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School News

Janis Radcliffe, Headteacher

View the latest news  and weekly dairy 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 - 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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  • NEWS - 29 MARCH 2018

    Published 29/03/18

    We wish you all a very Happy Easter

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  • NEWS - 22 MARCH 2018

    Published 22/03/18

    Next week’s value is Trust

     

    “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God”. Psalm 20:7

    Dear parents/carers

    Only one more week until the end of term! With the clocks going forward this weekend, and the promise of brighter, lighter nights to follow, we hope children will take the opportunity to get outdoors in the evenings and at weekends. We are very impressed with the ‘Mums of St Mary’s’, a group of local mums who are setting an example, by taking on the ‘Three Peaks’ challenge in the great outdoors, during the summer. For more information about this and to find out how children can get involved, see below and look out in book bags for further information. Thank you and good luck to all brave participants!

    Our PTA members were busy again last week, raising money for the school by running a super ‘Fashion Show’ and wine evening. Thank you to Mrs Davis and other volunteers for organising and hosting the event and well done to my brave colleagues, who became accomplished catwalk models on the night! (Let’s hope there were no Versace talent spotters in the audience)!

    It is thanks to the hard work of our PTA and other local fundraising committees, including the bonfire committee and Chiddingfold residents, that we are able to purchase extras for the school. We have recently purchased a defibrillator which will give us peace of mind in case of any incidents requiring this level of First Aid. We understand it is fairly simple to use, nevertheless, staff training will take place shortly, courtesy of yet another generous and well-informed mummy! Thanks to PTA funding an umbrella to provide additional playground shade has been purchased and we expect this to be installed during the Easter holidays so children have extra shade in time for the long and glorious summer!

    Earlier this week, we welcomed Mr Ashley McKenzie (London and Rio Judo Olympian) and Ms Fiona Chan (current veteran British and European Judo Champion/world medallist), to our morning assembly.  Children were thrilled to be in the company of such high profile sports personalities, as they learned about the discipline and self-control required to become an accomplished judo practitioner. Children also had the opportunity to practise some of the simpler judo moves and our Year 5 teacher, Miss Clark was successful in ‘flooring’ the veteran champion! There is an opportunity for children to learn more about judo by attending Kinsa Judo’s new morning club from 24 April (8.00am to 8.30am). More information about costs, timings and alternative venues attached. 

    Assuming the weather does brighten up, children have the option to wear summer uniform after Easter.  Please ensure they have the correct uniform and kit: royal blue cardigans/fleeces, the correct socks, hair accessories, polished shoes etc – the following link on our website outlines the uniform requirements:- https://www.stmaryschidd.org/page/?title=School+Uniform&pid=37.  Children’s uniform will be checked, at intervals, throughout the summer term as we have demonstrated that it can impact on learning and playground behaviour (tidy appearance=tidy mind)! As always, we endeavour to encourage positive, respectful behaviour and good manners. Our children are generally very well behaved and we are proud that we are often commended for this in reports from hosts when we visit places of interest outside of school. Thank you for your support for this important aspect of our school - it doesn’t go unnoticed and it’s what makes St Mary’s stand out from the crowd!

    Finally, thank you and well done to Reception B children and their teachers, for a very entertaining and informative assembly on Thursday morning! Children presented the story of The Gingerbread Man and explained the scientific reasons behind the said cookies fear of water! Well done!

    Have a great weekend!

    Janis Radcliffe

    Headteacher

     

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  • NEWS - 15 MARCH 2018

    Published 15/03/18

    Next week’s value is Trust

    “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God”. Psalm 20:7

    Dear Parents/Carers

    We are fast approaching the Easter weekend with only two weeks to go before the end of term.

    It has been another busy week at St Mary’s and we anticipate that this will remain the case until the end of term. Year 2’s rescheduled visit to Marwell Zoo was a great success with lots to see and much better weather than the original date! Year 5 children also enjoyed their day trip to Winchester Science Museum and Planetarium on Tuesday. Children were well behaved ambassadors for our school. More about these exciting adventures below but suffice for me to say well done to all the children in Years 2 and 5 and thank you to all our staff and adult helpers.

    Well done to Year 5 and 6 netball team competitors who played at Rodborough School this week and also to our footballers who played at St Bart’s the week before. It’s not the winning but the taking part that counts and Mrs Wright has reported that everyone gave of their absolute best! Thank you, Mrs Wright for organising these extra sporting opportunities for our children and to all our adult helpers for your invaluable support. 

