Coronavirus updates

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Dear Parents

If you have any questions regarding the work your son has been set for this week please email your son’s class teacher (Reception to Year 3) or form tutor (Year 4 to 8). They will endeavour to get back to you within 24 hours or put you in touch with a member of staff who can help. Contact details for the class teacher or form tutor are as follows:

RE Miss Emmanuel EmmanuelN@themallschool.org.uk
1C Mrs Courtney CourtneyK@themallschool.org.uk
1S Mrs Goldsmith goldsmithh@themallschool.org.uk
1S Mrs Whaites whaitess@themallschool.org.uk
2N Dr Newton newtonr@themallschool.org.uk
2T Miss Topsch topscha@themallschool.org.uk
3L Ms Lever leverc@themallschool.org.uk
3S Mrs Salah salahb@themallschool.org.uk
4C Mrs Colclough music@themallschool.org.uk
4L Ms Lawrence lawrencem@themallschool.org.uk
4M Mr Miller pastoral@themallschool.org.uk
5B Mr Box pe@themallschool.org.uk
5L Mr Lang langs@themallschool.org.uk
5M Dr Miller millera@themallschool.org.uk
6CA Mme Capell capellf@themallschoo.org.uk
6CH Miss Challis academic@themallschool.org.uk
8M & 8S Mr Stock stockm@themallschool.org.uk

In the meantime here are answers to some of the questions you may have.

 

Does my son have to complete all the work?

No. Complete as much as you can. If he is unwell then he may not feel up to doing the work until later in the holiday.

Do I need to return the work to school to get it marked?

Hold on to the completed work at home for the moment. Some of the key subjects (English, Maths, non-verbal and verbal reasoning) have included mark schemes and you can mark this work with your son. We are currently developing plans for work to be uploaded or completed online where it can be marked by his teacher and your son can receive feedback.

How should we organise the day?

It is helpful to establish a daily routine and one way of doing this is for the boys to follow their normal timetable if at all possible. In Reception we would recommend that boys spend approximately 30 minutes on each activity linked to communication, language and literacy and mathematical development, and 20 minutes on phonics. In Years 1 to 3 we recommend 45 minutes to an hour on maths and English, and 30 minutes on other subjects. In Years 4 to 6 we suggest an hour each day on English and Maths, and forty minutes on one of the other academic sessions.

Year 8 boys should stick to the exam times for the papers and revision tasks they have been set. As soon as we have clarity from all the senior schools regarding Common Entrance or scholarship the Headmaster will write separately to Year 8 parents.

Afternoons can be used for creative activities and physical exercise. Breaks are very important and many parents are using the Joe Wicks You Tube videos for a daily 30 minute workout with the whole family.

What homework should we do?

We would encourage boys to set aside 30 minutes every day for reading and it would be wonderful if this could be a shared time for the whole family to read together. Either reading silently or sharing passages from favourite books. Practising mental arithmetic skills would also be time well spent. The Hit the Button app can be used from Reception to Year 6 while the older boys can also use the Times Table Rock Stars.

What can we do over Easter?

The school will be providing a list of activities boys can do to keep them occupied. These will be a mix of physical activities, things that are good for mental health and fun challenges for the whole family.

Take care.

David Price
Headmaster

 

Monday 23 March 2020 – 4.30pm

Dear Parents

It is hard to believe that Friday was only three days ago. I am sure I am not the only person who is experiencing a dizzying sense of what seems like a week’s worth of events compressed into a matter of days. If you have not already seen the videos from our end of term assembly please do take the time to watch them – they are wonderful.

The clips of the boys singing ‘We’ll Meet Again’ and happy birthday to Dame Vera Lynn have been seen over 2700 times – including in Canada. When I spoke to Mrs Colclough, Head of Music, at the beginning of the week about what song we would sing on the last day we agreed that ‘We’ll Meet Again’, with its message of hope in challenging times, would be an apt choice. What neither of us had realised until Friday was that Dame Vera Lynn was celebrating her 103rd birthday on that day. Make of that what you will.

Your sons have been given packs of work to complete this week. Where parents have been self-isolating and been unable to make arrangements to collect the packs from school, we will be delivering these to your home address today or tomorrow. If you have not received your pack by 4.00 p.m. on Tuesday please contact Mrs Tovey (Reception to Year 3) headofjuniors@themallschool.org.uk or Ms Challis (Years 4 to 8) academic@themallschool.org.uk

We are currently developing plans for how we will support you and your sons over Easter and in the summer term. The broad principles we will follow are that the educational offering will be SENSIBLESUPPORTIVE and SAFE.

SENSIBLE: The work that we provide will be simple to access but will continue to challenge and engage the boys. It will consist of a balance of online and offline activities. We recognise that access to computers will be at a premium in every household and that there will be massively increased demand on the country’s IT infrastructure after Easter. We also recognise that parents will not be wanting to print out endless worksheets. Therefore we have ordered workbooks that all boys can use at home to supplement the work they will be doing.

