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Newsletter February 2021

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

Dates to Note:
February 

1st: Mental Health Week
3rd: Inside Out Day (read more below)
12th: Crazy Hair Day
15th: Half-Term Week
22nd: Learning continues
22nd and 23rd: Judaism Focus Days

Update

Much has been happening at Thomas's Academy since the start of term, much of this behind the scenes, to ensure the school is compliant with new Department for Education (DfE) guidance as it comes out. An overview of our main decisions and actions is included below:

School Safety - We were already set up with pods, staggered movement around the school, hygiene protocols and having a full-time cleaner.  We updated our COVID policy to ensure that we were doing all we can to minimise the risk of transmitting the virus including by keeping pods separate from each other. 

Free School Meals - For those families at home who are entitled to benefits-related free school meals, we switched to providing vouchers rather than giving out parcels. Parents have now received vouchers to last until half-term. 

Technology - We secured a further 18 laptops from the DfE which have been handed out to families in need of them.  We have also lent out many of our school iPads, particularly to the younger children.  In addition, we have been given 5 new laptops as a charitable donation from the company Oxford Knight.  We thank Oxford Knight for this and know they will make a huge difference to how successful our remote learning programme is. We thank Miss Chaffer, our teacher in Year 2, for the connection here. Finally, we thank the Thomas's IT team who ensure all our IT equipment is in working order. A real team effort here!
Some staff members too have required laptops at home which we have accommodated where we can. 

Testing - After organising to do rapid testing of staff on site, we were actually sent home kits for staff which staff are independently administering weekly on a voluntary basis. We have begun this testing and picked up an asymptomatic case of a Year 4 staff member.  We therefore closed the Year 4 pod as per our policy and these pupils and staff are isolating and are now working/learning from home. Two staff members in Reception were considered 'close contacts' of the Year 4 staff member so are now self-isolating also.  This caused a temporary shortage of staff in Reception which caused us to close the Reception pod for two days. 

Remote Learning - All classes are receiving daily Zoom sessions which enables children to get some social time with their class.  Activities are set daily for children by their teachers using platforms that we are all now familiar with. We aim to include videos/live teaching in our activities and aim for a broad curriculum which should take children in KS1 around 3 hours per day and KS2 around 4 hours to complete. Follow-up emails and calls are being made to ensure any barriers to learning are overcome. We are grateful to all staff involved in this process. We have also begun some 'live reading' sessions with some children. Please look out for a questionnaire being sent soon to ask for your opinions of our Remote Learning package. 

Special Needs Interventions - On 13th January, we restarted interventions such as our speech and language therapy. These are happening both remotely and in person. This intervention is being managed by our Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator: Amy Jackson. 

Nursery - On 13th January, we reopened our nursery more widely but continue to offer remote learning to those families at home. This team continues to be stretched in terms of staffing due to staff having to shield at home. 

Staffing - With pressures on staff due to absence, Thomas's Kensington have kindly offered some staff members to help in our Early Years.  We thank Thomas's Kensington for this and the kind staff who have now joined our team temporarily.

Training - Our digital lead, Miss Chambers, is supporting staff to meet the technical demands of remote learning. The training is of exceptional standard and comes at a good time.  We thank her for this. We hope parents and children see the outcomes of this in the remote teaching. 

To view our most recent policy and risk assessment related to COVID-19, please go to our website
If you have any feedback regarding our approaches, please contact our admin team: office@academy.thomas-s.co.uk
 
Please discuss the Zoom expectations below with your child. This is to ensure that sessions run safely and smoothly.  Many thanks. 

Children’s Mental Health Week 2021 - Express Yourself

From 1st -7th February 2021 Thomas's Academy are taking part in Children’s Mental Health Week. This year’s theme is Express Yourself. Expressing yourself is about finding ways to share feelings, thoughts, or ideas, through creativity. This could be through art, music, writing and poetry, dance and drama, photography and film, and doing activities that make you feel good.  It’s important to remember that being able to express yourself is not about being the best at something or putting on a performance for others. It is about finding a way to show who you are, and how you see the world, that can help you feel good about yourself. For Children's Mental Health Week 2021 we will be encouraging the children to explore the different ways that they can express themselves, and the creative ways that they can share their feelings, their thoughts and their ideas.

'Inside Out Day'- wear your jumper or socks inside out

In February, during Children's Mental Health Week, Inside Out Day is partnering with the mental health charity Beyond to create the UK’s first ever mental health and wellbeing festival for primary and secondary schools. The Now and Beyond Festival on Inside Out Day aims to tackle the mental health crisis facing our school children. It has never been so necessary to create robust mental health and wellbeing provisions in schools. On 3rd Feb, the pupils in school and at home along with their teachers will wear an item of clothing inside out as a reminder that how someone else looks on the outside doesn’t necessarily reflect how they are truly feeling on the inside.

Coronavirus: How to keep children healthy, happy, learning and entertained at home

Please click on the link below for your free e-copy of Family First magazine, packed full of information to help keep children happy, learning and entertained at home during lockdown.  We hope it helps in some way.  

Free Family Learning; Recycled Jewellery via Zoom

If you would like to engage in some family craft sessions, Family Learning enables families to share the value of learning in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.  During sessions, families will design and make various colourful pieces of recycled jewellery.  They will be using some tools (scissors and ruler) together with their child/children and explore a variety of materials safely and correctly. 

No previous experience is required.  To enrol, call HFALS on: 02087533600.  

Printing Issues

If you do not have access to a working printer and need some schoolwork printing, Chestertons are offering this for free during lockdown. They are based on Fulham Road. 

Online Safety

With children spending so much more time behind screens, we thought we'd share some tips with you.  As a school, we are aware that remote learning involves yet more screen time and are working together to consider non-screen approaches also. 
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
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  

Free Fibre Connections 

If you don't have internet connection at home it is possible that this could be provided to you for free.  There are some criteria you have to meet but if you are struggling in relation to this, please do let us know and we'll try to help. 

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.  

Learning Resources

If your child requires any resources such as stationery or books, please let us know and we can organise this for you.  In addition, if you would like to borrow some reading/picture books, we can provide some for you.  We want to overcome any barriers to learning that we can.  

CAN Service

Hammersmith and Fulham CAN is the volunteer community aid network launched to support residents in need during the coronavirus pandemic.  Working with the voluntary and charity sector, and alongside the ward and street-level mutual aid groups, CAN offers support to residents who don't have friends or family close by to help them out.  To receive help or if you are worried about a friend, neighbour or relative, call  0800 145 6095, 8am - 6pm, seven days a week. 

Thank you from a recipient of a Christmas Hamper

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.