Free School Meals Vouchers
Next week Unity Primary Academy will no longer be preparing packed lunches for collection. Instead, we will be moving to a voucher system. This will be for children who are registered as Free School Meals on our management system (which we regularly update from Essex County Council). Unfortunately, this does not include children on Universal Infant Free School Meals.
We will be getting in contact with families soon to let them know how the vouchers will work. If your circumstances have changed or you think you qualify, you can register for Free School Meals at the link below. Essex County Council will then inform the school of any successful applications.
New web page - School Closure Support
We have a new page on the website under the News and Events tab called School Closure Support. This page is dedicated to links and places in the community you can find support for food and supplies whilst self-isolating or socially distancing for 12 weeks.
As a school, we are doing everything we can to support our families, however, our main focus is providing childcare and protecting staff and children. Please do get in touch with us if you need any support and we will do our best to point you in the right direction.
Sharing your learning with us
We would love to see what you are getting up to at home. If you would like to send photographs of your learning and activities at home, please send them to email@example.com with your child's class or class teacher in the subject heading. The office team will then forward these to staff and we will upload them to the website. If you are on Tapestry, you can upload your own photos and videos straight to the app.
Please keep checking this page and the class pages regularly for learning ideas and activities. The Home Learning page is also being added to on a regular basis.
Learning from home
Along with the home learning packs of daily activities and key skills practise, Unity Primary Academy's teachers are working hard at home to put up daily activities on the school website or, if your child is in Nursery or Reception, on Tapestry.
Under the menu heading Children you will be able to click on the Class Pages. Here you can go into your child's class and find a daily reading, writing, maths and foundation subject (such as art, science or history) activity to complete at home.
On Tapestry, there will be a daily reading, phonics, number and other area of learning (such as physical education or being creative) to complete. Don't forget to take photos and videos to upload and share.
Your child's class teacher will also touch base with you and your child during a weekly phone call (during term time only). You can ask any questions about the learning or get advice on teaching ideas.
If you have any questions, get in touch through the contact page on your class page and we will do our best to help.
Enjoy your learning
Need support? Have a question?
Please fill out this contact form with your question or request for contact and a member of staff will get back to you to help you with your query. We will endeavour to call you back within 24 hours.
Free School Meals
As the government has announced, all children who receive Free School Meals (not including Universal Infant Free School Meals) will continue to receive a lunch or food vouchers whilst schools are closed. The government has not yet clarified what the voucher scheme will look like yet, however, REAch2 are providing schools with pre-packed sandwiches and lunch items for Free School Meal children.
On Friday we emailed letters to all parents who receive Free School Meals to explain how they could collect their lunch from the school. If you have yet to reply, please either email us firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know whether you will or will not be coming to collect your child's lunch.
We are aware that large amount of our families who receive Free School Meals are currently in the 14 day self isolation period and have voiced concerns about how they will collect lunches. Where possible, please ask a member of your family (not living in your household), a neighbour or a friend to come and collect the lunches for you. We will be meeting tomorrow to try to find a way to ensure that all families receive the meals their children are entitled to. Please bear with us as we try to solve this challenge.
Yesterday we had to say 'see you soon' to the vast majority of our pupils as our doors closed for the foreseeable future. Everyone at Unity Primary Academy has worked so hard over the last week to ensure our children had a normal, positive week at school amongst lots of worry and anxiety. We want to say a huge thank you to our staff and we thank you, our amazing school community, for all of your messages of support and kindness.
We are still here for each and every one of you and we will keep in regular contact with families. Please do reach out if you need any help and we will see what we can do to support you, even if it just a listening ear. If you have any questions about learning, there will be a contact page on each class website which will go to your class teacher and they will give you a call once a week during term time. If you need any other support, there will be a contact form on the Covid-19 page which will go to a member of SLT who will be in touch when they can. We will also continue to update the website regularly. We will send further information about what to expect from us in terms of home learning soon.