SUPPORTIVE: We also want to be able to continue to support the boys not just academically but pastorally as well. We are currently looking at how this can be done in a sensible manner that does not overwhelm staff. Possible avenues we are exploring are a daily online assembly; weekly newsletter; weekly one to one video conferencing for boys and staff; regular email up dates for year groups and a virtual chat classroom that teachers and boys can access.

SAFE: Being safe online for boys and staff will clearly be extremely important over the coming weeks and we will be providing guidance on this in due course. We will also share contact details with parents and boys about who they can contact should you have any safeguarding concerns. The mental well-being of boys and parents during what will is likely to be a challenging time is also very important. We will be providing suggestions on how to stay fit and healthy both physically and mentally.

I will of course continue to keep parents updated about what we are doing including throughout the Easter holiday. On Friday grade reports for Years 4 to 6 and a full report for boys in Year 8 will be available online, and we will be emailing the fortnightly newsletter to all parents.

Take care and look after yourselves.

Regards

David Price

Friday 20 March  2020 7.00pm

Dear Parents

This afternoon we had our final assembly for the term for Reception to Year 8. We will be putting up highlights from the assembly on Facebook but in the meantime I have included a link to our final song ‘We’ll Meet Again’. Vera Lynn, who is celebrating her 103rd birthday today, first sang this war time classic 80 years ago and I thought its message of hope would be a good way to end the term.

Your sons have been brilliant and done you proud. They have coped with an extraordinary situation with astonishing maturity and remarkable calmness. We will face many challenges in the weeks and months ahead but I believe if we all pull together as a school community we will get through this and come out stronger at the end.

For the boys in Year 6 and 8, today was especially difficult as it is possible that the school may not reopen until September and this might be their last day at The Mall. However, as I explained to the boys in assembly, if this is the case then we will be holding separate leavers events for Years 6 and 8 in the autumn term. These will be evening celebrations for boys and parents of their time at The Mall and will include a meal for the boys; an awards ceremony with prizes and performances; and Mr Lang’s video.

Earlier today I emailed parents with details of the support we are planning to put in place starting on Monday to support critical workers and vulnerable children. If you have not already done so please take time to read the email and complete the online form if you believe you or your son would qualify for this support. Next week we will be having discussions with other local prep schools about the possibility of support during the Easter holiday for critical workers and vulnerable children. As soon as I have more details, I will be in touch.

On Monday we will be delivering books and work that parents who have been self-isolating have not been able to collect.

Next week I am meeting with my senior leadership team to discuss how we will be providing an education for your sons in the summer term. I am aiming to give you more details about this next week.

In the meantime, can I thank you for your extraordinary generosity with the donation of goods for Richmond Food Bank.

Take care and look after yourselves.

Kind regards

David Price
Headmaster


Friday 20 March 2020 10.20am

Dear Parents

Further to my email to parents on Wednesday, more information has come out overnight regarding the children of what are now being referred to as critical workers.   Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined in the government guidance.

In summary, this guidance states that, as a country, we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. That is why the government has given clear guidance on self-isolationhousehold isolation and social distancing.

The most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear. If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading. This is why the school will be closing today.

That is why the government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

It is important to underline that schools, colleges and other educational establishments remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.

Schools are, therefore, being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.

Please, therefore, follow these key principles:

  1. If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
  2. If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
  3. Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
  4. Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

For the limited number of children who will need to come in to school from next week onwards, the role of staff in school will be supervisory. It will be about care and not education; keeping children safe while allowing critical workers to go to work.

If you believe your son will need to attend school next week as you are a ‘critical worker’ and have no-one else at home who can safely care for your son, please can I ask that you complete this survey by 12.00 midday today:

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/MallCriticalWorker

We are currently evaluating what provision we may be able to provide for critical workers over the Easter holiday.

Wednesday 18 March 2020 6.25pm

Dear Parents

In line with government advice the school will be closed from 4.00pm on Friday 20 March until further notice. Boys in Reception and Year 1 should be collected at 3.00pm and boys in Year 1 and Year 2 at 3.30pm. There will be no after school clubs. I will write with an update regarding the situation for key workers and vulnerable children when further details become available.

The school has prepared packs of work for your sons (Reception to Year 8) to complete next week. Boys who were in school today have been given these packs to take home.

If your son was absent from school today his pack can be collected from reception on the main school site. If you or someone else is unable to collect your son’s pack please inform us by email reception@themallschool.org.uk and we will arrange for this to be delivered to you.

We have prepared hard copies of the work we want your sons to complete rather than online as we appreciate that with many of you working from home access to family computers will be at a premium. Please ask your son to keep his completed work in a safe place and bring it back when he returns to school.

Boys are being encouraged to complete as much of the work as they can but do not be concerned if your son does not complete it all. We also want the boys to read every day and they can also practise their mental arithmetic skills using the ‘Hit the Button’ app. Older boys can continue to access ‘My Maths’, ‘Bofa’ and ‘Times Tables Rock Stars’.

I will be writing separately to Year 8 parents about arrangements for Common Entrance and scholarship exams.

We are currently formulating plans for on-line education, which I will share with you in due course. In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding the work, please email me: headpa@themallschool.org.uk

Again I would like to thank all members of The Mall community for your support over the recent days which has reminded me that it is a privilege to be Headmaster of this fine school. Do take care and look after yourselves.

