Thank you for your continued support. Please see update letters below for ongoing information.
Welcome to Calstock School, where every day is a new day for learning – for all of us!
Set high on the Cornish bank of the river Tamar, we are part of our small but vibrant local community, surrounded by the beautiful Tamar Valley with its rich cultural heritage. For us, education is about nurturing creativity and inquisitiveness. School must welcome children to a community of learning, broaden horizons, and provide the knowledge, skills and confidence to flourish in the wider world.
Have a look around our website, and get in touch if there is anything you'd like to find out more about, or if you want to get involved.
I look forward to meeting you.
September Return Letter 15.7.2020
Dear Parents and Carers
I hope all continues to be well with you and your families.
As we approach this rather unusual end to the academic year, I wanted to say a huge thank you for the part you’ve played in helping us navigate this very challenging time. We know that we’re not out of the woods yet but your support has been invaluable. Thank you also to those who’ve completed the feedback survey. This will really help us to understand what has worked well and what we need to improve for the future, should we need to rely on remote learning again.
I’m aware that for the community of Stoke Climsland, we are also saying a final and very fond goodbye to Mrs Payne. Jacqui has been a teacher, assistant headteacher and head of school during a 23 year period at the school and she will be missed greatly. Platitudes are often expressed at these times but truly, Jacqui is a unique and wonderful human being. Her care, kindness and compassion are unfailing. The fact that she is a wonderful teacher and trusted colleague makes her departure all the more significant. However, we wish Jacqui all the best in her retirement and look forward to welcoming Mrs Stephanie Cook as her replacement in September.
It has been lovely to see so many other children returning to school during this last week. Seeing so many smiley, happy faces has been a real pleasure and such a positive way to end this term. I hope that this opportunity to reconnect with friends and teachers has felt beneficial for you and your child.
This is also my chance to say goodbye to our departing Year 6 pupils. We recognise that it’s been a very different final year and we wish them all the very best as they embark on the next stage of their education. As with all our children, they have brought their own unique personalities and contributed many positives to our school. We were so pleased that we managed to go ahead with our London trip in March and ensure we had some special memories from this final year.
September Return to School Plans
We have been busily planning our approach to September’s return and I wanted to give you some further information with regard to this. We have been working through the guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) and considering our risk assessment and safer working procedures. In doing this, we are very mindful that 6 weeks is a long time and there are likely to be a number of changes and adaptations. Therefore, I wanted to detail some key information in this letter and send a further one on Tuesday 1st September which will have our confirmed plans. Please look out for this update so that you and your children are well prepared and know what is happening when school restarts.
I have bullet pointed key information below:
- The school will re-open full-time to all pupils from the start of the autumn term, Thursday 3rd September. School will then be open for all pupils on a Friday afternoon
- To reduce the risk of transmission, children will be taught in their usual classes (see letter dated 26.6.2020) but these classes, or bubbles, will not have contact with other bubbles whilst in school
- We will continue to stagger drop-off and pick-up times, to reduce contact between families (timings to be confirmed in September’s letter)
- We will stagger breaks, lunchtime and time outside so that there is less mixing of children
- We will limit the numbers of adults in school and parents will be asked in to school by appointment only
- There will be timetabling of staff and space to reduce mixing of adults and children across parts of school where practicable
- Any child or adult displaying symptoms of illness will need to remain at home
- Any child or adult displaying symptoms in school will be isolated and sent home immediately, along with any siblings
- There will be routine hand washing throughout the day
- A hot daily school dinner will be available for all pupils on request
- Children will be expected to wear school uniform again from the start of September
- Breakfast Club will be available as previously but children will be grouped in class bubbles in the hall
- After school sports clubs will start the week of 21st September but be organised into class group bubbles. Clubs will initially be available for children from Year 2 upwards
- Peripatetic music teachers will begin teaching lessons in school again from 21st September
In addition to the pragmatics of organising the above, we have also been considering our teaching and learning provision when we return. There has been a lot of discussion around what’s been termed, the ‘recovery’ curriculum. We have preferred to call it our ‘reconnection’ approach. Largely, this is about us ensuring that we take into account the impact that time out of school will have had for many of our children. Therefore, we’ll be focusing on four key areas; environment, socialisation, curriculum and sense of self. These areas are interconnected but are all vitally important in ensuring all our children are supported in returning to school successfully, both emotionally and academically. Again, we’ll provide you with more information about this when we return in September.
