Newsletter 26 – 19th April 2013

Dear Parents

Mosque and Kew Garden Trip We had a wonderful trip on Monday. We had a tour through Hounslow Mosque and then went on to Kew Gardens for a picnic and time to explore the gardens. The children saw magnificent exhibitions of plants and animals and the older children climbed up to the Treetop Walkway. They were, as ever, beautifully behaved, receiving commendations from everyone we met. We are so proud of them – they are a great credit to their families and the school. We were very lucky with the weather and the traffic. Photos will be published on the website – do have a look at these in “Photo Gallery”. My heartfelt thanks to all our volunteer helpers and to the teachers and support staff who accompanied the trip to keep the children safe. A special thanks to Mrs Yates and Mrs Edwards who arranged and organised so many aspects of the trip including booking the events and coaches, the risk assessments, preparing the paperwork and equipment that had to accompany the trip and making sure that everything would run smoothly on the day.

Steam Museum The children in Stonehenge classroom will be going to the Steam Museum in Swindon on Monday 29th April. If you have a child in that classroom, please complete the permission forms and take note of the details of the trip – letter accompanying this newsletter.

Residential trips The children in Year 3 and Year 4 have their residential trip to Oxenwood – Year 3 going on Wednesday 1st May and returning on Thursday 2ndMay, and Year 4 leaving on Thursday 2nd May and returning on Friday 3rd May. The children in Year 5 and 6 leave for a two night stay in the Forest of Dean on Wednesday 22nd May and return on Friday 24th May. Children who have free school meals have a reduced tariff for these trips. The trips are always very popular and lots of excellent learning goes on, particularly in the areas of team work, gaining confidence and independence, physical development and resilience.

Stonehenge Garden The children in Stonehenge classroom have been designing and planting their own garden, complete with pond, fruit and herb plants as well as ornamental plants. They have done a great job and we are delighted with this project. Do go around there over the next few weeks and see how it develops.

Class Splits At this time of year, some parents may start to feel anxious about which classroom their child will be in next year. We ask you to trust us to make the very best decision for your child – every child is important and we will make sure that we do the very best for each one. Our analyses show that it really does not matter which classroom your child is in – they are tested on the same tests and statistics show that progress and achievement meets or exceeds the targets equally well in all classrooms in our school. Please do not put pressure on your child to try to achieve some goal of being in a specific classroom. This leads to anxiety and a sense of having “Let you down” if they do not achieve the goal. Decisions are made on the basis of the child’s academic achievement through the year and the number of children in each year group and classroom. We try to make sure we keep the numbers of children in each KS2 classroom at or under 32.

Bug Club We are very sorry that Bug Club was not available during the school holidays. They have let us know (subsequently) that they found some possible vulnerabilities in the system which they remedied as quickly as possible. Please do not give up – try again now that the site is fixed.

Bloodhound engineering club This club is, unfortunately, going to be limited to children in Years 4,5 and 6 since the work is very fiddly and complex and probably beyond the skills of the younger children. I am sorry for any disappointment – and will try to find an alternative for those interested in engineering in the younger age groups.   

Outreach to other schools As an outstanding school, we are happy to offer support to other schools that want to improve their practice – and we are always keen to see other good practice in other schools ourselves. There is always something new for us to learn and things can always be improved. I am a consultant advisor for the Salisbury Board of Education (the Diocesan Education service) and offer support to various schools in the Diocese. We often have teachers and headteachers from other schools walking around our school to observe lessons, behaviour, collective worship and creative curriculum ideas. We find that our own practice is improved by supporting other people and schools – we are encouraged to be reflective and self-evaluative.

Oxenwood A reminder that payment is now due for this trip, if your child is in year 3, the amount is £58 and if in year 4 it is £68 (this is because the year 4 children do an extra activity). A kit list for your information and a medical form to be completed and returned to us has been sent home today with your child – please look out for them!

Forest of Dean Payments are due for this trip and a reminder letter has been sent home showing the amount outstanding, please settle this amount by Friday 3rd May. A medical form has also been sent home and needs to be completed and returned to school.

Swimming Silbury class are going swimming this term and letters have been sent home. Avebury class are still “owed” one session and this is expected to take place on Thursday 6th June. We shall let you know nearer the time.

Best wishes

Mercedes Henning

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