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HT Blog – archived 2020

Friday 17th July 2020.

Hello everyone,

It has been fantastic to see so many children back in school over the last few weeks. We have gone from our regular key worker numbers, who have attended all the way through, to just over 110 pupils who joined us for the last half term. We have really enjoyed the fact that our school is slowly beginning to return to some kind of normal, and can’t wait to see you all in September.

Returning to school

The government have now published further guidance for schools for the return of all pupils in September, and we have all been working really hard to make sure that we are prepared and organised. We have been working on updating our risk assessments and rotas, curriculum planning and lots of other things ready for everyone’s return.

As we left so abruptly back in March, we would like all children to be able to say good bye to their class and year group teachers, and take part in some pastoral and PSHE work for the first two weeks back. As lots have things have changed in school and there is now a “new normal,” it will be nice for all children to come back to familiar faces for a little while before moving on to their new year group and new class teacher.

Organisation and Information

You should have all now received your child’s class report. Within the report you should have received two letters. One letter explains how our school will be organised, (similar to how it is now for those pupils already attending,) and to reassure you of the safety measures that are in place. The other letter is specific to your child and explains drop off and pick up locations and times. It is very important that you read this letter as it contains many details and instructions as to how things will be organised. We really do need everyone’s help and co-operation in keeping to these times and guidelines in order to get everyone back safely into school.

We will put all of this information on our website and send out reminders before children return to school. Children will return to school on Thursday 3rd September

Before and after school provision

In September we will be unable to run our usual Magic Breakfast club each morning, as government guidance sets out that children should remain within their own classes and refrain from mixing with others. For this reason, we will not be offering our breakfast or after school provision with Mrs Rogers for possibly the first half term. We will however, review the needs, organisation and any updated guidance around this to help us move towards a solution for those families who may consistently need this service in the future. We realise this may cause some difficulties for some parents, however we feel that introducing 425 children back to school safely, and maintaining them within their classes is our current priority.

Breakfast parcels will continue to be provided to those families we have already identified, and collections will remain as they have done over the last few months.

Summer holidays

It has been agreed that all schools in Sunderland will close over the summer holidays as they usually would. This will allow staff and children to have a rest, and give schools time to prepare and work with the new guidance and organisational and additional demands that this pandemic brings to our school community. Together for Children were looking at the availability of summer activities throughout the summer holidays. If we receive any information regarding this, we will of course let you know and put any information receive on our school website.

Year 6

We are inviting our Year 6 pupils back to school this afternoon once all pupils have left. This will give them an opportunity to see their friends and staff, (at a safe distance!) and allow us all to celebrate all of their hard work and efforts this year. We really would like the opportunity to get together safely and wish them well on their journey to secondary school. This was not quite the Year 6 experience that we had planned for them but they have been fantastic nevertheless. They are a wonderful bunch of young people who are more than ready to move on to the next challenges that lie ahead. We wish them all the very best of luck in their new schools.

Thank you!

Finally, a very big thank you to you all, for your help, support and understanding since the end of March. It really has been an unsettling time for us all and we have had to adapt to new rules, routines and big changes very quickly. The children we have had in school have been fantastic and we have thoroughly enjoyed seeing all of the wonderful pictures everyone sent in of the lovely things they have been doing at home.

We are pleased that everyone managed to keep themselves safe and well, and are really looking forward to seeing everyone again in September.

Have a lovely summer holiday,

Yours Sincerely,

Mrs McDermott.

Monday 22nd June 2020.

Hello everyone,

We all hope you are all keeping safe and well at home. All class teachers are continuing to update their blogs each week so that you can continue taking part in some learning from home.  Keep sending in your photos as we love to see them. A special congratulations to Thomas, in our Reception class, who sent in fabulous photo. Congratulations on becoming a big brother Thomas. It sounds like you are doing a fantastic job and being a brilliant big brother already!

It was lovely to see some of our children back last week, and a few more this week. A big thank you to everyone who followed our new drop off and pick up times and our one-way system around our school grounds! It is making things much easier and allowing us to follow and keep to the social distancing rules.

