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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

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  • NEWS - 4th APRIL 2019

    Published 05/04/19

    Dear Parents and Carers,

    We have such an action packed, fun-filled newsletter for you this week; perhaps the less said by me the better! Hopefully, this will give you time to read and savour the accounts of this term’s exciting activities!

    As you will see, it has been an eventful term. The one thing missing from the reports below is reference to the Ofsted visit; not the sort of thing you expect to see colourfully illustrated, but we are still celebrating the written Ofsted report that confirms St Mary’s is a ‘good’ school which supports the outstanding welfare and personal development of its pupils. The report says that pupils leave St Mary’s as confident, articulate people who are ready to play their part in the wider community. This last point is well illustrated when we consider the work of our children including Pupil Leadership Team and School Council representatives, all of whom are truly innovative in their fundraising ideas and extremely mature in their desire to help others less fortunate than themselves. Thank you children; you are an inspiration and great ambassadors for our Christian School!

    I should like to add my thanks to parents and governors for your continuing support and to my esteemed colleagues, both in school and at the Good Shepherd trust, for their invaluable contribution, commitment and continuing good humour. It is a pleasure to play a small part in this incredible team.

    All that remains is for me to wish you a wonderful Easter and a safe and happy holiday.

    I look forward to seeing you all again on Wednesday 24th April.

    Best wishes

    Janis Radcliffe

    Head Teacher

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  • 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

    SING IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS! ST MARY’S SCHOOL IS A ‘GOOD’ SCHOOL!

    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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  • NEWS - 28 FEBRUARY 2019

    Published 28/02/19

    Next week’s value is Hope

    “Faith is what makes real the things we hope for.  It is proof of what we cannot see”.  Hebrews

    Dear parents/carers

    I hope you were able to make the most of the wonderful weather during half term! How fortunate we were to experience ‘above average’ temperatures for this time of year!  Over half term our new Outdoor Classroom has been installed thanks to the fundraising of the 3 Peaks Team!  We are very excited by the new addition to the playground and look forward to many outdoor learning opportunities.

    The second half of the spring term has got off to a flying start! I have been reflecting, alongside my busy colleagues, on how it seems like more than four days since we returned to school after the half term! Monday was the first of our earlier-timed assemblies, since we adjusted the timetable to fit in more curriculum time.  On Wednesday, I attended an all-day training event at the Good Shepherd Trust offices, when head teachers heard, from a practising psychologist, about the latest developments and provisions offered by Educational Psychology Services. During the afternoon, we were privileged to receive detailed and well-informed child protection/safeguarding training. 

    This afternoon, Mrs Buckley and I meet with the Trust’s Director of Education. We will talk through our experience of the recent inspection, in respect of which we expect to receive a formal account of findings at some point during the next couple of weeks. Please look out for the report in an A4-size envelope in children’s bags.

    Tomorrow, to finish off the week, children in all classes are to be treated to a performance of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ presented by ‘M and M Productions’. There will no Monday morning assembly and no Celebration Assembly next week.

    Two of our teaching assistants will be out of school tomorrow. They will be attending the training centre at Guildford Church House, where they will learn about supporting teaching and learning in Early Years.  Mid-year staff appraisals are due to commence next week. As well as assessing teachers progress towards meeting their predicted targets for pupil outcomes at the end of this year, this provides me with an opportunity to thank all of my colleagues for their invaluable contribution to the school.

    Finally, a reminder that next Friday (8 February), children may come to school dressed as animals, in return for a small fee (£1). This is to support the World Wildlife Fund, a charity which raises money to help sick and injured animals. This is a cause that is very dear to our children’s hearts. The Mufti Day was instigated by our Pupil Leadership Team and School Council! This is yet another example of children displaying caring attitudes and the values we try to promote. Aren’t they all wonderful! 

    Have a super weekend!

