Newsletter 17 – 17th January 2014

Dear Parents

Children’s progress Once again, a reminder that you are most welcome to come into school to discuss your child’s progress with their teacher whenever you wish – simply make an appointment with your child’s teacher. Formal parent-teacher meetings take place again on 12th and 13th of March. If you want to have a very quick word with your child’s teacher, they can usually see you briefly after school or you can write a note in your child’s homework book or reading record. Please let us know of any unusual or upsetting events in your child’s life – this helps us to support them effectively in school.

External Assessments All children at maintained schools in the UK have to take part in external assessments of attainment and progress.

In Y6, the children have to write Maths and English tests that are both set and marked externally. These are very formal tests and we will be doing test preparation towards these over the coming months since the way of working is different to anything our children have experienced up to this point – silent, unassisted and time constrained.  The “Optional SATS” that we do with all KS2 classes help to prepare them for this, but the SATS do feel different.

We do not want children to be concerned about these assessments – there is no need for them to be stressed about them, nor for them to do any extra work at home towards them. Once we get into the test week, (week commencing May 12th), the children will enjoy the challenge and other fun things that we do in that week. It is very important that parents do not make children anxious about SATS by worrying about the outcome. All that needs to be done towards SATS will be done in school.   In response to some requests from both parents and children, past papers might be sent home occasionally but we are very clear that there is no requirement or need for children to complete these unless they particularly wish to do so.

In Y2, the “SATS” are not externally marked and are based on teacher assessment of the child over a period of time. There are little checks of slightly more formal assessment that can be used if the teacher wishes. There is no formal SATS testing on these children. Our work is moderated both through cluster workshops (with our surrounding schools) and by external moderators from County. The results are reported to the Government and used to judge our school.

In Y1 children are tested on their ability to decode words using phonics. In principle we are opposed to testing of young children and this test in particular makes very little sense since the children will be tested on nonsense words (as well as real words). Many very good readers do not read phonetically anymore (as adults, we rarely read phonetically) and so they may get the nonsense words wrong (if the word is “Kigh” they may read it as “King” since this makes more sense). In addition, at this young age some children, especially boys, have not yet reached a reading readiness and might show up with low scores, but in future as they mature,  they may become  good readers. Nevertheless, we have to comply with the law and will have to test these children in the summer term. Again, we aim to make the process as easy and fun as possible for our children.

Our children always do very well in these official assessments – this is the main measure on which we are judged to be Outstanding.

Half Term Break is from 17th February to 21st February. Holiday club will run through this week.

Winter Sports will start on Tuesday 21st January from 3 – 4pm for children in KS2 (with priority given to Y5/Y6 children). If your child wishes to take part, please complete and return the slip at the bottom of this newsletter. Many children are already involved in Dance Club and Cricket on a Tuesday.

Free School Meals A reminder to parents that if you are in receipt of certain benefits, you may be eligible for Free School Meals. Forms are available from the office to complete and send off and you will be informed by the authorities whether you are eligible or not. The information is treated in the strictest confidence.  The school receives a pupil premium (currently just over £900 per year) for each child registered for free school meals. In our school, this money is usually spent on providing extra teaching assistant hours and resources to support all those children who need extra help to achieve well academically (this is not just limited to those children who take free school meals – indeed, in this school, many of our children on free school meals do very well academically so other children benefit from the pupil premium). We also subsidise the cost of school trips for children on free school meals. You do not have to claim school meals unless you wish to, but do register if you are eligible since the extra money will benefit everyone in the school. 

Cold Weather This school will almost certainly stay open whatever the weather. If you think there may be snow, please send your child in with wellies otherwise they will not be allowed to go out and play in the snow. Warm clothes are essential at this time of year – do mark everything with your child’s name. Should we close the school, you will be notified by text message, a message will be on the website and we will alert the local radio stations. However, do expect the school to be open.

Friday 31st January There will be NO sharing assembly on this afternoon as the children will be running a Charity event. More details to follow.

School website   www.holy-trinity.co.uk  Please consult the website for latest news, the calendar of dates, photos, information, policies, the statutory documents relating to our Academy and the parent portal log-in.

Children’s Movie Night… Come and enjoy food, film and fun with friends, on Friday 17th January 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 per person are gratefully accepted.

Gardening Club – Although gardening club is hibernating at the moment, we are looking for a team of helpers to help prune/shape the willow structure in the school grounds. If you can help, we are meeting at 9am on Thursday 30th January. Please contact Lucy Bates on 07763 009989 for more details.

Bike Helmets If your child is coming to and from school on a scooter or bike, please ensure that they wear a helmet at all times.

Best wishes              

Mercedes Henning

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WINTER SPORTS CLUB – TUESDAYS FROM 3 -4PM 

I give permission for my child ……………………………………………………….to attend winter sports club from 3-4pm on Tuesday afternoons.

Signed……………………………………………………………..Parent

Mobile phone number…………………………………………

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