    On Thursday, selected children visited Chandler School for an ‘Able Writers’ Day’. This is a challenging extension opportunity for individuals who demonstrate literacy competence and expertise. Well done to our four attendees and thank you to Mrs Dickson who accompanied the children. 

    On Thursday morning, although I missed the assembly because I was out of school attending a Good Shepherd Trust business meeting, I had hardly set foot back in the school building before one of my esteemed colleagues approached me to tell me about the success of Year 4’s class assembly. Well done to Year 4 children and their teachers, for presenting an entertaining tribute to the Egyptians, as part of this term’s themed topic work.

    Staff training: This week’s staff meeting was led by Mrs Ryder. Mrs Ryder is our history subject leader and she gave feedback to colleagues from a recent history conference.

    Have a great weekend!

    Janis Radcliffe

    Headteacher

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  • NEWS - 8 MARCH 2018

    Published 08/03/18

    Dear Parents/Carers

    This week has been a very busy week for children, teachers, school leaders and administrators alike.

    For my own part, being devoid of a speaking voice for most of the week has not precluded me from recording a response to the February parent questionnaire, a copy of which you should receive today.  You will also receive a hard copy of the termly planning for each year group and an overview of our school development priorities for your information.  

    I am indebted to Mrs Bishop and Mrs Bedford for their determined efforts to bring to completion the daunting task of producing hundreds of paper copies of the questionnaire responses and the termly planning sheets. I hope you find these helpful as it has come to light that not all parents have obtained the information from our website. On the other hand, we are aware that there are parents who prefer to receive information in electronic format but I know you will be familiar with the adage that you can’t please all of the people, all of the time, so we hope that, by using multiple methods of communication, no parents will feel they are being ‘left in the dark’!

    This week we have trialled the introduction of a mid-term grade card with Year 6 parents. The responses received have been positive and we plan to extend this to other year groups in due course. Read more about this in the questionnaire feedback.

    Staff training: Mrs Buckley and I attended the safeguarding network meeting on Tuesday after school and, on Wednesday, we worked off site to revise our school self-evaluation form and data information booklet, both now a bit nearer to completion, ready for our validation visit from representatives of the Good Shepherd Trust.  

    On Thursday, Year 1 children presented an assembly on the theme of ‘Toys’, tying in with their spring term topic work. Thank you to Year 1 children and their teachers for an informative assembly. We were very interested to compare some of the toys of the past with current-day inventions. Gone are the skipping ropes, marbles and jacks; enter ‘Minecraft’, robots and computer games!

    The weather looks set to be fairer than at the end of last week! I do hope you all have a lovely weekend!

    Janis Radcliffe

    Headteacher

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  • NEWS - 22 FEBRUARY 2018

    Published 22/02/18

    Next week’s value is Hope

    The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” Psalm 147:11

    Dear Parents/Carers

    Is it really only just less than a week since we returned to school after half term? Children and staff have settled in very quickly and we are delighted to welcome back Mrs Lawrence to our school community.  Mrs Lawrence will be working with Year 1 children on Fridays until Easter; thereafter she will be in school 3 days a week. Mrs Lawrence will work closely with Mrs Spong to ensure continuity and purposeful planning for our Year 1 children.

    ‘Koosa’ got off to a good start on Monday. This is the aftercare provider appointed to replace the Barn whose services were withdrawn at the end of last half term. If you are interested in after-care, you can find more information about Koosa below.

    School leaders have been busy, both throughout the holiday and over the course of this week, completing our annual ‘safeguarding’, ‘healthy school’ and ‘SEND’ audits. The parent questionnaire has also now been analysed and a report in response to parents’ observations will be prepared and distributed in due course. Thank you to those of you who took the time to complete and return the questionnaire which provides valuable information for both the school and the Good Shepherd Academy Trust.

    Year 3 visited Kew Gardens today. Thank you to the teachers and volunteers who accompanied them and to the children for being on ‘best behaviour’.

    This week is, of course, book week, including bedtime stories and book character dress up day. More about this below but I should like to say a big thank you to our organiser, Miss Howells, and to children, staff and parents, for entering into the spirit of things.