Every member of staff at Unity Primary will miss the pupils and families, however, we know that we will see each other again as soon as it is safe to do so. Keep safe and look after each other.
Miss Williams and Miss Halls
The government has now published its list of key workers who may be entitled to a place at school.
The government is recommending that, where possible, children remain at home to slow the spread of the virus. If families are able to provide childcare at home, the government asks that they do so.
If you feel you are a key worker, please call the school office and let us know your name, job and names of your children. The school will be in touch with you today to confirm whether your child has a place at Unity Primary over the following weeks.
Miss Williams and Miss Halls
You will have heard by now the government’s announcement that schools in England will close to the majority of pupils for the ‘foreseeable future.’ Currently, we are seeking further guidance as to who is eligible to still continue to come to school.
So far the government has specified that the children of key workers and vulnerable children will still be able to attend school. You may be a key worker if either parent works in the emergency services (police, fire, armed forces, prison staff) or in the NHS (including cleaners, admin staff and porters) or as a delivery driver. Vulnerable children have so far been specified as those with an EHCP or a designated social worker.
If you think you qualify as a key worker, please telephone the school office and leave your name and contact details, job description and the names of your children. We will then be in touch with families to confirm whether your children are eligible to still attend school. We will be in touch with families who may also qualify as having vulnerable children.
If you do not fall into either category, your child will not be able to attend school until further notice. However, along with the packs we have sent home, we have put in place support for parents teaching children at home over the next two weeks and possibly beyond. This will include:
- For EYFS pupils in Nursery and Reception, a daily reading, phonics, number and general activity put up daily on Tapestry.
- For KS1 and KS2 pupils, a daily reading, writing, maths and foundation subject activity on each class page on the website.
- A contact form on the class page to ask questions or share work with the class teacher.
- A weekly phone call from the class teacher (please ensure your phone does not block private numbers)
- A Home Learning Page on the website with up-to-date activities and links across the internet.
- A contact form on the Covid 19 page to request contact from a member of the Senior Leadership Team.
It has been confirmed that there will be no National Assessments this year for Year 1 Phonics, Year 2 and 6 SATs and Year 4 Multiplication Check.
We want all parents to know that we are still very much here for our community and all of our children. Please do reach out to us if you need anything.
Miss Williams and Miss Halls
Home learning packs
Today we are sending home with the children home learning packs in case families are required to self-isolate over the coming weeks. These packs include an exercise book, stationary and key skill activities (such as handwriting, times tables, mental maths activities, letter and number formation, etc) that we would like parents to practise on a daily basis with their child.
We will soon update the website with our plans for learning to continue in case of school closure and a list of websites and resources you can use to learn at home.
If you are already absent due to illness and self-isolation requirements, we will organise a delivery of these packs to your home over the coming days. Where possible, we will post them through the letterbox. If this is not possible, we will leave the packs on the doorstep and notify the household by ringing the bell or knocking on the door.
There will be no contact between staff and members of the household who are self-isolating.
Explaining Covid-19 to young children
We have been sent through an educational booklet that the NHS has been using to explain Covid-19 to young children that you may want to use with your own children at home.
We would like to reassure parents that we continue to follow all the appropriate guidelines from Public Health England and the guidance issued by the Department of Education with regard to how educational settings should handle the current situation. The guidance is updated daily and we will continue to post the links to this on our school website so that parents always have easy access to the most up to date information available.
Senior Leaders at Unity Primary Academy and within REAch2, are working around the clock to safeguard and plan ahead. Daily meetings are taking place to put necessary processes in place to continue to support our families.
At Unity Primary Academy, we take our responsibility to safeguard and support vulnerable families very seriously, and we do not want the help and care that we currently offer to you and your child(ren) to stop during this time. To enable us to continue to offer you our support, we will be making regular phone contact with some families to ask how you are doing, offer advice and support where we can. You will be contacted by your designated staff member if additional support at this time has been identified for you.
