PA message 2020

Hello everyone
It is hard to believe that we are 7 weeks back at school and swiftly approaching mid-term. We are so grateful to the school for all that they are doing to keep our children safe during these strange times.
At the PA, we wanted to wait and give everyone some time to settle back and get used to the new routine before we took to planning what we can do for the year ahead.
We are trying to adapt also to the public health measures and what that means for our usual PA activities and we’ve been putting our thinking caps on as to how we can continue to provide support to the school during this time. We welcome all thoughts and ideas from everyone.

In essence we have 3 main aims for this year as a PA
1) Staying Safe: To do everything we can as parents to support the school in the implementation of the public health guidelines and keeping our children safe and happy.

2) Staying Connected: To keep parents connected to each other even though we are not physically seeing each other as much or have the same regular points of contact such as coffee mornings etc.

3) Fund-raising: To find new ways to fund-raise within the limitations of public health guidelines and with the understanding of the economic impact that the pandemic is having personally on families.

Staying Safe:
Thank you to everyone for the huge compliance in wearing masks on school grounds, observing 2 metre distances and maintaining the one-way system of entry and exit.

School Entrances
Could we ask all parents / guardians NOT to park in the bus bay or the school gates. It is extremely dangerous with kids running in and out of school. It also stops the school buses from parking which is very unfair.

Pedestrian Crossing
Could we ask all students to cross the road at the pedestrian lights with Bernie? It may take an extra minute, but it may avoid an accident in the future.

No gathering
Please continue to avoid gathering in places inside or outside of school where the 2metres distance cannot be adhered to.

Staying Connected:
As a PA, we are so used to welcoming new parents via a coffee morning and this year more than ever must be a strange time to start in a new school. We extend a very big virtual welcome to all of the new parents/guardians who have joined the Good Shepherd this year.
Whatsapp Groups
One of the ways in which we can continue to stay connected to each other is via our Class Whatsapp groups. Please consider signing up to your class group if you are not already on it. You can ask the teacher who the parent rep is for your class and they will happily add you to the group. It is a great way to keep information flowing between parents and to welcome and get to know new parents. There are golden rules that guide the groups which we re-issue each year to keep the groups running
smoothly.
Gardening
If you have green fingers or are good with a spade, another way to stay connected is to volunteer for a special gardening project that the school are completing this year. This project will begin next term and will occur outside where social distancing can be maintained. It will involve some design, hands-on-work and an interest/knowledge of plants will be helpful. If there is anyone willing to give a few hours can they contact the school or please give your name to your PA class rep.

Enrolment Days 2021
An important date for many of you with smaller children is the enrolment date for the 2021 intake. The cut-off date of enrolment for Sept 2021 is Fri 23 October. No place can be guaranteed after this date (this includes siblings) so if you need to book a place make sure you contact the school.
Fund-raising:
Fund raising every year is a vital role for the PA, and collectively we have all helped raise money that has supported the school to purchase items and fund projects that ultimately our children have benefited from. Like with everything else, how we raise the funds has to change this year too. We also acknowledge that raising funds is more challenging when families have been affected
economically by the pandemic. We will try our best this year to raise what we can, through small and big initiatives and appreciate that any support from you, however small, will be welcome and vital for the school. We have a couple of initiatives that will run this side of Christmas and we will keep you updated via the whatsapp groups and the website.

If anyone has any fundraising suggestions, please feel free to share any ideas with us – we would be
only too happy to hear from you.

Pennies for projects/ playground
Something we can begin now and has worked well in other schools is the ‘Pennies for Playgrounds’ initiative. This would involve students setting up a jar at home – decorated however they like, in which the family would throw their coppers/small change between now and 18 June 2021. There will be a special prize for the jar with the largest amount of money. Collectively we can make small change work hard for our school. When we work together, we really can achieve a lot. Monies that were fund-raised last year helped to support the school’s wish to turn the old courtyard into a Sensory Garden. As most of us haven’t
been in the school this year, this may not have got the notice it deserves. Through enormous hard work on the schools’ part the Sensory Garden was created and it is now an integral part of the school day for students. We’ve included some photos below of the finished product and know that it is booked up and in use throughout the day. It is a wonderful addition to the school.