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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 2018

  • NEWS - 25 JANUARY 2018

    Published 25/01/18

    Next week’s value is Perseverance

    “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

    This week we have been focusing on our ‘enthusiasm’ for learning and it has been evident that everyone has made a determined effort to demonstrate this week’s important value! 

    Year 4 children enjoyed an exciting trip to the British Museum on Monday - an excellent stimulus for their spring term topic work - and they were great ambassadors for the school, with their excellent behaviour. Well done, Year 3 and thank you to our parent helpers.

    School leaders have carried out our annual safeguarding and SEND audits this week as well as a review of our ‘healthy school’ status.  I have been conducting lesson observations as part of our school’s monitoring and evaluation programme and the maths and literacy leaders conducted a book scrutiny on Wednesday evening.  

    Our hard-working PTA members are hosting the school disco this evening; KS1 from 6.00pm to 7.00pm and KS2 from 7.15pm to 8.15pm. Please collect your child promptly after the event as we are still encouraging them to eat healthily and try to fit in their nine hours sleep on school nights! 

    May I remind you not to allow visitors to access the school via the school gates. If visiting the school during the school day, please come in via the School Lane entrance and report to the school office immediately on entry. This is to maintain site security and help us to identify all visitors in case of an event like a fire drill. Thank you for your kind cooperation.

    We look forward to welcoming you to tomorrow’s Celebration Assembly at 2.30pm; please note this will  change to 2.15pm after half term, to allow for the setting up of our after school club, which will be on-site, from Monday 19th February.

    Next week’s value of the week is ‘perseverance’ and we do hope that children will come to school ready to persevere, especially with their mathematics, as next week is also Maths Week! Please note the date for our KS2 parents’ maths Information evening on Thursday 1st February at 6.00pm; come a bit earlier if you would like to partake in refreshments. The maths evening will be led by our maths leader, Miss Clark, who will explain some of the mathematical terms and methodology used in classrooms, to help parents to confidently support their child’s learning at home. Friday 2 February’s Celebration Assembly (2.30pm start) will be replaced with a Maths Celebration Assembly.

    Have a great weekend.

    Janis Radcliffe


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  • NEWS - 18 JANUARY 2018

    Published 22/01/18

    Next week’s value is Enthusiasm

    “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7

    Dear Parents and Carers

    Clubs began in earnest this week. It was great to see activities in full flow and to experience the smell of cookies wafting down the corridors from the activity room. Thank you to our teachers and volunteers who give generously of their time to provide these additional opportunities for pupils. If any parent or grandparent has a burning desire to run a club relating to something they are passionate about, please do let us know; don’t be shy!

    I should like to thank the PTA for all their hard work last year and, in particular, in the run up to Christmas. Their fund-raising efforts, including the Christmas Fair, have been truly remarkable, and will enable us to make some important purchases to enhance opportunities for children. The focus last year was on raising money for our outdoor areas and smart boards. This term, the focus remains on the outdoors with shading as well as working towards some new fundraising initiatives, including much-needed money for a defibrillator. Thank you for all your hard work! We couldn’t do it without you!

    Year 6 pupils completed their bikeability training this week. Normal timetabled lessons will resume tomorrow. Children are fortunate to have a new teacher who shares Mrs Newton’s high expectations and determination for children to do well in their end of year tests. Year 6 children will be very much in our thoughts from now on, as they knuckle down to their studies in readiness for the demanding SATS tests in May 2018. Good luck Year 6!

    On Monday morning, St Mary’s had a ‘lockdown’ practice, as recommended by the health and safety authorities. This is to ensure children and adults are properly prepared, regarding safety maintaining procedures, in the event of any future, serious but unlikely threat to their security. Teachers explained the possible threat in age-appropriate terms (e.g. a swarm of bees) and the overwhelming majority of children were able to be sensible and to remain silent and hidden, alongside their teachers. Well done to all!

    On Tuesday, our Deputy Head, Mrs Buckley, attended a curriculum conference in London. She returned to share what she had learned in Wednesday’s staff meeting. The focus of the staff meeting was on the relevance of our curriculum to meet the needs and future aspirations of pupils in a changing world. Mrs Ryder (History Subject Leader) also gave valuable feedback following a book scrutiny and Miss Clark and Mr Bannister shared some classroom successes and good ideas with colleagues.

    This week the school business manager and I will be meeting ‘Koosa’ After School Care representatives. The aim of the meeting is to firm up on our plans to run an on-site after school care facility, after half term.

    There’s always more to do ... but we endeavour to be innovative and enjoy the challenge!   Thank you for all your support. 

