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Summer Term 2019 first half

 

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Summer Term News Letter

Uniform

We have now changed to the summer uniform. This means that the girls should be in gingham dresses. I was approached by a parent who asked if the children could wear gingham play suits. This seems like a great idea and you can get them in the same colours as the dresses. We have decided to only introduce this for the juniors as it may make going to the toilet a challenge for the infants.

Cross country

The children took part in the district cross county at the end of last term. We sent 48 children to take part in a gruelling event on a freezing day. All the children were amazing and we had three children who have qualified for the Essex finals this term.

The girls swimming team also won the district championships for the second year in a row.

British Values Day

We had an amazing day on 3rd April.  We had loads of amazing speakers in. We had a gentleman in who briefs the prime minister on new laws that have been made; we had police and their vehicles. The reception children were actually squealing with delight as they operated the sirens and wore the riot gear, we had the deputy crime commissioner for Essex, we had a forensic officer who recreated a crime scene, we has a magistrate and two barristers and to complete the circle we had a talk on youth rehabilitation. It is one of those days that the staff and children will always remember. Thank you to all the parents who gave up their time and shared their expertise.

Before and after school

Please can you make sure that you sign in or out when entering the school.  I have noticed more and more parents just wandering around the school. Parents are always welcome at St Peter’s but due to safeguarding procedures we cannot just have people coming and going. The other issue is the children’s independence.  All of our children are quite capable of putting their equipment away by themselves.

The worst time for this is before and after school clubs. Please wait outside unless you have signed in and come in through the reception.

If you are dropping off for Breakfast Club then please come in through the infant doors at the bottom of the steps rather than through the hall.

School Vision

There have been changes this year in the way that church schools are inspected.  In previous years it was all about the school’s values. There has now been a shift so that the school is inspected on its vision. This is perfect for our school as we have run the school like this for years.  All we had to do was formalise what that looked like when written down.  Our school vision is:

For the children to realise their God-given gifts and talents, and grow following the example of Jesus

Matthew 19:26- But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible but with God all things are possible”

In practical terms this means that we will push the children to reach their potential but give them a rounded full education at our school so that they have opportunities to try new things so that they can find what they enjoy and are good at. We also want the children’s behaviour to be impeccable so we will not be losing the school values as we want to build their characters as well as their ability to learn new things.

Swimming

Swimming starts again this term. We have adjusted the charges in each year to take into account Bank Holidays and trips. We have also listened to the feedback about the red costumes and how low quality they were- and also hard to get. We have changed to black costumes throughout the school. For this year we are going to have a transition period where it is fine to wear red as well until they wear out. Thank you to all the parents that have signed up to help with swimming. We really could not run the sessions without your help.

£5.00 challenge

This was an amazing venture that was run by the School Association. It was so much more than a brilliant fund raiser as it taught the children enterprise skills, team work as well as lots of design technology. Thank you to all the children- and parents who worked so hard on this. It looks to have raised over £3,500.

Hair cuts

I have noticed a growing trend with the boys for severe haircuts. This is against the school’s policy. We pride ourselves on the children’s appearance and it is part of what makes our school different to other schools. Boys’ hair should be a minimum of grade two. This shaving should not go past their ears. Any fringes that go past the children’s eye level should be clipped back- both boys and girls. If the hair is longer than the children’s neck line it should be tied back. Please make sure that you adhere to the school’s policy so that we don’t have to embarrass anyone by asking them to tie or clip their hair. Any child with a severe hair cut will not represent the school in any event.

Festival

Each year the school and church run a joint festival to raise funds. We are looking for people who could spare time to be on the organising panel. If there are any grandparents out there who could help to coordinate sections it would be a great help. It requires about 6 hour long meetings a year. This year the theme of the festival is ‘One giant leap’ and is based around technological break throughs.

Funding

There has been a lot in the news about funding in all areas of the public sector. The headlines always look good and that more money has been allocated to schools than ever before. This is true however there are also more schools and more pupils than ever before so in real terms the school budgets have been cut. At our school we are looking at a cut of around 8%. Things are also set to get worse as we have huge increases in costs on top of the funding cuts.  As a result we have had to really look at the school and how we organise it

We are in a very lucky position that we have a school association that work so hard for the children at the school. When they put on an event it is not for themselves but for our children. I was really disheartened to read the comments about the Pancake Day.  It seems that a lot of people missed the point of the event. The idea was to do a fun activity with the children but also to raise money for the school. Without the support that you give the school association, St Peter’s would have to change and the quality of the provision that your children get would also get worse.

There are people in the school who always support and give what they can either in time or financially- I fully recognise what a special place this is and how lucky we are with the support we get from parents. However there are a group with real apathy for the school and seem to think that all of the extras will just happen even without their support. This group have to decide if they want the standard to continue and if they do then they need to step up and support the school more. I know all the arguments that we pay our taxes so should not have to do anything else. This is true however if people do not support then the things that we take for granted will disappear.

The other area we have had to look at is the size of the school. Schools work on economies of scale. The smaller you are then the harder it is to keep your head above the water. At the moment statistically we are a larger than average school. We get our funding per pupil and this figure keeps getting eroded. The governors have made the decision to make the school two form entry permanently. There are three reasons for doing this:

  1. This year no catchment will get into the school so taking extra protects the school as a church and a community school.
  2. 15 extra children each year mean additional funding and it will make the school sustainable going forward.
  3. Being two form entry means that we do not have to have year one and year two children mixed together.

Attendance

The school attendance is 97.03% at the moment. We have 8 children whose attendance falls under 90% and as such we have to report them as persistent absence. This can in certain circumstances lead to the parents being fined or even taken to court if there is not a valid reason for the absence.

The national average for a child in England is 95.8%. The target for our school is 97%. There is a huge correlation between the attendance of a child and the progress that they make. With the pressures on the curriculum a 5 day holiday can mean that a child misses an entire maths or literacy topic. It is then almost impossible for the teacher to go over this with the child that has missed the work as they have moved onto the next topic and it is unfair on the rest of the children for time to be taken away from them so that areas missed can be covered.

Easy fund raising                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

This is a great way to raise money for the school. All you need to do is download the APP and then use it when you buy online. It costs you nothing but the school can get a percentage of every purchase. This can be a few pence- or if you book a holiday up to 5% of the holiday cost. With the pressures on the budget this would be a great way to support the school.

https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/stpeterssouthweald/

Gardening

We are trying to plant more plants around the school. The bulbs that you all donated have really brightened up the school. It is great as you are never quite sure what is going to pop up. If anyone has any spare plants we would be really grateful of any donations. We are looking for anything from plug plants, vegetables, box plants for a small hedge to larger structural plants. If you are having a clear out in the garden and have any please bring them in and the gardening club would love to plant them.

The renovations on the caretakers bungalow are going well and should be finished by half term.

Attendance definitions

 

 

 

 

 

 

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