    Janis Radcliffe

    Head teacher

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  • NEWS - 14 FEBRUARY 2019

    Published 14/02/19

    Next week’s value is Hope

    “Faith is what makes real the things we hope for.  It is proof of what we cannot see”.  Hebrews

    Dear parents/carers

    Our Book Fair has been very popular this week (Book Week). Children and teachers are looking forward to returning to school at 6.15pm for an evening of Bedtime Stories. Thank you in advance to teachers for giving up their time and for our kind-hearted PTA members who will be providing hot chocolate.

    Tomorrow is Book Character Dress Up Day when children can come to school dressed as a character from a book of their choosing. There have been a few Mufti Days in recent weeks and we are aware that this can be costly for parents, so there will be no charge for the privilege, on this occasion.

    Well done to Pupil Leaders who prepared and delivered an assembly on the subjects of Resilience and Positive Mental Health this week. Should you or your children wish to see the presentation, you can find a copy of the PowerPoint, used in the Assembly, located in the pupil leadership section of the school website at: https://www.stmaryschidd.org/

    For those of you who may have missed Miss Howell’s and Miss Clark’s presentations last Thursday evening, you can find the Literacy and Maths Leaders presentations on the school website.

    On Tuesday, Mrs Buckley attended the annual SEND Conference to learn about latest developments regarding the care and support of children with additional learning needs. Mrs Buckley came back to school, armed with a wealth of information, which she has already shared with colleagues.

    For my own part, I was invited to give feedback to other School Leaders, regarding my reflections on the school’s recent Ofsted experience and there was more training for Mrs Chaplin, who attended a Paediatric First Aid Course.

    Finally, a reminder that tomorrow’s Celebration Assembly is the last, regular gathering of its kind. Future Celebration Assemblies will take place half termly however, parents will be notified, via the ‘Seesaw’ App, if their child has received a nomination and Jigsaw piece.

    Have a wonderful weekend and a very safe and happy half term.

    Janis Radcliffe

    Head teacher

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  • NEWS - 7 FEBRUARY 2019

    Published 08/02/19

    Next week’s value is Honesty

     

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

    Dear parents/carers

    Well, that was the week, that was!

    Our school values – hope – respect – community – and wisdom, have been played out in every corner of the school this week. Ofsted Inspectors spent two days with us, this Tuesday and Wednesday. We thank parents for their support and patience in case of any short delays in responding to your communications. Thank you to those parents who took the time to respond to Ofsted’s letter and request for your views and opinions about our school. You can of course, access the Ofsted Parent View portal, at any time, to upload your comments. Naturally, if you have cause for concern, we recommend that you raise this with the school, in the first instance.  

    The inspection outcome is highly confidential.  Staff do not know the outcome and will be unable to discuss Inspection findings with you. However, we do expect to receive a draft report within the next three or four weeks (excluding half term). Once in receipt of the final report, and Ofsted’s authorisation to publish it, we will share this with parents, without further delay.

    Inspectors were somewhat surprised to see children arriving dressed as doctors, nurses, surgeons and patients on Tuesday, many of the children displaying apparently quite serious injuries! One boy hobbled round school on crutches all day and there were multiple cases of ‘red spots’, some of which remain, to this day, having been produced using rather indelible marker pen! Hopefully, the weekend’s bath-time scrub will resolve this issue, so that children can make a ‘fresh-faced’ start on Monday. The sum total of money raised through Mufti donations and the after school Cake Sale, was just a little short of £300! Well done to children and thanks to parents for your support. Special thanks should go to Kayleb in Year 6, who, on learning about the plight of Chiddingfold Surgery, used his initiative to instigate the Mufti Day. Look out for more information and photographs in the Haslemere Herald!

    A reminder that there is a timetables and spelling information evening for parents of children in Years 2 to 6, this evening, Thursday 7th February 2019 at 6.30pm; our thanks, in advance, to PTA members who have kindly agreed to serve refreshments from 6.15pm. 

