment process in preparation for next year. I am delighted to announce that Mr. Morton, Mr. Burns and Miss. Turner will all continue working at Air Balloon next year as permanent members of staff. I am sure that you will all join me in congratulating them and I look forward to them continuing their excellent work at Air Balloon.
I am also sad to announce that we have said farewell, and good luck, to two other long-serving members of our Air Balloon team. Ryan Mills, who has supported so many children over the years, has left Air Balloon for ventures new. He will be greatly missed as will his DJ-skills at every school disco (although he may be tempted to make a sneaky return) and his fantastic singing voice as performed at many a school fayre. All the best Mr Mills, we will really miss you. We also say farewell to one of our long-serving First Aiders, Mrs Van Der Vlugt as she leaves us, and our welfare room, behind. Goodbye and good luck!
Finally, I just want to say thank you again to the whole school community for the hard work, patience, adaptability and understanding that has played such an important part in managing these recent weeks. I won’t lie and say that it’s getting any easier, or more normal, to run the school in the way that it is currently operating, but to face these challenges with the support and backing of you all certainly helps!
I do not know how long this situation is going to last but you can be assured that everyone at Air Balloon will continue to work hard to make sure that we do the very best we can. We may not be able to go outside in order to look to the stars, but that won’t stop us trying to ensure that everyone can achieve, everyone can learn and everyone belongs.
Take care everyone.
Term 1 and 2