Unfortunately, this year it has just not been possible to get together as we would usually for a harvest celebration. However both the infants and the juniors have some things which they would like to share with everyone, and we have been putting together videos to share.

Links to the children’s Harvest videos can be found here (Infants) and here (Juniors.)

We hope that you enjoy them.

Turn morning chaos into calm!

The following is from Parentkind, a charity established to support and champion all the ways parents can participate in education:

Even the most organised parents with years of school-run experience will tell you that mornings can be a challenge. You’ll need to be adaptable, but having a routine will help you manage the mayhem – making it easier for your child (and you) to enjoy the day ahead.

After school and evening

  • Check your child’s book bag for any letter and notes from their teacher, the school office, or Friends of School – party invites are often sent out this way too
  • Talk about their day, read together and (when the time comes) help with homework tasks
  • Make sure any books that come home are back in their bag each evening
  • Find out if there’s anything special going on the next day that they’ll need something out of the ordinary for – wellies, cardboard boxes, a costume for World Book Day!
  • Help your child lay out their uniform ready for the morning (including BOTH shoes)
  • Get them to bed on time, because tired and grumpy children aren’t fun in the morning!

In the morning

  • Get up half an hour earlier than your child to give yourself a head start
  • Open curtains or switch on a lamp in your child’s room 10 minutes before they need to get up, to give them a chance to wake up naturally
  • Use the Parentkind morning checklist with your child so they learn what they need to do each day – as they get older encourage them to do more by themselves
  • Allow enough time for breakfast – try and leave 15-20 minutes to sit at the table, it’ll give you a few minutes to talk about the day ahead, and eating a filling breakfast will help your child concentrate at school
  • Switch off distractions like TV or tablets – perhaps build in a few minutes for a bit of telly if everyone’s ready on time, but not if you know it’s going to cause problems leaving the house!

It might take a while for your new routine to become a habit (or to even remember that you have a routine), but stick with it and on the days when it all goes to plan, you’ll find mornings are much calmer.


Start of Autumn Term 2020

A quick outline of the arrangements for the return to school. The important points are as follows:

First and foremost, don’t worry if you are missing anything or can’t get everything in place before the children start back. In these extraordinary times we have not been able to link with parents as well as we would want to and so you are highly unlikely to be the only one who does not have everything in place. With a relatively large Reception year and a quite a number of children moving into the village we have a high proportion of new pupils in school (nearly half of the school!) so we are playing catch-up at this end of the holiday and for the first week or so if you haven’t got uniform or are not set up for the school meals payments it doesn’t matter, you are unlikely to be the only one and we can sort things out as we go along.

The Welsh Government requires all pupils to return to school in the Autumn Term unless there is a statutory reason for absence. From September 1st absence will need to be applied for at least two weeks in advance and will be authorised in accordance with the school attendance policy.

Powys have designated Tuesday 1st and Wednesday 2nd September as non pupil days for staff preparation. The Welsh Assembly have then allowed a gradual return to school to allow groups of pupils to be eased into the arrangements for a safe return. Their guidance states that all pupils in Wales must return full time by Monday 14th September, but as a small school we will be fully back well before then. We have divided the school into 2 bubbles (each class is a bubble) and each of these bubbles into two groups. Due to pupil numbers we have been able to keep each year group in the same group with the exception of Year 4 which we have had to split between the two groups.

Thursday 3rd September is the return day for Infant Group 1 (Reception pupils) and Junior Group 1 (Year 3 and Harvey, Libby, Ross, Chloe and Olivia from Year 4)

Friday 4th September is the return day for Infant Group 2 (Year 1 and 2) and Junior Group 2 (the remainder of Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6.)

School uniform will be worn from 1st September. The exception will be PE days (Friday each week, starting on Friday 11th September) when children should come to school in PE kit to avoid the need for changing. P.E., lessons and playtimes will be outdoors as much as possible unless the weather is particularly bad, please ensure that clothing is appropriate.

Breakfast Club will restart from 8 a.m. on Thursday 3rd September. This should provide a naturally staggered start to the school day and so avoid any social distancing problems during arrival at the start of the day and avoiding the need for formally staggered start times. This will be kept under review and if necessary staggered start and finish times will be introduced.

