September 2016 Newsletter
Welcome back to school after the summer holidays. The children have settled quickly back into the routines of school life and we are all looking forward to a busy and exciting autumn term. A special welcome to our new parents and to all the new children who have joined us this year. The Nursery and Reception children are really coping well with their new school and we look forward to working in partnership with you.
Our new staff, Miss King – class teacher in Year 3 and Mr Poyner –Teaching Assistant in Year 1, have also settled well into school life and are looking forward to the year ahead. In the next couple of weeks two Year 3 BA QTS students will be joining us in Year 2 and Year 6. The students will be working closely with the class teachers under the supervision of Mrs Munslow who is our student mentor. A number of students on Teaching Assistant course placements will also be in school this year working in Foundation Phase and KS2.
Curriculum updates will soon be posted on the school website. These will inform you of the topics your children will be studying in each subject this term. They will involve the children in their own learning and give them an opportunity to have a say in what they will be studying, how they will be studying and how they will be recording their findings. We hope you will find the updates useful in supporting your children in their studies at home. If any parents would like a paper copy please ask your child’s teacher.
Health and Safety
Please! Please! Do not double park or park too close to the school gates when dropping children off or picking them up. This really does cause us great concern as the safety of the children is at risk.
One of our school rules is that, for health and safety reasons, the children are NOT ALLOWED on the field, the timber trail, in the outdoor classroom or up the bank at the end of the yard near the Year 2 classroom, at the beginning or the end of the school day. We appreciate your support in enforcing this. Thank you!
Can I remind you that for safety reasons the policy of the school is that children are allowed a watch and stud earrings only. Also, children are responsible for their own jewellery and for taking it on and off for P.E. and games. All jewellery must be removed for these sessions.
We are very proud of our school uniform and all the children look very smart in it. Please can you make sure that items are clearly labelled with your child’s name so that we can avoid confusion and help the children not to lose anything. Please can you ensure that the children wear sensible school shoes so that they are able to run around and play safely at break – times. No trainers are to be worn to school; the children can bring them to school to change into for sporting activities and football days. As autumn is upon us and no doubt it will soon start to get colder, please make sure your child wears a coat to school.
PE and Games
Please can you ensure that your child has his / her PE kit in school on the designated days. If your child does not have their kit with them, for health and safety reasons, they will be unable to participate in the physical activity part of the session. On these occasions your child will be bringing a letter home as a reminder for next time. Thank you for your support in this.
We continue to be a Healthy School and are delighted with the positive effect this is having on the children. Don’t forget to send your child in with water in a clear bottle with a sports cap, clearly labelled with their name, so they can drink regularly throughout the day. We have a water cooler located in the upper junior area so the children can refill their bottles throughout the day. Thank you once again for your continued support.
Glasllwch has an excellent Parent Teacher Association who work very hard to organise events to raise money for our children. All parents are automatically members of the P.T.A. Our first event of the year is our annual family disco and BBQ on Friday 23rd September. This is usually a super evening so please come along and support us. More information will be sent out by the P.T.A. and posted on our website. The Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday October 4th at 7pm in school. New members are always very welcome, so come along and join us
We are delighted that we have so many children receiving peripatetic music lessons in school. We have received a significant number of expressions of interest from children wanting to start lessons this year. These are currently being sorted out with the peripatetic teachers. Once this has been done letters will be sent out. For those children who were having lessons last year and are continuing to do so this year, lessons will also be sorted out this week to start next week.
Newport City Council will be moving to an online payment system called ‘Parent Pay’ that will enable parents to order and pay for school meals through a secure website. This system will be rolled out to schools across Newport between September ‘16 and March ’17. More information to follow.
Also, Chartwells, our school meal provider, will be increasing the cost of a school dinner to £2.05 from 31st October ’16.
Feedback from Annual Governors Meeting with Parents:
- Breakfast Club
At the annual parents’ meeting, there was a clear preference expressed that the school should take advantage of the Welsh Government’s free breakfast scheme. The governors have now discussed this and, after careful deliberation, decided that Glasllwch will not apply to provide free breakfasts.
