E-newsletter 71

Grendon Newsletter
  E-newsletter #71 Friday 8th January 2021  
  Hello Visitor,

A Short Summary Of A Long Week 

First of all, many thanks to those of you who have provided helpful feedback, kind words of support and who have excercised patience and understanding as our school and wider community navigate this incredibly challenging period of time. Your support at a time of national emergency is particularly well-received and I am so grateful to all of those who have taken the time to support our school effort.  

Before I talk about this week, if I cast my mind back to last weekend, it is worth noting that not a single member of our staff team opted to follow the strong and persuasive joint Teaching Union advice which was to refuse to report for whole class teaching at the start of term. Balancing health concerns and increased personal risk of Covid-19 infection alongside an overwhelming commitment to return to work, staff uanimously opted for the latter and school was fully prepared for the expected whole school return of pupils on Tuesday. With Monday evening's announcement, our combined efforts immediately switched towards the complicated dual arrangements of remote learning and face-to-face teaching. The summary below provides a glimpse of where we find ourselves barely 72 hours into this new lockdown.     

  • Two classes of key worker & vulnerable children have been created. Uptake for places this time has significantly increased to 35-40% of the school population. Both classes are running very smoothly and happily under the full time care of qualified teachers and a high ratio of support staff.
  • Prior to Monday's announcement, teachers created detailed Learning Grids linked to their wider curriculum themes and covering a broad range of curriculum subjects - these were made available to all children from Wednesday this week and have since been accessed daily by the vast majority of pupils.
  • Whether attending school or learning remotely, pupils receive a very similar curriculum diet with Learning Grids forming the basis of learning for both groups. This is promoting consistency in learning and creates opportunities for pupils to engage in helpful dialogue with each other about their work and also supports children whose provision is split between remote learning and school attendance.  
  • Brand new Learning Grids and associated resources are currently being planned for the next fortnightly block of remote learning which begins on Monday 18th January and these will be shared at the end of next week. 
  • Extensive teaching of Teams and Office 365 was completed in school in the weeks prior to lockdown and this has vastly increased pupils' ability to access remote learning and has supported very high levels of pupil engagement this week. 
  • Submission rates for pupil's work across a range of subjects are very high in all classes, with teachers providing support and feedback on all work received.  
  • The school has prepared, delivered and offered for collection numerous hard copies of Learning Grids and their associated resources so that all children are able to access the same learning experiences.
  • Several families have been supported with the loan of school ICT hardware. The school has this week developed its own loan agreements for ICT hardware and has provided support to configure devices so that they can be used effectively at home to engage in the remote learning provision. Some of these machines are already in pupils' hands. 
  • Children who are in receipt of free school meals are fully catered for and have been fed Dawn's lovely hot meals since the first day of school closures. 
  • The school's Remote Learning Strategy has evolved to reflect the extended school closure, the changing context of the school, the professional judgement of school staff and feedback from parents and pupils. The strategy will remain under constant review to reflect the unprecendented and widespread use of this largely untried approach.  
  • Risk assessments have been reviewed in line with DfE guidance to ensure that school can continue to operate in as safe a way as it possibly can with the revised structure.
  • All children were contacted within 48 hours (most sooner) of the school closure being announced, in part to support our enhanced focus on and duty of care towards safeguarding pupils in light of our reduced contact during the extended school closure.
  • Staff, pupil and parent feedback in relation to pupils' engagement in and enjoyment of their preliminary Teams video call this week is extremely positive overall and we look forward to expanding this provision with the planned introduction of daily Teams calls from Monday.


School staff are adjusting quickly and positively to this new way of working and are falling into a pattern of teaching for whole days, providing feedback to children on remote work submissions, responding to an increased volume of parent emails,  delivering live Teams video calls and planning for subsequent learning grids.  

When teachers have full day teaching commitments or when they have allocated time for planning new Learning Grids, they will not have capacity to respond fully to the work that children submit from home on that same day. Instead, they will acknowledge receipt of the work by contacting children directly before responding in more detail on their next, non-teaching day. 

Miss Jenkinson and Miss Hillman are sharing the teaching responsibility for the the KS1 and EYFS class. Mrs Gookey, Miss Steed and Mrs French share the KS2 class. Your child's class teacher remains your first port of call for enquiries relating to remote learning.

Staffing timetables are likely to change each week but, next week, teachers are allocated as follows:







Key Stage 2

Miss Steed

Miss Steed

Mrs Gookey

Mrs Gookey

Mrs French

Key Stage 1 & EYFS

Miss Hillman

Miss Hillman

Miss Hillman

Miss Jenkinson

Miss Jenkinson

Key Worker Form

You can access the Key Worker Form for WB 11th January here.

You may be aware that the DfE is under pressure to review it's guidance for Key Worker pupils in light of the unprecedented take up of places nationally. Some schools are reporting that they are running at 60-70% of their total capacity which may ultimately mitigate the safety benefits of school closures. The Local Authority are raising this issue with the DfE. They are keen for schools to remind parents that, even for those children of key workers, pupils should still remain at home whenever they possibly can.


  Grendon Church Of England Primary School
Main Road
Tel: 01933 663208