    Well done to Year 6 pupils who presented an entertaining class assembly on Thursday on the subject of their topic work - the Mayan Civilisation. Children enjoyed writing, rehearsing and performing the informative and entertaining assembly. Well done Year 6 and Miss Pringle and Mrs Creswell! Year 6 children also took part in the church’s ‘Open the Book’ team assembly, when they presented the story of ‘Jonah the Groaner’. What a busy week, well done Year 6 and a big thank you to our ‘Open the Book’ team!

    Beside encouraging children to develop a life-long love of learning, we endeavour to set an example by continuing with our own learning. This week’s staff professional development training has included NQT

    mentor and SEND update training for Mrs Buckley and, next week, I will be attending a safeguarding conference and Miss Clark will participate in a ‘resilience project’ workshop. 

    Wishing you all a very pleasant weekend!

    Janis Radcliffe

    Headteacher

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  • NEWS - 8 FEBRUARY 2018

    Published 08/02/18

    Next week’s value is Perseverance

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

    Dear Parents/Carers

    Here we are at half term already! How time flies when you’re having fun!

    This week included Internet Safety Day - a focus day for internet safety - and we are constantly reminding children about safe internet use. We have a ‘Firewall’ which is intended to block attempts to access inappropriate website content and our IT Technician reports regularly on any users’ attempts to locate unsuitable material through internet searches, which can be attributed to individual users.  Additionally, children do need encouragement to take some responsibility for their own safety and it is worth parents noting our concerns about an App that children may be using at home. Please see separate attachment about ‘Roblox’ App and talk to your children about it if you are at all concerned.  

    This week’s monitoring and evaluation activities have included meetings with subject leaders, lesson observations and a joint ‘learning walk’ with Mrs Buckley, the latter to establish pupil attitudes and contribution towards their own learning.  We are keen to encourage a scholarly attitude and for children to take their learning seriously, remembering that they come to school, primarily to learn. Children should be encouraged to share in the responsibility for their own learning outcomes at the end of each lesson and it is helpful if parents reinforce this. We are always very grateful for anything you can do to support your child’s learning at home; suggestions include reading regularly, encouraging children to help write shopping lists, working out the cost of supermarket products and potential savings, organising an outing etc. It all helps!

    Year 5 pupils presented this Thursday’s class assembly on the topic of earth and space. Children showed great enthusiasm for their topic, sharing some interesting scientific facts as well as displaying their creative skills in art, music, drama and dance. Well done and thank you to all Year 5 pupils and Miss Clark.

    I am required, by the Education Welfare Authorities, to discourage term time absence. Please note that it is an expectation that children will 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, in which case parents should let school know, on a daily basis, the reasons and anticipated duration of absence. Our school term dates are published well in advance to enable parents to make their travel and holiday plans accordingly. Please also be aware that there are some compulsory school events that occasionally fall outside the normal school day and that all pupils are expected to attend, including our Christmas carol service.

    Thank you for your continuing support and may I take the opportunity to wish you a safe and happy holiday!

    Janis Radcliffe

    Headteacher

     

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  • NEWS - 1 FEBRUARY 2018

    Published 01/02/18

    Next week’s value is Perseverance

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

    Dear Parents/Carers

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

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

    SAFEGUARDING

    Safer internet Day

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

    Photographs

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

    HEALTH AND SAFETY

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

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

    Have a great weekend.

    Janis Radcliffe

    Headteacher

     

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  • NEWS - 25 JANUARY 2018

    Published 25/01/18

    Next week’s value is Perseverance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Have a great weekend.

    Janis Radcliffe

    Headteacher

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  • NEWS - 18 JANUARY 2018

    Published 22/01/18

    Next week’s value is Enthusiasm

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

    Dear Parents and Carers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

    Yours sincerely

    Headteacher

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  • NEWS - 21 DECEMBER 2017

    Published 21/12/17

    Dear Parents and Carers,

    We made it! Here we are - hasn’t the time flown by!

    This extended newsletter is full of information about what each of our classes have been learning this term so I plan to say very little other than a big thank you, on behalf of all the staff of St Mary’s School, for your generous gifts, cards and kind words and for your continuing support of our school.

    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 8th January 2018.

    Best wishes

    Janis Radcliffe

    Head Teacher

     

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  • NEWS - 7 DECEMBER 2017

    Published 15/12/17

    Next week’s value is Generosity

    A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25

    Dear Parents and Carers

    Well, who would have thought this week could have been any more frenetic than the last?

