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NEWS - 19 JAN 2017

Dear Parents and Carers

I am pleased be making a phased return to school having been absent due to ill-health, since before Christmas.

I am feeling a lot better and would like to thank you for your kind words of encouragement towards a speedy recovery as well as for your continuing support of the school during my absence. Thank you also to children for their continuing hard work hard and good behaviour, including their contribution to a very well-executed fire drill procedure.   

I am greatly indebted to Mrs Buckley (Deputy Head) and to the school’s Senior Leadership Team and other colleagues, who have worked exceptionally hard to ensure the school continues to operate effectively in somewhat challenging circumstances.  Mrs Buckley has been keeping me up to date.      I understand the school’s phone lines were out of operation for a few days and we thank you for your patience and cooperation during this period of disruption. I can confirm this issue has now been resolved.  

Reception and KS1 teachers have been trialling a new regime of staggered afternoon break times to avoid untimely disruption to lessons and make the most of learning opportunities.  This means that, although children will still get an afternoon break, when they can have fruit, a drink and a short session of indoor or outdoor play, it may not occur at exactly the same time for all classes within the key stage. It will be at the discretion of individual class teachers to determine the most appropriate time to break off, at intervals, from lessons. This trial will continue until the end of term. Children will still have plenty of opportunity for play and respite, including outdoor learning and ‘forest school’ activities.  Children throughout the school receive above the required minimal expectation in terms of physical activity, sports, games and ‘Run the World’ etc. Next half term, we will be hosting a visit from a temporary graduate teacher with a passion for outdoor learning, from whom we hope to find out more in respect of ‘forest school’ initiatives, to be offered in the ever-improving weather…hopefully!  

You may recall that the school’s leadership team (and indeed many of you) did not accept the findings of the October 2016 Ofsted inspection. With your support, the school and Good Shepherd Trust submitted a complaint to the Ofsted Complaints Team and I am now in receipt of their response. Unfortunately, the complaints investigator has concluded that it is a case of our word against inspectors’ and it has been determined that there should be no further action. This is naturally very disappointing for us, but it seems imperative we will have to accept the finding. We must be prepared to put the experience behind us and continue to strive to do our best on our journey to improvement. A post-Ofsted improvement plan has been drawn up and I will be meeting governors and representatives of the Good Shepherd Trust, to discuss this later this month. The school action plan will acknowledge and make reference to inspection findings but we will also be reflecting our own self-evaluation findings.   

I look forward to reacquainting myself with children, colleagues and parents and to ‘getting my teeth into’ the new development plan. In the meantime, let’s enjoy the fun of learning as we approach the spring half term which, in terms of the academic calendar, is the half way mark!  

Have a lovely weekend.

Yours sincerely



26th January

School Disco

2nd February

Y6 Class Assembly

9th February @ 9.00am

Y3 Class Assembly

9th February @ 6.00pm

Bedtime Stories

10th February

Book Character Dress Up Day

13th – 17th February




Unfortunately, the football tournament on Thursday 26th January has had to be cancelled due to lack of transport to Woolmer Hill.


Unfortunately due to insufficient numbers, Chess Club has been cancelled.


If your child is unable to attend school for any reason you must contact reception by 10.00am at the latest, however an earlier message would be appreciated in order to help with registers. A phone call or email is required for each subsequent day of absence.


Kindly note that there will be no admittance for drop off or pick up through the school gate on school lane in future (except for breakfast and ABC club).  Please use the gates on Petworth Road and in the park.


Mrs M Middleton was hit by a white Thames Water Highway Maintenance van on 1st July 2016 at 8.20am.

The accident happened on the main Petworth Road just after the News Agents and in front of the first house.  

She was standing inside the rear car door tightening up her son’s car straps when the van drove by and hit her open door with its wing mirror which flew off into the road.   At the time there were many passers-by.  She is appealing for any witnesses to this accident.  If you saw this happen please contact her on 07970 049818.


As part of their quest to inspire children to lead healthier lives, Sainsbury’s has launched their annual Active Kids 2017 campaign. From Wednesday, 25th January, Sainsbury’s stores and petrol stations will be handing out one voucher for every £10 you spend. Just outside the school office you will find our collection box and we would be really grateful if you could empty your purse and post your vouchers over the coming months. Please encourage friends and family to save their vouchers for St Mary’s too as we can exchange them for some really useful sports and cooking equipment that the children will benefit from. Thank you in advance for your support.


On Monday, 16th January, Year 4 set off to the British Museum to find out more about the Ancient Egyptians. As soon as we arrived, we participated in a workshop dedicated to the Journey to the Afterlife. In this hands on session, we discovered how and why the Egyptians prepared for the afterlife. There was so much for us to learn about and take part in, we had so much fun!!
In the afternoon we went to visit the Egyptian galleries to see what delights we would find. We were all amazed by Ginger  - the mummy, who is 5400 years old! (He is called Ginger because he has little tufts of ginger hair in some places. He has been sand-dried, which means all of his organs were removed and he was left in the sand to dry).
There was so much to see and the children were so excited and full of questions.




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