Over the last few days we have had a few enquiries regarding the free school meal vouchers which the Government have introduced during the coronavirus epidemic. These are only available to children who have applied for a free school meal entitlement through Dudley MBC.
If your child is currently in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2, they are eligible to receive a daily meal which is free. This is part of a Government initiative called Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM).
A FSM entitlement is different, as it is a benefit that you need to apply for, which then provides your child with a free daily meal from Reception right through Key Stage 2 and into secondary school and is totally separate to the UIFSM initiative. School also receive pupil premium funding for these children which will be used in school to benefit your child in the most appropriate way.
To qualify for a Free School Meal Entitlement, firstly you must be receiving any of the support payments listed on Dudley MBC's website AND you must also have submitted an application to the local authority. You cannot qualify for Free School Meals without making this application.
If your child is in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 and you believe you would be eligible then you should still apply, even if you are already receiving a daily free meal.
If you believe you are eligible for Free School Meals, please apply online by following this link to the Dudley MBC Free School Meals website.
We thought that you might like to know about recent advice that the DfE (Department for Education) have published about learning at home. The first section of this email details their general advice for everyone and the second part details suggestions for children with SEND and includes specific advice for children on the autistic spectrum.
This link to Young Minds contains a lot of good advice on supporting your child's mental health during the pandemic.
General advice from the DfE
On the 19th April, DfE released guidance on helping primary school children continue their education during coronavirus. The document gives advice to parents about structuring the day, using digital resources and recommended activities for different age groups.
The document states: No one expects parents to act as teachers, or to provide the activities and feedback that a school would. Parents and carers should do their best to help children and support their learning.
In terms of structuring the day the guidance says: 'do not worry about trying to maintain a full routine for your child like they had at school.'
get up and go to bed at the same time each day;
have regular meal times;
have regular breaks;
make time to be active - children are used to regular play at lunch and break times.
In terms of using digital devices, it recommends that parents 'set appropriate parental controls on any devices your child is using and supervise their use of websites and apps'.
However, it goes on to recommend reducing screen time:
use books and other printed materials that school has provided or that you have at home;
write by hand - try asking children to complete work by hand, write a diary, a summary of things they have learned or done each day or 'to do' lists;
be active and get away from the screen regularly
stop using digital devices at least an hour before bed.
The guidance goes through appropriate ways to work with Reception, Y1 and Y2 and it encourages:
sitting with them while they work and breaking down activities; talking and explaining new words;
reading together and techniques for this
The guidance goes through appropriate ways to work with Y3-6 and it encourages:
encouraging independent work, including active and practical things;
talking about what they have learned;
reading and asking questions about what they have read;
There is some specific advice for Y6 parents about English heritage, science, geography, BBC Bitesize and TATE Kids.
There is more detail here;
Special Educational Needs advice from the DfE
On the 19th April, DfE released advice for parents and carers looking after children with special educational needs and disabilities. The guidance give parents access to:
a list of online education resources for children with SEND;
coronavirus educational resources from The Sensory Projects;
SEND-specific resources for learning from home from Tech Ability;
advice on supporting children with a learning disability or autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) from the Council for Disabled Children;
recommendations on special educational needs from the Education Endowment Foundation.
Children who have individual or small group lessons with Dudley Performing Arts can have online lessons at home whilst schools are closed. To get your lesson up and running simply visit https://www.dudley.gov.uk/things-to-do/dudley-performing-arts/information-for-parents-and-young-people/online-lessons-with-dudley-performing-arts-summer-term-2020/ where you can enroll and find out more information about how it works.
Head of Dudley Performing Arts
Welcome back to the summer term - we hope you and your family are safe and well.
PowerPoints are up on the website and SharePoint for today's learning. These will now be uploaded on a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, to be completed consecutively, on any day of your choosing. You will also find two 'Review and Relax' PowerPoints uploaded each week onto the school website (On the School website, follow 'Children' 'Class Pages' 'Home Learning' and look for 'All Year Groups - Review and Relax' )
Review & Relax PowerPoints follow a very similar format to the year group PowerPoints your chid is used to and can be completed on any day (though preferably not a Monday). Review and Relax PowerPoints contain a mixture of catching-up & reviewing work already completed as well as some new relaxing activities, puzzles and stories, including art and from next week, music.
