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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

March 2019

  • NEWS - 28 MARCH 2019

    Published 28/03/19

    “How great is God’s love for all who worship him?  Greater than the distance between heaven and earth”!


    Dear parents/carers

    In the penultimate week of term, we watched the drama club deliver a confident and engaging performance for the school. Some of our Year 6 children played netball in County Qualifiers at Rodborough School and today Year 2 informed and entertained us with their assembly all about our wonderful world.  The children spoke out beautifully and wowed us with their amazing facts.  Great work from the pupils and thank you to their hard-working teachers.

    Year 6 set off to London on Tuesday to visit the natural history museum to enhance their science topic, they spent the morning looking at exhibits linked to evolution including dinosaurs, fossils and early man.  The children were impeccably behaved and great ambassadors for our school.

    Next week is the last week of term and there is still lots going on.  The photographer will be in school on Monday morning for class photos, please ensure your child is wearing the correct uniform.  The Easter Service will take place in the church on Tuesday morning and will be led by Year Three.  Everyone is very welcome to attend.

    Those children participating in the Easter Bonnet competition need to bring their masterpieces in on Wednesday. Photographs will be sent to the Surrey Advertiser and prizes will be awarded to the most creative from each class on Friday.

    On Thursday Year 1B will deliver their class assembly and Friday at 9am will be the final assembly of the term, completed certificates will be presented in this assembly.  School closes at 1.30pm for the Easter break.  Please take home PE kits and have a rummage in the lost property bin, you will be amazed what you can find in there!  Summer term begins for the teachers on 23rd April for an INSET day in which we will be developing and enhancing our curriculum. Term begins for children on Wednesday 24th April.

    Don’t forget clocks go forward this weekend!  Happy Mothering Sunday.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Sheila Buckley

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  • NEWS - 21 MARCH 2019

    Published 21/03/19

    “How great is God’s love for all who worship him?  Greater than the distance between heaven and earth”!

    Dear parents/carers

    This week we were lucky enough to see two, consecutive class assemblies. On Wednesday, Class 1LS shared what they have been learning throughout their ‘inventions’ topic and audience members discovered what life might have been like before the invention of dishwashers! Can you imagine?  This morning saw the hall transformed into a tropical rainforest, as Year 3 pupils encouraged us to think about the environment and the animals within it. Thank you to all our Year 1 and Year 3 children and to their hard-working teachers. A special mention should go to Mrs Balchin for her artistic contribution to costumes and props. 

    As a further mark of their interest in wild-animals and their habitats, older children recently instigated a mufti day and collection for the World Wildlife Fund Charity, a leading independent conservation organisation. We were delighted that children were able to raise over £200, which will be donated to WWF. A WWF representative will come into school on Monday to collect the cheque. Well done children, what caring citizens we have a St Mary’s School.

    Two Year 6 pupils also displayed the characteristics of caring and community-minded citizens this week when they went out on a litter picking exercise one afternoon after school. Thank you to Fergus and Kayleb who borrowed litter picker implements from school to collect a whole black bin-bag full of rubbish from the local field. Their reported findings comprised crisp packets and polystyrene fish and chip containers! I hope that all St Mary’s children will help to keep our local community areas clean by using the bins provided.  

    The real highlight of the week may be yet to come, as it will no doubt be this evening’s PTA School Disco!   KS1 children will be dancing the night away from 6.00pm to 7.00pm and KS2 children can ‘strut their stuff’ from 7.15pm to 8.15pm! Thank you in advance to our supportive PTA members who will be organising and ‘manning’ the event to raise much-needed funds for our school. We ask parents to kindly collect children promptly at the end of the dance and take them home without delay. Thank you for your kind cooperation.

    Next week is our final clubs week of the term but please note that clubs that are normally run by class teachers will not be happening in lieu of parents’ evenings; these are scheduled to take place from 3.30pm to 6.00pm on Tuesday and from 3.30pm to 7.30pm on Thursday. Please be sure to sign up for your meeting and may we ask that you stick to your allocated time of 10 minutes. If a longer meeting is required, please arrange this for a separate time with your child’s class teacher.

    Have a fantastic weekend!

    Janis Radcliffe

    Head teacher

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  • NEWS - 14 MARCH 2019

    Published 14/03/19

    Dear parents/carers


    Perhaps we were premature in celebrating the good weather recently! However, the sun always shines at St Mary’s and we have had another happy, busy and productive week.