    Finally, a reminder that this Friday will be the penultimate Celebration Assembly. When we return to school after half term, Celebration Assemblies will occur only once every half term. Parents are however, invited to join us for Monday assemblies at 10.10 am and/or the short Friday replacement assembly at 9.00am weekly. The extra time, on Friday afternoons, will be used to further extend the time available for teaching an increasingly rich and varied curriculum.

    Have a lovely weekend.

    Janis Radcliffe

    Head teacher

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  • NEWS - 31 JANUARY 2019

    Published 01/02/19

    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 18/01/19

    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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  • NEWS - 14 DECEMBER 2018

    Published 14/12/18

    Dear Parents and Carers,

    Here we are already! It is the end of term and time has flown!   

    This extended newsletter is full of information about each class’s learning themes this term, so I will try to keep my own piece very short and to the point.

    One thing I should mention is that I have received reports of a number of children cycling to school without proper lighting on their bicycles. If your child is one such cyclist, please would you check that they have fully functioning lights and that they are using them properly. The mornings are becoming increasingly dark!

    On behalf of all the staff of St Mary’s School, thank you for your generous gifts, cards, kind words of encouragement and continuing support. I should particularly like to thank members of the PTA and those of you who have supported children’s reading or who have helped with school trips, transport to sporting events and fund-raising initiatives this term. Your help is greatly valued and very much appreciated. By working together, we continue to make progress and children are inevitably flourishing.

    I should also like to thank my hard working colleagues; every one of them is important to the smooth running of the organisation and every one of them goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that children have the opportunities they deserve and enjoy.

    Whilst I don’t often single out individuals for a special mention, it would be remiss of me not to point out that Mrs Kay Bedford has been at the school for 30 years this year! Thank you and well done, Mrs Bedford; that ticks all the boxes for perseverance, resilience and staying power! Mrs Bedford was very much in the limelight earlier this week when, along with our three wonderful chefs (Mrs Lowman, Mrs Swift and Miss Pocock), she planned, prepared and presented a wonderful festive lunch for the whole school! Delicious!

    Finally, all that remains is for me to wish you all:-

     A Very Merry Christmas

    and a Happy New Year!

    Stay safe, warm and close to family, friends and loved-ones this Christmas.

    We look forward to seeing you all again on Monday 7th January 2019.

    Best wishes

    Janis Radcliffe

    Head Teacher

     

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  • NEWS - 6 DECEMBER 2018

    Published 07/12/18

    Next week’s value is Love

    “Love doesn’t hurt others.  So loving is the same as obeying all the law”.  Romans 13:10

    Dear parents/carers

    The events of this week have certainly served to inject a real flavour of Christmas into the school. Since the opening of the Christmas Post Box on Monday, there has been an escalating sense of festive cheer.

    On Tuesday, we welcomed visitors from the local Village Nursery to the Dress Rehearsal for our Nativity performance. Reception and Key Stage 1 children performed brilliantly and they have continued to perform well throughout the rest of the week. Well done to Reception and Key Stage 1 children and a big thank you to Miss Howells and all the teachers for their hard work in preparing our very youngest of pupils for their outstanding stage debuts!

    Christmas is no excuse for staff training to cease and, on Monday afternoon, we invited a representative of the Guildford Science Learning Partnership to carry out a joint ‘Learning Walk’ to establish the quality of teaching and learning that takes place in our science lessons. All classes were observed carrying out a wide variety of exciting, explorative investigations. The observer commented on the enjoyment of children and the great links to class topic work – for instance Year 2 were designing a waterproof bucket with which to carry water to put out the Great Fire of London and Year 4 children were deciding on the best material to insulate against the sound of the World War 2 Air Raid Sirens! The afternoon’s Learning Walk was followed by a twilight staff training session, during which teachers engaged in some experimental work of their own and were given tips on further embedding children’s understanding and use of scientific vocabulary.