We have now closed our registers to Reception. Year 1 and Year 6 children, as our numbers, along with that of key workers has steadily increased. This means that our learning bubbles are now full.

All staff and children have been allocated set working bubbles, times and areas, which will continue now until the end of the school year.

We, like you have been watching the news and updates very carefully so that we are able to plan ahead for September. Guidance for schools is due to be released in two weeks’ time, and from that we will be able to make plans and communicate them to you. Please make sure that the office has your up to date mobile number so that you receive texts and information.

In the meantime, please take care.

Mrs McDermott

More information regarding the wider opening of schools is in the letter below.

Wednesday 10th June 2020

Dear parents/carers,

As you know school is opening to some identified year groups as of next week.

Our arrangements are:

Monday 15th June: key worker children and Year 6 pupils.

Tuesday 16th June: key worker children, Year 6 and Year 1 pupils.

Wednesday 17th June: key worker children, Year 6, Year 1 and Reception pupils.

Unfortunately, due to the guidelines around small working numbers and ratios, we will not be able to accommodate Nursery into school. We will however make sure that we look at their transition from nursery to reception very carefully in September. 

Initial phone calls.

A little while back we made phone calls to the parents of children in Year 6, Year 1 and Reception, asking them if they were intending on sending their child back into school when it reopened.

Parents who said yes.

If you said yes during this phone call your child has been added to next week’s register. You will be sent, via post, a letter detailing all of the arrangements, including starting and finishing times. We will look forward to seeing you and your child next week. If you have been receiving a FSM voucher, this will no longer continue once your child returns to school.

Parents who said no.

If you said no during this phone call, your child’s name has not been added to the register for next week and you will not receive an information letter through the post.  Due to the strict staff and pupil ratios, if you have since changed your mind, you will not simply be able to turn up to school next week. You will need to contact us to enquire if we have any available places. These places, if available, would not start until week beginning 22nd June. We will continue to update class blogs with weekly work and activities for all children who are not in school.

School capacity.

We are limited to the number of pupils we can have in school due to the strict space and ratio guidelines. We therefore need you to enquire about a school place for your child at least a week in advance if you change your mind and would like them to attend.

We always like to be as accommodating as possible, and while we would like to see as many of our children back as possible this is not as easy as it sounds. I’m sure you will appreciate, this has taken and continues to take a great deal of organising.

We know that the decision about sending your child back to school is a very personal and difficult one, and we respect all decisions made by parents. We really do appreciate everyone’s support and understanding.

Yours sincerely,

C McDermott

Head teacher.

  Friday 5th June 2020.

Dear parents/carers,

A reminder of our phased return arrangements:

Monday 15th June: key worker children and Year 6 pupils.

Tuesday 16th June: key worker children, Year 6 and Year 1 pupils.

Wednesday 17th June: key worker children, Year 6, Year 1 and Reception pupils.

Thursday 18th June: all of the above with the addition of Nursery pupils, if capacity allows.

Learning Bubbles:

Children who return to school will be taught in small groups of up to 10 children, which we will call bubbles. Each bubble will have its own members of staff, room and resources. Bubbles of children will not mix during the day and they will be reminded about social distancing.

More details about the organisation and staggered start and finish times will be shared with you early next week. Any child attending school who is currently receiving a FSM voucher will be given a packed lunch in school. FSM vouchers will not be given from Monday 15th June if your child is attending school.

Capacity within school:

We have now spoken to the parents of children in the identified year groups in order to plan for a phased reopening of school on Monday 15th June. Now that we have numbers and a register of children in each year group, it is very unlikely that we will be able to accommodate any nursery children back into school. Unfortunately, due to the take up of places, restricted numbers in bubbles and space within school, we are almost reaching our capacity.

We are now no longer adding any more names to the allocated learning bubbles for week beginning 15th June.

If your child is in an identified year group, you have changed your mind, and would now like your child to attend school, you will need to ring at least a week in advance to enquire about any spaces. We will do our very best to accommodate where we can, but as I’m sure you will appreciate, every member of staff and available space in school is being utilised to ensure we maintain the small learning bubbles required.