A key feature of our September provision will continue to be a utilisation of the outdoors, whatever the weather. Therefore, we’d like children to attend school in coats suitable for the weather conditions. However, we’d also like all children to have a pair of wellies or outdoor shoes/boots for use on the field or in Environmania. Please can we request that these are named.
I really do hope that all of you, and your families, manage to enjoy a restful but enjoyable summer break. Thank you, one more time, for your support of your children and our school. I think we make a fantastic partnership.
Very best wishes
Home Learning and Return to School Survey
Thursday 9th July 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
I hope you and your families continue to be safe and well.
Firstly, I wanted to write to you and reassure you that we are well underway with making our plans for a September return. As I’m sure you’re aware, the Government intend for all children to be back in school, as normal, for the start of the new academic year. I understand that this news will provide a range of responses and feelings within different people. However, as always, I hope we will be able to work together to ensure that this return and reconnection is as positive and successful as possible. I will be sending a letter out before the end of term, providing you with clear details regarding our arrangements for September. In the meantime, I want to confirm that this term will end at lunchtime on Friday 17th July and the first day back for children will be Thursday 3rd September.
Home Learning and Return to School Feedback
The second part of this letter is a request for feedback. Together, as two school communities, we have navigated one of the most challenging periods in recent history and I am keen to capture what we have learnt from this and what we might take forward.
Many of you have been kind enough to send an email or pass on your thoughts and positive messages in person and this has really helped us in getting a sense of how our provision has worked for our families. With this in mind, I am keen to build a more comprehensive picture of how our home learning and return to school approach has worked for you and your children. Though there have been a range of messages in the media and on social network sites, some of it quite harmful, about how home schooling should ‘look’, we have tried very hard to ignore much of this and trust in our collective sense of what was right for our families and children. I feel confident that, by and large, we have managed to do this and have developed a really positive partnership with yourselves. Nevertheless, we also recognise that the nature of this event and the short time we have had to plan and problem solve, will also have left room for improvement and necessary reflection. Thus, we’d like you to suggest ways in which you feel we could have reasonably developed our provision, particularly with regard to any future lockdown.
In order to capture this feedback, I would really appreciate you completing a short survey by following the link below before Friday 17th July:
If you would simply prefer to send an email with your thoughts, this would be equally welcome. Any emails should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you can imagine, it has been a challenging time to lead schools but I’d like to personally thank you for the support you’ve offered to myself and the staff across the two schools. I hope that this time has strengthened our sense of community and that ultimately, it is your children who benefit most from this positive relationship.
Very best wishes
|Survey Letter - July 2020 Calstock||[pdf 397KB]|
Update on wider reopening
Friday 3rd July 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
I am writing to let you know about our arrangements for welcoming more children back to school before the end of this term. I would like to thank everyone who responded to our recent survey, as this has greatly helped in the planning of our provision. As with everything else we have done with regard to the reopening of school, when planning this provision we have been guided both by concern for children’s wellbeing and by the need to follow the guidelines set by the government. As you are probably aware, these guidelines stipulate that all children must stay in “bubbles” of no more than 15 children throughout the day, and that there should be no contact between children from different bubbles. In practice, this has worked very well, with strong bonds being formed between children who are spending whole days learning and playing together.
Our plan for this wider reopening is as follows:
- Children who are currently attending school, either as the child of keyworkers or because they are in Reception, Year 1 or Year 6, will continue to be taught in their current bubble until the end of term.
- Children for whom there was a “Yes” response in the survey will be able to come into school from Monday 13th July to Friday 17th July. The Friday will be a half day.
