Autumn Term 1

Newsletter Autumn Term 1

Dear Parent/Carer

It was lovely to welcome the children back on Monday after the summer break, staff had been busy preparing for their new classes during the previous weeks. The children (and parents/carers) all seemed really happy to be back and we have had a great start to the term. I would especially like to welcome all our new families, we are so lucky to have such lovely children at St John’s and I know this will be another successful year.
At the beginning of term there is always a lot to remind parent/carers of, especially as we have new families throughout the school, so I have included some reminders which many of our families will already know.

1.School Building Work
Over the summer the new learning room off the hall has been progressing and is nearly finished, this will be a super addition to the school. We also had a new server and all classrooms have had a new staff computer. In addition, 3 classrooms have been painted and our janitor and cleaning teams have been hard at work tidying and cleaning the school so that it looked lovely for the children.

2.Uniform
The children all looked really smart this week and everyone is in our uniform, with school shoes not trainers. It does give all the children a common identity and looks so smart. Can I ask all parents/carers to name their child’s uniform to help us? A school book bag is part of the uniform and is needed by every child, we only allow our school ones. Our school rule is that all long hair is tied back and no extreme, coloured or shaved hair is permitted. We want children to stand out for educational reasons.

3. PE Kit
We have given every pupil a free PE top and shorts which the children have used for their fitness test this week. Families need to buy the colour coded PE bag (for each year group) which most of you managed to do on Monday. This is to help keep our cloakrooms organised and so that we can easily find kit when it goes missing. Our cloakrooms are only small and this is why we only allow drawstring bags in the cloakroom. Surprisingly, a few families complained about buying PE bags, but school uniform has never been cheaper and we do sell items at cost price.
One of my staff Mrs Beech –Daly told me she bought her child a full uniform and leather shoes for £29, which was just over her weekly child benefit payment of £20.70. As a school we do try to help our families and I know this help is appreciated, my staff who have children at other schools believe the parents/carers here are very lucky in this respect.
This matter made me reflect back on my visit to a school in Kenya a few years ago, where the children and the school had nothing. Education was valued so highly though that the children often walked 4 miles every day, as no lunch is provided they would have to walk back home again at lunchtime, all this effort as education was the way out of poverty.

4.Packed Lunch boxes
In KS2 many of the children’s lunch boxes are the same and a parent has suggested putting a named key ring on them so the children can find their ones easily. This is a super idea and we would appreciate your help with this.

5.Mixed Classes
One or two families have been asking about mixed classes. We are a 45 place school for each year group and have always had mixed classes, as we only have a certain amount of teachers for 320 pupils. All the children in each class are grouped as they arrive with different starting points. Decisions were made by the staff at the end of term, and these are professional ones. At St John’s all our children make progress in all classes as we have a great team of staff. We are also one of the city schools with very good Y6 SATS results (many are not as good) so this shows that what we do works.
The Government has increased the expectations of every year group and we would ask parents/carers to help us in our joint responsibility for the education of your child. Parents/carers need to hear their child read at least 4 times a week and can help also by ensuring your child knows their tables. We have a catch up club at lunchtime if this is not done as we are accountable for children’s progress. The Government states that all children should know their tables up to 12 fluently by the end of Y4. The supermarkets sell Maths and English workbooks very cheaply these days which could help your child.

6.E Safety
Attached to the newsletter are some tips that the children produced during our internet safety day in the Summer Term. This is such an important area that families need to be aware of.

7.School Travel
At present the Governors allow cars onto the sports ground in the morning as well as the drop off zone so that we get the children in on time. On days when we have coaches coming onto the site we do not allow parking. We have a lot of hospital parking in the area and ask all parents/carers who live nearby to walk to school or for our out of catchment families to park in Harpfield Road and walk from there, ‘Park and Stride’ as we call it! We had situations last year where thoughtless parents/carers endangered other children by careless and illegal parking. The parking warden regularly patrols the area. Walking to school is much healthier!

8.Attendance Information
On Friday the children who last year achieved 95% or above with no more than 2 late marks are being rewarded with a visit to Trentham Gardens. We are so proud of these children and families. (Please see the attached information on attendance).

9.Fitness Test
All KS1 and KS2 children were given a fitness test this week (different ones for each Key Stage), involving walking a mile, running, throwing, steps ups, press-ups etc. The children were graded from 4 star to 1 star and we will retest in July, they all really enjoyed this. Some suggestions for those who got the 2 star will be sent out to you along with the results.
We have a focus at St John’s on healthy lifestyles and are introducing 2 new lunchtime fitness sessions, Monday Movers for Y1 and Tuesday Twisters for Y1/2, which I’m sure the children will enjoy, as well as other active clubs. These are recommendations from the government’s new childhood obesity drive.

10.Well Done

  • Very well done to George Barnett who was selected by the school for a football course at Stoke City and has now been given a place at an excellence club there.
  • Very well done to Lily Groves who is taking part in a wonderful production of Annie at the Rep Theatre this week.

11.Swimming
Swimming letters have gone out today to the 3 classes swimming this term, Y6, Y5/6 and Y4/5. We have purchased orange swimming bags which will be on sale tomorrow at £3.50 to help keep the kit safe and fit in our cloakroom, please can you purchase one. They are good quality and will last for years.

12.Safeguarding of Children and Parents/Carers
For the safety of all children and parents/carers please can you be sure to use the designated crossing at Hilton Road. By using the crossing patrol it means that everyone crosses the road safely and ensures the continuation of this important service.

13.Home School Link Worker Information
On Friday 30th September we will be taking part in the world’s biggest coffee morning for Macmillan Cancer Support. Please come along and support this worthwhile cause. Family and friends are also welcome, all we ask is that you come and give a small donation. Coffee, tea, cake and chat will be provided. Hope to see you there!

14.Office Information
Please look out tomorrow for your child’s class booklet, this contains the class timetable and should help with the ‘what have you done today’ question that most parents/carers never seem to get an answer to. Also next week we will be sending an office information pack that will include the updated online payment system (sQuid) instructions.

15.Dates for your Diary

9th September 2016
Trentham Attendance Reward Visit
15th September 2016
Good Behaviour Reward Visit
26th September 2016
Parents/Carers Nursery Workshop
30th September 2016
World’s Biggest Coffee Morning
6th October 2016
School Photos
24th – 28th October 2016
Half Term

16.Attachments

  • Free Kids Ceramic Workshop Leaflet
  • Online Safety Information
  • Attendance Information

Yours sincerely
Mrs P Bloor
Headteacher