    Well done to our Sports Crew who has been inspiring others with their determination and resilience this week! A big well done too, to Year 5 and 6 pupils who participated in the Barrow Hills Cross Country event on Tuesday. Thank you to Mrs Wright who quietly engineers these exciting sporting opportunities for children. Read more about our sporting successes below.

    Please can I remind all children and parents that the outdoor Adventure Play Areas are out of bounds after school. There is signage to this effect in the vicinity of the play areas and we implore parents to discourage children (including pre-school siblings) from using the equipment. Aside from the obvious health and safety implications and lack of clarity regarding attribution of responsibility, the areas cannot be supervised by school staff and they do need to be available and safe for legitimate use, by pupils attending Koosa After School Care Club. Thank you in anticipation of your kind cooperation.

    Finally, tomorrow is Mufti Day (in return for donations for the PTA Christmas Fair). It is also the day of our final Nativity performance (9.30am) and a celebration of excellence in our final REACH assembly of the term at 2.15pm.

    Please note there will be no Celebration Assembly next Friday as the hall will be in use for the Christmas Fair! We look forward to seeing you there!
    Have a super weekend!

    Janis Radcliffe

    Head teacher

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  • NEWS - 29 NOVEMBER 2018

    Published 30/11/18

    Next week’s value is Charity

     

    “It is more blessed to give than receive.” Acts 20.35

    Dear parents/carers

    What an eventful week! 

    On Monday, Year 6 pupils and their teachers went to the Surrey History Centre to reinforce learning within their World War 1 Topic Work. We are very proud of our Year 6 pupils whose excellent behaviour prompted a hugely complimentary email from the Project Officer at the History Centre; pupils were credited with being ‘fully engaged in all of the sessions and impeccably behaved’ and ‘the best class we have worked with in all the sessions we have done around the country’. Praise indeed! Well done Year 6 and thank you to Mrs Newton and other adults who helped to make the trip such a success. 

    For younger pupils, much of the week has been dedicated to Nativity rehearsals. It’s all going swimmingly well and I am confident that children will rise to the occasion. I have been enjoying listening to the Year 1 and 2’s singing, from the comfort of my office, situated right inbetween the two classrooms. It all sounds good. The trick of course, is not to peak too early! We look forward to welcoming you to our performances next week. 

    A group of Year 6 pupils attended Chandler School’s ‘Able Writers’ Day’ today. This was an opportunity for them to work on some very challenging writing activities with able writers from other schools. 

    This morning, children and parents were treated to a fantastic assembly on the theme of Ancient Greece. Year 5 pupils shared with the audience all that they have learned in their topic work this term. Well done Year 5 and Miss Clark and her team. It was especially great to see some of our shyer pupils coming out of their shells, gaining in confidence. 

    This afternoon, the hall was booked out by Miss Hampshire and Year 4. They hosted their WW2 Tea Party which included tea, sandwiches, home-baked cakes and a display of the wartime dance, the Lindy Hop! A good time was had by all! 

    Teachers have had another busy week of training, including Advanced Level 3 Safeguarding training for Mrs Buckley and Miss Howells. Mrs Oqvist attended data protection training and Mrs Newton met with other science leaders at the Science Education Partnership’s Science network meeting. All teachers participated in a curriculum workshop, which, together with feedback from an informative Year 6 pupil questionnaire, will complement our discussions and facilitate a wider curriculum review in due course.  

    Reception and KS1 pupils are looking forward to a visit form the Pied Piper Theatre Company tomorrow. The local Village Nursery children will join them for a presentation of ‘The Enormous Present’!

    Don’t forget the Santa Dash this Saturday 1st December.  More about this PTA led event attached.  

    Have a great weekend 

    Janis Radcliffe Head teacher 

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  • NEWS - 22 NOVEMBER 2018

    Published 22/11/18

    Next week’s value is Charity

    “It is more blessed to give than receive.” Acts 20.35

    Dear parents/carers

     

    It’s been another action packed week at school for children and staff.

