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School News

Janis Radcliffe, Headteacher

View the latest news  and weekly diary reminders from St Mary's School below. 

If you are a parent or carer who would like to register to receive these weekly news bulletins updates  direct to your email, please contact the school office

January 2017

  • News - 27 JAN 2017

    Published 27/01/17

    Next week’s value is Respect

    Matthew 7:12

    “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets”.

    Dear Parents and Carers

    I’ve had a very busy week, catching up with things, not least the hundreds of emails that have built up in my inbox during my absence! Apologies and thank you for your patience, if you are one of the many people waiting for a response to an email enquiry, requiring my attention.

    At the end of last week, children in our Reception class enjoyed going outdoors to join in with a ‘Bear Hunt’! Mrs Lawrence reported that the children thoroughly enjoyed being outside and that the activity stimulated some super writing work and spoken language, back in the classroom.

    On Thursday, children in each of Key Stages 1 and 2 were treated to two separate discos in the school hall. These were run by the PTA and everyone had a really good time. Our thanks go to PTA members for organising this and giving up their time. Mrs Buckley, who also attended, said,’ It was a great success, the children loved it and the DJ was fantastic, keeping the children entertained at the same time as having total control. It was brilliant!

    Can I draw your attention to the timings of the school day. We have a number of children who are regularly late in the mornings and a few who are collected late at the end of the day. Please can you reinforce the importance of punctuality with children. Here is a reminder of the timings of the school day:

    Gates open 8.30am or just before

    Bell goes at 8.35am, by which time children should be in class.

    Registration is from 8.35 to 8.40am

    Lessons start promptly at 8.40am.

    Children arriving after 8.40am are marked late in the register.

    Afternoon school is from 1.00pm to 3.00pm. Mr Whitbourn opens the gates at around 2.55pm.

    Children should be collected from outside classrooms at 3.00pm (unless other arrangements have been made with the school). We ask that you please let school know, in writing, if you want to authorise for an older child to walk or cycle home alone.

    Education Welfare Officers (EWO’s) regularly check our school registers and they make a note of all unauthorised absences and poor performance in terms of attendance and punctuality. If they have concerns they will contact parents directly. We have set ambitious targets in terms of the % of children attending school regularly and on time. Please help us to meet our targets. Thank you for your cooperation.

    Have a super weekend!

    Yours sincerely




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  • NEWS - 19 JAN 2017

    Published 20/01/17

    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


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January 2017