Newsletters

Newsletter Summer Term 2022

Second half

As I write to you, I am trying to negotiate a new deal for the energy. As we are a commercial entity it seems that all gloves are off in terms of energy prices. If you thought domestic prices are bad then commercial are terrible. We are looking at around £50k more just for the electricity next year. This is so frustrating as it is in essence a teacher. We are lucky that we have some reserves to cover this increase in the short term. There are some schools that can simply not absorb these increases without real cutbacks.

PE

We are really proud of the PE department and all that they have achieved this year. Not only do the children have fun, high quality PE lessons but our teams have been exceptional this year.

We are district champions in the following: Year 2 cricket, basketball, girls swimming, boys swimming, year 5 boys cross country, Year 3 boys cross country and rugby.

We are also county champions at rugby – this is out of about 400 Essex schools. We have also come runners up in most of the other sports.

Donations

I love working at this school and the support we get from the parents. The donations we get are phenomenal. Where else can you get parental donations ranging from a swimming pool building to three tons of cow manure- and pretty much everything in between. What is most impressive is the time that you give the school, either supporting events or working with your children. I think there would not be another school in the country that gets the level of support that we do. I know I moan about the parking, but the staff do appreciate everything you also do to support the school as well.

Attendance

The school’s attendance is the lowest it has been since my time at the school. It is below 96%. The school target is 97%. I know that there are still issues with COVID but I do think that our mind set has changed over the last two years. Whereas before the pandemic the children would have come in- even when they were not 100%. We have all got a little paranoid about disease and seem to be missing school more readily. You were all amazing in the pandemic with your support of the school and the way that you kept uninfected siblings off school. However, we need to get back to the way it was before and only miss school if the children are really ill or have been actually sick. If they have been sick, then it is 24 hours from the time of sickness.

We also have a lot of holidays at the moment. We cannot authorise holiday at the minute. There is also a real chance that you will be fined. It is £120 per pupil, per parent. So if you take two children on holiday it could cost you £480. The fines are nothing to do with the school and all the money goes to Essex County Council.

Snacks

The children can bring in a snack for break time, however this can only be fruit. We do not allow crackers, cereal bars or fruit winders. Only fresh fruit. This is due to children in school that have life threatening allergies.

Packed Lunch

If your child has a packed lunch please can you make sure that there are no nuts in any of the products.  Some things are obvious like peanut butter and some cereal bars however other products like satay chicken and chocolate spreads that copy Nutella but are renamed, even Bakewell tarts have almonds in them. Please check before you send in your child’s lunch.

Natasha’s Law

Just a reminder that if you are sending in sweets for birthdays, they must have ingredients on each of the packets that you give out. It is not enough to have them on the big packet that contains the smaller packets.

Year 5 and 6 show

This is Robin Hood Men In Tights and will be performed on the evenings of the 6th and 7th of July. These will be live performances.

Uniform

The children coming in in PE kits is working well and means more learning time. Please remember that the children are to be in full PE kit with only school hoodies and red socks. We have a lot of pre-owned uniform if anyone needs any. It is fantastic quality, not only will it save a lot of money but it also helps the planet with us recycling the uniform rather than it going to land fill.

Pool

The pool is finished apart from an issue with the heating. We got a grant to install a heat pump boiler- to save money. This has to heat the pool and run a kind of air conditioning unit that keeps the building 1 degree above the water temperature. However it would appear that the external company- recommended by the Department of Education, have got their sums wrong. We have various solutions but all cost the school money and I am fighting for the company to rectify their mistake.

Blue Print Property have really delivered on their part of the bargain with an amazing building and changing rooms. They have also paid for so much more than was originally planned. I cannot wait for you all to see inside. I would also like to thank Apex Tiling for their help with the tiling of the pool.

Reports

The annual reports will be going out on Friday 15th July. These give a numerical score for effort and attainment. A three means that the children are working hard and doing what is expected of them. A three for attainment means that the children have reached age related expectations. This means they consistently get around 65% in assessments. To get greater depth which is a 1  for attainment the children have to get consistently over 80% in assessments. In maths it is 86% for the end of year six SATS.

Trips

It has been fantastic to start up the trips and visitors in school again. We have had a number of visits this year as well as visitors to the school from a Dyson inventor, cricket coaches, internet safety visitors, drama workshops and a safety talk from a power company. The year 6 children will be off to York at the end of the term. We have also had Stubbers trips- which is great fun and meets the outdoor and adventurous part of the PE curriculum.

Festival

The festival will be on Saturday the 25th June. There will be a variety of stalls and games as well as a colour run. This was such good fun last year that we have decided to repeat it.

There will also be a photograph competition.

Classes for next year

Most classes will stay the same with the exception of the reception classes who are moving into year one. The three reception classes of 20 children will become two classes of 30 children. We totally mix the classes looking at a balance of ages, abilities and genders.

We will also be mixing the year 5 and 6 children as we have 4 mixed year 5 and 6 classes. We organise these with the children’s best interests at heart based on our professional judgement.

The classes that your child will be in will be in the reports that you receive. A lot of time and thought goes into sorting out the classes, and the decisions that we make are non-negotiable.

New member of staff

We are really pleased to announce that we have a new member of staff joining us in September. Her name is Miss Denman and she was a former pupil of the school.  We are really thrilled that she is joining us and she ticked all the boxes in our rigorous recruitment procedures.  Excelling at the teaching and the interview elements.

School Day From September

There is a document called the white paper, which the Department for Education has just published. In this it lays out the minimum time that schools should be open for children from September 2023. In response, we will be starting at the same time- 8:45am but we will all finish at 3:15 pm rather than 3:10pm. I should not think it will make a great deal of difference but I wanted to let you know with plenty of time so that you can change arrangements.

Iain Gunn

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