Willow Tree Primary School

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    Weekly Update (22/01/21)

    22 January 2021 (by Chloe Topping (chloetopping))

    Click on the date to read our news for this week.

    Dear Parents & Carers,

    I hope that you are all keeping safe and well.  We are now half way to February term which is when the Prime Minister said in his address on 4th January that he would be reviewing the current lockdown arrangements.  Currently, there is a lot of speculation in the media concerning schools.  The Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, said on the news yesterday that schools would receive two weeks notice before reopening.  In line with other Government announcements recently, I am likely to have this information at the same time as you.  Once we have any information regarding the reopening of schools, I will keep you informed of our plans as soon as practically possible.

    At the present moment, school is only open to critical workers on the days needed and children who are classed as vulnerable until at least half term. 

    I wish to thank you for your support and engagement with our remote learning site Jotter Learn and the CGP books.  As a school, we completely understand that home learning is extremely difficult and you are trying the best you can as we all are.  Currently, over 70% of the school on average are accessing Jotter Learn with a significant number of other parents using the CGP materials.  This means under extremely difficult conditions, the children are accessing learning and this will help support us as teachers when the children come back to us.  Once again, your help and support in this is greatly appreciated and I thank you on behalf of the entire teaching team.

    I have provided some information from previous newsletters below:

    Weekly Contact

    I have asked my teachers to keep in touch with you over the lockdown by a weekly phone call.  This is a supportive phone call to see whether there is anything we can do to support you or answer any questions you may have.  If you would prefer an email rather than a phone call, please let you teacher know via their email which you will find on Jotter Learn. 


    Could I ask that if you need to let school know that your child/ren are not going to be in that you ring school and leave a message?  Our phones have the facility for you to leave a message.  I would ask that you do not use our social media to let us know this.  Thank you for your cooperation.

    Free School Vouchers

    As you’ll be aware, if you claim free school meals for your child, we have been offering the opportunity to come to school and collect a lunch whilst we waited to hear what the Local Authority / Government were deciding how they wanted this to work during the current lockdown.

    We have now had confirmation that our local authority will be issuing the vouchers for us and we will be sending them out for the previous two weeks and a separate voucher for the next two weeks.  This means you should receive vouchers which cover January.  You will then receive a new voucher in early February for the final two weeks of this half term.

    Currently, the Government have said that we are not to provide vouchers to cover the February half term.  This is an evolving situation and it is currently being discussed on the news.  If I receive any further updates on this, I will let you know as soon as possible.

    Free School Meals vs Universal Free School Meals

    Free School Meals is different from Universal free School meals.  When you claim Free School Meals, the school receives money called Pupil Premium which we use to support all children who claim Free School Meals.  This is because children from disadvantaged backgrounds find it more difficult to reach the expected levels in school.

    Universal Free School Meals are a meal provided to children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 paid for by the Government.  This is not covered under the voucher scheme as this only applies to Free School Meals (Pupil Premium).

    If you feel that you may qualify for Pupil Premium, please contact the school office who can provide you with details about how you may submit a claim for this.

    With very best wishes,

    Mr Perkins