You have probably noticed coverage of BBC Bitesize resources in the media. These go live from today and contain lessons for all year groups from Y1-Y10. Teachers may be referencing these lessons in their PowerPoints. The daily lessons are also available via BBC IPlayer and the Red button
We would definitely recommend that you access these resources and try to encourage your child to watch each day's lessons. Given that they may be referenced in future daily PowerPoints, we would ask that you stick to the dates on the lessons rather than rush ahead.
Please contact us on any of the email addresses supplied if you wish to ask any questions, make suggestions etc.
With very best wishes,
Hurst Green Primary School
You may be aware that the government have now informed schools to provide FSM vouchers during the Easter holidays.
As such you should receive an email from a company called Edenred in the next few days with your voucher and details on how to redeem it. The vouchers are worth 15.00 per pupil per week.
Each week during the school closure you will receive an email with your child's voucher attached.
If you have any problems with the vouchers, please get in touch with the school office after the Easter holidays. The school office will be manned from Monday 20 April, however please bear with us as this system is as new to us as to you.
In the meantime if any families are in real crisis and have no other support from family or friends, then they can ring the Dudley Council for Voluntary Services helpline on 01384 573381.
I hope this email finds you well.
Today is the last day of the Spring Term. We hope that you are all well and have managed to make use of some of the learning resources we have provided via the website.
Thank you to all those parents who completed the online learning survey. At the time of writing this email, we had an impressive 177 replies. Your responses and comments have proven invaluable in evaluating what we have done and planning for next term.
Without fail, you all like the PowerPoint model because it provides a structure to your day. As you can imagine, we had parents preferring every possible combination of frequency and days but we've managed to come up with a solution that I believe will be flexible enough to meet all of your differing needs.
What struck us most about your responses was the positivity and awareness that this is new for all of us. Even when you suggested areas for improvement, you did it in a really positive way, and we thank you for appreciating that we didn't have long to plan for this scenario!
I apologise in advance for the length of this email, but as we break up for Easter today, I wanted to make sure that you all know what is in store for next term.
Frequency of Work
Responses indicated that the majority of you would like work uploaded 3 times a week, but some of said you would like it more frequently because you feel it provides a structure to the day. Out of the group who would like work three times a week, some of you would prefer it on a Monday/Wednesday/Friday, some a Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday, some a Monday/Tuesday/Thursday and some Monday, Tuesday, Friday!
In order to enable everyone to have work when they would like it, we are going to upload our usual Year Group PowerPoint three times a week, but make it entirely your choice how many of the 3 sessions your child completes and which days of the week you choose to do the work. Instead of being labelled by a particular day, work will be called 'Day One' 'Day Two' and Day Three' to allow you to pick the days that work best for you. The only important thing is that the days are done sequentially - i.e. don't do Day 2 before you have done Day 1. If you are one of the parents who wanted work uploaded twice a week, just do Day 1 and Day 2 and don't worry about Day 3.
For those of you who would like four or five days' worth of PowerPoints, we are going to be uploading two additional PowerPoints each week called 'Review and Relax 1' and 'Review and Relax 2'. These can be done on any day (though preferably not a Monday). Review and Relax PowerPoints will have a similar structure to the PowerPoints your children are already used to. They will give children time to catch up on work done on previous days as well as provide some additional, more relaxing activities in a structured daily format. Review and Relax PowerPoints will be uploaded on a Monday so that they are there as and when you need them. As with all the PowerPoints, they are entirely optional, so if you only want three PowerPoints a week, you might not use these additional ones at all.
Some of you are supplementing our 3 days of Class Work by using Olive Hill's work on the other two days. Please feel free to continue with this if it works for you.
Pitch of Work
It was encouraging to see that over 80% of you feel that the pitch of work is about right and I have passed this message on to teachers.
