Hello to all of our Pegasus families wherever you are reading this. We hope that you are well and managing to keep your spirits up at home as we come to the end of the second week of the national lockdown.
This update is to share information about what we have been doing in the Trust since the move to online learning began and to tell you what we are working on for the future.
- Our main focus ever since the announcement of the lockdown has been getting our children online and attending the classes we have arranged for them, including twice daily GoogleMeets. In the period 4th – 10th January the Trust ran 1,559 GoogleMeets for our children with an average duration of 39 minutes. That’s really something isn’t it? We are now seeing over 90% attendance in most classes and have had a number of classes with a full complement of children. Our IT team (via the e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org) have dealt with scores of enquiries from families about passwords but the good news is that most browsers now remember login details so that you only need to enter them once. Attendance has grown as the week has gone on, including attendance at assemblies, so we can see our effort has been well directed;
- We have now distributed approaching 500 Chromebooks to qualifying families. Each one needs to be set up, tagged and logged and each family receiving one has been shown how to operate them and signed a loan agreement. This has been a huge effort from our staff within seven days and has contributed to our excellent attendance. If families are thinking of upgrading their IT at home or getting another device, then Chromebooks are by far the best choice for children and better for schoolwork than a tablet. You do not need a high spec model and should pay no more than £250. Argos, amongst others, have models in stock from £199 and you shouldn’t need to buy expensive insurance as there is very little to go wrong with a Chromebook. You can login by using exactly the same method as we do at school.
- Our staff have responded magnificently to the changing situation and have essentially learned a new job, online educator, since the 4th January. Thank you for all your kind comments about their work in social media and in e-mails to heads of School. If you wish to thank your child’s teacher individually you can do so through a comment in a blog and I’m sure they would appreciate it. We are continuing to develop our offer and some Year 6 classes are now using the wider features of Google Classroom to see if it meets our needs. I saw the work of the music team on ‘Charanga’ and was mightily impressed with what they had set up there. It is important to us that we are covering the wider curriculum where we can. It is also important that children have time away from screens during the day and we have some suggestions here for what children might do to add variety to their day;
- Next a few lines about the current disconnect between the Department for Education and the nation’s schools. You do not have to look too far on social media to discover that, at present, leaders in schools are not being consulted on planned changes nor given any preparation time before a wider offer is announced to parents. Most things are announced to us at the same time as you read them. A recent example is the guidance given around reopening of nurseries. Whilst we may wish to respond as per the guidance, we can only work within our given set of circumstances and there are many, many staff from Pegasus away from work at the moment either because they are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) or because they have symptoms of the virus. We are thinking about them and send them our good wishes for a rapid recovery as we do to any of our families that are affected. The context that we are working in is that yesterday saw the highest number of daily deaths since the pandemic began with London having very worrying figures. Croydon Council have sent their own letter to parents and carers which is here. We need to look after the health and safety of the children currently educated on site as well as our staff and at present we cannot safely expand our offer but when we can we will. For the time being, we should all heed the advice that whenever we can we should stay at home.
- Finally you will be pleased to know that none of the disappointing food parcels that have been in the news this week were sent to any of our families. In this lockdown, Pegasus are sending vouchers to families entitled to free school meals and these can be spent in a supermarket of their choosing.
That’s it for this week. It’s been great dropping in on classes around the Trust this week and seeing how quickly they have settled to this new way of working. We are aiming for 100% attendance and will continue to work towards that next week. For now, please stay safe and have a good weekend with your family.