    For my own part, I have been meeting colleagues for mid-year appraisals and catching up, in pupil progress meetings, with pupils’ end of year, academic expectations. All looks positive with the majority of pupils on track to achieve positive outcomes and good progress by the end of the year. For the small minority of children who do not make as much progress as we would like, and who may need that little bit more encouragement, we offer additional support in school and we urge parents to help at home too, by ensuring children read regularly and are encouraged to enter into conversation.

    On Tuesday, some of our more able writers participated in ‘Able Writers’ Workshops at Chandler School. Our thanks to Chandler for hosting the event and to Mrs Chaplin who escorted the group. Also on Tuesday, Mrs Newton attended a training session with Babcock assessment guru, Karen Elcombe, to reinforce our understanding of assessment for writing. Year 6 writing, unlike other end-of-year Key Stage 2 National Curriculum test subjects, is assessed by the class teacher.

    On Wednesday, children in Year 1 went to the Discovery Centre to supplement their topic work on ‘Inventions’. Our thanks to Mrs Spong, Mrs Lawrence and Mrs Bennett for arranging this exciting event for children and well done to Year 1’s for their excellent behaviour! 

    You may have heard, in the news, that a huge number of schools are suffering financial hardship. The chair of governors of one South Gloucestershire Primary School told BBC interviewers that he was ‘trying to operate on a shoestring’. A coalition of teachers' unions has warned that the majority of individual schools will have lost funding in real terms between 2015 and 2020.

    Many schools are in the same position and St Mary’s is no different. Like the Gloucestershire School, we are ever-mindful of spending. Our priority is to retain teachers and assistants in classrooms and to provide high quality educational resources. We regularly ask parents for donations, through the school fund, and we are very grateful to those parents who are able to help, with any amount. Please note that this is a voluntary donation and your children will not be disadvantaged if you are unable to contribute.

    A significant part of our budget is spent on classroom resources, such as glue, paper, writing implements etc.  If any parent feels able to support us by providing writing implements, good quality printer paper or glue and pencils etc, this would be very much appreciated. Should you wish to contribute, please see the attachment to this newsletter for a list of resources, which could help the school. We thank you in anticipation of your voluntary support.

    Have a good weekend!

    Janis Radcliffe

    Head teacher



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  • NEWS - 7 MARCH 2019

    Published 07/03/19

    Next week’s value is Justice

    “Learn to do good.  Look for what is right and fair.” Isaiah 1:17

    Dear parents/carers


    So says the Ofsted report (FEBRUARY 2019), which will be distributed to parents this afternoon.

    Please look out for a hard copy of the final report in children’s bags today.  You can also find a copy on the school website.

    As you can imagine, the report has been the main topic of conversation in the staff room this week but there has been much more on the agenda, as always.

    Last week ended on a high with yet another spectacular performance from M&M Theatrical Productions.  The company put on their classic literature adaptation of ‘Alice in Wonderland’, which was delivered with energy, enthusiasm, lights and music and had our children hooked!  We particularly enjoyed celebrating our ‘unbirthdays’ with the Mad Hatter, the hare and Alice at their tea party!  The show was followed by a workshop for our Year 6 pupils who had the opportunity to find out more about what happens behind the scenes of such a fabulous production.  Thank you to parents for your contributions, which give children the chance to experience such high quality live theatre right here in our school hall.

    On Wednesday, Year 5 visited the Planetarium in Winchester to find out more about their Space topic.  The children spoke enthusiastically about what they enjoyed about the day – including watching a show where it felt like they were in the sky!  More information about Year 5’s exciting day can be found in next week’s bulletin.

    Year 5 aren’t the only ones to be out and about this week, today has been lovely weather for Year 3’s visit to Kew Gardens where they have been learning more about plants and rainforests.  Further details about their trip to follow in next week’s bulletin.

    Back in school, Year 1’s were the latest classes to take part in the Mini-Mile this week, an activity run by Mrs Wright and our Year 6 Sports Crew which promotes the benefits of getting active.  An obstacle course with mini hurdles and slaloms was set up on the tennis courts for our Year 1 pupils to tackle and enjoy!

    As we approach the end of another busy week, we would like to remind you that tomorrow (Friday 8th March) children are invited to come to school dressed as an animal for a donation of £1 to WWF, an idea put forward by the Pupil Leadership Team and yet another example of our children’s courageous advocacy and charitable nature!

    Have a lovely weekend!
    Janis Radcliffe

    Head teacher

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March 2019