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  3. Information Letter 29.03.20

Information Letter 29.03.20

30th March 2020

Dear Parents, Families, Staff and Governors,

I very much hope that you are your families are keeping well. Below is a long letter, but one I hope you find of use. You can find this letter on the school website, any reference to attachments will be links you can access from the website.

I have tried to group things into sections, but I appreciate many will overlap. It is also possible that things may already be out of date, so apologies if that is the case. There is also the risk of information overload, or simply not being able to find this email again when you actually need it; to try and support this:

• I have only highlighted two items – if nothing else, please read this information as it will be extremely important to some families.

The following are in no specific order and some may be considerably more valuable to some than others, so please read all the way through. **PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE NOT SPECIFICALLY RECOMMENDING ANY COMPANY AND DO NOT ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY THIRD PARTY WEBSITE CONTENT**

• Hardship Fund: A reminder that we have created a small fund for anyone who may be struggling. Although we cannot provide cash, we can buy food vouchers, learning resources or other essentials and arrange for these to be delivered to you. All requests will be treated in the strictest of confidence, so please don’t hesitate to ask for help if you are in need it via headteacher@middleton.derbyshire.sch.uk ;
• Parentpay & Mount Cook: We are removing anything from Parentpay that no longer needs to be paid. We are still in discussion with Local Authority and Mount Cook to see how and when we can refund families or rearrange a visit to the Centre. We will send further information as soon as we have it;
Free School Meals: If your child is entitled to a free school meal (not including ‘universal’ infant meals), you should have received an email from school regarding shopping vouchers. Please let us know how these are working for you, or if you haven’t heard anything. Make sure that the email is from one of our school addresses – sadly there have been scam messages going around such as, “Schools will be closing, if you're entitled to free school meals, please send your bank details and we'll make sure you're supported” – if you receive anything asking for your personal details, especially bank details, do not respond and delete the message immediately;


Phone Calls from School: Now that things are starting to settle into a routine, the teaching staff are starting to make phone calls to some families. Please note that for safeguarding reasons, the staff will be blocking their numbers when they call, so if you receive a call from a blocked number during normal school time, please consider picking up as it may be a school call. The teachers may also talk to the children, perhaps even hear them read some of their reading book, but please stay in the room, so can also be part of the conversation. We are working hard to find even better ways of communicating directly with the children, but we’re not quite there yet. Remember that you can send emails and photos to enquiries@middleton.derbyshire.sch.uk and this will be forwarded to your child’s class teacher;
• Local Foodbanks: The Elim Church runs a foodbank that no longer requires a referral – they have a new number to contact: 01335 661237. The Jigsaw foodbank is supporting the villages within the Wirksworth Team or Ministry;
• Community Groups: There is a support group in Middleton https://www.middletonbywirksworth-pc.gov.uk/news/2020/03/middleton-covid-19-support-group they can help with shopping, posting or a friendly phone call. The county council have also now set up a community response unit to coordinate efforts across the county: the link to the page is https://derbyshire.gov.uk/social-health/health-and-wellbeing/health-protection/disease-control/coronavirus/community-response-unit/community-response-unit.aspx. They are urging community groups to register with them;
• Signposting: The “HPND Signposting Sheet 19.3.20” attachment collates a variety of support services and their details including Citizens’ Advice, foodbanks and other useful contacts;
• Emergency Supplies: The Cheddar Gorge in Ashbourne is now doing an essential food box delivered for £25 and are also offering home deliveries of other items to a wide area. This is something that the school could support using the Hardship Fund (see above), if needed.

• Self-Care and Support Resources: I was sent these links from a mental-health specialist who recommended them: Self-Care for young people: https://www.annafreud.org/on-my-mind/self-care/, Support for Parents https://annafreud.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=aa2c9f8b722440e7e05bedb82&id=12ffbbb354&e=6e6c6034af , Support for Children and Young People: https://annafreud.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=aa2c9f8b722440e7e05bedb82&id=bfeb6149a3&e=6e6c6034af;
• School Nurses: There is a “Derbyshire School Nurses PH Info Sheet” attached with various pieces of information and contact details;
• Action for Children: There is a “Well-Being Booklet for AFC Students” attached which might be useful and has been highly recommended;
• Activities: The “Group Activities Primary” attachment is from some resources about “Find Your Brave” that were produced during Mental Health week – it might give you some ideas about good activities if your child (or you) are anxious about the current situation. There is also a “Resource List Primary” attachment with more things linked to this topic and a “Top Tips Primary” information sheet;
• World Health Organisation (WHO): There are loads of great resources on the WHO website, with lots of factual and informative posters that you might find useful. I have attached the WHO “Helping Children Cope with Stress” information sheet;
• Apps: There are many, many apps available on all platforms promoting mental health, well-being and mindfulness. Some recently recommended were “Calm”, “Headspace” and “Hub of Hope” – these may be more for adults, but that’s just as important at the moment;
• Safeguarding Online: With the increased amount of time children are likely to be online, including for learning, Derbyshire police have produced some information about staying safe: https://www.derbyshire.police.uk/news/derbyshire/news/news/forcewide/2020/march/advice-on-how-to-keep-youngsters-safe-online/;
• News/Social Media: It was really clear in school that the weekend before the schools closed produced a huge upsurge in anxiety amongst our families. Some of this will have been the increase in the seriousness of the situation, but it was also a result of people having more time to focus on the constant streams of news and social media that are available. For both you and your children, try to limit the amount of news you watch and be extremely cautious around social media, particularly with the amount of ‘fake news’ stories that are circulating. We recommend BBC Newsround as a good resource for children (and grown-ups) to stay up to date, but in a controlled way that is calm and factual.