Thank you for your understanding.

Yours Sincerely,

Mrs C McDermott

Head teacher

3rd June 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

Following a Trustee meeting on 2nd June, the decision has been made that the planned and phased reopening of school to key year groups will begin on Monday 15th June.

Detailed information about the planned opening will be published on our website early next week.  However, I understand that you and your child will be anxious to know the main arrangements we have made for phasing the children back safely.

Phased return arrangements are:

Monday 15th June: key worker children and Year 6 pupils.

Tuesday 16th June: key worker children, Year 6 and Year 1 pupils.

Wednesday 17th June: key worker children, Year 6, Year 1 and Reception pupils.

Thursday 18th June: all of the above with the addition of Nursery pupils, if capacity allows. This is dependent on the take up of key worker and key year group places.

I will ensure that all information regarding the phased opening of school is shared with you as soon as possible as I appreciate that you will need to make arrangements.

As always, the safety of our pupils and staff remains our key priority at this time.

I understand that this is a difficult time and we value your patience and support.

Yours sincerely,


C McDermott

Head Teacher


Thursday 21st May 2020

Dear parent/carer,

I am sure that you will have heard and read a lot of media coverage about the reopening of schools, along with resistance from unions and local councils across the country.  After carrying out a robust risk assessment and following advice from the Trust and our Local Authority, the earliest date we can consider to have a phased return to school will be June 8th and not the aspirational date of June 1st as suggested by the Government.  Schools have been advised to plan with caution and this is supported by the fact that the Government are not announcing until May 28th its final decision on reopening schools when it reviews the latest scientific evidence.

We will provide further information of what this phased return will look like after Trustees have considered the options at their next meeting on June 2nd.  We are currently preparing our site and considering the capacity of staffing to ensure that we can meet all safeguarding requirements.

We will of course keep you updated once we have a definite date for reopening, and a clear and safe plan for a phased return. I must stress however that this may be subject to change as more information becomes available.

I would like to thank you for your patience and support; the safety of pupils, staff and parents is paramount at this time and we want to ensure that we ‘get it right.’ 

Childcare arrangements for critical key workers remains unchanged and staff will continue to provide online learning for all year groups.

Stay safe everyone,

Yours sincerely


Monday 18th May 2020.
Hello everyone, 
I hope everyone is still working hard. It certainly looks as if you are when we see all of the lovely pictures you keep sending in! We’ve seen some maths, phonics, cooking, painting, lots of exercise going on, and even some gardening and car washing! Fabulous! I particularly like the pictures where you have your pets joining in the activities too!
Keep sending them in- all of the staff really enjoy looking at them and seeing what you have been up to. Don’t forget to look at your class teachers blog and the online learning links on our website.

An update for parents and carers.

We are working very carefully through all guidance issued over the past week, in conjunction with the Local Authority Health and Safety Team. We are risk assessing all aspects of school; premises and procedures, in order to make sure that when more pupils do return all staff and pupils are safe. This is of the utmost importance. 
For now, all I can say for certain is that school will close for the May half term week, and reopen for our key worker children on 1st June. When I have further information or updates I will share them with you as soon as I can. 
As a staff, we really appreciate your patience and understanding at this very difficult and unsettling time.
Mrs. McDermott

Monday 11th May 2020.

Hello everyone!

I hope you are keeping safe and well, and have been enjoying some of the lovely sunny weather we had last week!

In School:

Our key worker children who were in school enjoyed being outside in the sunshine and held their own V.E day celebrations. They also managed to celebrate Mrs Hayhurst and Mr Hodgsons birthdays in school too!

Please keep checking your class blogs, as teachers have updated them again with some activities everyone can be doing to help and support with their learning.


I am sure everyone saw the announcement last night by the Prime Minister where he hoped Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 classes could start back at school in June, if it is safe to do so. We are still waiting to receive a lot of information from the government about what this means for our school. I am sure that like us, you will have lots of questions, but as yet, we do not really have any answers until the government share more information with us.

