Autumn Term No 2

Newsletter Autumn Term No 2

Dear Parents/Carers

All the staff have been very pleased with the way that children have settled in and the first formal teaching week will soon prevent the children worrying about their new work and to help them get to know their routines and feel confident. So far it really has been excellent!

1. Nursery Pupils
Home visits have been carried out which are crucial to know each child individually and they have all started really well with their first stage of education.

2. Uniform
All the children have looked really smart this week. School uniform encourages identity and support for the school and sets an appropriate tone. The Department for Education recommend uniform as it helps behaviour and discipline and encourages pupils of all races and backgrounds feel welcome. We believe at
St John’s that it makes all pupils feel welcome and supports effective teaching and learning -thank you for all your hard work here. 1 or 2 children have been without PE kits but the class information booklets will be going out next week which will give you the information regarding your child’s learning week and timetables.

3. Y6 French Visit
A visit to France in February 2014 has been arranged for Y6. They will have 3 days full board, a visit to the Somme area to coincide with the Centenary of World War 1, museum visits and a visit to Rue. All this is costing £60 and is being heavily subsidised, so far 18 out of the 28 Y6 pupils have returned their forms and the £20 deposit. It is a wonderful educational experience/opportunity for our Y6 (my staff with children have previously had to pay 4 times that amount).

4. Work over the Summer
Over the summer we had electronic gates installed (see below), paths widened added an outdoor table tennis table for KS2, FS gates painted and outdoor equipment stained. My janitor and cleaning teams worked really hard to make school look and feel good for when the children returned. At St John’s we never stand still!

5. School Bags
We only have limited space in the cloakrooms so please do not send your child to school with a rucksack. Children only need their lunchbox and their book bag. This will help the congestion in the cloakroom at the beginning and end of the school day. Thank you for your help!

6. Electronic Gates
» This is due to be completed this week and will enable all of our children to be safe in our school grounds. It was a request from parents/carers and our pupils.
» The Governors have decided that in the mornings we will continue to allow access to our drop off zone and our sports facilities, no other city school does this! However our drop off zone must not be used to park in and we would also like to remind you that we do not allow children to be dropped off at the barrier as it has a steep bank and holds up traffic around the one way system.
» The pedestrian gate has been in operation all week and automatically opens at 2:50pm, we have staff and Foundation Pre-school parents who will use it prior to this time by pressing the buzzer or using their fob but we ask all other parents/carers to remain off the school premises until the gate opens. Please remember that that the gate will close automatically and does not need you to force it shut as this will break the mechanism.
» In the afternoon the main gates will be shut! Parents/Carers need to make other plans and are asked not to block up the roads or residents driveways. We are doing lots of work encouraging sustainable travel along with all other city schools. We have the WOW walk, one day a week scheme, our cycle shelter is now covered by CCTV and we plan to put a door on it and install another if needed. We have 2 scooter pods to be added shortly.
We have achieved our Bronze Star Award for encouraging this and 6 children are going to receive the award shortly. On last year’s data we had 8 families who travelled by car from less than half a mile away, 20 families who drove from half a mile to a mile and 19 families from ¾ of a mile to a mile. A change would have help ease congestion (the swimming bus will be due on Wednesday) and will help the city’s obesity issue. 1 in 10 children start reception overweight. By Y6 it is 1 in 3 and ours last year was higher! Some residents have contacted me this week and will be calling the police if their driveways or Wheatly Avenue are blocked, so please let’s have a real effort at walking, especially those parents/carers who can leave home earlier quite easily. Our pushchair brigade walk in all weathers and are never late!
Miss Holden said this morning that “the new gates are a good idea and will help keep her 4 children safe”!