We recognise there would have been some clear benefits to parents and children, such as the possibility to have breakfast later, closer to time when school begins, and helping parents to manage both the school run and working life. However, there is no evidence that children at Glasllwch are currently arriving at school without having had breakfast, which is the issue the scheme is designed to address. We also considered the practical difficulties of running the scheme, its expected impact upon the main activities of the school, and the next steps that would be necessary to plan and introduce it. In the end, the majority of governors felt that it was not in the best interests of the school and its pupils to pursue it further.
- School Trips
Governors received feedback that Glasllwch’s school trips were more expensive than trips at other local schools, and that the variety of trips was disappointing – particularly that some destinations such as Tredegar House were used year after year.
Our school trips are always charged at or below cost, so if our trips are more expensive, it’s most likely to be because other schools are subsidising them. A significant portion of school funding is distributed via the “Pupil Deprivation Grant” (PDG), which targets more funding where there is more deprivation. Since Glasllwch receives a very low level of PDG, unlike many other schools in Newport, we are mostly unable to subsidise school trips. Regretfully, we cannot change this situation.
We also discussed and acknowledged the problem of lack of variety. The school will now take steps to:
- Increase coordination of school trips across the year groups.
- Monitor the trips that each class take as they progress through the school, to avoid repetition.
- Provide more notice of forthcoming trips.
- Maintain a list of recommended trip destinations which class teachers can draw upon.
We would welcome any suggestions you have for destinations to be added to this list – you may know some good ones that we do not, or that we have not considered!
Parents raised concerns over the security of the school site. While the new access-controlled vehicle gate was acknowledged as an improvement, some parents felt that the pedestrian gate should be secured during the school day. Currently we keep the school environment secure by locking the external doors of the building during the day; at break times, a member of staff is posted to ensure no children can exit the school grounds, and no unauthorised person can get access to the children.
We acknowledge that there is still a risk that a child could leave the grounds unnoticed, or that an intruder could get in through the open gate. If we had an access-controlled pedestrian gate, it would reduce the risk further, but not remove it entirely. The school will get some quotes for fitting an access-controlled pedestrian gate, and will then consider whether to go ahead and purchase one.
During the meeting, parent’s highlighted that the text messages sent out via the ParentMail system have not been reaching all parents; in particular, they have not been reaching Nursery and Reception parents.
This was happening because we had a technical problem with the connection between ParentMail and the school’s management system. We’ve solved that now; if you’ve provided the school with up-to-date contact details, you should now be receiving the text messages. (But note that, due to the cost, only one parent/carer per family will receive these messages.)
Parents asked if the school could foster closer relations with the secondary schools that pupils move on to. We are in a cluster of primary schools that feed The John Frost School (formerly Duffryn High), and we do have good transition arrangements for pupils who move on there. Unfortunately, we cannot do very much to improve transition arrangements with other schools. The reasons are both practical – those other schools are focussed on pupils coming from their own feeder schools; and political – The John Frost School would not appreciate other secondary schools appearing to poach ‘their’ pupils. So unfortunately we are unlikely to see much change to the current arrangements.
Nevertheless, all pupils do have the opportunity to spend a day at their secondary school in the final term of Year 6. In addition, Glasllwch does pass on each pupil’s records so that their secondary school is aware of the pupil’s strengths and needs.
Parents in School
The partnership between home and school is vital if children are to flourish and reach their full potential. We value the support we receive from parents and encourage your active participation in the full life of the school. If any parents are willing to come into school to assist in the classrooms please let the teachers know. For safety reasons we will need to carry out police checks on any parents helping out in school.
Attendance and Punctuality
Our attendance target for this year is 96%. Please ensure that all holidays are taken during the designated half term and end of term closure times. The beginning of each day is a vital time for both staff and children. It is vital that children are in school and ready to start lessons by 9am. Children who are late will be missing valuable learning time. Please can we ask you to assist us by encouraging the children to come into school independently. If you need to see a teacher, and it is not urgent, please can you arrange a convenient time.
Thank you in anticipation of your continued support and co-operation. We look forward to a productive term ahead in which we will continue to strive towards our vision of being a ‘Centre of Excellence’ and to encourage everyone to reach for the stars.
Please note diary dates for this term are on the school website on the school calendar.
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