Parents should drop pupils off to class cloakroom doors rather than the main entrance. For the benefit of new parents, routes will be signposted.

Parents must not come into the school building unless by prior arrangement and with an appointment. Please communicate with school by e mail if at all possible. However at the start of the school day Wendy will be available in reception for the ordering or purchase of school uniform etc.

All pupils will need to wash their hands on entering school.

Learners should limit the equipment they bring in to school to the essentials such as lunch boxes, bags, hats, coats, books, fruit snack and drinks bottles. Fruit snack and any packed lunches should contain only items which the children can deal with themselves. Powys Catering will once again be providing lunches and parents will need to ensure that their ParentPay accounts are in credit. If you are new to Powys and do not yet have a ParentPay account please speak to Wendy in Reception who can give you details and can arrange for school lunches whilst Parent Pay is set up.


Payment for school dinners is cashless and needs to be done via a system called ParentPay, and we will need to set that up for Powys Catering for all new pupils. Forms and details will come out as soon as possible and once the system is set up you can put money into your account either online or via PayPoints in local shops. Until things are sorted out we can include new pupils as guests on the system and sort out payment later.

Snacks and drinks

We are asking all of the children to bring a drink in a suitable bottle in order to avoid having to use the classroom taps for drinking water at the moment. Bottles should be marked with your child’s name.

Fruit snack is optional, but a lot of the children find it a long time from breakfast to lunch so a suitable healthy snack for playtime helps. Again, at the moment we can’t peel apples for the children so we are asking for something which they can manage to sort out for themselves.


The school uniform options grey skirt or pinafore, grey trousers, white blouse or white polo shirt, school sweatshirt or cardigan, or plain royal blue cardigan/sweatshirt, black shoes or plain black trainers.

In summer and early autumn the alternatives are blue and white check dresses or plain grey shorts, plain white polo shirt and school sweatshirt.

Some suppliers now stock blue check skirts and tops separately and also blue check skirt/polo combinations.  These are an acceptable alternative and are in keeping with our school uniform ethos. Also acceptable are plain grey divided skirts.

School sweatshirts are available from the school at a cost of £8.50. In addition we have a supply of book bags bearing the school name and logo which the children are encouraged to use to transport and protect their reading books.  These may be viewed and purchased in school at a cost of £4.50 each.

We have a uniform for P.E./Movement etc. which consists of navy shorts (not cycling shorts), powder blue T shirt/polo shirt and pumps.  The most suitable footwear for P.E. in the infant classes is Velcro trainers, not black elasticated pumps or those tied with laces.

At the end of the day please come onto the relevant yard when collecting children and please maintain social distancing.

Under no circumstances should children or staff attend if the feel unwell in any way.  

The Welsh Government Trace, Test and Protect procedure will be followed in all cases where Coronavirus infection is suspected.

The situation with regard to face coverings has been clarified by the Welsh Government this week.  Their advice is that “There appears to be little additional value of face coverings in children under age 11, as the evidence points to low rates of symptomatic infection and transmission in this age group.” The most important controls continue to be hand and surface hygiene, maintaining separate cohorts of students, avoiding close face to face conversations, and careful 2m distancing between adults (between staff, and between staff and visitors) at all times.

It follows that in Wales face coverings are currently neither compulsory nor banned for pupils under 11, but they are not advised for this age group. Guidance suggests that face coverings if worn by under 11s should be removed on arrival at school and placed into a plastic bag until the end of the day, but the school will be supportive of any staff or pupils who wish to use masks provided that they are used independently, correctly and safely. As with swimming goggles, it is the responsibility of parents to ensure that the children know how to safely fit and remove their face coverings if used, and they must be able to do so independently.

Please follow the links below for the most recent school prospectus and a copy of the booklet supplied to parents and carers of new reception pupils. The prospectus is due for updating but most of the contents is still applicable. However there have been changes to routine due to Coronavirus which render some of the content out of date at the moment but any immediate matters have hopefully been covered by the e mail sent out this week.

Again,  above all do not worry if things are not absolutely in place for the first day, we can work around any problems and sort things out as we go. Please get in touch if you have any queries, either by e mail or by ringing school on Tuesday or Wednesday, when staff will be in preparing for the start of term.

