3 April 2020

Dear all,

I hope everyone is OK at the end of week two. For many people I know that this week has seemed harder than the last; maybe the adrenaline has worn off, boredom has kicked in and people are missing friends and family more. However, I have also heard that for many of you this week you have found your routine, got to grips with our new ‘normal’ and are settling more into remote learning and virtual communication. Wherever you are on this journey, I go back to my analogy from last week - this really is a ‘marathon, not a sprint.’ And, as with any marathon runner, you may hit ‘the wall’ at some point. Now more than ever it is time to take a deep breath, recuperate - physically and mentally - eat well, rest, but also stay active. I am having to remind myself of these things daily. The ‘wobble’ days are still there, but so is my ‘happy list’ and I hope yours is too. One thing I am determined to do, is not wish these weeks and months away. Life is too precious. A Dr Seuss quotation has really resonated with me this week - ‘Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.’ Even in lockdown, let’s make some treasured memories. And I know, by some of the pictures and stories you are sharing with me, that many of you already are.

Wherever you are in your journey, here are three links that I hope you find useful. The first, support for parents and carers for dealing with disruption:

https://www.annafreud.org/coronavirus/

Also, here is the Government's official guidance on supporting young people’s mental health in this situation https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-parents-and-carers-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

And finally, a video that you may well have seen circulating the internet already, but something I have found really inspiring and uplifting this week: https://www.goodthingsguy.com/opinion/we-remember-coronavirus/ Scroll down to the video.

Over the last seven days I have been so overwhelmed, not just by the continued support of the CFS community, but also of my local community at home. More and more rainbows have been appearing in windows. My neighbours have also fully embraced the national ‘Teddy Bear hunt’ and Winnie the Pooh has taken pride of place in our window at home! And I am writing this having just come indoors from the second ‘Clap for our Carers’. Such a special opportunity to ‘come together’ in a time when we are forced apart.

Over Easter

Although it may not feel very different it is important that we remember that the Easter holidays are now upon us. Therefore, there will be no formal remote learning in the way we have been doing over the last two weeks. However, we are also very conscious that this might be difficult for some families who will miss the routine, especially during a holiday where the usual activities won’t be accessible. Therefore, teachers have been uploading lots of ideas for pupils over Easter, on SMHW. I would like to emphasise, though, that these are completely optional. They are there as and when you and your children fancy it, and if you want to switch off completely from school over these two weeks then please do. We are just keeping things on there for those who want it. Obviously teachers won’t be feeding back in the normal way either, as they are having a well-earned break as well.

Please also remember all of the websites we have recommended, as well as the range of activities we have suggested in previous communications, to keep you going. I would also highly recommend this link from the Weald & Downland Living Museum, which includes lots of Easter activities and competitions:

https://www.wealddown.co.uk/easteractivities/-

I will also be checking my emails regularly over the next fortnight. CFS may be a little bit quieter over the holiday, but please know we are still here during these difficult times, as and when you need. But we also won’t be offended if you want to switch off from us completely for two weeks!

We also look forward to welcoming those pupils who are attending the Easter provision in school as children of key workers. If you have signed up for this, you will have received separate communication about the arrangements.

And, if you are still bored, then I would like to introduce you to...

Mrs New’s Great CFS Easter Challenge!

Every week day through the holiday I will be sending you all an email with a daily challenge on it for your children (and you!). This will be a range of things like quizzes, brainteasers and creative challenges; sometimes the same for all pupils, sometimes I will do different things for Primary and Secondary. All you have to do is follow the instructions each day and email me back with your child’s entry by the deadline. There will be House Point prizes on offer every day, and at the end of the fortnight everyone who has been placed in any of the challenges will be entered into a grand draw for the ‘Great CFS Easter Ultimate Prize!’ Again, this is completely optional, and I apologise in advance for adding to your email traffic each day.

The first challenge can be found here. Good luck!


Important Information

A few housekeeping bits from me this week:

·        ALL: Thank you for your patience regarding refunds for trips that were planned over the next term. Our finance team are working extremely hard to sort all of these for you and will be in touch over the next couple of weeks if they haven’t already.

·        ALL: You were all due to receive your child’s Justice Term Report today. As I hope you can understand, with everything that has happened, we are running behind slightly on delivering these. Final checks are happening over the Easter holiday and these will be sent to you as soon as possible after the holiday. We will be emailing these reports to you this time, and if this works well this is a method we may well use again in the future. Thank you for your patience with this and we apologise for the delay.

·        ALL: Thank you also for your patience as we get to grips with SMHW and remote learning in general. I am still very conscious that the number of tasks listed online can seem quite overwhelming for pupils, and parents, even if many of them are optional. If you ensure you click ‘submitted’, even if this isn’t a task or piece of work you have actually had to submit to the teacher, this will remove it from your child’s list.

·        ALL: Just a polite reminder for after Easter that, whilst we do understand that everyone is working very different daily patterns at the moment, most teachers are still doing the majority of their work during normal school hours. They are taking time with their own families in the evening, and so won’t always be able to respond to queries that are sent at this time immediately. Also, please be aware that daily work is not necessarily uploaded until 9am.

·        YEAR 11 and 13 PARENTS: A separate email has been sent to you regarding GCSE and A Level grades. Please do ensure you read this as well.

·        YEAR 11 PARENTS: We have postponed the Year 11 Prom. We hope to reschedule this for early in the Autumn, but need to know from Year 11 if this is something they would want to do at this point in the year. If your child has a ticket for Prom can you please email Mrs Potts by Friday 24th April to say whether you would or wouldn’t want a postponed Prom. We will make a decision at the end of April based on these responses. Whatever happens, we are planning an in-school celebration – the traditional Leavers’ assembly - for all of Year 11 and their parents as soon as we possibly can.

Message to the Pupils

I have tried something a little different this week – instead of a written message here is a video message from me  https://youtu.be/HNciv0XXWGw

Also,, our Key Stage Leads and Heads of Year have all posted a video saying hello to their respective year groups in SMHW today. Do look out for these! (They are far better at technology than me!) Mr Apsey has also written a letter to the Sixth Form which will be posted on SMHW as well.

And Finally

In the section below called Home Learning Celebrations please do enjoy more celebrations of all the remote learning that has been happening this week. Do keep sending these to us; we love to see and hear about everything that is going on away from school.

Wishing you all a very peaceful, safe and happy Easter.

With very best wishes,

Louise New
Principal

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