Dear Marlborough families,
Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus
Happy Saint David’s Day
We start the month of March with a definite spring in our step! We are overjoyed to welcome back our Foundation Phase and Specialist Resource Base pupils. It hopefully won’t be too much longer for the Key Stage 2 children to also return, with the week beginning 15th March scheduled by the Welsh Government for their return.
Seeing the Foundation Phase children skipping and running back to school (and the staff equally excited to welcome them back) has been joyous. We have waited so long for the long-awaited return of the children and to hear laughter, chatter, bustle and noise in the classrooms, corridors and playground once again is so uplifting. Thank you Marlborough families for your incredible support during yet another incredibly tough period of lock down, it really is so appreciated.
Please do not worry if your child has grown out of their uniform or school shoes. Please do not feel under any pressure to buy new uniform for the children’s return to school. At present, we still need to ensure that the classrooms and corridors remain well-ventilated. It is far more important that the children are dressed for warmth and comfort. If their uniform still fits, children are very welcome to wear it to school. However, I am also happy for children to come to school wearing their own clothes. We will start afresh with school uniform for all in September.
Equally, the dress code for staff has been relaxed for the same reasons of warmth and comfort.
Key Stage 2 Return
The Minister for Education has outlined further plans for all Primary pupils to return after March 15th. This could change following data in the coming weeks but we will have a final decision on Thursday 11th March to confirm.
In the meantime, my team and I will start planning for the full return of Key Stage 2 and communicate these plans with you once they are finalised.
The Hub provision for children of Critical Care workers and Vulnerable learners will continue until the full return of Key Stage 2 pupils.
Staff Lateral Flow testing
All school staff have now started twice weekly Lateral Flow Tests. In accordance with Public Health Wales guidance these tests are taken on a Monday and Wednesday morning before we come to school. Our results are logged with the Local Authority. It is hoped that this measure will help to prevent the onward transmission of the virus. However, it may mean that classes will have to move to home learning at very short notice or self-isolate if a member of staff receives a positive test result.
Monday – the pupils will not have had contact with the member of staff during the 48 hour infectious period and therefore will not need to self-isolate. However, the member of staff is unable to attend school until they have had a Polymerase Chain Reaction test (PCR). If that test is negative, they may return to school. However, if the PCR test is also positive they will need to self-isolate for 10 days.
Wednesday – there is a strong possibility that the member of staff will have had contact with the pupils during their infectious period. All pupils and staff within the class bubble will need to self-isolate whilst a PCR test is undertaken. If the PCR test comes back negative the pupils and staff can return to school. However, if the PCR test is positive everyone within the class bubble will need to isolate for 10 days.
Implications – With the children and staff all working in tightly controlled bubbles, we cannot redirect a member of staff to cover a class (as we would in pre-Covid times). Equally, a supply teacher would have to prove that they have taken a Lateral Flow Test and had a negative result, before coming onto the school site. This makes securing supply teachers at short notice logistically difficult. Therefore, parents must be prepared for times when classes have to remain at home and receive Blended Learning in the weeks to come. Please see letter from Cardiff’s Director of Education for further information. Ltr_Parents Guardian re LFT
Help us keep school open
Getting children back into school is an important step. Teachers and school staff, with the support of the Council, the health board, and Public Health Wales, have worked very hard to make sure our schools are as safe as possible. We cannot risk undoing this and losing the progress we have made in pushing back the virus when pupils return to the classroom.
1 in 3 people with Covid-19 have no symptoms and can spread the virus without realising. This makes it more important that ever that we all follow the rules in place to keep us safe. When your child goes back to school, we need you to continue to help to control the spread of Covid-19 by:
- Not sending your child to school if they are unwell, even if you think they do not have coronavirus
- Always keeping at least 2m from other people when dropping off and picking up your children
- Always wearing a mask when in the school grounds or nearby
- Don’t stop to chat at the school gates Don’t invite other children or their parents to your home to play or stay overnight, even outdoors and even if they are in the same bubble at school
- Do not share a car to travel to school with other families, unless you have no other option
- Make sure your child understands the importance of washing their hands regularly
- Continue to work from home if at all possible
Secondary School places – September 2021
Today, (1st March) Cardiff local Authority will publish the Secondary School allocations for September 2021.
On offer day there will be 119 places available across the city, however after parents accept or decline and those holding duplicate offers with the Faith schools filter through, there will be movement resulting in a high probability of more places becoming available for the next round.
The next round deadline for applications will be 15th March.
