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Newsletter January 2021

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):
Jan 4th: INSET Day
Jan 5th: Some children return to school, remote learning begins


Feb 15th: Half-Term Week

Spring Term

Firstly, we'd like to wish everyone in the Thomas's Academy community a Happy New Year. Sadly, we have begun our Spring Term with the school only partially open.  For those at home, which is the vast majority, you will be receiving your learning digitally, similar to the Summer Term last year.  Those at school will be doing the same learning in their classrooms. For any questions or comments about your child's learning, please email your child's teacher.  For anything else, please contact the school office. It's important that teachers are made aware of any circumstances at home that might affect children's learning so please don't hesitate to reach out.  We are genuinely committed to providing a high-quality learning experience and also to pupil well-being.
That being said, I would ask parents to consider the well-being of the school staff who are working under increasingly difficult circumstances.  For this reason, we ask that you email only during work hours and give time for a response. 
Thanks goes out to all those in our school community who are carrying out critical work to fight the pandemic and to those for whom this work would be impossible without, such as our school staff. In these difficult circumstances, our school value of 'Be Kind' seems more relevant than ever.  

Click here for a link to our updated Covid policy. 
Click here for a link to our updated Covid risk assessment. 

Please discuss the following Zoom guidance with your children if appropriate: 

Free School Meals

Those parents entitled to benefit-related free school meals and whose children are learning from home, are able to collect a parcel of food to make a week's worth of lunches for each child in their family.  If this relates to you and you wish to receive a food parcel, please email: office@academy.thomas-s.co.uk

Third Space Learning Maths Tuition

We had planned to continue with this programme this term in response to the impact of the national lockdown(s) on pupil attainment and progress. Third Space Learning provide 1:1 personalised maths tutoring for Key Stage 2 children working to close the gaps in learning. As soon as full schooling resumes, we will once again restart this programme. 

Assessment at the Academy

We recently sent out some information for parents about assessment at Thomas's Academy. It focuses mainly on Years 1-6.  If you didn't get a chance to view this, you can here. 
Click here for the slideshow with links.
Click here for the slideshow (minus the links) but with an aural presentation from Miss White. 
We will review our plans for assessment over the next few weeks. Many of our decisions rely on information and guidance from the Department for Education.  We will of course update you when we have more information.  In the meantime, our focus in on providing high-quality education for children currently at school and those learning from home. 

Building Improvement

The project to upgrade the hot water and heating systems in the school is progressing well. The boilers are being replaced as are all of the radiators. A new mains pipe is being installed and the water tanks in the attic are being removed which will bring fresh drinking water to every sink in the building.  Rest-assured, we still have heating in school whilst this work is on-going.
We are so pleased to announce that £505.00 has been raised by Thomas's Academy on the Save the Jumper Day. Thank you so much for your generosity. 
We are now registered with @easyuk, so over 4000 shops and sites will now donate to us for FREE every time you use use @easyuk to shop. Please press on the link below to organise this if you haven't already: 

https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/thomassacademy/?utm_campaign=raise-more&utm_content=gs-t1

Sports for Champions

We are sad to announce that we have cancelled our visit from Jaydon Paddock, a gymnast, to our school on 15th January.  This was intended to inspire pupils in Years 1 - 6 at a time when gymnastics is being taught in P.E. lessons. Mr Bates will provide fitness sessions to all Thomas's Academy pupils (even those at home) so watch out for communication from him. We thank him for his commitment to children's well-being.  

House Teams

Congratulations to Shamrocks who won the house points competition for the Autumn Term.  As a reward, their House Captains chose to have a mufti-day on the last day of term.  

Learn to Learn

Our Learn to Learn focus for this half term is 'Be Creative'. Being creative is a fundamental requirement for success today and in the future.  We encourage creativity in all that we do at Thomas's Academy - taking positive risks and finding solutions to problems is celebrated.  Being creative is something we can all do and all do better so we look forward to seeing the children's efforts and successes. 
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  

Thomas's Academy Parents (TAPs)

We thank those parents who play an active role in TAPs. Before recent Government announcements, a number of fundraising events have been organised for this term including:
  • Break the Rules Day (Y2-6) on 22nd January
  • Crazy Hair Day on 12th February
We will be in touch once the TAP team have had a chance to digest the guidance.  

Photo Permissions

As you can see from the newsletter, we are now using children's faces in our pictures to celebrate what we do at Thomas's Academy.  This includes any work done at home and shared through the school apps. Thank you to all the parents who have completed the permission form for this.  If you haven't responded to this request, please complete this form.  Please be reassured that we use these photos to celebrate what is happening at school and that these photos will be of a positive nature only. Photos are posted on our school blog, Twitter, Facebook and soon Instagram.   You can also change your mind about your permission for this at any time.  

Talk for Writing

With our Learn to Learn focus for this half term being 'Be Creative', we couldn't think of a better time to highlight our new teaching framework for English: Talk for Writing being led by Miss Wood (Year 4 teacher). We are very proud to be using such a creative approach to teach our children the key skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing.  Although not designed to be taught remotely, our staff are working incredibly hard to adapt the learning to suit those at home.   For more information on Talk for Writing, please take a look at our English section on the school website or the official Talk for Writing website

Reading and Recording

Reading is one of the most important life skills and we aim to do everything we can to help your child become an enthusiastic and fluent reader.  You can help at home by encouraging reading every day.  In normal times, all children from Years 1-6 will return home daily with a book and their Thomas's Academy Reading Record.  For children in Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2) please support them to record their reading.  In Key Stage 2 (Years 3 - 6), we expect most children to record the reading for themselves. Not only does this process help children track their progress but it also is an excellent way to promote independence and organisation.  Certificates and prizes are given out in Friday assemblies (currently done over Zoom) to celebrate reading effort and achievements. 
During the school closure, please allow time for reading.  For one thing, it can be a time to escape all the worries and challenges that we are faced with. For support with choosing books or to borrow any books, please contact your child's teacher. 

Magic of the Musicals

All our pupils were treated to performances from Disney movies including Lion King and Frozen on the last day of last term. The performers were from West End Musicals. Thank-you to Thomas's London Day Schools for kindly sponsoring this. Pupils had a fantastic time. 

Mental Health

Hello, my name is Ellen and I'm an Education Mental Health Practitioner based at Thomas's Academy.  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

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.  

Absence

If your child is due into school but is going to be 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.  This is vital to the success of our remote learning programme. 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.