7. Attainment
Last year our result in phonics and KS2 were the best in the area 11’s in the city. Once again due to my fantastic staff team, our phonics are above LA average and KS2 results are excellent. No other school in the area can match our level 5 high attaining pupils in Maths, Reading and Science. This will be of interest to our new families starting this term and show why St John’s is so popular in the area and beyond it. I am already hearing of ex pupil’s achievement in exam results; Jessica Winiarczuk has obtained a string of GCSE’s and is aiming to become a midwife. Anthony Godwin was ‘Apprentice of the Year’ to name but 2. All point to how we instil aspirations in our pupils which is something Trent Vale and our city need!

8. Job Vacancy
City Catering have a job vacancy for help in our school kitchen, please see Mrs Davies for further information – Please knock on her door which is situated next the Community Room near to the bin area.

9. Home School Link Worker Information
» Please can we have no sweet drinks given to children at the end of the day, litter is a problem that Mr Cox notes and we are a school encouraging our pupils to live healthy lifestyles. Better to leave it as a weekend treat!
» Attendance is a serious matter for both schools and the government. Every month, each child’s attendance forms are assessed from Reception to Y6. If there is a concern you receive a letter stating that your child’s attendance needs to improve, if after a month this does not happen you will be invited in for a short meeting. If attendance hits 80% the Educational Welfare Officer is informed and this can lead to fines and/or court action. The government expect attendance to be between 95% and 100% so getting your child to school (and on time) is most important! We are having catch up clubs at break and dinner for children who are late and/or have missed work. We cannot allow children to fall behind, please make all appointments where possible out of school time!

10. Dates for your Diary
• Tuesday 17th September from 6pm to 9pm – Thistley Hough Academy this will be followed by two open mornings on Thursday 19th and Friday 20th September from 9am – 12pm. The Open Evening will be an ‘open house’ event and visitors may arrive at any point. The Open Mornings will be offered via guided tours and visitors will need to book on to an allocated time slot by emailing or telephoning the school.
• 27th September from 9:00am to 10:30am – Worlds biggest coffee morning for McMillan Cancer Support £1.00 coffee and cake, everyone welcome (not school children) – Come along and get involved for this fabulous charity!
• Tuesday 15th October from 3:15pm to 5:15pm – Parent/Carer target sharing open night when class teachers look forward to showing learning targets with you.

11. Parent/Carer Questionnaire results

Safety and Homework – June 2013

Yes No
1. Are you happy with the safety in the school now we are fully fenced? 100%
2. Are you happy with the new plan to install a gate to help keep children safe? 100%
3. Are you happy with safety arrangements at the school? 100%
4. Has our safety improved? 97% 3%
5. Can you make any suggestions for improved safety at the school?No parking on grounds full stop, gates closed all the time, PCSO’s monitoring parking in surrounding streets, residents parking permit’s, no parking on pavements on streets or boxed areas, no swearing, stop parents/carers smoking next to the gates, stop parents/carers leaving dogs tied up by the gate.
6. Are you happy with our Homework Policy? 92% 8%
7. Are you happy with your child’s reading? 100%
8. Can you make any suggestions that would help?More help with writing, small reading exams for nursery, find weaker areas of pupils learning, more homework for more able pupils, reading books not always challenging enough, regular updates from teachers.
9. St John’s has a focus on pupil learning – do you agree? 100%
10. Can you make any suggestions that would help learning at St John’s?Everyone does their best – highly remarkable
Some parents need to take responsibility
Prizes for learning N to Y6
No homework for nursery & reception
No homework in the holidays
Thank you for your responses.They show that at St John’s, parents/carers are happy with our safety (especially after the new gates have been installed), learning, reading and homework. It is very reassuring as we work together as a community.As a result of your views we are going to continue our focus on good safety, our learning focus and focus on reading. We will, as a result of your views:

  1. Make sure the new gate project is implemented safety and will contact residents, no cars will be allowed on the site during the afternoon!
  2. Check that we have sufficient challenging reading books
  3. Check that our homework policy includes challenge for more able pupils
  4. Continue with staff giving feedback to parents/carers
Thank you for your support!

Yours sincerely
Mrs P Bloor