Blog Before Half Term

Date: 10 Feb 2021

Think Positive, Stay Positive – Have a Great Break!

Well here we are already at the end of another term 3, where is this academic year going?

On a social basis, we’ve not been able to go anywhere, we’ve not been able to meet with friends and family, work has been the focus for most of us, yet we are almost in the middle of February – since the start of Covid, time seems to be whizzing by. Personally, I think this lockdown has been more challenging than the previous two. However, despite all the challenges, I wanted to highlight and recognise, how you, the school staff have worked tirelessly to support the young people of Swindon. So please make sure you have a well-deserved and restful break this half term! Make sure you do things to please you and for you – Five tips to stay positive through lockdown.

We are currently in the process of commissioning a survey to look at how we can support the wellbeing of School staff. So after half term we will be sending a link to you. Just like the one we do for the young people’s ‘How Are You survey?’ There will be a survey for students too this year, where the key focus will be to look at the impact of Covid on mental health. School engagement in these surveys is vital, (two years ago when the survey was conducted last, 95% of the Secondary schools engaged), this helps to achieve an effective and impactful outcome. This year we will have a survey for our younger students too. All in the hope we have a clearer picture of the type(s) of support Swindon Schools will need to flourish.

On another note, Over the Christmas period our Education team asked for your support in identifying children and families who may be entitled to financial support for food/ supermarket vouchers. To provide this support again please can you identify families and children who you feel would benefit from this funding over February half term. All referrals made for the Christmas period will be rolled forward and vouchers will be re-issued for February half term. There is no need to re-refer these children again as it will result in duplicate claims being made. However, if you and your teams are aware of additional children, families and adults who would benefit from this funding please make a referral via; https://www.swindon.gov.uk/xfp/form/818 . The referral form is open until 5pm on 11th February at which point it will be closed to allow vouchers to be processed and sent out for February term. We also urge you to encourage your teams to identify families with children under the age of 2 or families who for whatever reason may not be attending school currently (e.g. electively home educated). Further information on the grant can be found here: https://www.swindon.gov.uk/foodvouchers  If you have any questions, please contact; CIE@swindon.gov.uk

Some positive news:  following a successful application to the Government’s Active Travel Fund, SBC have received funding to improve the provision of cycle parking in the communities. This funding can be matched with funding from the Healthy Pupils Investment Fund and offered to schools. The funding will provide schools with free cycle racks for staff, visitors, pupils, or scooter pods/ racks. To express an interest in this offer, please use this link; https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/Schoolcycles/  . If you have suggestions for any alternative location for cycle parking within your community, use this link; https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/SBCcycleparking/ )

The timescale and deadline for completing the form(s) is 1st March 2021, which is tight, so please try to give this your urgent attention.  If you have any queries, you can email the transport team at transportplanning@swindon.gov.uk.

On a final note, as half term draws closer, some of you are probably thinking of the sleep you will be catching up on and too right you should. Sleep is as important as healthy eating and exercise. Poor sleep is associated with a risk of weight gain and many other health risks. So to help young people develop good sleeping habits we are sharing some PSHE association resources to help them to get into good sleeping habits. You may find these useful or want to consider setting them as a homework task for over the half term break:

KS1 &2 Healthy Sleeping Habits

KS3 & 4 Healthy Sleeping Habits

Other useful resources for half term you may want to consider are:

Online SafetyKS3 & 4

Staying Friends KS 2

To conclude this week’s blog, stay positive, think positive and have a restful and enjoyable half term break with your families!