One suggestion that we received was for teachers to include details about how the work could be adapted to be more challenging if necessary. We thought this was a good idea and this suggestion has also been passed on to class teachers. Don't forget that you could also add challenge or simplify the work your child is doing by letting them have a go at the maths work above or below your child's actual year group.
A few of you commented that you aren't sure about the teaching methods we use in school, particularly for maths - see comments below for guidance on this.
Days of the Week
As expected, each family has different needs in terms of the days they do and don't require work. The new system, with 1-3 days' worth of structured classwork and a further 1-2 days of structured review and relax activities should cater for just about everyone.
Remember to use SharePoint if you can - we've found it more reliable than the website, though work is uploaded onto both platforms.
Your comments were very helpful. I thought it would be useful to share some of them below - sometimes for no other reason than to realise that you are not alone in trying to to your best under difficult circumstances. I've added our response to some of your comments in bold.
All of your comments have been passed on to the teachers who were really buoyed up by your positivity and are eager to address some of your ideas in their PowerPoints next term.
Parental comments are in italics and our response is in bold.
Absolutely! We don't want any child to feel overwhelmed or forced to do something. You will know what is right for your son/daugher.
The comments above demonstrate a healthy balance between academic work and emotional well-being. There are some lovely resources around anxiousness and well-being on this site.
The work we publish is totally flexible - you can do it on whatever day you like and as much or as little of it as you like, provided you follow the Class Work PowerPoints sequentially. If one day's work stretches over two days, that's absolutely fine. If you need to adapt work to suit your chid, go ahead.
Your work, your way 😉
We sent out an email today about Century Tech which is well worth a look because it provides individualised lessons in English, maths and science. Remember that you are also welcome to try some of the Olive Hill work if you wish to.
Great ideas. If you need more work try the year group above, take a look at Olive Hill's work, give Century Tech a try or use Twinkl resources. After Easter the BBC is going to be broadcasting one programme per day for each year group.
These suggestions have been passed on to teachers who are going to try and include some guidance on the level and depth of work expected, along with ideas about how the work could be made easier or harder. The general rule is that we would expect most work to be completed by the child on their own (possibly after an explanation for younger children). If your child is finding it hard to complete the work on their own, you could try work the year group below, or simplify the work so that they can do it independently. Alternatively, you could ask an older sibling to help if you have one around!
Really good points made here. We have placed a copy of our maths calculation policy on the website and you will also find a copy in KS2 children's planners. Here you will find worked examples of the maths strategies we use in school. (On website find 'Parents' 'Curriculum' 'Maths 'Calculation Policy) We have also asked teachers to include some worked examples in their PowerPoints to point you in the right direction. Also on the website, under 'Children' 'Maths at Home' you will find some videos of children explaining column addition, column multiplication, grid method and numberline difference. If you are still unsure, please do email your child's class teacher to clarify.
If you are really struggling with the number of devices needed to enable your children to access our online learning, we do have a limited number of tablets available for loan from school. If you would like to be considered for one, please contact the school office on or after 20th April and we will do our best to sort something out for you.
We're not quite at the video message stage, but class teachers have email addresses which were shared with you on 20.3.20. Please use these to communicate with your child's class teacher, send in pieces of work/photos of activities completed etc. Class teachers look forward to receiving these emails and will respond. Obviously, on some weeks, your child's class teacher might be in school looking after key worker children, so on these weeks you would be more likely to have an acknowledgement email rather than anything more comprehensive. Teachers won't be responding to emails over Easter, but will be ready and waiting from 20th April. Class teachers do not have your email addresses, so you must make the first contact!
After Easter, all teachers will be including 'Gold Star Work' into their PowerPoints and we hope this will help motivate the children.. If children complete the Gold Star Work in their books and bring it back to school when re return, they will receive a Gold Star for their efforts. If you want to pick out the most important work to complete - the Gold Star Work will be the one to do!