Our community fridge remains open to everyone. If you are self-isolating and you need support with food, please call into school.
Unity Primary Academy remains open as normal and staff are working hard to ensure children's health and hygiene remains a top priority.
We are aware that government advice has changed in the last 24 hours and whole families are now expected to self-isolate for 14 days if any member of their family displays one of the symptoms of Coronavirus otherwise they should attend school as normal.
If children become unwell at school with a new continuous cough or a fever, they will be isolated and sent home, along with any siblings.
If parents choose not to send children to school without a valid reason, this will be marked as an unauthorised absence.
Please do keep reporting attendance to our Attendance Officer by phoning the school on 01206864226, emailing at email@example.com or submitting an online form on our website.
We are working hard to find a way to provide learning for those children currently at home and will continue to keep you updated on our website.
Miss Hall and Miss Williams
Dear Parents and Carers
We understand that many of our school community will be concerned about the ongoing situation regarding Covid-19. This page will provide you with the guidance and advice that we are currently receiving from Essex County Council, REAch2 and the government. It will be updated on a regular basis to help keep you fully informed of our preparations and actions at Unity Primary Academy.
Currently, the government has advised that no educational setting should close and so Unity remains open to all pupils, with appropriate plans and procedures in place.
Lucy Williams and Rebecca Halls
Covid-19 Newsletter (including cancellation and postponing of events)
Letter from Sir Steve Lancashire, CEO of the REAch2 Trust
How to talk to your children about the coronavirus
It might feel challenging to talk to your child about the Coronavirus, however, there are child-friendly ways to share information with them about what is going on without causing anxiety and panic.
- Ask them what they're actually worried about.
- Be honest but not alarming.
- Be mindful of your own reactions - children will look to you for reassurance and feed off your anxiety.
- Explain that things in the media may sound worse than they are.
- Explain that Coronavirus is not serious for the majority of people - especially children.
- Teach them the importance of hand-washing and good hygiene.
- Explain that Coronavirus won't go away overnight but will hopefully begin to go away in the future.
- Only use accurate sources of information like the NHS website rather than speculation.
Watch this video from Newsround that answers key questions about Coronavirus
Hygiene and Handwashing
Current government advice is that we 'supervise young children to ensure they wash their hands for 20 seconds more often than usual with soap and water or hand sanitiser and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues'.
At Unity Primary Academy, children and adults have completed lots of practical and informative activities about the best way to keep hands clean and germ-free. We have been using lots of resources that you can find below and use with children at home.
Preparation for possible school closures
No schools have been directed to close at this point, however,Unity Primary Academy has taken guidance and advice on what needs to prepared and carried out in the case of mandatory school closures issued by the government. We are preparing to ensure all pupils still receive daily learning activities as well as resources they may need to record their learning. We are also looking at ways that families can stay in touch with the school and how we can continue to offer early help and services remotely.
If you do not have internet access at home, please let the school office know as soon as possible.
We would like to reassure you that cleaning of the school is being prioritised with extra care given to high contact surfaces such as door handles and light switches.
We are asking all visitors to use the hand sanitiser underneath the signing in screen upon entering and exiting the reception area, even if only visiting for a short time.
To support the delay of the spread of the virus, the DfE has asked anyone who shows certain symptoms should stay at home for 7 days, regardless of whether they have travelled to affected areas. This means people should stay at home and avoid all but essential contact with others for 7 days from the point of displaying mild symptoms. The symptoms are:
- A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above)
- A new, continuous cough
If you have made the decision for your child to self-isolate, please inform our attendance officer that this is the reason they are not at school. This should be through the usual procedures found on the Late/Absence page of the website. Your child will not be able to return to school for 7 days, even if they feel better and no longer display the symptoms.
Currently, the guidance states that siblings and members of the family do not also need to self-isolate, unless they are also displaying the symptoms. However, they will be closely monitored whilst at school.