Churchstoke Prospectus 2019.7

May 2020 Parent-Carer Booklet

Check In, Catch Up time, June and July 2020


Welcome to the ‘new normal’.  This week Powys County Council published adverts looking for additional cleaning staff for offices and schools on 6-12 month contracts, which I think gives an indication of how long the arrangements we are in the process of introducing will be with us. We are planning now just for the end of this term and not even for September, but for the foreseeable future. We have to find a way to make it work.

The Welsh Assembly have decided that in schools in Wales all pupils will have the chance to return to school at the end of the Summer Term in order to Check In with the school and to allow everyone to Catch Up with what has been going on during the closure period. The Catch Up is not an intention to ‘catch up’ on work that might have been missed but rather a chance to catch up with each other, and to plan for the future. Creating and managing the new ‘blended learning’ is going to be a major task, learning from what we have been dong over the last three months and adding what we can to the experience.

The ultimate priority during the return to school, and during the blended learning, has to be the safety of the children and adults, both at home and at school, and this has been central to the plans that we have made. Extensive risk assessments are in place to support the safety of all. The Welsh Assembly guidance allows building up to no more than 1/3 of pupils on site at any time in order to ensure social distancing, and suggests that all pupils should have at least 3 visits to school in total during the four week period Check In Catch Up period. Our aim is to do better than that, and we plan for each pupil to be able to attend twice a week during the 4 weeks at the end of Summer Term. All staff are committed to doing more than is expected and we are offering more than most schools in the area (Powys County Council on their website suggest that very few pupils will be attending more than once a week during the Check In, Catch Up period), but we all feel that it is important that the children have as many opportunities to be in school as possible.

What have we done to keep your children safe?

Pupils will be attending in small groups or ‘bubbles’ each day. We have to accept that it is not possible to get small children of primary age to effectively social distance and stay 2m apart from each other at all times. Arrangements are in place and we will certainly strive for this but experience in the childcare hubs has shown that it will not happen consistently. The safest way to manage the situation is therefore to keep the children in consistent small bubbles which do not mix with each other during the day in order to minimise any risk of cross infection. For the same reason, siblings will be in the same bubble. Each bubble will have their own zoned areas both inside the building and outside on the yard or the field. Details of which days your children will have the opportunity to be in school will follow in a separate e mail.

The school building and grounds have undergone a thorough readiness programme to ensure that during the closure period nothing has happened which might be a risk to pupils or staff. Amongst the other measures taken to ensure safety are the following:

  • Powys County Council are supplying PPE, sanitiser and cleaning materials to ensure that the building and resources can be fully sanitised both during and at the end of the day so that there is no risk of cross infection between bubbles.
  • Additional clearing has been put in place and there will be a cleaner on the premises all day.
  • Pupils will, as far as possible, have individual sets of resources which will not be shared. Any shared resources used will be thoroughly sanitized before being issued for re-use.
  • The use of the rooms in the school has been repurposed and groups of pupils kept to a minimal size to allow 2m social distancing.
  • The usual social distancing strategies will be used during the day, with frequent hand washing and as far as possible maintaining distance between all individuals.
  • An isolation area has been created for any persons who exhibit symptoms during the school day. If any child or adult shows symptoms they will move to the isolation area where they will be supervised until they are collected. National Track and Trace procedures will be followed for the remainder of the bubble. The class base and isolation room will then be deep cleaned before being used again.
  • Separate access has been arranged for different bubbles each day.

What will the Check In, Catch Up school experience be like?