    I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

    Yours sincerely


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  • NEWS - 1 NOVEMBER 2018

    Published 11/01/18





    Next week’s value is Wisdom

    “Wise people want to learn more, so they listen closely to gain knowledge.” Proverbs 18:15

    Dear parents/carers

    I hope you all had a lovely half term break. Children certainly seem to have enjoyed themselves! Nevertheless, they have settled quickly back into the school routine and are enjoying their learning.  With no time to lose, on the first day back, Year 5 children went, with their teacher and helpers, to Legoland, where they had an enjoyable day out and learned all sorts of interesting things. Thank you to teachers and helpers for supporting this event and a big well done to Y5 children who, once again, were congratulated by members of the public, for their exemplary behaviour.  We are so proud of them!

    On Monday afternoon, the School Business Manager and I met with the joint PTA Chairs to establish a spending plan for the coming year. The school submitted requests for the PTA to consider in their evening meeting. Once again, I cannot reiterate strongly enough, how much we value the PTA’s determined fund-raising efforts, on our behalf.  

    We are anticipating an inspection any time. It could be next week, next month or even next year, but we are sure it can’t be long! In the event Ofsted does arrive, you are bound to be asked for your views about the school. Please remember you can add your comments at any time, on the Ofsted Parent View website at

    There is a great buzz in the staff room this week as professional dialogue turns to the curriculum. You may have heard that, from September 2019, the Ofsted spotlight will switch somewhat, from reading, writing and maths data outcomes, to the appropriateness and effectiveness of the whole school curriculum. This is, of course, music to our ears! Mrs Amanda Spielman, Chief Inspector for Ofsted, says: ‘One of the areas that I think we sometimes lose sight of is the real substance of education.  Not the exam grades or the progress scores, important though they are, but instead the real meat of what is taught in our schools and colleges: the curriculum’. Mrs Spielman admits that Ofsted have helped create the culture by pressuring schools to deliver test scores above everything else, but it is reassuring that they now want to redress the balance.   The idea that the curriculum should be ‘broad and balanced’ is nothing new, but it is likely that it will be scrutinised by Ofsted like never before.

    We regularly audit and review our curriculum and, whilst we are satisfied that our topics are exciting and inspiring, we are never complacent and plan to develop them even further to make them even more immersive from the outset and add even more of what is of interest to 21st century children. We plan to introduce a sustainability project and to encourage children to understand their responsibility in relation to their role as future stewards of our earth and precious planetary resources. 

    If you would like to know more about our school improvement priorities, please see outline attached to this bulletin, for your convenience.

    Finally, as a parting message of appreciation, thank you to Year 2 children and their teachers for a wonderful all-singing, all-dancing assembly on the theme of the ‘Great Fire of London’, this week. The topic has been the stimulus for some outstanding pieces of writing, art, design technology and science work - a veritable cross-curricular extravaganza!

    Well done to all!
    Janis Radcliffe

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  • NEWS - 1 FEBRUARY 2018

    Published 02/01/18

    Next week’s value is Perseverance

    “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

    Dear Parents/Carers

    Thank you again, to our hard-working PTA members, for organising yet another successful fundraising event. Last week’s KS1 and KS2 discos were a huge success! Children had an amazing time, dancing and rocking to the sounds of disco music, well into the early hours (of the evening!) They were all home, in bed by 8.00pm, and back in school the next day, looking fresh as daisies! 

    May I remind KS2 parents that this evening is our maths information evening, when we hope you will join us (from 6.00pm), to hear about how the four main mathematical operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) are taught at St Mary’s School. It is hoped that this will help parents to support children at home, in the knowledge that they are using the same method and terminology as that which is used in school. The evening will be led by our maths subject leader, Miss Clark, with the support of her colleagues, for the demonstration workshops. Please feel free to arrive early for a glass of wine!


    Safer internet Day

    Next Tuesday, 6 February 2018, is UK Safer internet Day. The UK Safer Internet Centre has launched some helpful materials for parents to assist them in protecting their children when using technology; these  include parents’ top tips for teaching children to safely use iPads, iPhones, Play-stations and X-Boxes. All of the leaflets can be found under the parents’ section of our school website.


    Please avoid taking and circulating photographs and/or video footage of children other than your own, as some of our parents specifically request that the school helps them to ensure no images of their children are recorded.


    Please may we remind you that St Mary’s is a ‘nut-free’ zone; this includes all makes of nuts and nut products, including peanut butter. The avoidance of nuts on school premises helps us to protect those pupils with severe allergies who may be at risk of developing anaphylactic shock following even minimal contact with nuts, for example from touching a surface that a nut-eater has previously touched. More information can be found under the parent section of our school website: see Pupil Health and Wellbeing/Food and Drink. We thank you in anticipation of your kind cooperation.

    Tomorrow’s Celebration Assembly is being commandeered by mathematicians from all year groups, who will be sharing some of what they have learned in maths lesson this week and this term. Parents welcome.

    Have a great weekend.

    Janis Radcliffe



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January 2018