Welcome to our strange new world

We officially opened this morning as a ‘childcare provider’ for children whose parents are designated as key workers. We have a rota of staff who are either working at home or in school providing childcare for children and it is our intention to keep this going throughout the Easter holidays and for as long we possibly can. Due to the commitment and dedication of our staff we are also taking children of key workers who attend other schools where childcare provision is not being offered.

It is my intention to keep you all up to date with information via our website on a regular basis so please keep checking the Newsfeed section.

During these strange and testing times, we are witnessing the very best of humanity and the very worst of humanity. I would ask every single one of you to be the neighbour or friend you would want to have yourselves and remember to do unto others as you would have done unto yourselves.

We are very grateful to our local shops who have pledged funding and food in order to ensure we can continue to provide this support to our community.

I would also ask that during the coming weeks and months we take a positive view and look at the  possibilities open to us. This is an unprecedented opportunity to spend quality time with the loved ones in your household. Seize this precious time to read your favourite story to your child – just for the love of reading; teach your child life skills by cooking or gardening; take up a hobby together; play board games and have fun wherever possible.

I am aware that some parents are feeling under pressure to recreate a school environment and to home school their children. I cannot stress strongly enough that you are not being asked to do this. Remember, you are their family not their teacher. Our children will need emotional support and guidance in these early stages of the crisis and this change to their routine and that is your key role. Our professional teachers are well equipped to ensure your child has the necessary skills and knowledge they will need to complete their primary education once the world returns to normal. Please bear in mind that teaching them the wrong thing or method is worse than teaching them nothing at all. At best our children should be revising things they have already been taught by our teachers. It is imperative that you (as their main care-givers) take on the role of encouraging their curiosity, creativity and confidence.

Most of us don’t get this time to spend with our children and partners and it is therefore a fantastic time to do something together. The benefit of living in our beautiful part of the world is that we are rural and remote and can therefore find a quiet space where we can take exercise and get some fresh air whilst adhering to the social distancing guidance issued by the government.

Today we are providing meals for children not only in childcare provision but for children entitled to free school meals across the Dale. Anyone in need of a packed lunch can come to school between 12.30 and 12.45pm and no-one will be turned away.

In addition, anyone can drop off a donation for the Weardale Foodbank between 8am and 4pm Monday to Friday and we will ensure it is delivered to the Foodbank every Tuesday.

We have been inundated by positive feedback from grateful parents who are relieved that we can provide childcare to allow them to continue to work on the front line in essential jobs. Please be assured that our team are committed to continuing to provide this support for as long as possible.

Similarly, members of our local community have also contacted us to thank us for our support and our desire to be here, an integral part of the community, throughout this crisis.

I do not underestimate how difficult the coming weeks and months will be but I am heartened by the wonderful people and organisations who are pulling together to ensure Weardale rides this storm as smoothly as possible.

If you or your families need anything at all, please contact us and we will try our best to support you or sign post you to someone who can offer additional advice and guidance.

Yours sincerely,

Mr S Myers

Head Teacher

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