    The week began with Reception/Key Stage 1 Nativity rehearsals and, considering how little time had already been devoted to practice, teachers were pleasantly surprised, to the extent they were able to enjoy two good night’s sleep on Monday and Tuesday! Teachers could only have dreamed of the heights to which children’s performance would be further elevated over the course of the week and we are expecting great things from tomorrow’s final performance. Well done to Reception and Key Stage One children and to their teachers and all who gave so generously of their time to make the performances a success. Congratulations to Miss Howells who coordinated the whole festival of creative arts on the theme of the Christmas Story.

    On Thursday, there was more singing and dancing when Year 4 presented their class assembly themed around this term’s topic work - the Second World War. And yes, it’s true...Mrs Radcliffe was moved to tears! The singing was so absolutely beautiful and the story so very poignant and well told! Thank you to our Year 4 children, Mrs Ryder and Mrs Balchin, all of whom worked really hard to prepare an informative and thoroughly enjoyable assembly.

    Tomorrow (Friday 8th December) is our ‘REACH’ assembly which replaces our usual Friday Celebration Assembly. Parents are welcome to join us as we present awards to the individuals in each class who have been nominated by their teachers to receive recognition for regularly displaying the characteristics of Respect, Endeavour, Achievement, Creativity and Happiness!

    Thank you and well done to all who organised and took part in last weekend’s ‘Santa Dash’ and well done to Mrs Buckley, who proudly informed me that she was the first female ‘grown-up’ to make it round the course. A substantial sum of money was raised towards the purchase of a defibrillator to be shared by the local community.

    I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

    Yours sincerely

    Headteacher

     

     

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  • NEWS - 14 DECEMBER 2017

    Published 15/12/17

    Next week’s value is Peace

    “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” Psalm 29:11

    Dear Parents and Carers

    The festive feel is becoming increasingly apparent around school as we hurtle towards Christmas and the end of the autumn term. 

    This week saw KS2 carol singers practising their songs for next week’s carol service at St Mary’s church on Monday evening (6.30pm start) and a small group of selected singers have been practising their carols for their visit to Surrey Heights Care Home for the elderly next Tuesday afternoon.  Thank you to Mr Crocker, who continues to give voluntarily of his time to accompany our singing practices.

    We welcome two new pupils (Elena and Madeleine) in Years 5 and 6; both of them are to be congratulated on settling so quickly into the school and we thank their teachers and pupil ‘buddies’ who have helped them cope with the transition from a school outside of the UK. 

    Thank you to our catering colleagues who provided a wonderful Christmas lunch for children, staff and visitors on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Thank you to all our adult helpers and the school administration team, who coordinated the seasonal dining event.

    PTA members have been extremely busy this week, helping children to prepare ‘Secret Santa’ gifts for Christmas and getting ready for the PTA Christmas Fair this Friday, an event which looks set to be great fun! The hall will be in use from 1.00pm for setting up and preparations so there will be no Celebration Assembly this week.

    On Thursday, Year 6 pupils staged their class assembly, giving a stunning performance linked to their topic work on World War I. Children are to be commended for doing so well in the absence of their class teacher and my thanks go to colleagues who shared my view that ‘the show must go on’! Well done to all!  

    Tomorrow (Friday) is ‘Christmas Jumper Day’. Children may wear their favourite festive jumpers over slacks, jeans or track-suit bottoms and we look forward to Rocksteady’s Christmas Concert which starts at 9.00am. 

    Next week is the last week of term. Term ends after lunch on Thursday 21st December and children should be collected promptly at 1.30pm. Please remind children to bring home their personal belongings and PE kits for washing before the end of this term.

    The spring term begins on Monday 8th January 2018. Clubs begin the week commencing Monday 15th January.

    I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

    Yours sincerely

    Headteacher

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  • NEWS - 22 NOVEMBER 2017

    Published 27/11/17

     

    Next week’s value is

    “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.  1 Timothy 4:12

    Dear Parents and Carers

    Phew! Another busy week at St Mary’s!

    On Monday, we welcomed Mrs Joanna Chudley (Teaching Assistant), to St Mary’s School. Mrs Chudley will join Mrs Bennett and her Reception Class children.  Mrs Chudley is looking forward to getting to know parents too.

    Reception, Year 1, 2, 3 and 4 children received their nasal flu vaccines this week. Hopefully, these will protect them from any nasty viruses that might be doing the rounds this winter.

