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Newsletter November 2020

www.academy.thomas-s.co.uk  
info@academy.thomas-s.co.uk
Twitter: @ThomassAcademy
Facebook: Thomas's Academy
02077362318

Dates to Note (correct at time of publication):
Nov 2nd: INSET Day
Nov 3rd: Pupils return to school
Nov 3rd & 4th: Sikhism Focus Days (Y1-6)
Nov 3rd: Year 5 to Hurlingham Club
Nov 5th: Y1/Y2 Outdoor Learning
Nov 9th-11th: Nursery Parents' Meetings
Nov 9th: House Football Week
Nov 9th - 13th: Pupil photos
Nov 10th: Nasal Flu Vaccine (Rec-Y6)
Nov 10th: Year 5 to Hurlingham Club
Nov 13th: Children in Need Dress-up Day
Nov 13th: World Kindness Day
Nov 16th: Photographer in school (website photos)
Nov 16th: Anti-bullying week
Nov 23rd: Speak out, Stay Safe focus (NSPCC) Letter to parents to follow
Nov 24th: Year 5 to Hurlingham Club
Nov 26th: Y5 Assembly via Zoom
Nov 30th: St Andrew's Day - Thistle House wear blue


Dec 3rd: Y6 Assembly via Zoom
WB Dec 7th: Year 2 phonics screening
Dec 7th-9th: Visits to St Dionis Church
Dec 8th: Year 5 to Hurlingham Club
Dec 11th: Christmas Jumper Day
Dec 11th: Christmas school lunch
Dec 15th: Year 5 to Hurlingham Club
Dec 18th: Last day of Autumn Term - 2pm finish

Academy Development

This academic year, we have work to do in response to last year's school closure and the continued threat of further COVID consequences. In addition, we strive, as always, to improve our setting, and this year, this will be through a focus on curriculum development.  None of this is possible without staff that are able to deliver in a way that upholds our school values so staff wellbeing is also a focus.  See the table below for further information about this year's plans. 
After the success of the 'Walk to School' scheme in the first half-term and the continued desire to encourage all our children to be fit and healthy, we at Thomas's Academy are once again encouraging as many children as possible to walk to school this half term. If you cannot avoid transport, then perhaps get off the bus or tube one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way. We will once again be rewarding the children and the classes who walk/scoot/cycle the most. Children will get a certificate and the class that walks the most each week will get a trophy. Please send any photos you have of your child or children walking to school and we can put them up on display.

Thank you to all, keep moving and get those steps up.

Mr Bates
 

COVID response/planning

We have been working hard to ensure the school is COVID secure with lots of new measures in place. Thank you to everyone who has provided feedback and has been following our guidance.  On our school website, there is a new COVID tab which includes documents you may wish to read. They include a risk assessment and a contingency plan whilst COVID remains an issue for us. These documents are regularly reviewed so if you have any comments please email us at info@academy.thomas-s.co.uk . Part of the contingency plan includes remote learning should the school close or partially close. Staff have been working hard to create activities that can be completed at home in the event of pupils being absent for reasons related to COVID.  
In addition, we have reviewed many of our policies in light of COVID. A recent update regarding food in school is worth knowing about.  For those families who wish to send in a small food treat as a birthday celebration for their child, please note that we will now only accept pre-packaged (by manufacturers) individual fruit packages such as small raison boxes.  There is no expectation that food is sent in but if it is, we will give it out at the start of playtime or at the end of the day. 

Magic Breakfast

Magic Breakfast have been working hard to try to organise a way to help those families who are struggling the most during the COVID-19 situation.  They have organised, in partnership with Amazon, to deliver a parcel of breakfast foods to those families in need.  The deliveries are once a week and consist of the following items per child:
  • 1 pack of 5 Bagels
  • 1 box of cereal/porridge oats
  • 1 x 2.5kg tin of baked beans
If any families are interested, please contact the school office on: office@academy.thomas-s.co.uk

We are also pleased to announce that we are restarting our daily bagel breakfast offering to all children in the morning courtesy of Magic Breakfast. This will be done in a COVID safe manner. 