  • Powys Catering have decided that all school kitchens will remain closed. There will be no school catering, therefore no school lunches and no Breakfast Club. All pupils will therefore need a packed lunch and this should be something which the children can manage themselves, without the need for adults (for instance, Nettie will not be peeling apples, and we will not be able to provide spoons for yoghurts.) Pupils will also need their own drinks bottles.
  • We will operate to normal school hours. Pupils should arrive at 8.50 a.m. and should be collected at 3.15 p.m.
  • Each bubble will have a separate entrance to school. Pupils in Bubble 1 (the infant rooms) should be delivered via the rear gate to school and to the infant cloakroom door, and pupils in Bubble 2 (the junior classroom) should be delivered via the main gate to the junior cloakroom door.
  • NO parents will be allowed in school. Children can be accompanied onto school premises (the yard) and will be welcomed into the building by a member of staff. Please observe the usual social distancing when delivering and collecting children, particularly at the ‘pinch point’ in gates and at doors. If you need to contact the school or provide information for staff please do so by e mail rather than in person or via hard copy.
  • Children will wash their hands on the way into the building before entering their class base.
  • As many activities as possible (including eating lunch) will be undertaken outdoors so please make sure your child is properly equipped for the weather, including a coat and wellies if the weather is wet. Please note that we cannot use the spare wellies in school at the moment.
  • Children should be collected from the yard to which they were delivered. They will wash their hands on the way out of school and in order to maintain social distancing it may take longer than usual to send the children out to you. Please bear with us at the end of the day and continue to maintain social distancing on the yard and on the way out of school.

What will the children be doing when they are in school?

What we are doing in school is not intended to replace work that children are doing at home but to sit alongside. We are creating a system of blended learning which will be continue to be in place in September and for the foreseeable future. We are still learning as we go along, and your feedback is an important part of this. Thank you to those who have already commented on what we have been doing so far, both what has gone well and what needs to be rethought.  What we have to do is to combine distance learning with sessions in school to create a blended learning experience for all learners. We will continue with the distance learning planning which has been provided over the last three months, but sometimes the children will undertaking activities in school  with support from school staff, and sometimes they will be doing so at home with parental support.

In school we will be building on the new curriculum approach already in place in KS2 and extending Foundation Phase practice across the whole school, with pupils working independently on activities (either the distance learning set or other activities) whilst providing focussed work with individuals and groups as appropriate. We will also take the opportunity when the children are in school to provide as much individual support work as possible, and also to ensure the pupils have the ‘tools’ in terms of digital understanding and independence to access on-line work at home. We will be spending as much time as possible outdoors as research has shown that the virus is less likely to be transmitted outside. What we are not trying to do is ‘catch up’ with the missed months in one month of occasional visits to school. This will be something which we address in the future on a gradual basis. We have to remember that everyone is in the same boat, and there is no gap between our children and those from other areas. I am confident that, given time and with the support of their families, we will find that all pupils make good progress and achieve to their fullest potential.

What about the children of key workers?

We are not in a position to offer childcare to key workers, under the PCC arrangements this can only be for families who registered with the childcare hubs in March, April and May. I have said I would not pass on speculation but there are discussions at a county level to enlarge the capacity for key worker and vulnerable childcare in Powys but this would be based in the towns and would not be available locally. When there are any firm details of any scheme I will pass them on.


I think that this covers the basics about what we have planned, but obviously there are bound to be questions. Please ask them, by email, at any point. There is to a FAQ section on the school website so that information can be spread as efficiently as possible so please check there on a regular basis. It can be found here.

Once again, thank you for all your support and hard work over the past few weeks. I wish I could say that we are getting back to normal but it does seem that we are simply moving into a new stage and blended learning will be with us for some time. As always, if you need help please contact me, or class teachers, and we will do all that we can to make things a success.

Stay safe

Schools from 1st June

Although I am sure that most parents are aware of the different education situation in England and in Wales I just wanted to make sure that it is absolutely clear what is happening next week. English schools have remained open to key workers children and vulnerable pupils since ‘closure’ and a decision has been made that English schools will be extending their provision to further identified groups of pupils from 1st June 2020. HOWEVER, THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO WELSH SCHOOLS.
In Wales, since schools closed childcare has been available, largely on a hub basis in rural areas, for key worker’s children and vulnerable pupils, where there is absolutely no alternative possible. Learning for all pupils has been through distance learning provided by schools in a variety of ways. Schools in Wales will remain closed until the Welsh Government decide that the situation is suitable for any sort of return. Any decision in Wales will be communicated to Local Authorities and schools by Kirsty Williams, the Welsh Education minister, and as soon as we have any further information we will let you know. The current thinking can be found here.
Please note that if you are a Powys resident with a child in a Shropshire school please follow the guidance from your child’s school.
Until a decision on reopening schools in Wales is made school staff will continue to plan learning opportunities for pupils and to ask for parental support for that learning. Thank you for all you are doing to ensure the continuity of your children’s learning and please be assured that Churchstoke staff will continue to be available to support you and your children as far as we are able to in the current situation.
Just to reiterate, much as we would love to get back and see everyone again, Churchstoke CP School will not be reopening on 1st June.