    Children throughout the school have been enjoying some exciting, special, gymnastics sessions this week and last week Teachers have been attending as observers too; picking up some new ideas for their own gymnastics lessons in future. 

    It’s already beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! The caretaker has got the post-box down out of the loft and I believe I have seen a tree, some baubles and even some tinsel! I have also heard lots of tuneful singing emanating from classrooms, as children rehearse enthusiastically for nativity concerts and carol services.

    Year 3 parents will understand that senior leaders’ priority, this week, has been maintaining the staffing of Year 3 in somewhat difficult circumstances. I should like to publicly thank Year 3 parents for their generosity of spirit. We have been overwhelmed with extent of empathic sentiment and been thrilled to receive some very kind offers of support. We are doing everything we can to keep staff changes to a minimum, whilst continuing to deliver the curriculum, using high calibre teachers. Fortunately, planning is already in place, thanks to Miss Howells’ meticulous preparation and filing system, last year. Thank you to all, for your continuing patience and kind understanding.

    Thank you also to colleagues who have given additionally of their time to ensure as much consistency as possible. 

    I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

    Yours sincerely

    Headteacher

     

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  • NEWS - 16 NOVEMBER 2017

    Published 16/11/17

    Next week’s value is Faith

    “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.  1 Timothy 4:12

    Dear Parents and Carers

    Earlier this week, school leaders met with Good Shepherd Trust consultants to carry out a validation exercise in respect of our school improvement plans and self-evaluation. We were delighted with the findings and are pleased that our teachers’ hard work is being recognised. Other monitoring and evaluation activities this week have included lesson observations focusing on the quality of pupils’ learning, pupils’ enjoyment and attitudes to their learning and teachers’ use of assessment data to support children’s learning and progress.

    On Tuesday, Year 6 had a fantastic day out at the Imperial War Museum, giving an added dimension to their topic work about World War 1. All had a great day out and, in typical St Mary’s style, children were well behaved and respectful, showing an interest in their work throughout the day. Well done Year 6 and thank you to Mrs Newton and to assistants and parents who helped out on the day.

    On Wednesday, children from Reception class through to Year 6 enjoyed participating in healthy eating workshops. The programme, led by an outside company, addressed many of the learning objectives from the PE, Science and PSHE curriculum. Thank you to Mrs Wright for organising this excellent day! Teachers became pupils again, in our after-school staff meeting, when our healthy eating promoters delivered staff training to further embed teachers’ knowledge and skills. Whilst all of this was going on, Mrs Buckley was at Shottermill Junior School, receiving training about extending more able pupils in maths and literacy and facilitating children’s success in achieving ‘greater depth’ learning; one of our school priorities.

    On Thursday, Year 2 pupils delivered an amazing assembly, telling us all about their topic work on the Great Fire of London. Well done and thank you to Year 2 children and to Miss Howells and her assistants, for a truly entertaining and informative assembly.

    Tomorrow is Children in Need Day when children may pay £1 for the privilege of wearing mufti. The money will go towards Children in Need charity. Thank you in anticipation of your generous contribution. Note also, that the PTA are asking for donations for the chocolate tombola and the bottle tombola - see below for more detail.  

    I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

    Yours sincerely

    Headteacher

     

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  • NEWS - 9 NOVEMBER 2017

    Published 09/11/17

    Next week’s value is Faith

    "Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.  1 Timothy 4:12

    Dear Parents and Carers

    It’s been another ‘fab’ week at St Mary’s!

    The week began with interviews on Monday, as a result of which we are pleased to have appointed a high calibre, temporary, Year 6 teacher. Miss Alex Pringle will cover Mrs Newton’s maternity leave from January 2018. She will spend as much time as possible in advance, getting to know Mrs Newton and the children in the class, ready for a smooth transition in January 2018. We welcome Miss Pringle. It also gives me pleasure to welcome Mrs Joanna Chudley, a Teaching Assistant, who will be working in Reception with Mrs Bennett from 20th November 2017.  

    On Thursday morning, Year 5 did us proud with their class assembly. Year 5 children explained to an attentive audience, what they have been learning about in their topic work on Ancient Greece this term. Children and teacher braved the cold, appearing in togas and Greek battle dress to impress the audience with their knowledge about Ancient Greece as well as a range of other cross-curricular themes, including geography, art, design technology, music and singing. Thank you and well done to Year 5 and Miss Clark.