In the short-term therefore, nothing has changed for us and our school continues to run as it has for the last seven weeks. School remains open for a small number of key worker children and work will continue to be set as part of weekly class blogs. We hope to be able to provide you with further information in the coming days and weeks once we are able to do so.

In the meantime, please take care and look after each other,

Mrs. McDermott.

Monday 4th May 2020.

Hello everyone,

I hope everyone is staying safe and well. Thank you to everyone who is sending pictures in of your home learning activities. We all love looking at them and seeing the interesting things you have been up to!

Keep up the good work- you are all doing fantastically well!

Seth and I have been working hard. We made a garden jungle. We also kept up with our phonics. Seth had to write some sentences using certain words. This was his sentence with the word “my.”

I think we all miss our friends and can’t wait to see them again.

We still don’t know when we are all coming back to school but whenever we have any information about this, we will let you know. We hope it is not too far away.

Take care,

Mrs. McDermott.

Monday 27th April 2020.

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all keeping safe and well, and managing to keep busy! We all hope you liked our message to you all last week!

Class teachers have updated their class blogs for you and have included some nice ideas and activities you can try out this week to keep busy. (Parents, please do not worry about how much work is being done- we know everyone is trying their best to juggle lots of things- these are simply ideas to help and support!)

Miss Richardson has been working really hard to re-organise our website so it is easier to find all of the things that will help you with your home learning. We now have a section at the top called Home Learning. You should find everything you need in there (although we are adding to it,) in your class blogs and the photos you keep sending in are there too!

BBC Bitesize was new out on Monday and has some good lesson ideas- your teachers will have told you, in their blogs, which lessons would be best for you to try.

The government also launched Oak National Academy where you can take part in some virtual lessons. I’ve tried some Reception lessons with Seth this week. We enjoyed the Literacy lessons about the Three Little Pigs! We’ve done some work, but we’ve also baked a cake, gone for a walk and played in the garden when the weather was nice. (We will make sure there is a link to these sites in our Home Learning section)

I know this is a really strange time and you will all be missing your friends. Please keep sending in your photos so we can share them on the school website. You will be able to see what everyone is up to!

Finally, a special message to Year 6. I know you might be worried about not seeing your friends again before you go off to secondary school. No one knows quite what’s going to happen yet. However, please don’t worry as we would not let you all go without having a party, even if it has to happen at a different time.

Keeping looking after each other,

Mrs. McDermott.

Friday 3rd April 2020.

Monday 20th April 2020.

Hello everyone,

I hope you managed to enjoy some family time over the Easter holidays and had some chocolate eggs too!

Thank you to everyone who has sent pictures into the school email address- it has been fantastic to see all the lovely things you have been doing at home. Thank you to the grown-ups too who are doing a great job of trying to work from home and keep you all busy. I know this is not an easy job to do!

Mrs. Connelly has been very busy too, trying to manage the new free school meal voucher system. As you will have seen in the news, this has not been as straightforward as everyone would have liked. Thank you all for your patience- we are getting there!

Teachers have updated their class blogs with messages and some new learning ideas for this week. Remember there are lots of other things you can do to keep yourself busy.

My little boy Seth and I have enjoyed some baking, making pizzas and doing lots of craft activities. He has also done a little bit of phonics and number work too!

I hope everyone is managing to keep busy and stay safe. We are missing you all.

Mrs. McDermott

Friday 4th April
Hello everyone,
We hope you are all well and managing to keep safe. We know everyone is working hard and trying to keep busy. Thank you to all of you who have sent in a photograph to share what they have been doing at home. It’s a really nice way of us all keeping in touch.Remember, your grown up can send your photographs to farringdon@inspiremultiacademytrust.co.uk
All of the staff are working hard to make sure that we are prepared for when we are safely allowed back into school. They have been working hard to support the small number of children still in school, and helping them to keep busy. Teachers have also updated their class blogs with some activities that should give you lots of things to do in the Easter holidays. This might help to give the grownups a rest! 
Stay safe and take care. We are missing you all.
Mrs. McDermott and all of the staff at Farringdon.