- Children in Year 5 will join the Year 6/Keyworker bubble with Mrs Kilpin, Mrs Yates and Mr Waters.
- Children in Year 4 and Year 3 will be in a new bubble with Mr Pengelly and Mrs Liddicott.
- Children in Year 2 will either join the Year 1/Keyworker bubble with Mrs Chaffer and Mrs Eagles, or they will join the Year 3 and 4 bubble with Mr Pengelly and Mrs Liddicott. When placing children, we will do our best to take friendships and social factors into consideration.
Further details about timings and other arrangements for the children who are returning on the 13th July will be sent out by email next week.
We are greatly looking forward to welcoming more children back to school and we hope this provides a positive opportunity for children to reconnect with school and their friends.
As always, many thanks for your continued support.
Very best wishes
|Calstock Parent Letter 3-7-20 For Website||[pdf 453KB]|
Update Letter 26/6/2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
I hope you all continue to be safe and well and have in some way managed to enjoy the sunshine of this week.
Every week seems to present something new to problem solve and plan and this week has been no different. Again, I apologise for the length of this letter but I want to provide you with as comprehensive an update as possible.
Return to School Plans
Just this term
Thank you to all those parents in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, who got in touch and updated us about their child’s return to school plans. We have been able to remain with the current provision of 3 bubbles and can now, therefore, begin to think about opportunities to facilitate children from other year groups returning before the summer holidays.
Due to the complex nature of organising and risk assessing this, please bear with us. We hope to have a finalised plan by the end of next week but in order to do so, we need a clear sense of expected numbers due to the guidance around bubbles. Therefore, I am requesting that parents of children in Year 2, 3, 4 and 5 complete the survey below by 5pm, this Monday, 29th June. As I’ve reiterated before, I can make no promises about this provision at the moment and can give no sense of how much or how little we’ll be able to offer. For example, it may simply be a morning or day for children to reconnect with the environment, their friends and their teachers.
I know that many of you will have heard or read about the Government’s intention to have all children back in school, full-time, from September. We have not received any firm guidance around this but as and when we do, we will endeavour to share our plans and any relevant information as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience with this.
Class Arrangements for September
As I highlighted in last week’s letter, I wanted to let you know the class arrangements for the next academic year. You’ll understand that many of our ’normal’ transition activities have not been able to take place, but we are mindful of the need to support children on their return to school and for their reconnection with the environment. We have given much thought to staffing decisions, and you can rest assured that the usual provision and adult support for any additional needs will be in place.
As you know, the emotional and well-being needs of your children are at the heart of what we do and we are planning a range of alternative ‘return to school’ measures that will help everyone settle back into a school routine.
Class 1 (Reception/Y1)
Teacher: Mrs Copson-Ball and Mrs Hunter
Teaching assistants: Miss Evans and Mrs Reid
Class 2 (Y2/3/4)
Teachers: Mr Pengelly and Mrs Yates
Teaching assistants: Mrs Liddicott, Mrs Chaffer, Mr Waters and Miss Donnelly
Class 3 (Y5/6)
Teachers: Mrs Kilpin and Mrs Yates
Teaching assistants: Mr Waters, Miss West, Mrs Parker and Mrs Eagles
SENDCO and Pupil Premium Lead
I just wanted to remind you that you should receive your child’s school report for this academic year during the early part of next week. I’d just like to reiterate a few key points:
- Our report format will be slightly different this year to reflect the fact that children have not been in school for a significant part of the school year.
- For reasons of safety and efficiency, we will be emailing reports, rather than sending paper copies by post or with children in their bags. However, should you prefer to collect a printed copy from school, please contact Mrs Hardy, via email, and she will be happy to arrange this for you.
- From the week beginning Monday 29th June, you should receive an email from school, containing two attachments; the school report and an explanatory letter from me. Further to this, I have also written a letter to the children, which will also be attached.