    On Thursday afternoon, Mr Alex Tear, Diocesan Director of Education visited St Mary’s School. He was given a tour of the school and we spoke at length about academic, social and spiritual outcomes for St Mary’s children. Mr Tear enjoyed his visit and was impressed with what he saw. 

    Warburtons, the bakers, visited two classes in KS2 this week.  Years 3 and 4 children thoroughly enjoyed hearing about how bread is made and had a go at making their own tasty sandwiches! Warburtons’ visitors described our children as ‘super’ and ‘among the best they have had the pleasure of working with’! A number of prospective parents have also visited school this week and, without exception, have commented positively on our ethos and values and the behaviour and confidence of our children. Well done to all!

    On Friday 10th November, we will be having a Remembrance Service at school. Children will have an opportunity for reflection and will observe a short silence. Every child in the school has made a beautiful poppy which they have coloured and cut out carefully to be displayed around the flag-pole at the front entrance to the school. Do take the time to have a look, if possible!

    I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

    Yours sincerely

    Headteacher

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  • NEWS - 2 NOVEMBER 2017

    Published 03/11/17

    Next week’s value is Hope

    “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. Jeremiah 29:11

    Dear Parents and Carers

    Children have made a good return to school after their half term break and teachers have heard some lively reports of the events of the holidays!

    This week we have welcomed a number of prospective parents who, when visiting classrooms, have commented on how impressed they are with our children’s learning and behaviour, and especially with their ability to explain the details of their learning and outline their personal targets for improvement.

    Children had their first sing-song of the half term yesterday. KS1 sang along with Mrs Griffiths, when they practised the words to some of our more familiar songs and KS2 sang with Mr Crocker, who will be preparing them for our end of term carol service.

    On Wednesday, during the first of our weekly staff meeting, teachers engaged in a joint assessment of the quality of work in pupils’ exercise books; they looked at continuity and progression across the school and assessed the quality of marking, feedback and pupils’ responses, which were deemed to be of a high standard.

    A representative from ‘Music-works’ came into school on Thursday to help set up new equipment and show school leaders how to use the new sound equipment that has been purchased with funds raised by the PTA. We are very grateful to the PTA for these additional, exciting resources and look forward to putting them into use. We hope that the addition of microphones will enhance our performances, especially where children are required to talk to a large audience.

    On Thursday I attended a ‘Headteacher’s Away Day’ at Waverley Abbey. The day included a focus on ancient, contemporary and personal wisdom alongside a rare opportunity for some reflection time!

    I plan to take forward what I learned about reflecting and relaxing through to the weekend and I hope you have a relaxing weekend too!

    I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

    Yours sincerely

    Headteacher

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  • NEWS - 19 OCTOBER 2017

    Published 19/10/17

    Next week’s value is Thankfulness

    Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 106:1

     Dear Parents and Carers

    This week we held parents’ evenings for parents of children in Years 1 to 6. The exception was Year 3 and those parents should have received separate communication. Year 3 meetings will be rescheduled for later this term. Teachers had plenty of positive things to say about children and, in some cases, parents gave complimentary feedback about their child’s class teacher, something we always welcome and appreciate! 

    Selected netball players played competitive matches at Tillingbourne on Tuesday afternoon and St Mary’s children did extremely well, coming 3rd out of the seven teams represented. More about this below and well done to our young netball players! Thank you to Miss Clark and parent volunteers who helped to make the event a success. 

    On Wednesday morning, Mrs Isobel Ramsay, our GST attached Consultant, visited St Mary’s to carry out joint lesson observations with school leaders. Mrs Ramsay was happy to validate the accuracy of leaders’ judgements about the quality of teaching and learning. It is good to know we can have confidence in the accuracy and usefulness of our monitoring and evaluation activities. 

    Tomorrow (Friday) is World Maths Day! Teachers have some exciting activities up their collective sleeves to hopefully inspire and entertain our young mathematicians.

    Following some concerns raised by parents and colleagues this week, we have given consideration to our PE/Games kit requirements. (See Mrs Wright’s entry further down this bulletin). Children should ideally have separate indoor and outdoor kit (i.e. yellow T shirt and blue shorts for indoor dance/gymnastics and a track suit, extra T shirt and a pair of trainers for outdoor games). Although, ideally, indoor kit needs washing at least every half term, the outdoor kit might need more regular attention, especially in the winter months when the ground is invariably wet. Teachers will remind children to take their outdoor kit home more regularly and it would be helpful if parents can please try to ensure the kit is returned immediately, so that it is in school ready for the weekly games lesson. We apologise, in advance, for the extra washing! 