    The week commenced with a visit from two community police officers who spoke to children in assembly about the importance of appropriate behaviour and responsibility both in school and in the wider community.  The officers then visited reception class as part of their topic, ‘People who help us in our community.’  Children were excited to be able to have a look at the police car, see the flashing lights and listen to the siren.

    On Tuesday evening the governing body met for it’s half termly meeting.

    Wednesday was a busy day for staff development; our school business manager began her Level  5 School Business Manager’s diploma.  This will involve eighteen months of training and assignments, so it’s very much ‘back to school’ for Mrs Oqvist. 

    After school, Mrs Radcliffe and I attended training at the Good Shepherd Trust whilst teachers began their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) training in school. The first session dealt with assessment, looking at ways to move from test base assessment to formative assessment to see how children are progressing on a weekly basis.

    Mrs Radcliffe was out of school Thursday attending a Head Teachers conference at the Trust.

    In school, Thursday began with an outstanding assembly delivered by Y3. The children had learnt a staggering amount of lines; they spoke out beautifully and entertained us with their singing and dancing. (Apparently the Floss was around then too!) Well done to Y3, Mrs Ryder and Mrs Denyer for a superb performance.

    Nativity rehearsals are under way and beautiful singing can be heard floating down the corridors from the Key Stage One classrooms, please can you read the information below regarding seating capacity and use of photographs and social media.

    Finally, as the cold days have now hit us can I remind you to send children with appropriate coats for playtimes.

    Have a great weekend

     

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  • NEWS - 15 NOVEMBER 2018

    Published 15/11/18

    Next week’s value is Compassion

     

    “The Lord is as kind to his followers as a father is to his children”. Psalm 103:13

     

    Dear parents/carers

    This week’s value is compassion and I can’t let it pass unmentioned, that every single one of our children showed compassion, empathy, respect and a reasonable level of understanding (relative to age), in last Friday’s Remembrance Service. The Service was especially poignant, as it marked a hundred years since the end of the Great War. Well done to Mrs Newton and Year 6 children, who coordinated the event, and a big thank you and well done to children who showed remarkable respect, even the very youngest waiting patiently during the 2 minutes’ silence.

    Year 6 had the benefit of a trip to the Imperial War Museum on Wednesday to further reinforce their understanding of the Great War. They travelled by train and walked from the station to the museum, where they spent a long time studying the different artefacts, including a medal awarded to one of the children’s own grandfathers! Wow!

    Well done and thank you to this week’s sports event participants and coordinators, including teachers and our super parent helpers.  See more about these activities in Mrs Wright’s and Miss Clark’s reports below.

    On Tuesday evening, Mrs Buckley and I attended a safeguarding network meeting, where we were reminded of the importance of vigilance and good listening skills to help keep our children safe from harm.  This responsibility falls, as much to parents, as to school staff – if you hear or see anything that alarms you, please don’t hesitate to communicate your concerns to our Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL- Mrs Buckley) or to myself, as Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead (DDSL). Miss Howells is also going to receive training to become a Level 3 Advanced, fully qualified Safeguarding Team member. If you are concerned about the safety of a child, young person or an adult you can contact the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on tel 0300 470 9100 (office hours) and 01483 517 898 (out of hours). Emails are dealt with during normal office hours on csmash@surreycc.gov.uk.

    It’s all about staff training this week, as Miss Clark attended the first of four Harmony Geometry Workshops, through the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, at Ashley School. She learned about patterns in nature and how these can be linked to patterns in mathematics. It is quite awe-inspiring and we hope to implement some of what Miss Clark will be learning into our maths and wider curriculum, to engage children and bring out that child’s innate sense of awe and wonder! Miss Clark was certainly excited as she came back with some of the beautiful works of art she had produced during the course of the day!

