In considering what to write and where to start for this month’s article, I re-read my piece from this time last year. What a difference a year makes. Who would have thought we’d be where we are now: adjusting to a whole new school structure which combines detailed online learning with school-based classes for our returning year groups. With very little notice, Wateringbury teachers created a rich and varied experience of home learning for our pupils and the good work continues. Our home learners are enjoying art and cookery lessons by video, regular story times with their teachers, science investigations with resources found around the house. On top of this, maths and English continues with reading aloud and one-to-one reading with a child key priorities. Our doorstep library is busy and parents have done a wonderful job keeping children going! We all have good days and less-good days but my constant reminder is to take each day as it comes, one small step at a time.
Here in school we have welcomed back our Reception Class, Year 1 and Year 6. All classes have been divided into two small bubbles with one teacher dedicated to each bubble. The children have been excited and happy to be back and they have quickly adjusted to their new-look classrooms with distanced desks. Cleaning and hygiene routines are strict and the children are very knowledgeable about why they need to keep their hands and learning resources so clean.
It has been particularly poignant to welcome most of our Year 6 children back as we have to bid them farewell in just a few short weeks. This class has a real spirit of friendship and their deep affection and care for each other are tangible. We love having them back and we will miss them greatly next year. However, they are more than ready for the challenges and adventures of secondary school and will wave them off with confidence.
Other farewells to two members of staff: Hilary Fisher is retiring from the Teaching Assistant role which she has held for 17 years! It is difficult to imagine school without Hilary here and we are delighted that she will be returning to volunteer each week. However, we also want to wish her much joy in her new-found hobby of grand-parenting! Lizzy Kirk-Smith is stepping back from the full-time classroom to take up a support position in a secondary school, recalibrating her work-life balance and family priorities. We are so fortunate to have had Mrs Kirk-Smith leading our Year 2 classroom over the last year and a half and we wish her all the very best with her new job and family and home commitments.
We do not yet know what September will look like but I have no doubt that whatever is put in front of us, the staff and governors at Wateringbury will step up to the plate with their usual energy and positive thinking. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone, staff, parents, governors and the village community for so much support during this exceedingly difficult time. It is the sense of being held within community that makes all the difference.
Chasey Crawford Usher – Headteacher