    Finally, I should like thank parents for their help and encouragement this term and to wish you all a safe, happy and enjoyable half term holiday. School resumes on Monday 30 October, at the normal time as we race towards Christmas! 

    I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

    Yours sincerely

    Headteacher

     

     

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  • NEWS - 13 OCTOBER 2017

    Published 13/10/17

    Next week’s value is Thankfulness

    Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 106:1

    Dear Parents and Carers

    The week began with a visit to Butser Ancient Farm, linking with this term’s Year 3 topic work on the Stone Age. Pupils made some rare and interesting discoveries as they carried out an archaeological dig and practised their hand at chalk carvings. Thank you to teachers and parents who helped make the day a success.

    On Wednesday and Thursday, we held Open Mornings when prospective parents were invited to look around St Mary’s and hear about what we have to offer, including our extra-curricular clubs, sporting activities, music, entrepreneurial skills, day and residential trips. 

    On Thursday morning, Year 4 pupils dressed as evacuees, as part of their World War II topic work; they went out of school to the homes of ‘host families’. Thank you to our volunteer host families who set the scene with drinks and biscuits and kept the children busy with their chores!

    Tomorrow (Friday) Year 6 pupils are going on a Roman Dig! Our thanks go to Mrs Moser who owns Windmill Farm in Hampshire, where the Liss Archaeological Society has been excavating a substantial Roman site. Mrs Moser very kindly invited our Year 5 and Year 6 pupils to participate. Children made some interesting discoveries on the 200 acre farm. During the afternoon, children had an insight into orienteering and learned some valuable map reading skills.

    Remember next week is parents’ evenings for Years 1 to 6. Please sign up on the sheets which are on the windows of the Mullard building if you have not already done so. Reception Class parents will have an opportunity to find out about the progress of young children after half term.

    I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

    Yours sincerely

    Headteacher

     

     

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  • NEWS - 5 OCTOBER 2017

    Published 05/10/17

    Next week’s value is Serving

    But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” Chronicles 15:7

     

    Dear Parents and Carers

    The week began with an assembly presentation from the Cats’ Protection League and speakers encouraged children to think about animal welfare. We always welcome outside speakers, but equally, we welcome parents and grandparents who might have a hobby or an interest they would be willing to share with children. Please contact the school office if you have a burning desire to present an assembly or perhaps you would be more comfortable in the smaller setting of a classroom, delivering age-appropriate material.  It would be great to have a list of parent volunteers.

    Teachers, as well as children, have been continuing their learning this week. On Monday, Mrs Spong attended an RE Conference and, on Tuesday, Mrs Newton learned about ‘Engaging and Inspiring More Able Children’. We also have in-school professional development opportunities, including through conference feedback and  via our monitoring and evaluation programme. Lesson observations have taken place this week and will continue into next week with the GST Consultant visiting on Tuesday to carry out joint observations, to validate the accuracy of our judgements about the quality of teaching and learning.

    Wednesday was ‘no Pens Day’ and children and teachers had to find ways of communicating other than in writing. As you can imagine, this was a great excuse for chatter but children did learn to express themselves clearly and to consider ways of making them heard and understood, other than by putting pen to paper.

    Thank you to Year 4 and Mrs Ryder who led our Harvest Service at St Mary’s Church on Wednesday morning. We were treated to some lovely signing and a tale about ‘Stone Soup’, which fitted in well with the theme of thanks and giving. Thank you to Reverend Sarah for her contribution and for allowing us to use St Mary’s Church.

    Year 1 pupils led their own marvellous assembly this morning, sharing with us some of what they have been learning in their topic work this term. Thank you to Year 1, Mrs Spong and Mrs Buckley for their support.

    Next week we have Open Days on Wednesday and Thursday morning (9.30am to 11.30am). This is really a marketing exercise to attract prospective families, but parents of current pupils are very welcome to attend. Please let Mrs Bishop in the school office know if you would like to join in with a tour of the school.

    Finally, we are looking for a Teaching Assistant. Mrs Davies has unfortunately had to resign for personal reasons and we need a part-time Teaching Assistant for Early Years. If you are interested in applying for this position, please contact the school office and ask for a job description and application form. Closing date Friday 13th October at noon.

    I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

    Yours sincerely

    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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