Newsletter 17 – 25th January 2013

Dear Parents

Sports Stars Holiday Club We will be offering our holiday club in the school, run as usual by Sports Stars, through the February half term (starting on Monday 11th February) and one week of the Easter half term (Monday 25th March to Thursday 28th March). Forms are available in the office to sign up for the coming half term break. 

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 6th and 7th 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 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. The results are reported to the Government and used to judge our school.

We now also 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. 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.

School website  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.

Absence May we remind you that if your child is away from school, we ask that you send a note into school on their return, stating the reason for their absence. We require a written explanation even if you have telephoned into school. Thank you for all of the recent responses that we have had to absence letters.

Half term break starts on Monday 11th February and we return to school on Monday 18th February.


MOVIE NIGHT  The PFA proudly presents ‘Movie Night’ on Friday 1st February 5pm – 6.30pm in the School Hall Admission will be £1.50 to be paid on the door (includes savoury snack, biscuit and drink). All classes welcome and bring your bean bags!  The choice of film will be chosen by the pupils during next week and will be suitable for all classes.  

Best wishes,


Mercedes Henning

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