Wow what an amazing term – in so many ways. It has been a real privilege to be the Acting Head Teacher here at Stanhope Barrington C of E Primary School. It has also been a huge challenge. As you know we converted to an academy on 1st April 2020 right in the middle of a national pandemic and lockdown. As such the real impact on the school was not really felt until we returned to school in September. In September, we had to reopen the school in a Covid secure way to ensure the safety of our children, families and staff. I cannot thank everyone enough for sticking to our Covid Risk Assessment and supporting us to keep everyone safe.
We are one of the very few schools who have not had to close a bubble or indeed the school and that is thanks to the hard work and dedication of the whole team. The logistics of staggered starts, playtimes, lunchtimes and collection times has put real pressure on our teaching teams who have risen to the challenge and gone above and beyond in delivering high quality learning opportunities for our children. Our focus throughout has been the emotional well-being of our children and it has been lovely to see so many of our children skip into school each morning. They are really happy to be back and have adapted so well to our new school routines.
Towards the end of the first half term we carried out baseline assessments to identify gaps in learning and after half term we implemented our Catch Up Programmes to support children. I am delighted that following the end of Autumn Term assessments, it is apparent that these interventions have been extremely successful with huge amounts of progress evident. We will continue with the Catch Up Programmes over the Spring Term.
We have also had to develop a Remote Learning Plan in the event of a school closure or bubble closure. This plan will outline exactly what will happen and what will be provided in terms of home learning and will be available on our website in the new year.
We have all thoroughly enjoyed advent and the celebration of Christmas in school this year. Initially, it felt like Christmas in school would be a much reduced or restricted affair but our team have been creative and innovative and we have been able to deliver a range of exciting and fun activities which the children have enjoyed immensely.
During this, my first term as Acting Head Teacher, I have experienced so many emotions but the one that will remain with me over the Christmas holidays is that of being so overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity and support we have received from our Stanhope Barrington family and community. The extremely kind donations have literally left me lost for words and the kind words of support and appreciation have kept me going through some tough times.
This is a special place to live; a special place to work; a special place to learn and a special place to belong.
I wish you and your families a very safe, peaceful and happy Christmas and look forward to welcoming you all back to school on Monday 4th January 2021.