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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 2019

  • NEWS - 31 JANUARY 2019

    Published 31/01/19

    Next week’s value is Honesty

    “Honest people can always feel secure, but lying cheaters will be caught.” Proverbs 10:9

    Dear parents/carers

    Year 6 children had a wonderful time at Haslemere Museum this week. They learned more about the process of scientific classification - grouping animals and plants according to their characteristics – and impressed our hosts with their excellent behaviour, scientific knowledge and extensive vocabulary. Well done to children and a big thank you to Mrs Buckley and her helpers for their support. Although Mrs Newton was absent from this trip (she was attending a Science Day led, by the Guildford Science Learning Partnership), she deserves a mention, since it was she, who taught the children their impressive scientific vocabulary! What a team!

    Another mention should go to Year 4 children and Miss Hampshire, for their presentation of a wonderful class assembly on the topic of ‘The Egyptians’. Children performed the ‘chicken peck’ dance with great enthusiasm and they described, in goriest detail, the process of mummification of the Egyptian gods. Costumes and part-singing were wonderful and the audience was thrilled with the show! 

    School leaders are looking, beyond Ofsted, to a full curriculum review, and an impending SIAMS inspection. Although the latter may not be imminent, it is, nevertheless, imperative to maintain a focus and momentum in all areas of our school.  Mrs Spong is our Religious Education Leader and Mrs Ryder our Christian Distinctiveness Officer. Between them, they lead the coverage of Religious Education and ensure that children are familiar with the school’s over-riding values (hope – respect – community - wisdom). Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development are promoted, as they learn about cultures and beliefs beyond their own; they consider important issues, such as nature, global warming, environmental degradation and climate change.  We encourage children to look beyond themselves as we promote pupils’ character development, through philosophical enquiry and teaching about ‘disadvantage’, ‘deprivation’ and the ‘exploitation’ of the natural world. Children are encouraged to show respect and compassion, being positive, hopeful, charitable and aspirational, in all that they do. 

    On Tuesday, there will be a Mufti Day and Cake Sale to raise funds to support those impacted by the fire at Chiddingfold Surgery. We hope that all children will bring in £1 for the privilege of dressing up as a nurse, doctor or patient and that parents will support the Cake Sale, to support this worthy cause. More about this in the body of the bulletin, below.

    Next week, (Tuesday), is Safer Internet day. You can find out more by following the following links: www.saferinternetday.org and https://www.betterinternetforkids.eu/,  both of which have information for parents to help you to make every day a Safe Internet Day. It is especially important to take account of age restrictions on internet games, such as ‘Fortnight’, which has been blamed for inappropriate language used by children as young as 9 and 10. Studies have shown that free access to phones and social media can lead to addiction. Children are not always able to exercise the control required and there is a requirement for adults to step in to protect them. Employers have reported that they are dealing with young employees, entering the workplace, with established addiction; some of the youngest employees choose to work with their phone facing up, next to them, so that they can observe them, repeatedly, all day long! The science is alarming; experiments on mice have shown that the brains of individuals exposed to flashing lights, which mimic the computer screen and mobile phone, take three times as long as those not exposed to the lights, to solve problems. Excessive use of mobile phones and social media can also interfere with the development of healthy relationships.

    My message is this: ‘It’s okay for parents to say No!

    Have a brilliant (techno-free?) weekend!  Perhaps there will be a chance of some snow?
    Have a wonderful weekend!      

    Janis Radcliffe

    Head teacher

     

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  • NEWS - 24 JANUARY 2019

    Published 24/01/19

    Next week’s value is Perseverance

    “And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.” 2 Thessalonians 3:13

    Dear parents/carers

    This week’s value is perseverance and we have seen many examples of this in school, as Year 6 pupils grappled with the techniques of proficient cycling, teachers engaged in training with the Guildford Science Learning Partnership and School Leaders attended a twilight session, to consider the benefits of embarking on the Teacher Effectiveness Enhancement Programme (TEEP).

    On Thursday, our Year 4 children visited the British Museum to supplement their topic work; they have been learning about Ancient Egypt. No doubt, this was a wonderful opportunity to reinforce all the gory details, inherent in the process of mummification, to preserve the bodies of important individuals and much-loved Kings!

    From a personal point of view, I have had the privilege of observing some very exciting lessons this week. I am pleased to report that, yet again, I have witnessed excellent standards of teaching and learning. I will continue to work through this term’s monitoring and evaluation schedule and subject leaders will assist me in assessing the quality of the school’s provision for its pupils. This extends, beyond merely delivering a good lesson in the classroom, to ensuring teachers know their children well and that they are using this knowledge, and the results of their assessments, to inform planning and differentiation of work, to suit the needs of individual pupils.

