Newsletter 18 – 27th January 2012


Dear Parents

SATS We like to offer parents the chance to come into school and find out a bit more about the external Government testing of the children in Y2 and Y6 (the so-called SATS).  You will be given the chance to try out some of the papers that they will be completing and to ask any questions you might have. This event is usually very poorly attended but I do ask parents of children in any year group to consider coming along. This meeting will be on Monday 27th February at 5.00pm.

There are changes afoot in KS2 SATS – this year for the first time the Y6 writing will not be sent off for external marking, and instead the teacher will assess several pieces of writing as well as one official test piece to judge the child’s achievement in writing. Maths and reading will be externally marked in Y6 as usual. 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 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 14th), 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.

This year, for the first time, we have to test our Y1 children 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 “Glimp” they may read it as “Glimpse” 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.

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

Holiday Club We will be offering a holiday club in the school, run as usual by Sports Stars, through the February half term (starting on Monday 13th February) and one week of the Easter half term (Tuesday 10th April until Friday 13th April). Forms are available in the office to sign up for the coming half term break.

Bus children I have had a meeting with some of the older children who take the school bus to and from school and they have mentioned that there are sometimes younger children on the bus coming in to school who have not yet fastened their seat belts when the bus starts to move. It is the responsibility of the parent (at the start of the journey to school) to ensure that their child is clipped in safely. There is always a teacher on duty who will check seat belts are fastened before the bus starts out on the journey from school back to home.

Road Safety We have organised road safety workshops for the younger three classes on Wednesday 31st January – these will be delivered by trained personnel who go around primary schools supporting with this work.

Parking I have had a meeting with the police about the parking issues around school and he has assured me that he will be monitoring the situation very carefully and will fine any motorist found to be parking in a dangerous or illegal spot. He has also suggested that we take photos of regular offenders and let him have the details of those cars. I ask everyone not to park on the corner (very dangerous place and this really puts our children’s lives in danger) or in any other place which could make it more dangerous for our children to cross the road safely or for their parents to negotiate the road outside the school safely. If there is not enough parking over the road from the school, please park further down in the village, at the pub or at Garston and walk up through Green Lane. It is a pleasant little walk and you will enjoy chatting to your child about their day whilst you walk back to your car. It is also a great idea to form lift clubs from your local area so that as few cars as possible come into the village at dropping off and picking up time.

Children’s Movie Night Come and enjoy a sizzling supper and a delicious dessert followed by two fantastic films.  Don’t miss it! Bring friends! From 6-8 pm on Friday 24th February in Erlestoke Church.

Marlborough Science Fair at St John’s School on Saturday 17th March, further details are available from the office.

Coaching Days There are two Sports Camps running over half term at Dauntsey’s School run by Wiltshire County coaches. A flyer is available from the office.
Monday 13th February – HOCKEY and Friday 17th February – CRICKET
Only 1 day for each sport, so please book early to avoid disappointment.


Wacky Hair Day on Friday February 10th, you wear your uniforms pay a £1 to wear wacky hair!

We will be holding the Pancake races on Shrove Tuesday, 21st February, with Mr Amor as chief organiser and starter! The children loved this event last year.

If anyone would like to come forward to help the PFA please let me know ( Louise George 816228) the more of us the better! We are looking for a new Treasurer to replace Sophie Woolley who is retiring after many years of service, this is an essential role but not very onerous!

Best wishes

M Henning

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