• Exercising At Home: An interesting article from the BBC: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51933762;
Joe Wicks: Many people will now have heard about the daily workout which is live on YouTube each morning at 9am. We are using it at the Hub and it’s a great workout suitable for all. If you haven’t much outdoor space at home, you could save the session for later in the day to help let off steam – the videos stay online once they’ve gone out live
• Sports Partnership: The Derbyshire Rural Sports Partnership have created a set of “Home Activity Challenges” which is attached and are putting new things on every day on their social media feeds: https://twitter.com/RuralDerbysSSP, https://www.facebook.com/RuralDerbyshireSSP/;
• Youth Sport Trust: In a similar vein, this link provides short activity challenges: https://www.youthsporttrust.org/60-second-physical-activity-challenges;
• Sport England: Another one with exercise you can do whilst staying at home: http://www.sportengland.org/stayinworkout.

• Parking: For anyone that is using the emergency childcare at the Hub at Wirksworth Junior School, please note that we are no longer using the railway station car park. You can park outside the school itself, but please be considerate when doing so;
• Booking: If you do find that you need to access the emergency childcare, please use the attached “Booking Form” and send it to me in advance. Although it says it is for the week ahead, we are more than happy to book further than that as this helps us organise the staff rota;
• Keeping School Informed: For those that have told us that they may need to use the Hub, please remember to let us know if you are no longer going to need childcare, as we are using possible numbers when we set up the staffing for the week.

• Food Shopping: In case anyone hadn’t realised, almost all local supermarkets have changed their opening hours to allow shelves to be stacked and ensure customers can get what they need – this seems to mostly be an 8pm closing time. A number of supermarkets are also creating special shopping times for vulnerable or elderly customers as well as NHS as other key workers. Check the supermarkets’ websites for more details;
• Bin Collections: The Derbyshire Dales waste collections have been disrupted due to staff illness. This means that the green ‘food waste’ bin is only being collected every two weeks alongside the normal household waste (black bin).

• Board Games: This might be a good time to rediscover the joy of board games;
• Scouts: The Scouts have created a useful resource called the “Great Indoors” at the following link: https://www.scouts.org.uk/the-great-indoors/;
• David Walliams: The extremely popular author is providing daily free stories which you can find via the website: https://www.worldofdavidwalliams.com/;
• Singing: I have attached an information sheet called “Kids at Home” that has links to a free singing project which might appeal to all our wonderful singers;
• Authors: The following website provides links to the many authors who are doing reading sessions and providing activities for children: https://www.weareteachers.com/virtual-author-activities/?utm_content=1584565321&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook;
• Pre-Schoolers: If you’re trying to manage everything else as well as a pre-school child running around, you might like the “Pre-School Activity Booklet” attachment – thanks to Duffield Treetops who provided this one
• Taskmaster: Although the show itself is not suitable for primary children (it can have a few rude words!), the concept is suitable for all. Alex Horne, the creator of the show, is running #hometasking every two days with challenges for anyone to try, video and then send in for judging. The first challenge was to throw a piece of paper in a bin in the most spectacular way and you can see the results here (this is all being kept completely family-friendly): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0-C5GH_yxU. You can see each task launched via Twitter or Facebook https://twitter.com/taskmaster, https://www.facebook.com/officialtaskmaster - do let us know if you try any as we’d love to see your videos. *For grown-ups* You can stream all of the series of Taskmaster via https://uktvplay.uktv.co.uk/ and I really recommend it as a great way to relax for 30 minutes and laugh a lot – it’s glorious nonsense!
• Animal lovers: Chester Zoo are running virtual visits each day at 10am. https://www.chesterzoo.org/
• Dancers: For any keen dancers out there you might enjoy the opportunity to watch some productions from the Royal Opera House, in Covent Garden, for free. Follow the link and see what’s on offer https://www.roh.org.uk/news/the-royal-opera-house-launches-a-programme-of-free-online-content-for-the-culturally-curious-at-home;

I know there is such a lot of information in this letter, but the Heads at the Hub have been pulling together to give as much support to all our families as we can. We hope you find it useful.

Kind regards,

Alison Dugdale
Head teacher