During this difficult time, we wanted to let you know that, even though our school is currently closed to all but a few children, we are still here to support your child and your family in whatever way we can.

You may be noticing signs of increasing anxiety in your child as they are spending more time indoors and outside of their normal routines. In order to support you, we have put together some resources to help support you and your child. This includes websites and contact numbers for the following:

  • Taking Care of yourself
  • How to talk to your child about what’s happening
  • Home Learning and helpful websites
  • Who you can contact for support

We hope you find this information helpful.

If you have any concerns about how your child is coping or you need any other support from the school, please let us know by emailing studenthub@ryecollege.co.uk or office@ryeprimary.co.uk.

We are extremely grateful for all the support you have shown us as we adapted to these new circumstances, and we want to reassure you that we are still here to support you.


Take care of yourself

It is really important to take care of your own physical and mental health. Children are very perceptive, and they react to what they sense from the adults around them.

Here are some things that can help:

  • Connect with others – maintain relationships with people you care about through phone and video calls;
  • Exercise – take some time every day to move. You could go for a walk or run. You will also find lots of fitness videos online for everything from yoga to dance. Find something you enjoy and that makes you feel good;
  • Eat healthy meals – try to keep a well-balanced diet and drink enough water;
  • Get some sleep – being anxious or worried can have a big impact on your sleep. If you are struggling to get a good night’s sleep, try to develop a calming bedtime routine – for example, do 10 minutes of yoga or listen to calming music. There are also apps you can download that provide guided meditation to help you get to sleep more quickly;
  • Turn off the news – it is important to keep up to date, but the 24-hour news cycle can make you more anxious. Limit your exposure to the news to only a small amount of time, just enough to know what the latest government guidance is;
  • Do things you enjoy – now that we are all spending more time at home, we can finally take up that hobby we have always meant to learn. Try baking or gardening or learning to knit. These are also great activities we can share with our children;
  • Set goals – it is easy to lose track of the days in our current situation, so it can be helpful to set daily and weekly goals to give us a sense of control and purpose. Examples might be setting a goal of walking for half an hour at least 3 times this week or reading a new book;
  • Connect with the outdoors – depending on where you live, it may not be possible to spend time outside. If you do not have a garden or terrace, you can still open a window to let some fresh air and sunlight in. Put a comfortable chair by the window so you can look outside and get some air as you read a book;
  • Talk to someone – during this difficult time, sharing with family and friends how you are feeling and what you are doing to cope. This can be helpful for both you and them, there are also helplines you can call for support.

How to talk to your child about what’s happening

No matter how calmly you manage the current environment, children are likely to be anxious, so it is important to talk to them about what is happening.

For younger children

Children pick up bits of information from their friends, from the news and from listening to adults talking around them – but they can misunderstand what is being said.

Deal with the news head-on and talk about it openly and calmly, giving them the facts

  • BBC Newsround hub – regularly updated with information and advice.
  • #covibook – for under 7s.
  • Children’s guide to coronavirus – a download from the Children’s Commissioner to help explain the situation to children.
  • Teach them how to know if information they find on the internet is reliable. Explain how some stories on social media may be based on rumours or inaccurate information.
  • Encourage them to take breaks from listening to or reading the news – overexposure isn't helpful.

Encourage questions

  • This will give them the confidence to reach out, if they have anything to ask.
  • Be reassuring but honest when answering questions – it is ok if you don't have all the answers.
  • Be ready to answer the same question over and over – children tend to repeat themselves when they're feeling uncertain or worried, so you might have to answer the same questions more than once as they seek extra reassurance.

Be a role model

  • Recognise and manage your own worries first.
  • Be open about your own feelings and let them know it is normal to be concerned – for example, let them know you are also finding the news a bit worrying and what you are doing to stay calm.

Explain how our body's immune system protects us

  • It is constantly working against germs without us knowing.
  • Explain that we are taking precautions against this particular germ because it is a new one which our bodies have not come across before.
  • Remind them how important it is that they eat healthy food, sleep and exercise, as this helps to fight germs.
  • If it helps, reassure them that the effects of this virus on healthy young people are very mild.

Keep doing your bit to help children reduce the spread of germs

  • Remind them to maintain good hygiene like bathing daily and wearing fresh clothes.
  • Encourage them to sing 'happy birthday' twice when they're washing their hands.

For older children

Older children will have the same anxieties about their own health and that of their family and friends as younger children. But they are also likely to feel socially isolated, and worried about the result of school closures on their education and what life will be like after the pandemic is over.

Reassure them that when more guidance comes from the school about how grades will be awarded, you will share this with them as soon as you have it.

Encourage them to maintain social ties – relationships are especially important for older children, so give them room to keep in touch with their friends.

Equip them with accurate information – for example:

Share tools to help them manage anxiety

If your child struggles with higher levels of anxiety

Some children are naturally more anxious, such as those with existing phobias or obsessive-compulsive disorders. The current situation can make those anxieties worse.

  • Get them to do activities such as counting, ordering and sorting tasks which can help them calm down.
  • Encourage them to use relaxation techniques such as controlled breathing.
  • Look out for obsessive or compulsive behaviours and try to get ahead of them early by challenging unhelpful thoughts and assumptions.

If you are worried about your child’s anxiety, YoungMinds is a charity dedicated to children’s mental health. They have opened a parents’ helpline for confidential, expert advice. You can reach them at 0808 802 5544.