    Safer Internet Day 2019 will be celebrated in school, as well as nationally and globally, on Tuesday 5th February 2019. This year’s slogan is “Together for a better internet”. The day provides us with an opportunity to engage with children about their digital lives; teachers will focus on internet safety and there will be an internet safety assembly during the course of the week. We hope you will also talk to your children at home about having a positive and safe time online. To help you, there are some excellent resources, including conversation starters, factsheets and family pledge cards. These can all be found online at: https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/safer-internet-day/safer-internet-day-2019/education-packs/activities-parents-and-carers

    We are ‘cranking up’ our focus on all things environmental, by encouraging the children to give more thought to preserving our planet and valuable resources. School Council representatives are currently investigating a project, entitled ‘Eco-bricks’, which encourages children to find a safe and harmless way of reducing plastic waste, by packing plastic bottles with other waste plastic, to create a re-useable building block. If you would like to find out more about this initiative, please visit: https://www.bing.com/search?q=eco+bricks&form=IE9TR&src=IE9TR&pc=MDDRJS

    Finally, I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Wrap up warm and cosy and take care, if venturing out, on the icy roads.

    Have a wonderful weekend!     
    Janis Radcliffe

    Head teacher

     

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  • NEW - 17 JANUARY 2019

    Published 17/01/19

    Dear parents/carers

    Our thoughts and prayers remain with the community of doctors, nurses and patients affected by last week’s devastating fire at Chiddingfold Surgery. One of our pupils, an active Year 6 Pupil Leader, has shown real character by highlighting the plight of the surgery and bringing to my attention the possibility that we might be able to help by raising funds to support the surgery. The pupil leadership team will be planning an extra Mufti Day to support this cause. Please look out for more information and try to support this fund-raising event in due course.  

    Thank you to those of you who have returned comments about the proposed removal of Friday afternoon Celebration Assemblies in favour of more teaching and learning time. The overwhelming majority of parents have voted in favour of the initiative and therefore there will be no more weekly Friday afternoon Celebration Assemblies after half term. However, we will continue with a half termly Celebration Assembly, which will take place on the last Friday of each half term. There will be a short, weekly Friday morning assembly at 9.00am, which parents are welcome to attend. I am also very happy to extend a warm invitation to any parent/carer, who may wish to attend my weekly values-led assemblies on Monday mornings at 10.20am. Please advise us, in advance, of your intention to attend, so that we can ensure adequate seating capacity.

    A couple of concerns have been brought to my attention this week. One is a health and safety concern. A local resident has reported that, in the cold weather, a number of parents are sitting with their cars idling, in the recreation ground car parking area. This is potentially hazardous for smaller children who, due to their height, have to walk past the exhaust fumes, which can have a detrimental impact on their breathing and potentially damage immature lungs. We are very keen to promote good health, including a healthy diet, exercise and fresh air and it would be very much appreciated if parents would try to avoid leaving cars idling, for this reason. We thank you for your kind understanding. If you would like to know more about this issue, please go to the following link: 

    https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/emissions/idling/.

    The second concern is that of the increasing number of mobile phones being brought into school. Teachers tell me that some children are bringing phones to school, unnecessarily. Whilst a very, very small minority of pupils may need a phone, which must be stored in the school office during the day, there is no need for the majority of pupils to have a mobile phone in school.

    In the event a child is not collected from school, teachers will automatically notify parents or their appointed representatives and we will always allow a child who is concerned about anything to use the office phone to contact parents.

    For pupils who attend clubs or Koosa After Care, the same applies. As a primary school, where pupils go home with their parents, we will always ensure that pupils are collected and that any necessary contact is made from the school office, in the event of unforeseen circumstances.  Similarly, important messages can be relayed to children, via the school office.

    We understand that children can be demanding and that they like to have all the latest gadgets, but, in this age of expectation of ‘instant personal gratification’, we think it does no harm to occasionally say ‘No!’

    We ask that you to support us in our quest to reduce the number of mobile phones in school.

    On Tuesday this week, Mrs Buckley and I were delighted to be in attendance at the Institution, Induction and Installation of the Reverend Rachel Greene, who takes over from Reverend Sarah as Rector of St Mary’s Church. The occasion was suitably auspicious and beautiful as befits our new Reverend whom we welcome most warmly to Chiddingfold and to St Mary’s School. 

    Clubs start next week and Year 6 will have their ‘bikeability’ experience, whilst Reception class pupils are to be measured to record their height and weight. On Tuesday, we have a Full Governing Body meeting when Mrs Wright will present to governors on her leadership of the Physical Health and Emotional Wellbeing Curriculum.

    As usual, it’s all systems go at St Mary’s School!
    Have a wonderful weekend!     
    Janis Radcliffe

    Head teacher

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January 2019