    For my own part, I shall be attending a Health and Safety briefing tomorrow morning! Somebody’s got to do it!

    Have a wonderful weekend!
    Janis Radcliffe

    Headteacher

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  • NEWS - 8 NOVEMBER 2018

    Published 09/11/18

    Next week’s value is Compassion

     

    “The Lord is as kind to his followers as a father is to his children”. Psalm 103:13

    Dear parents/carers

    The week started with an important message, delivered by a representative of Surrey County Council’s Road Traffic Department, about safe practice when crossing the road. Credit for the organisation of this safety briefing goes to two of our Year 6 pupil leaders.    The assembly was the result of a letter written by Bebe and William to the local council asking for help in keeping children safe on the roads. Thank you to Bebe and William for instigating this very important safety message for all the children of St Mary’s School.

    Currently, we have the pleasure of the company of ‘Spike’ the hoverfly, a metre-plus long insect, who has ‘landed’ in our school entrance area! This excellent teaching resource, built by talented members of the Guildford Spike Women’s Institute, is on loan to the school for a fortnight. It is proving to be an excellent teaching resource, particularly for science, art and design related topics. The model-makers of the Women’s institute have provided some very interesting supplementary information about the insect as well as details about its construction. The hoverfly is an excellent mimic of a more dangerous creature – the hornet! See coloured pictures and read more about ‘Spike’ in our bulletin attachment.

    I hope you felt parents’ evening was fruitful and informative this week. I have received much positive feedback from parents, reflecting teachers’ thorough preparation and excellent understanding and knowledge of the children in their care. I should like to thank teachers for all their hard work, extra time and dedication to duty; crucially, all without a word of complaint!

    Today (Thursday), an excited Year 2 left school early for their trip to the Museum of London. We wish them a safe and enjoyable visit.  No doubt there will be more news to share next week!

    Tomorrow we will be holding a Remembrance Service in the school hall from 10.15am. This is to mark the centenary of the end of the Great War and will focus on the sacrifices of those who died or who returned home to an uncertain future.  The Service will be led by Year 6 children with the help of their teacher and church representatives. Parents are very welcome to join us. No doubt there will also be much pomp and ceremony on the TV over the weekend and we hope that parents and grandparents will share their own understanding, memories and recollections from the past, to reinforce the meaning of such a historic event. 
    Finally, Miss Jill Garden, a representative of the Young Minds Mental Health Charity, will be joining us in our Celebration Assembly tomorrow afternoon. She is to be presented with a cheque from the Three Peaks Committee, who raised funds for the charity, as well as for the school, earlier this year, when they bravely scaled the heights of the three highest mountains in the United Kingdom!

    Have a wonderful weekend!
    Janis Radcliffe

    Headteacher

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  • NEWS - 1 NOVEMBER 2018

    Published 01/11/18

     

     

     

     

    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 https://parentview.ofsted.gov.uk/

    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 - 18 OCTOBER 2018

    Published 18/10/18

    “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds”. Psalm 1:5

     

    Dear parents/carers

    It’s been a busy week for staff development. On Monday, Miss Howells attended an all-day training session with a leading literacy specialist, sharing ideas and good practice with colleagues from other schools. On Wednesday, Mrs Newton and I met with a representative from the ‘Guildford Science Education Partnership’, with whom we plan to work to further develop science teaching and learning. This science scheme is part of a government-led initiative to increase children’s interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) disciplines, and is part of an even grander, longer-term bid to address the shortage of workers available to work in STEM-related careers in future. We are very excited about the project and look forward to networking with other schools and attending further training courses including ‘Making powerful connections between science and literacy’, ‘Strengthening Science Subject understanding’, ‘Developing the role of the Science Subject Leader’ and ‘Working Scientifically in the Primary Curriculum’. We will be reviewing our Science Action Plan and looking at ways to develop practical experimental science and science assessment. 