Black History

It feels as if Black History Month has had a strong focus this year.  There are post boxes painted black in honour of  Black History Month, there are television programmes devoted to Black historical figures and bookshops have made displays of books celebrating Black History. 

In our school, we consider Black History as an important part of our curriculum and not something that should be taught during one month and ignored for the remaining 11 months of the year. Our commitment to anti-racist and inclusive education is more holistic than this.  We recognise that Black History Month started in 1976 for good reason however we feel Black History must be represented throughout the year.  We have reviewed and adapted our entire curriculum, and whilst doing this, ensured that it includes a broad range of learning content including matters relating to Black History.  Our resources too are reviewed for diversity.  There is so much good practice in our school already, that is not to say that we stop striving to improve - there is always room for improvement.  Schools play a significant role in teaching children about the importance of having respect and tolerance for all cultures, a responsibility we take seriously. 

 
Year 5 planning for a Newspaper Report. 
Author Luke Temple ran a digital masterclass last half term with Years 3 and 4.  The pupils learnt how to use a range of descriptive devices, write short sentences to create suspense and show how their characters are feeling.  Here are some of their book covers: 

Autumn Changes 

In Nursery, the children have been exploring Autumn and all the changes we can see outside.  The children helped put the bears and hedgehogs in cosy homes ready to hibernate and spoke about other animals who sleep through winter too.  Children had great fun practising careful counting in the Autumn tray and sharing the Autumn treasures. 

Celebrating Writing

In English, we have been looking at the text 'The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse'. Pupils in Years 1 and 2 wrote instructions of how to make a cake for Mole.  Years' 3 and 4 pupils took on the role of Fox to write a diary entry.  In Years 5 and 6, pupils wrote balanced arguments around the issue of letting Fox out of a snare.  The writing that has been produced is wonderful and is showcased around the school. 
To keep up to date with what's going on in the school, please refer to the school website which has had some recent updates.  Daily updates including pictures of what life is like in Thomas's Academy are available on our blog, Facebook page and Twitter. 
Facebook: Thomas's Academy
Twitter: @ThomassAcademy
Website: www.academy.thomas-s.co.uk  

Royal Greenwich Observatory Workshop

Year 5 and 6 were lucky enough to participate in an online Zoom workshop delivered by Royal Greenwich Observatory.  This is to celebrate the end of their Space topic.  With outings not really happening at the moment, this was the perfect solution! Thank you to the staff for organising this exciting activity. 
We recommend that if pupils are engaging in online messaging, they have the app OWNIT downloaded onto their devices.  This is an app that gives children advice when needed, in real time as they type.  It helps children make smart choices and feel more confident on line. The app comes with a special keyboard which can be used like any other keyboard giving tips and friendly advice as you type.  There's wellbeing extras too!  

Outdoor Learning

Our Outdoor Learning Programme took off during October with astounding success. Children were able to practise their collaborative skills including communication when faced with challenges. Thank you to Mr Chester, Mr Bates and to Thomas's Outdoors for making this happen. Some comments from pupils:
  • "We have to stop cutting trees and look after nature."
  • "If you get lost, just stay where you are and hug a tree."
  • "Look how cute that spider is!  Cute is an adjective and spider is a noun."
  • "I'm putting two hands up because I've had more fun than you."
  • "I want to bring my mum here."
  • "This was the best day."
  • "That was the best trip we've ever had."
The school has invested in this online resource for pupils in Years 1-6. It includes a spelling platform that aims to make spelling fun as well as being simple to manage. The maths area within Edshed includes maths facts and times table practice. Pupils can access this at home with their unique username and password. Please make good use of this resource and ask if you are having any difficulty. 

