Feb 01

Making the best of lockdown

Please see the posters below which give some great hints for making the best of this lockdown. Continue reading

Jan 25

Home learning parent survey January 2021

We have made a lot of changes to our home learning during this lockdown and we really appreciate your comments. We want to provide the best provision for our pupils and families and your feedback is really useful. Thank you in advance for taking the time to fill in the survey.

The survey is confidential but if you would like me to contact you, please leave your details at the bottom of the survey.

Have a lovely day and take care of yourselves. 

Mr Woodward

Home learning parent survey January 2021

Jan 25

25/01/2021 – Key Worker Provision in school and letter from DCC

Dear Parents and Carers,

I hope this email finds you well and you have had a great weekend. This is an update regarding some of the issues in the news, the challenges we all face and to thank you for your continued support. 

The first section is about keyworker provision. It is not stating that we don’t want your children in school, it is making you aware of the facts to enable you as parents to make an informed decision.

Key worker provision for students

The government has revised the guidance that allows the children of critical workers to attend school during lockdown. 

The Department for Education guidance now reads:

Parents whose work is critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and EU transition response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors. ‘Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school or college if required, but parents and carers should keep their children at home if they can.’

Schools should speak to parents and carers to identify who needs to go to school.  If it proves necessary, schools can ask for simple evidence that the parent in question is a critical worker, such as their work ID badge or pay slip.  Parents and carers who are critical workers should keep their children at home if they can.

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said on Sunday, “Schools are there for key workers children where keyworkers need to have the children in school in order to be able to get to work”.

“So for instance, if you’re a keyworker and your partner doesn’t work, then you shouldn’t be sending your children to school”.

Guidance issued by Derbyshire County Council states:

“Parents and carers who are critical workers should keep their children at home if they can, this was reinforced by the government during television broadcasts on 9th and 10th January.  

Letter from the executive director of education

We have over 145 children in school today and we are receiving more requests for places each day. This is compared to 4 – 12 children per day in the last lockdown. We can cope with these numbers in school and we look forward to the day we can safely welcome everyone back to school. However, the purpose of this lockdown is to reduce the transmission of the virus, protect our families and staff. Every member of staff is working directly with a bubble in school and supporting home learning. Transmission is rising in many schools and with children, this can often happen without the child having any symptoms.  At this critical point in this crisis, when we are all being told to stay at home, this risk needs to be carefully considered.

If you are a critical worker who has children in school, or who is considering applying for a place for a child, please consider carefully whether the place is absolutely necessary.  If it is necessary, is it necessary every day?  We are very happy to have children in school only on the days  or half days that you need them to be in school so that you can go to work. If you are able to reduce the amount of time your child is using the key worker provision, please email keyworker@st-james.derbyshire.sch.uk.

Arrangements for the KS1 and KS2 SATs

As you may be aware, there will be no baseline, phonics, KS1 or KS2 tests this year. We will use past papers to inform our teacher assessment at the end of the year. We will be sending out the January report cards with the children’s attainment from December in the coming weeks. It is clear that the staff, pupils and our families worked really hard in the autumn term to close the gap. I am very proud of all of the pupils. 

Bouncing back

These are strange times we find ourselves in and it is very easy to become anxious about lost learning. Please don’t, children are very resilient and our school community will support all of our children and families in bouncing back from this crisis and with a smile. When things get stressful, don’t do more maths; bake,  go for a walk, play with the dog, play a game or whatever makes you as a family smile. I spent most of my primary education in hospital, missed over half of my primary education and I closed the gap. Our children will also do this, we will all help them and we will succeed. Please keep smiling, helping each other and ask us if you need anything. 

Thank you for your ongoing support and take care of yourselves. 

Yours faithfully,

Craig Woodward

Jan 22

Update 22/01/2021


Hello Everyone, 

I hope you are all well and it is clear that you have all been working really hard both in school and at home. 

Pupil Zoom Meetings

It was great to see everyone at the zoom meetings and if you couldn’t make it, that is fine. We will be doing them every week and it would be lovely to see you if you can make it next time.

Nursery and keyworker groups next week

Nursery will be starting back next week and there will be some changes to the bubbles. Nursery children will form one bubble and any siblings will be in Miss Taylor’s bubble. Mrs Mettrick will support with the older children in the class next door. This is to further minimise the transmission of the virus in school. 

Change to nursery drop off and collection – message to parents

Drop off 8.45am -Please bring Nursery children into the playground in the morning. Mr Woodward will open the gate and we ask that you stay within the cones and walk to the bottom of the playground, where a Nursery teacher will be there to greet you. Your child will then be asked to go into the Puddle yard and wait with other members of the Nursery team. We then ask that you exit via the Sunlaw Street gate.

Collection 3.20pm– Please collect your children from the Puddle playground at the bottom of the yard on the left and exit via Sunlaw Street gate.

Collection at 11.45am– We will bring the morning Nursery children to the main gate to meet you. You do not need to come into the playground.

Drop off at 12.30pm– The Nursery teacher will come to the main gate at 12.30pm to greet you. You do not need to come into playground. They will wait until the majority of children have arrived and then take them into the Nursery building. If you are late, you will need to use the button on the gate and wait for someone to come from Nursery to collect your child.

Can we kindly ask, that if you need to pass on any messages, you do so by phoning the office or using the class email snowdrops@st-james.derbyshire.co.uk

Google Classrooms 

It has been great to see how many children have been accessing google classrooms and from the phone calls we have made, the pupils are working really hard.