Helplines and websites for children and young people

If your child would like to speak with someone confidentially, there are helplines and websites specifically for them.

ORGANISATION 

CONTACT INFORMATION 

Shout - Free, confidential support via text, available 24/7 

Text SHOUT to 85258 in the UK to text with a trained crisis volunteer  

The Mix -Free confidential telephone helpline and online service  

ChildLine -Confidential telephone counselling service for any child with a problem 

Children’s Society- Information and support on different aspects of mental health and wellbeing. 


How to make home learning work for your family  

We are realistic about what students will be able to do during this period, and we want you to be too. 

You are not expected to become teachers and your children aren't expected to learn as they do in school. Simply providing them with some structure at home will help them to adapt. 

The following tips are designed to help you create a positive learning environment at home. See what works best for your household.

  • Create and stick to a routine if you can. This is what children are used to. For example, eat breakfast at the same time and make sure they're dressed before starting the school day – avoid staying in pyjamas!  
  • Involve your children in setting the timetable where possible. It is a great opportunity for them to manage their own time better and it will give them ownership and develop independent learning skills.  
  • Check in with your children and try to keep to the timetable, but be flexible. If a task/activity is going well or they want more time, let it extend where possible.  
  • If you have more than 1 child at home, consider combining their timetables. For example, they might exercise and do maths together – see what works for your household.  
  • Designate a working space if possible, and at the end of the day have a clear cut-off to signal school time is over.  
  • Stick the timetable up on the wall so everyone knows what they should be doing when, and tick activities off throughout the day.  
  • Take stock at the end of each week. What's working and what isn't? Ask your children, involve them too.  
  • Distinguish between weekdays and weekends, to separate school life and home life.  
  • Give them chores to do so they feel more responsible about the daily routine at home.  
  • Ask them to help you cook and bake.  
  • Accept that they'll probably watch more TV/spend time on their phone – that's ok but you might want to set/agree some screen time limits.

All parents will have some concerns about their children getting behind with learning. Keeping up with the work set by teachers will help to ensure that any learning gaps are minimised. Please remember that everyone is in the same boat, and when things get back to normal, we will make sure we get all pupils back on track. 

As communicated in our previous letter all work will be posted on ClassCharts and students should check the site daily for any updates. Work will be labelled with clear instructions for students to follow. If there are challenges or difficulties with regard to the work then pupils should contact their teacher via their Office365 email. 

Where possible work should be completed on Office365 and shared with their teachers.


Where to find learning resources online 

There are plenty of support for parents online for help with remote learning these include most subjects.

ORGANISATION 

CONTACT INFORMATION 

BBC Bitesize 

Online resource for learning and revision. Starting on 20 April, you‟ll also find daily lessons to support home learning 

GoNoodle 

Movement and mindfulness videos for primary children 

STEM.org.uk 

Free home learning resources for all ages in science, technology, engineering and maths 

Twinkl 

This popular site for teachers is now offering free daily activities for home learning 

English National Ballet 

Free ballet classes streamed daily 

Kerboodle 

Online teaching and learning service 

MyMaths 

Providing complete curriculum coverage from Key Stage 1 to A Level, MyMaths offers interactive lessons, “booster packs” for revision, and assignable homeworks and worksheets 

Seneca 

Interactive online learning resource center for a number of subjects 

GCSE Pod 

Online virtual tutorials for subject areas 


Where to turn to for help 

Remember it is okay to not be okay. We all need someone to talk to sometimes. If you feel overwhelmed, at risk of abuse or experiencing financial need, there are people you can call on for support:

Mental Health

ORGANISATION 

CONTACT INFORMATION 

Mental Health Foundation 

Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems  

Mind -A mental health charity 

Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm) Website: www.mind.org.uk 

PAPYRUS - Youth suicide prevention society 

Phone: 0800 068 4141 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 10pm, and 2pm to 10pm on weekends and bank holidays) 

Website: www.papyrus-uk.org 

Samaritans -Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair 

Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline) Website: www.samaritans.org.uk 

SANE - Emotional support, information and guidance for people affected by mental illness, their families and carers 

YoungMinds - A charity dedicated to childrens mental health 

Phone: Parents' helpline 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm) 

Cruse Bereavement Care - Support for grief and bereavement 

Phone: 0808 808 1677 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5pm) 

Website: www.cruse.org.uk 

 

Domestic Violence

ORGANISATION 

CONTACT INFORMATION 

NSPCC 

Child protection charity 

Phone: 0808 800 5000 for adults concerned about a child (24-hour helpline) 

0800 1111 for children (ChildLine‟s 24-hour helpline) Website: www.nspcc.org.uk 

Refuge 

Advice on dealing with domestic violence 

Phone: 0808 2000 247 (24-hour helpline) Website: www.refuge.org.uk 

 

Community Support

ORGANISATION 

CONTACT INFORMATION 

Rye Food Bank 

Address: Rye Baptist Church, Cinque Port Street, Rye TN31 7AN  

Contact: 07856267423 

Bexhill Food Bank 

Address: 19-20 Station Rd, Bexhill-on-Sea TN40 1RE 

Contact: 01424 736515 / 07866 570468 

The Trussell Trust Food Bank 

Address: The Hastings Centre, The Ridge, Hastings TN34 2SA 

Contact: 07526 066453

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