Early Congratulations for the Bank Holiday, so settle down and stop talking at the back please!
I’ll start with Brooke and Dylan for their gardening and weeding. Well done for getting that done as well as all your other work (see below!)
From Miss Morris, congratulations to Parker, who has been really busy again and keeping up the good effort. He has completed lots of different activities this week. Also to Millie, who has worked hard on lots of different activities as well, particularly maths work on negative numbers, sharing her work on the teams group. Finally to Miles, who has been out in the garden making 2D shapes and finding different natural materials to make music with. He also wrote a great book review and shared some photos on our teams group.
From Miss Hilliard, congratulations to Ella and Libby for their video diary entries on being on Mars, to Riley and Logan for their video explanations of the phases of the moon using Jaffa cakes (now there’s an idea I might try myself), to Dylan and Brooke for their phases of the moon diagram also with Jaffa cakes, and to Rosie for her design of her Mars Rover.
A big round of applause to you all 👏👏👏.
A big joint penblwydd hapus i Miles🎂 a Olivia🎂 for Tuesday. Have a great day!


It’s Friday, so it’s congratulations time!



Parker for amazing effort this week. His mum has sent in so many pictures of his work.  He’s been out in the garden doing some counting, grouping, finding out about plants, labelling different parts of the plant and working on his sound of the week. Plus some pages out of his maths booklet!

Miles, because not only has he been doing his work, and getting it on Teams, but he has been doing some of Libby’s as well!

Glyn has been busy on Teams as well, with Oxford Owl and science.



Orla for her punctuation work

Brooke and Olivia for their international space station models.

Ella and Riley for their day and night videos

Logan too for helping his brother.

Libby and Olivia for making their worry dolls.

Well done to all of you!

Finally, Penblwydd Hapus i Wayne from this week, a i Dylan for Monday. Penblwydd Hapus  Iawn to you both.

After School Club

I am excited to be able to tell you that Churchstoke Little Explorers are hoping to start an afterschool club in September, and that this facility would be available to the children of Churchstoke School. This would be a fantastic asset to the playgroup, the school and the community as a whole and would have the wholehearted support of the school.
At this stage we are enquiring as to whether this is something families would use and if so what days and how many children would be involved.
The afterschool club would probably run until 5.30 p.m. and the expected cost would be around £4 per hour. This would include a snack of some description.

I would be grateful if you could please let me know by email (head@churchstoke.powys.sch.uk)  if you would be interested and if so how many children would use afterschool club and on which days so that Little Explorers can determine the viability of the idea.

Many thanks.


Every Friday in school we have Congratulations Prayers, and why should it be any different just because we can’t all sit in the hall together?
Infant congratulations:
Miles, the first to get using Microsoft Teams ( well done Miles, quite a few Governors struggled with that one!) Also, for getting onto Hwb and creating a chart in JIT5 about his families favourite animals. Great work Miles.
Well done to Glyn and Millie for getting onto Teams as well.
Well done Glyn for getting down to his work every day, and for using his snack shop to practice his shopping.
Carly, for her writing about her favourite book. I’ve seen it and it’s great, well done Carly.
Finally, Toby, for learning to ride his bike this week! Even in lockdown, he can learn new skills.
Well done all of you!
Junior congratulations:
Orla, Ella, Seren, Iwan, Riley and Logan, all of who have uploaded work on a variety of subjects. Well done to all of you.
Finally, I suspect congratulations are due to a number of parents, who have worked as hard as the children in making sure they have the chance to carry on with their learning. Thank you for your support.
We always end with birthday congratulations and we have missed one or two whilst we were away for the extended Easter break, so Penblwydd Hapus i Theo a Logan🎂🎂 . I hope you had a good time and managed some sort of party!
Keep working hard, look after yourselves, and don’t forget, if you need help please ask.