We have had a great response asking for second hand laptops and devices and we will start distributing them next week.

Free School Meals

We have had lots of questions about free school meals.  Children in reception, year 1 and year 2 are entitled to universal free school meals and the government pay for a school meal for children in those year groups. Free school meal entitlement is different and parents can apply for free school meals in all year groups. It is only those families that qualify for the free school meal entitlement that will get the vouchers. If you think you are eligible, you can apply online at Derbyshire free school meals application form.

Have a great weekend and take care of yourselves. 

Mr Woodward


Jan 21

Update 21/01/2021

Hello Everyone, 

I hope you are all well. It was great to see so many of you on the zoom meetings for KS2 yesterday. If you couldn’t be there, that is absolutely fine. Next week, it will be great for me and Mr Ford to see what you have been doing. 

Laptop and devices generosity

I can’t thank you all enough for your generosity in donating laptops or devices to school. They will be ready for next week and sent to a good home. This will make a huge difference in supporting learning. 

Free School Meals

From W/C 25/01/2021, parents will receive vouchers for £15 per eligible pupil  directly from Edenred.

A big thank to Mrs Skidmore and her team for providing the packed lunches and food boxes at short notice. 

Zoom Meeting Attendance

Year 6 19
Year 5 17
Year 4 23
Year 3 9

Google Classrooms

It has been great to see all of your work submitted on Google classrooms or emailed to the teachers. It is clear you are all working really hard. If you need any technical support, please email Miss Weir on forgetmenot@st-james.derbyshire.sch.uk.

Keep up the hard work. 

Live lessons

Some people have enquired about if we will be starting live or recorded lessons. Unfortunately, this will not be possible for the following reasons. 

  • Many parents are working full time and home schooling their children and then being available at certain times would add additional strain to an already difficult situation. 
  • During this lockdown, many more parents have taken their keyworker places and we have over 165 pupils on the registers from next week, although not everyone is in everyday. We have 7 bubbles and all staff are working full time in bubbles and preparing home learning for google classrooms. 

Plans beyond February half term

There are various dates on the media about reopening but we have not received any information officially. Gavin Williamson has said that he hopes to give schools two weeks notice. Please continue to wait to hear from me and we will continue with the current home schooling provision. 

Thank you to our staff and our whole community for all you have done in making the very best of this situation. 

Take care of yourselves. 

Mr Woodward

Jan 15

Message for pupils and Zoom catch up

Good morning Everyone, 

I hope you are all well and enjoying home learning. It is clear from the emails you are sending and google classrooms, that you are all working really hard.  This is a different type of learning and I am really proud of how you are all adapting.

I would really like to hear how you are all getting on and what you are all doing. We are going to have a Zoom meeting for all year groups starting next week.  These meetings will be every week during this lockdown for those children working at home. 

The meetings will be hosted on Zoom, be password protected and fully compliant with GDPR regulations. The meeting details will be password protected on the website and the passwords text to parents. I will be hosting the meeting and if ever I am not available, it will be Mr Ford.


  • 1pm – 1:30pm – Year 6
  • 1:30pm – 2pm – Year 5
  • 2pm – 2:30pm – Year 4
  • 2:30pm – 3pm – Year 3


  • 1pm – 1:30pm – Year 2
  • 1:30pm – 2pm – Year 1
  • 2pm – 2:30pm – Reception and Nursery

Have a great weekend, the meeting details will follow and it will be great to see everyone.

Mr Woodward

Jan 14

Possible Nursery Opening

The government guidance regarding nurseries in a primary setting have changed a number of times. We have seven keyworker and vulnerable children bubbles in school, which include nursery children.

This is a survey to see if you would send your child(ren) into nursery if we were able to open fully. We have a list of the hours you normally do or were planning to do but please could you fill this in again.

We will contact all parents if nursery is able to open.

Nursery Survey

Take care of yourselves

Mr Woodward

Jan 13

Request for second hand laptops

Good evening, 

If anyone has or knows anyone who has an unused laptop and you are willing to donate them to our school, please drop them off at school or email me at cwoodward@st-james.derbyshire.sch.uk. The hard drives will be wiped, the laptops cleaned up and given to families to use at home to support learning or used in school. 

Thank you all for supporting our school community.

Have a good evening.

Mr Woodward

Jan 13

Parent request for additional devices

Dear Parents and Carers, 

We know that not everyone has a device or enough devices to support google classrooms and home learning. We are going to access as many of the local charities as possible and request second hand laptops from our school community. They will be wiped and cleaned up. We can’t make any promises but if you would benefit from a laptop or tablet, please fill out the form below. This information is confidential and shall not be shared.

Mr Woodward

Devices survey

Jan 12

Home Learning Expectations

Good afternoon, 

I hope you are all well. 

Good afternoon, 

I hope you are all well. 

Everyone’s circumstances are different and many people are working from home and supporting their children’s learning. The vast majority of pupils have logged onto google classrooms and everyone is working hard. We have provided a lot of work per day and we are working on the most effective way of presenting this. If pupils want to complete all work, that is fine but adding additional pressure during this already difficult time, is the last thing we want. Government advice is to aim to complete between 3 – 4 hours of schooling a day and we would recommend splitting this into short block of 20 – 30 minutes. We appreciate this is challenging for many families and if you need anything, please don’t hesitate to contact school. 

Parents Remote Learning

Take care and have a good afternoon.

Mr Woodward

Take care and have a good afternoon.

Mr Woodward