As we see more pupils returning and teachers and are now back in school with teaching commitments, we will be scaling back some of our home learning offer. Next week’s Zoom sessions will be the final ones and your child’s class teacher will provide details of this in their weekly update. We will also be ending our regular phone calls to all parents. However, we recognise that these opportunities to make contact have been highly valuable, so please do not hesitate to email your child’s teacher and request a call if it would be helpful. The weekly updates will continue and will be emailed as per normal.
As always, please do get in touch with myself or any of the teachers if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you once again for all your support at this time.
Very best wishes
Well-Being Update 3/6/2020
Dear Parents and Carers
We hope you and your families remain safe and well.
As you’ll know, we’ve begun the phased re-opening of our schools from 1st June, starting with pupils in Reception, Year One and Year Six. In light of this significant change, Mr Towe and I wanted to get in touch with you and consider how this might be impacting on you and your children. While some may be celebrating the return of school, it brings inevitable anxieties for many members of our community. Most importantly, when you decide it’s the right time for your child to return to school, we would like to reassure you that their health and well-being will be, as always, at the forefront of our approach.
Before we go any further, we want to thank you all for supporting your children at home during this difficult time in whatever capacity you have been able to. As teachers, we have loved hearing about your adventures and speaking with happy children at home. We recognise that children have all had very different experiences during this time and we feel that it is relevant to reinforce the point that the government never expected parents to become teachers. Many of you have been working from home; caring for vulnerable members of the community and managing the needs of multiple children alongside trying to juggle family routines under lockdown. While we have no doubt that some of you have revelled in the challenge of home learning, for others it has been extremely stressful, if not unfeasible.
It is important to remember that education has never been just about academic learning. It’s not about merely imparting information to willing (or not so willing) recipients. We have heard wonderful stories about the time spent at home, about children enjoying time with their families, learning to ride their bikes, building dens and cooking meals with their siblings. We have heard parents marvel at how caring their child is, whilst others have discovered talents that they never knew existed. As a federation, we recognise that education is about forming relationships, exploring curiosities and developing our understanding of the world and we have no doubt that your children have succeeded in that at home. We hope that this ethos has been reflected in our approach to home learning and we will continue to work with this in mind as some of our children return to school.
Though many of us are craving normality, we have to be mindful that the environment we face at school will be different to that which we left behind. We know that in order to learn, children need to feel ‘safe’ and emotionally secure which is why mental health experts are urging the government to prioritise children’s play and socialising with friends over any formal lessons. For many of our children, the thought of returning to school in June, July or September may be overwhelming, especially in light of what they hear in the news. As adults, it is understandable that you may have your own concerns but it is important to please remember that the children look to you for comfort when they are distressed, and will take your lead on how to view things. When the time is right, we want the children to return to school without fear so please be mindful of the messages you convey. We’d like you to reassure them that their teachers will look after them just as much and as well as you have.
We know that many parents across the country are concerned about their children’s academic progress during this time and wondering how they will catch up when we return to school. We hope to reassure you that as teachers, we always teach according to the needs of our pupils and this will be no different when we begin formal education again. Yes, some things will have been forgotten but as we are reminded at the start of each academic year, children are incredibly resilient and will adapt very quickly to being back in school. Good communication between teachers and parents is important too and we will be sure to continue to keep you updated with your children’s academic and wider progress, as and when they return to school.
Please continue to be in regular contact with your child’s teacher as our partnership with you is something we value very highly.
In the meantime, please take care.
Sally Elliott Ben Towe
Well-Being Champion Executive Headteacher
The Cornwall Virtual School Games 17/6/2020
We are excited to be taking part in the first ever Cornwall Virtual School Games. These games take place between Monday 22nd June and Friday 26th June and will involve the children taking part in physical challenge activities which are appropriate for all ages and abilities. There is also a daily running/walking challenge, and families are welcome to take part in the activities. Children score points for the school by completing the challenges and there is a variety of prizes on offer for schools taking part.
Please have a look on the Home Learning section for more details of the games and to find out how you can take part.