This is a good question. The National Curriculum for all Primary schools can be found on the link below, but we wouldn't advise parents to worry about this at the present time. Teachers will be ensuring that they are covering as much of the curriculum as possible, and what can't be covered will be taught in school when we return. I've added the link for any interested parents, but this isn't something I am particularly recommending you do.
As far as topics are concerned, teachers pick topics each term in order to meet the objectives in the curriculum. Next term teachers will be sharing with children what topics they are going to cover in their PowerPoints. Science could be effectively covered by using Century Tech (see email sent out earlier today).
Unfortunately, there isn't anything we can do about this at the moment. Audible are providing free audio books at the moment and there are several sites with e-books to read.
Oxford Owl provide a free ebook library which is well worth looking at;
We really liked this idea and after Easter it's going to be included in the Review and Relax PowerPoints.
If you go onto the Home Learning tab of our website and scroll all the way down to the bottom (past the class stars) you will find a creative writing powerpoint that children can respond to at their own level.
Any work completed will be looked at and celebrated when the children return, but not 'checked' as in marked.
Yes, definitely. Twitter tasks can be emailed to Mr South using the Pine Class teacher email address. Mr South will then upload your photo to Twitter.
Much of the work being set by Year 6, particularly for maths, is taken directly from SATS papers, even if it doesn't look exactly like a SATS test. After Easter, you will notice that this is happening more with reading as well.
You can access online SATS test by going onto the school website and following Children - Class pages - Year 6 - Online SATS tests (scroll down to the bottom of the Year 6 class page). Please note, this is in a different place to the home learning.
In addition to this, after Easter Year 6 teachers will be adding some Year 7 work onto the end of each section to stretch those children that are ready for this.
Whilst children are using the internet for home learning, it is especially important for you as parents and carers to be aware of what your children are being asked to do online, and to know what sites they will be asked to access. We have provided you with this information through emails and on the uploaded PowerPoints. Links to sites are also on our school website.
You may choose to supplement the school online offer with support from online companies, and in some cases individual tutors. We would like to emphasise the importance of securing online support from a reputable organisation/individual who can provide evidence that they are safe and can be trusted to have access to children.
Support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online includes:
I hope that you have found the above information useful. We weren't able to include all comments, but all comments have been read by all teachers. Once again, on behalf of all the staff, I would like to thank you for your support and encouragement over the past few weeks.
In order to give staff a complete break, I have asked them not to upload any work or respond to emails over the Easter Holidays. Instead, they have been working hard to provide you with a whole host of ideas for Easter activities which you will find on the website. For urgent matters that really can't wait until 20th April, please email myself on the address provided in the Home Learning letter.
I would like to wish all our families all the best for the Easter period - we hope you all stay safe and well.
With best wishes,
Hurst Green Primary School
We'd like to draw your attention to a free online learning tool for English, Maths and Science called Century Tech. Some of our staff have been testing this out with their own children this week and reports back are extremely favourable. We would recommend taking a look at this if you haven't come across it already - the way it works is very impressive and for most children, once they get started they won't need any adult support.
As well as teaching English and Maths, Century Tech also covers science, which teachers have found hard to incorporate in the PowerPoints. Best of all, it's free for everyone whilst schools are closed. It's aimed at Year 3 and above, but some Year 2 children may be able to access the material.
Century Tech uses Artificial Intelligence to constantly adapt a personal pathway for your child through a series of micro-lessons called 'Nuggets' which are designed to address gaps in knowledge, provide stretch and challenge and promote long term memory retention. Content, pathways and questions are personalised for every learner depending on how they progress. Misconceptions are pinpointed and addressed with teaching tutorials.
What is CENTURY . CENTURY is the tried and tested teaching and learning platform that combines learning science, AI and neuroscience. It identifies knowledge and skill levels for every child and makes personalised learning recommendations to help them progress quickly.
As we are nearing the end of the first two-weeks of school closure, we wanted to touch base with you all to see how the school-work side of things is going.
We've put together a very simple survey that we would love you to complete if you get a minute. There are only 4 quick questions, with the opportunity to add a comment at the end should you wish to. The comment can be on any aspect of the school work we are providing. We'd also be keen to hear about any other online resources that you are finding particularly useful.