Appeals for this initial round will be open from March 1st to March 29th , if parents choose to appeal they must submit by this deadline.
I have attached below a helpful sheet for FAQ’s for parents. I understand what an anxious and difficult time this is for our families. Whilst, I cannot influence the admission process, I am here to offer support and guidance.
Curriculum (from Mrs Cath Davies and Mrs Sally Hodges)
We’ve sprung into the new half term with a 2 week Welsh project to honour our patron saint, St David, and our wonderful Welsh culture. We will be celebrating our Welsh achievements with a virtual Eisteddfod on Friday 5th March. This project started with a rousing enquiry question; Is Wales the land of art and song, where music runs in your blood and poetry lives in your soul?
During this fortnight we will be focusing on the Expressive Arts Area of Learning Experiences –
SoWM1 – Exploring the expressive arts is essential to develop artistic skills and knowledge and it enables learners to become curious and creative individuals.
SoWM2 – Responding and reflecting, both as artist and audience, is a fundamental part of learning in the expressive arts.
SoWM3 – Creating combines skills and knowledge, drawing on the senses, inspiration and imagination.
All year groups will engage in a variety of creative activities exploring our enquiry question. We have launched a whole school Design a Welsh Love Spoon for Marlborough competition through our assembly this week –
Marlborough Primary Love spoon Design Competition
To celebrate St David’s day this year, we would like you to design your own Marlborough Primary love spoon.
· Your design should be no bigger than A4.
· Your design should have symbols that explain what being part of Marlborough Primary school means to you.
· On the back of your design you should include:
· Your full name & Class.
·An explanation about the symbols you have chosen. All entries must be sent to your class teacher by the 5th March. Your teacher will pick ONE winner from your class. One of these designs will be chosen and the lucky winner will have their love spoon design made into a wooden love spoon which will go on display in the school. Things to consider: What does being part of the Marlborough family mean to you? Your design should not be too delicate, it could break easily. For more information watch the video below.
We are very grateful to the Welsh Lovespoon workshop based in Kilgetty, Pembrokeshire for making this project possible. We can’t wait to see the winning design transformed into a hand crafted, totally unique, wooden lovespoon that celebrates all that we love about Marlborough. Please see their website below for a look at this family run business and the work they undertake. https://www.thelovespoonworkshop.com/
A celebratory class Eisteddfod will then be held on the Friday 5th March in class for Foundation Phase and virtually for KS2 to end a great fortnight of creative Welshness.
Teaching and Learning – (Mrs. Michaela Sherlock and Mrs. Sally Hodges)
Miss Stanley led staff through an exciting project that she has undertaken in collaboration with Central South Consortium entitled ‘Think Like a Teacher.’
The project intends for NQTs (newly qualified teachers) and students to have opportunities to explore learning through the lens of expert teachers. Miss Stanley shared the resource materials that she had generated as part of the project in the form of a playlist. We are delighted that Miss Stanley’s excellent practice will be shared as a guide to inform trainee teachers, for professional learning, training for induction mentors, for ITE (Initial Teacher Education) mentors and university tutors. We are very proud of the work Miss Stanley has done and feel that the playlist reflects the key principles of lessons at Marlborough and how we encourage pupils to both access and reflect upon their learning.
Today sees Week 5 of the Building positive and Resilient Families programme led by Sally Evans. I am delighted that 35 families have signed up to the six week programme. I sure that you are benefitting from Sally’s pragmatic advice and support, as much as I have over the past few years.
March Well-being Theme – Musical March (from the Wellbeing team)
Smoke Free Spaces
From 1st March 2020, all school grounds in Wales will become smoke-free spaces.
As Wales becomes the first country in the UK to extend its smoking ban to certain outdoor areas, we are committed to improving the health of our staff and pupils by providing a smoke-free environment.
Smoking in smoke-free spaces – which not only includes school grounds but also public playgrounds, outdoor day-care and child-minding settings as well as hospital grounds – from 1st March could result in a £100 fine.
We want to protect everyone from harmful second-hand smoke and we especially recognise the important role that adults have in influencing the attitudes and smoking behaviour of children and young people. Banning smoking in places where children and young people spend their time will denormalise smoking and reduce the chances of children and your people starting smoking in the first place– ultimately saving lives.
I look forward to having your support to ensure we all play our part in building a healthier future.
Those looking for help to stop smoking can access Wales’ free NHS support service Help Me Quit on 0800 085 2219 or visit www.helpmequit.wales for help and support, including access to free stop smoking medication
We look forward to having your support to ensure we all play our part in building a healthier future.