Kind regards
David Price

Wednesday 18 March 2020 10.20am

All boys from Reception to Year 8 are being taught on the main school site.

For people who are self-isolating the NHS website includes some important advice on treatment including the use of paracetamol rather than ibuprofen.

School work:

The school has prepared packs of work for your sons (Reception to Year 8) if they are absent from school. Boys who are in school will be given these packs today to take home. These packs are for boys to complete if they are absent.

If your son is absent from school today and will not be returning before the end of term, his pack can be collected from reception on the main school site. If you or someone else is unable to collect your son’s pack please inform your son’s class teacher (Reception to Year 3) or form tutor (Year 4 to 8) by email. Staff emails can be found on the school website.

We are preparing hard copies of the work we want your sons to complete rather than online as we appreciate that with many of you working from home access to family computers will be at a premium.

Boys are being encouraged to complete as much of the work as they can but do not be concerned if your son does not complete it all. We also want the boys to read every day and they can also practise their mental arithmetic skills using the ‘Hit the Button’ app. Older boys can continue to access ‘My Maths’, ‘Bofa’ and ‘Times Tables Rock Stars’.

Please ask your son to keep his completed work in a safe place and bring it back when he returns to school.

We are currently formulating plans for on-line education should the school be required to close for an extended period. I will be sharing these with you in due course.

 

Tuesday 17 March 2.10pm

A number of members of staff have been advised to work from home as they fall into the vulnerable category

From tomorrow morning boys in Reception and Year 1 will be taught on the main school site. Please come with your sons to the junior playground (where you normally collect your sons from swimming) and remain with them until 8.25 a.m. when a member of the junior staff comes on duty.

Miss Emanuel will be planning lessons for the boys which will be delivered by members of Mall teaching staff. The Reception class will be on the lower corridor of the Waterfield building. The two Year 1 classes will be combined and taught by Mrs Courtney and Mrs Dunkling. Year 1 will be taught on the upper corridor of the Waterfield building.

RE boys will be dismissed at 3.00 p.m. from the main doors to the Waterfield building while Year 1 boys will be dismissed from the doors to the theatre lobby.

Mrs Wright’s (Year 4 to 6 English teacher and the school’s Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) lessons, which she will be planning and preparing, will be covered by members of Mall staff. Parents can continue to contact Mrs Wright via email: senco@themallschool.org.uk

Mr Jones (Bursar) can be contacted via email: bursar@themallschool.org.uk Queries regarding clubs can be sent to Miss Kane (Extra-curricular co-ordinator) via email: clubs@themallschool.org.uk

If you have any questions regarding these arrangements please email me headpa@themallschool.org.uk

Tuesday 17 March 10.20am

Dear Parents

Following yesterday’s update from the government, I am writing to you with the measures the school is putting in place in response. The school will endeavour to remain open until either we are ordered to close or if we have insufficient staff to run both sites safely. In this case we would consider the possibility of partial rather than full closure.

Attendance

If anyone in your household has a persistent cough or fever, everyone living there must stay at home for 14 days and follow the advice from Public Health England. If you are in any doubt whether to send your son into school please check the Public Health England website. Please email rather than phone with the reason for your son’s absence.

Parents may also want to keep their sons off school if they fall into the vulnerable category.

Reception to Year 3: preprep@themallschool.org.uk
Year 4 and above: Reception@themallschool.org.uk

School work

While your son is away we will arrange for work for him to complete. This can either be collected from school or we will arrange for it to be sent to you. Your son’s class teacher (Reception to Year 3) or form tutor (Year 4 and above) will liaise with you by email about the work to be completed. Staff emails can be found on the school website. We will endeavour to have work prepared for your son within 24 hours but we would be grateful for your patience as staff will also have a full teaching programme at this time.

We will endeavour to provide hard copies of the work we want your sons to complete rather than online as we appreciate that with many of you working from home access to family computers will be at a premium.

Events

Games at Sunbury Cricket Club, P.E. and swimming will continue to take place as usual.

All other off site activities, including sporting fixtures, and parent events are cancelled until the end of term. These include: the pre-prep assembly, Reception and Year 1 parents evening, MSA committee meeting, Year 3 Mother’s Day breakfast, Reception and Year 1 Spring Parade, Year 6 coffee morning and thrift shop. Where possible we will try to reschedule these events later in the year.

The Richmond Singing festival has been cancelled and the Year 6 performance of Macbeth will be scheduled for later this year.

Expeditions Day, which will include Year 2 and above, will take place on the school site.

Clubs

After school clubs are open this week. There are no clubs in the final week of term apart from the After School Club (Reception to Year 3) and Homework Club (Year 4 and above). Saturday morning football club is cancelled.

We are keeping the onsite Easter holiday club under review.

I would like to thank The Mall community for your sensible approach and understanding during this challenging time. I can recommend the following video from BBC’s Newsround for any children who are worried about what is happening. As soon as we have any further information, we will post them herel.

Kind regards

David Price
Headmaster

Beyond the classroom