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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

April 2018

  • NEWS - 26 APRIL 2018

    Published 26/04/18

    Next week’s value is Kindness

    “The islanders showed us kindness.  They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold”.  Acts 28:2

    Dear parents/carers

    Our first full week back and things are ramping up! Children are working hard, nowhere more so than in Years 2 and 6, where they are focusing all of their efforts on their learning, with a view to doing as well as they possibly can in the May SATS tests. Year 2 and Year 6 parents should look out for more information about SATS this week, but the over-riding message is to ‘Eat Well, Sleep Well and Stay Calm’!

    We are fortunate to have had good enough weather, on Tuesday, for the school photographs to be staged outdoors. Thank you to Mrs Bishop for her organisational skills - it’s a mammoth task to ensure every class in school is photographed, whilst still maintaining order and making the most of all learning time!

    On Thursday, we were treated to an extraordinary class assembly performance from Reception G. Taking account of their age and inexperience, the children presented confidently and with enthusiasm, on the subject of ‘bears’, showing that they have learnt a great deal about these animals! Thank you to Reception, Miss Griffiths and Mrs Johnson, for all your hard work and to Year 6 pupils (Daniel and Jake) who helped solve a technical hitch, so that it did not impede or detract from the performance. 

    Some of our teachers have been out of school this week, for further training in the assessment of writing and to participate in moderating their teacher assessments against other schools within the Haslemere Confederation.

    School leaders and teaching staff have also been consulting on marking and feedback systems. We aim to continue to provide meaningful feedback for pupils to enable them to make good progress, whilst, at the same time, eliminating unnecessary and unproductive workload for teachers. We referred to a report of the independent teacher workload review group (March 2016) https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/511256/Eliminating-unnecessary-workload-around-marking.pdf

    The report suggests that marking should be:

    • manageable for teachers
    • meaningful and motivating for pupils 

    The teacher standards say that ‘teachers should give pupils regular feedback both orally and through accurate marking, and pupils should respond to feedback’

    We are interpreting the above such that, although we will still provide appropriate and ‘proportionate’ written feedback, we will endeavour to give even more feedback, on the spot, through oral response to children’s work in the classroom and we will provide even more immediate follow-up support where required.

    Children were also consulted on what works for them and their responses included:

    • If I don’t understand something, (I would like to) go in a group the next day to work on it again.
    • Mark it ourselves because then I find out what I’ve got right and wrong and can get better next time.
    • Talk to us and mark our work.
    • Talk Partner marking our work for us.
    • Highlighters – I know I’ve got it when it’s green, and I need more help if it’s orange.
    • Talk to us and explain in the lesson if we don’t understand.
    • Spellings on a post it note.
    • I don’t like you writing comments because the lesson has gone and I forget what we were learning about.
    • Working in groups with teacher or TA if we don’t get it.
    • Working on my own if I know what to do.
    • I like the questioning - reinforces learning - double checks we understand it
    • Self-assessment is a bonus - makes reflection easier
    • Reflective comments are sometimes quite difficult - we have a brilliant lesson and feel like sometimes we are writing for the sake of it
    • Stop writing comments and talk to me!

    As an outcome of these consultations we have produced new assessment guidelines, a copy of which is attached for your information. Please do not hesitate to ask if you have any questions.

    The new Judo club, run by ‘Kinsa Judo’, started on Tuesday morning. A surprising number of pupils have registered to participate and we are conscious that this puts even more strain on our entry and security systems. Please do not use the staff car park for parking or turning and be very vigilant when walking across the car park towards the school hall. Please keep hold of young children at all times. Thank you for your cooperation.  On the subject of transport and safety, it has been noticed that some parents allow children to ride in the front seats of cars, without a seat belt, whilst travelling quite fast. Please, please ensure that your child is properly strapped in and teach them the importance of seat-belt restraints as potentially life-saving devices. It is also a legal requirement to wear a seat-belt.  

    Finally, if your child walks to and from school unaccompanied, are you confident that they are mature enough to be trusted to behave sensibly and safely? A small number of children have been witnessed climbing on equipment in the park and community areas, sometimes showing little regard for others and displaying no urgency to arrive in school on time. We would like to remind you that the responsibility for children lies with parents, before and after school hours. The school gate opens at 8.30am and school starts, with the opening of registers at 8.35am. Thank you for your cooperation.

    Next week, we are looking forward to a visit from Mr Tony Billings, the new Chief Executive Officer of the Good Shepherd Trust. Mr Billings will meet our Chair of Governors and will write to parents in due course.

    Have a lovely weekend!

    Janis Radcliffe

    Headteacher

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  • NEWS - 19 APRIL 2018

    Published 19/04/18

    Next week’s value is Respect

    Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour. “Romans 13:7”

    Dear parents/carers

    I hope you all had a lovely Easter holiday and a restful break.

    We welcome you and your children back to St Mary’s School as we look forward to yet another busy and productive term. We are pleased to welcome back Mrs Lawrence following her maternity leave. Mrs Lawrence will be based in Key Stage 1. Finally, a big welcome to two new children, Alex and Christian, who have joined us in Years 4 and 6 respectively, this week.

    Children returned on Tuesday and have settled quickly back into school routines. Term began a little earlier for teachers who had a training day and meetings on Monday. Teachers spent the day discussing the term ahead, tidying and preparing classrooms and engaging in some important professional development activities, including learning more about the principles of ‘continuous provision’, with a view to incorporating ideas in class, to further enhance our already full, rich and exciting curriculum.  

    Our curriculum is much more than simply maths, literacy, sport and the arts; it incorporates spiritual, moral, social and economic aspects as well as promoting positive values and attitudes, supporting the growth of children’s confidence and resilience and, most importantly, developing critical thinking skills.

    In this era of fast-growing technological development, misleading advertising and fake news, it is ever more important for children to learn to question the validity of information they receive, be it from the TV, via the internet, Email or links sent to them on mobile phones. We are encouraging children to ask more questions of their teachers. Parents can help at home by encouraging children to question and challenge the accuracy and veracity of information from various sources (e.g. TV adverts) and to consider the likelihood that all may not be as it seems; in short, we are developing a healthy scepticism. This can lead to some interesting debate and there is no better place to have such productive discussions than around the dinner table at family mealtimes!  

    As we approach the summer months, and in anticipation of some warmer weather, our thoughts may turn to the summer holidays. May I remind you that children are expected to be in attendance every day of the school term, unless they are unwell or there is another acceptable reason, such as an unavoidable medical appointment. Our school term dates are published well in advance and holidays are not an acceptable reason for absence. Please see below our attendance information for the year to date. We would love to have 100% attendance for all year groups in the summer term!

    May I wish you all a very happy and healthy summer term!

    Janis Radcliffe

    Headteacher

    Critical thinking starter question:

    If a man drinks orange juice every day and his wife does not and the man grows hairs on his chest and the woman does not, does that mean that drinking orange juice puts hairs on your chest?

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April 2018