Oral Health Virtual Activities

The CLCH oral health team are providing online advice sessions for parents/carers on children's oral health via MS Teams or telephone.  Parent's support service is offered daily, 15 minute slots are available via advance email booking.  Please book an appointment via clcht.ohp@nhs.net .
Oral health workshops to support families who have children in schools and children centres are available.  Topics included:
  • Toothbrushing
  • Diet
  • Visiting the dentist including floride varnish application advice
  • Dental emergency
There are a few options to choose from:

Upbeat

We have a long running and successful partnership with Upbeat who deliver sessions at the Academy on Saturdays and during some school breaks.  They offer Thomas's Academy pupils 15% off the price of their first term. During Lockdown2, Upbeat will be delivering their sessions online. If you are missing live singing - this could be the answer!

Mental Health

Hello, my name is Ellen and I'm an Education Mental Health Practitioner. I am based at Thomas's Academy every Thursday and work closely with the school link, Lyndsey Gale.  My role is to help children understand their feelings and emotions through workshops and groups.  I also work with staff and parents/carers through workshops, coffee morning and 1:1 interventions. 
We also have a telephone drop-in service for parents to talk about children's wellbeing.  This can include discussing challenging behaviour or any unpleasant thoughts or feelings they are experiencing.  In these drop-in calls we can support you to find the help that you need - this might involve a 1:1 intervention with us, or useful signposts to other services.  If you would like to book a 20-minute drop-in session, please follow the steps below:
1. Email dutyyouthservices@hfmind.org.uk
2. In the subject write 'Thomas's Academy drop-in service expression of interest'
3. Include your name and phone number
4. Select your preferred time - 3pm, 3.20pm, 3.40pm, 4pm or 4.20pm
Another way children can get support is online through Ollee - a digital friend for children aged 8-11, created by Parent Zone and funded by BBC Children in Need's A Million & Me initiative, which aims to make a difference to children's emotional wellbeing. 
It is designed to help children reflect on how they feel and to process their experiences with the support and help of their parents and carers - and it does this by offering them advice about a range of subjects. Find out more at: 
https://parentzone.org.uk/Ollee

Bonfire Night 5th November 2020

If you are celebrating this, please remember firework safety - the basics:

  • Make sure children stand a safe distance from any bonfire
  • Never return to a lit firework
  • Never throw fireworks
  • Keep fireworks in a closed metal box
  • Always hold sparklers at arm's length and wear gloves when handling them
  • Once sparklers are out, make sure you put them in a bucket of water. 
In an emergency:

 

Paying money to school

As you are aware, we now have an online system for parents to pay money to the school such as lunch money.  Thank you in advance to all of you who have been using this.  To use this, please download the app: Teachers2Parents.  

Parents Meetings 

Thank you to all the parents who joined us for our first parents' meetings via Zoom (Years Rece - Y6).  It was a pleasure to talk about the children's positive starts to the year.  We do hope that we will be able to do this kind of thing in person in future but at the moment, it seems that this is our new normal.  If you didn't manage to speak with your child's teacher and you'd like to, please email the office or your child's teacher directly. Nursery staff are looking forward to 'meeting' with parents very soon. 

Aktiva Camps After School

The staff from Aktiva collect pupils from their teacher at the end of the day and stay on site to do some fun activities.  They also get a snack.  Further information can be sought from Aktiva directly on: www.aktivacamps.com
Here's some feedback from one of our parents:
"Aktiva is more than just childcare.  My child has time to play and learn with his friends in a secure environment. My child loves it and complains if I do an early pickup. The staff are friendly and now that I know them well, I can see they have made changes by managing the bubbles and creating safe environments during these difficult times. I believe feedback is important and I wanted to let you know personally that a lot of great work is happening and I am very happy with how this term has worked out."

Absence

If your child is absent, please email the school on absent@academy.thomas-s.co.uk . This is the most efficient way to inform us. Please include as much information as you can.  This should be done for each day a child is absent. 

Personal Details

Please let the office know on info@academy.thomas-s.co.uk if you change any personal details such as your email address in order that you receive all our communications.  Also, let us know if someone different is collecting your child. 
Thomas's Academy places the safeguarding of children's welfare as our very highest priority. If you have any concerns about a child's safety or welfare, inside or outside school, please contact one of our Designated Safeguarding Leads or call us on the number above.