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ST PETER’S SCHOOL GOVERNORS

NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 2017

ADMISSIONS NEWS

Following the admission of 60 Reception children in September 2016, we only admitted 45 children this year. It seems that this will also be the case for admissions in 2018, when there is likely to be great pressure on catchment admissions, given that there may be an increased number of sibling applications, if the usual patterns are repeated! I am happy to report that the new Reception children have settled in very well this past term.

STAFFING DEVELOPMENTS

The new staff members have commenced their duties and are enjoying their time at the school. The various changes have been well received by all concerned and we are especially pleased that Mrs Stapleton is so successfully filling Mrs Charlesworth’s shoes as Acting Deputy Headteacher, despite her also having part time class responsibility, sharing with Mrs Burton. Mr Gunn is spending much time supervising the bedding in of these changes and thus has less time available to support other schools, at least initially this year. A sad, and unexpected, change at the start of the Term was that we learned that Gerry, one of our Crossing Patrols, was very unwell and this meant that his wife Brenda was needed to look after him. Thus we had no Crossing Patrols! Mr Gunn and Mrs Stapleton initially filled in where they could and we have also recruited and trained additional volunteers but we simply can’t manage all the “slots” at both sites (20 per week) as matters stand. There have been a number of “near misses”. Please see “Parking” below for more on this.

GOVERNOR UPDATES

We have continued our programme of Governor Visits to monitor progress on all of our Priorities. We agreed at that time all our new Priorities for 2017/8 and I will advise on these when the Evening has been fully written up. One visit that I made right at the end of term was particularly intriguing as I met 16 pupils – one boy and one girl from each class from Y2 and up to obtain their views and ideas on British Values. I learned much!

At the start of this past term, we said goodbye to Jo McLachlan, who had been a fantastic support as our Clerk for the last 11 years. Mr Gunn and I are delighted that Carole Robertson, who has been our Administrative Officer (and right hand woman!) for many years, agreed to take on the Clerk role on a provisional basis initially. Unsurprisingly, she has made a quite splendid start. Indeed, what would we do without all the team “behind the window”. Carole, Lynsay and Melanie make a fantastic team – how do they manage all that work and those smiles in such a small space?

SCHOOL ASSOCIATION

My continuing thanks to all of you who have supported the wonderful School Association in raising the funds to allow us to remain an Outstanding school. I do not say this lightly as it is the additional funds which the Association brings to the school, which enable us to offer provision which is rich, varied and appropriate. Some recent additions include the new sheds to provide storage and the facility for “self-contained” events. One obvious early benefit is the monthly tuck shop. I must again pay tribute to the work of Vicky Dorrington (Chair) and Kim Johnson (Vice Chair) and their team during this academic year. I cannot speak highly enough of the value of the work all the parents do in supporting your children’s school so well. THANK YOU.

PARKING

It has been a delight for me to be able to assist and I am often cheered by the many thanks that I receive for but a small contribution but there are still far too many selfish parents who think that the strategies which assist most people are not relevant to them. In simple terms, we are fortunate to have access to the Church car park, thus avoiding many of the challenges faced by parents of children at almost all other schools. It is perhaps human nature that such provision is taken for granted and abused but sad that this should be the case at our school. However, we still have irresponsible parking on Wigley Bush Lane, endangering the lives of our children. This is further exacerbated by the fact that we are currently unable to “police” both crossings at all times, as I indicate above. Further volunteers would be very welcome – training and a free uniform (with a very fetching hat) are provided. I would also remind people that we do also have free parking at drop off and pick up at the cricket ground car park of Weald Park. Vouchers are available from the School Office and are valid until July 2018.  It is vital that parents make efforts to collect these vouchers. Please also think about using the walking bus and take note of occasions when the church is using the church car park. Particular dates to note are the fourth Thursday of each month when “Thursday at Two” meets from 2pm to 4 pm. This caters for some 25 of our older members of the congregation, who may not be entirely aware of the needs of parents. In short, please think carefully about the needs and safety of us all.

THE INTERNET

I remain very concerned as to how much parents all realise the dangers and pressures to which your children are exposed. The World Wide Web has been a wonderful tool to advance learning and communication but I am less content with the “benefits” of such as Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat and the rest. I have asked one of the Governors, who works in the area of IT safety to try to develop some helpful hints for parents to keep their children safe. I hope that these will be ready during the Spring Term to go on the school web site.

FINALLY – CHRISTMAS 2017 AND NEW YEAR 2018

As I write, on New Year’s Day, I can reflect on another wonderful Christmas, initially lit up by the lively Performance by Reception and Key Stage 1 of “Little Angel gets her Wings”. This always starts my Christmas and was closely followed by Christingle, which this year was cruelly spoiled by the sudden snow on Saturday night. Thanks to those who did manage to make it. The snow also caused the mayor’s carol Service to be cancelled as the Church Car Park and access paths were close to impassable. However, all was well for the Autumn Stars and the School Carol Service with mince pies, as well as a new Event this year when the children sang Carols at The Beeches. It is really uplifting that we have established this link, initially through the Festival. I can reflect, though, in the secure knowledge that your children have made 2017 very special for me. We now move into 2018 and, after the start of Term service on January 4th we will have Education Sunday on January 21st – I hope to bring my grandchildren!

I feel both very proud and very humble to have started my 9th year as Chair of Governors. It’s a wonderful school in which to be involved!

I do hope that you have had a peaceful Christmas and would wish you a Happy New Year with your remarkable children!

 Chris Luck Chair of Governors

January 1st   2018

 

 

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