If you have more than one child, please complete a separate survey for each child so that we can view responses across all year groups. Each survey will only take a minute of your time.
Please complete the survey via the link below;
This is a learning curve for us all, so all responses will be gratefully received.
Please remember that all family situations are unique - what one family achieves in a day will be different to another. The main message we want to get across is that we don't want anyone (adults or children!) to feel stressed about what you are or aren't managing to get done.
Thank you for your support,
Hurst Green Primary School
Be aware of scam emails
We have been informed that some parents have received an email stating the following: 'As schools will be closing, if you're entitled to free school meals, please send your bank details and we'll make sure you're supported'.
We can confirm that this is a scam email and is not official. We urge parents that if you receive any emails like this, please do not respond, and delete it immediately.
Just a reminder to follow our @Hurstgreensch daily Twitter challenge! Today we are giving children a chance to repeat yesterday's challenge - to build your biggest freestanding tower and post it! Mr South and his son built an amazing Lego tower standing at 151cm tall! Can you beat Mr South?
Great to see pictures of children working hard at home on there too! Keep them coming!
We hope you are all well and managing at home as best you can.
We are going to continue using the school's website and SharePoint to upload work. If you are experiencing any issues accessing work, please email IT@hurst-green.dudley.sch.uk
SharePoint is working well but it isn't working for all. For SharePoint, please go to the VLC tab on t he school's site or visit
www.hg-ps.co.uk. Please use the Username: 123 Password: 456.
The work can be accessed via the following link https://www.hurstgreen-dudley.co.uk/home-learning-1 . Alternatively, if you go via the home page on www.hurstgreen-dudley.co.uk Go to 'Children' tab Go to 'Class Pages' tab Go to 'Home Learning'. Then find the required year group.
We have had extremely positive feedback from parents about our online work and I shall feed this back to staff. Feedback from children and parents suggests that there is a little too much to complete in one day, so teachers are going to set work three times a week from now on. This week, work will be uploaded on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. From next next week, staff are going to set work on Monday - Wednesday- Friday. We suggest that you do as much as you want on any particular day and save the rest for the following day. Staff members will continue to be accessible via class emails Monday-Friday. If your child is completing all the work set by us and needs additional work on a Tuesday and Thursday, please access additional work from Olive Hill Primary School - see note below.
I would like to stress that the work is not compulsory. It would be great if children can do some each day, but we certainly don't want children to worry about not completing it all. No-one at school would want to add extra stress to your current situation, so we encourage you to adapt the time spent on home learning to your own individual circumstances. I can promise you that a few months of reduced school work is not going to affect your child's long term educational outcomes.
Staff wont be setting work as such during what would have been the Easter break. However, the teachers are working hard to put a pack of home activities you could do as a family.
We are working with Olive Hill Primary School to share the work we are doing. If you want extra work above the work that we are setting (e.g on the days we do not set), please use their home learning resources which are very similar to the structure of ours. https://www.olive.dudley.sch.uk/online-learning. Again you will be able to choose your child's year group to gain access to work aimed specifically at that age range.
With best wishes,
Dear Year 6 Parents and Carers
You will not be surprised to hear that the residential trip to Astley Burf in June has been cancelled.
Dudley MBC took the decision to close the site for three months just as the government closed schools.
We are sure that your children may be upset about this as are the staff here. Year 6 pupils going to Astley Burf has become something of a tradition at Hurst Green. We will do our very best to organise at least a day at the site when life returns to normal if we possibly can.
All payments already made have been refunded today. The refund will be credited to the original card used. Please allow up to 10 working days for the monies to be received in your bank account.
Thank you for your continued support.
Stay safe and keep well
School is now closed until further notice to all children except those of key workers who have applied for a place today and been offered
I will be writing to you tomorrow to give you more details about the home learning we have planned as well as a wealth of other useful information.
Thank you for your understanding and patience during what has been a very busy time at school.
With best wishes,