    Internet Safety 

    Are you aware of the NSPCC Net Aware website or App? This helps parents to look up Apps or games that children might access. Parents can find out more information about the dangers and risks. Visit https://www.net-aware.org.uk  to access this excellent resource.  It’s also worth knowing about the O2 mobile phone provider helpline.  Parents who find it difficult to set parental locks or solve technical questions, relating to online safety, can call the helpline and speak to a specially trained E safety expert who will help answer questions about filtering or setting parental locks. The number to call is 0808 800 5002. Alternatively, you can pop into any O2 branch and ask to speak to an NSPCC trained specialist who will set the locks for you, on your tablet or mobile phone. 

    It is important to have conversations with your children, from an early age, to keep them safe. There are some effective videos on the NSPCC website which are designed to be conversation starters; they are extremely thought-provoking and easy to watch. Visit https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping -children-safe/share-aware/ to view the videos.

    Have a super weekend and a safe and enjoyable half term. See you on Monday 29 October.

    Janis Radcliffe

    Headteacher

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  • NEWS - 11 OCTOBER 2018

    Published 11/10/18

    Next week’s value is Thankfulness

     

    “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds”. Psalm 1:5

    Dear parents/carers

    After a quiet start to the week, St Mary’s School became a hive of activity on Thursday, when we had a fantastic Year 1 class assembly, followed by an Open Day, the latter to be repeated tomorrow. 

    Thank you to Year 1 children and their teachers for all their hard work in preparing an assembly on the theme of this term’s topic work, castles.   Children shared interesting facts, using very impressive vocabulary and they danced and sang to the well-timed beat of a drum! Well done, Year 1! 

    This week, we opened our doors to parents and visitors. Visitors were treated to a tour of the school and had the opportunity to see lessons in progress. Children were well-behaved and superb ambassadors for our school. Thank you to teachers, children and Year 6 pupil leaders who helped me to conduct the school tours and thanks to Mrs Bishop and Mrs Bedford for their help with refreshments and making our visitors feel welcome.   

    On Thursday, Year 4 children, studying World War II, experienced what it must have been like to have been an evacuee, in war-torn Britain.  Thank you to Miss Hampshire and parent volunteers for organising this event and for your support in hosting children’s visits. Year 4 children enjoyed sweeping, mopping, washing-up, baking and helping their host families during a busy morning, between air-raids!  

    In our Wednesday staff meeting/twilight training session, our Literacy Leader, Miss Howells, presented feedback to colleagues, following her engagement with a spelling research group project. Miss Howells reminded teachers of some important principles regarding the teaching of spelling; she will provide information for parents in the near future. You can help your child with spellings at home, by doing word puzzles, playing word games and creating rhymes and actions to help children memorise their spellings. It is imperative that children are able to incorporate the correct spellings into their writing and not simply regurgitate the list for a spelling test.

    Tomorrow (Friday), we will have our penultimate Celebration Assembly for this half term. May I use this platform to make a gentle plea to parents of younger children who attend? Whilst younger, well-behaved siblings are welcome to attend our weekly celebration, we do ask that parents supervise them closely and ensure they do not disrupt the proceedings with avoidable noise. Could I ask that, if you are bringing toys to entertain youngsters, these could be soft toys only, so that, if dropped they don’t disrupt the programme. Teachers and children work very hard to make the assemblies enjoyable for participants and guests and it is difficult when the audience engages in distracting conversation and/or younger siblings are making a lot of noise. We thank you for your cooperation.

    Have a great weekend.

    Janis Radcliffe

    Headteacher

     

     

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About St Mary's

St Mary's is an academy within the Good Shepherd Trust, part of the Guildford Diocese. We provide education from Reception (age 4) through to the end of KS2 (age 11).

St Mary’s School aims to offer every opportunity for children to reach their full potential in a secure and nurturing environment. We believe that self-esteem and confidence are the best predictors of future success and we value achievement in all areas of the curriculum...

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