Newsletter 3 – 20th September 2013

Dear Parents

Thank you We were delighted with the number of parents who attended our Class Welcome meetings – it is a tribute to our engaged and enthusiastic families that so many of you came along to find out about your child’s class and routines. In response to your requests, we will be organising an evening to help parents load Norton Parental Control software onto their devices. This will help parents ensure that children are safer in the cyberworld.  A date for this event will be announced shortly.

PFA I am delighted to announce the new PFA committee for the coming year: Annabel Mackintosh (Chair), Perdy Bishop (Vice Chair), Lisa McKeigue (Secretary), Jacqui Hart (Treasurer). Last year was a wonderful year for the PFA. Not only did they raise significant sums for projects that benefit the children, but they also formed a large, friendly and cooperative group of members who all supported the school strongly in the various events led by PFA. My very sincere thanks to the outgoing committee who did such a tremendous job, to the new committee and to all of you for supporting us so loyally and generously. If you would like to get more involved, contact one of the committee members, ask at the office, or wait for a call for volunteers and sign up to help. You will not be asked to do more than you can fit into your busy life, but if each family helps a bit, the work is light and enjoyable for everyone.

Drop off Please do not drop children off in the playground before 8.30am. There is no one on duty and the children are unsupervised – it is not safe.

Clubs School led clubs start next week. Most fee paying clubs have already commenced. Your child will have brought home permission slips for the clubs that they are interested in and these should be returned to the office by Monday at the latest. Our Multisports club, run for children in Year 1 and 2, will have to close sadly, due to lack of support. Only 8 children attended and the coach cannot make the club pay with fewer than 10 children. If possible, we will try to run it again in the Spring term when, perhaps, some of our Foundation Stage children might like to join as they will have settled into school by then.

Attendance in school The government has set in place even more stringent regulations regarding unauthorised absence this year.  It is essential that your child attends school very regularly in order to make good progress academically and socially. Absence will be authorised for sickness (A doctor’s note will be required for absence of 5 days or more), medical appointments that absolutely cannot be scheduled at any other time and for events such as music and ballet exams. Other than this, very few absences will be authorised except under very exceptional circumstances.

Absolutely no holidays will be authorised in term time. The only exception to this is for those in the Services who have no holiday allowance in any school holiday, and applications for holiday under these circumstances must be accompanied by a letter from the commanding officer supporting the application. Authorised absence will, of course, be granted in the event of terminal illness or bereavement of a parent or sibling. If a child has more than four and a half days unauthorised absence in a six month period, we have to notify the Local Authority and a penalty notice will be issued by the Local Authority to each parent for each child. The penalty is £60 if paid within 21 days, or £120 up to 28 days. After that, if the penalty has not been paid, legal proceedings will be taken by the Local Authority.  The school is not involved in the penalty notices or any subsequent proceedings – we simply send off the attendance register of the child involved.

Harvest Assembly takes place on Friday 4th October at 2.15pm. Donations of non- perishable items can be brought in to school from next week. Our donations always go to the Devizes Foodbank  (run by the Trussell Trust) – see their website at http://devizesfoodbank.co.uk/ ). Here is a list of items that they particularly need: Milk (UHT or powdered), Sugar (500g), Long life fruit juice, Tins of Soup, Pasta sauces, Sponge pudding (tin), Tinned Tomatoes, Breakfast cereals, Tinned Rice pudding, Tea Bags, Jar of instant coffee, Instant mash potato 500gms , Rice 500gms,  Pasta, Tinned meat/fish, Tinned fruit, Jar of Jam, Packets of biscuits, Snacks. Please ensure that all items are still in date.  Any perishable items will go to the churches of St John and St Mary – they provide hot meals three times a week for homeless and other needy people.

Free School Meals If you think that your child may qualify to receive free school meals, please apply online – you will be notified by the LA if you are eligible once your application has been received. The school receives £900 for each child on Free School Meals (FSM) and this money can be used for any purpose or project to enhance learning of all children, especially those who need extra support, not just those on FSM.

Primary School places We have application forms in school for children who will be four years old before September 2014. The deadline for these applications is Noon on 15th January 2014.                         Secondary School places Application forms have gone home with our year 6 children to apply for their secondary school place – please note that the deadline is Noon on 31st October 2013.

Children’s Movie Night… Come and enjoy food, film and fun with friends, Friday 20th September from 6-8pm in Erlestoke Church. All are welcome but children under five must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. A light supper and pudding will be provided; donations of £1 for food are gratefully accepted.

Children’s Activity Morning  Games, stories & crafts at Ebenezer Baptist Church, High Street, West Lavington.  (All children in School Years 1 – 6 are welcome to attend). SATURDAYS: 12 October, 9 November & 14 December, 11.00am – 12.30pm. Voluntary donation of 50p per child per session. For further details from Kate Andrews tel: 01225 767229. All staff are CRB cleared.

PFA

Our AGM on Tuesday evening was great and a big thank you to all who came. We have shuffled the key roles around and welcome Annabel Mackintosh as Chair & Perdy Bishop as Vice Chair. We are delighted that Jacqui and Lisa are remaining with us as Treasurer & Secretary to help with the smooth running of the PFA. A big thank you to you both for all that you have done over the last year. We are meeting straight after drop off on Monday 23rd at the Pre-school and would welcome parents old and new to come and meet us, have a coffee and discuss what our vision of the year ahead should be.

Boden Event After the success of our last Boden event, the PFA is hosting the new Autumn range of womenswear, Johnnie b, Mini and accessories at the Pavilion, Witchcombe Lane, Great Cheverell on Friday 20th September from 1.30pm – 7pm. Please come along and join us in seeing and trying on some clothes, we will also be offering tea, coffee and cakes for sale. If you could provide a cake for the sale it would be gratefully appreciated.

Best wishes

Mercedes Henning

We welcome and value your opinion. If you have any comments or suggestions, please contact the Head teacher or Chair of Governors.

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