Newsletter 5th February 2024

Mr J Molyneux
Headteacher

Monday 5th February 2024

 

 

Our Prayer for the Week

Prayer was an important part of Jesus’ daily life. We read in St. Mark’s gospel how he prayed in the company of others but also needed time away from the crowds and went to a deserted place to pray. We believe that in his prayers Jesus found guidance and direction from God. We also bring our decision-making to God in prayer, asking for his guidance and direction in our lives.

Dear Lord, we ask for your guidance.

Give us the power of your grace so that we may hear your divine instructions.

Remove any barriers that keep us from drawing near to you.

Open our hearts and clear our vision so that we may follow your path.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Sacrament of Confirmation

Eleven of our Y6 pupils will receive the sacrament of Confirmation from Bishop Marcus at St. Austin’s Church on Tuesday evening. Please continue to keep them in your prayers.

Weekly News and Updates from the Headteacher

February half-term break

Where does the time go? It feels like only last week I was welcoming everyone back after the Christmas break and yet here we are in the final week of this half-term. It has been a very short half-term in comparison to the autumn half-terms so I am sure that is why it feels like time has flown by. School will close at the usual time of 3:15pm on Friday afternoon and reopen on Monday 19th February at 8:40am. This half-term break marks the half-way point of the school year. The children have almost completed half of their time in their current class. Over the last few weeks I have met with all teachers and carried out Pupil Progress meetings. It is great to hear and see the progress all our children are making and a lot of this is as a result of the teachers at St. Austin’s knowing precisely where the children are and what they need in order to make further progress. It is also as a result of the support you give your child in terms of reading, helping with homework, ensuring spellings and times tables are learnt and showing a genuine interest in their learning. This really does make a difference and I urge all parents to continue to do this as we move into the second half of the school year.

Home Reading Books

For the children who are working through our Phonics Scheme, which is primarily our FS and KS1 children, they are given a book to take home to read either on a weekly or fortnightly basis depending on where they are on the scheme. This book has already been read in the reading sessions, which means that your child has a good degree of fluency and comprehension of the text. The next stage is to read the book with their parent and re-read it. We all know that practice makes perfect. Having spoken to a number of the children about these books, they tell me that they are enjoying reading them in school and the reading sessions are helping them to become fluent and expressive readers who have a good understanding of the text. They have also said that they don’t always read these at home or if they do they are asked to read them to themselves. Please can I ask all parents of children who bring a reading book home from school to find some time to sit down with their child and allow them to share a few pages or a chapter of the book with you every day. Staff at school are working very hard to promote a love of reading and show children how important reading is to them. It would be great if parents could do the same. Whilst we all know that the world is changing fast and perhaps some of the things we routinely do in school could well become a thing of the past as AI continues to develop, I strongly believe that being able to read, whether it be from a book, newspaper, or electronic device, and having a love of reading is something that will remain part of our lives well into the future. Thank you for your support with this.

Music Tuition

As many parents will be aware, at the end of last academic year (July 2023) I made the decision to end the arrangements we had in school for one-to-one and small group music (instruments) lessons. This decision was not taken lightly and was only done after speaking with the pupils who were receiving lessons and class teachers. Since making this decision I have continued to search for a suitable alternative as I want to provide children with the opportunity of learning an instrument of their choice, especially if they have a real interest in doing so. I have also made contact with private tutors but have quickly learnt that they are not taking on any additional pupils nor do they have the capacity to work in school for one or two afternoons per week. I won’t give up on this and will continue to search for high quality, competitively priced tuition that can take place during the school day. Sadly, many schools no longer offer music tuition as part of their wider offer, which I feel is a great shame. However, and as you have heard me say all too often, we can’t offer additional provision that results in a financial loss. I lost count of the number of children who decided not to continue with their music lessons last year for a number of reasons. I will continue to keep you updated on this.

Morning drop off at school

We will be continuing with the current arrangements of opening the school gates at 8:35am each morning. This has definitely reduced the number of pedestrians outside school each morning and the children and parents I have spoken to have said they feel safer now. I am disappointed that a number of parents have taken advantage of this and are now dropping their children off at 8:35am but not waiting with them until 8:40am as I have asked. The Safeguarding Team have been on the playgrounds and at the gates from 8:35am during this trial period for monitoring purposes only. School staff are only responsible for the children from 8:40am which is the official start of the working day.

When we return after the half-term break, the gates will continue to open at 8:35am but I cannot guarantee that there will be staff present until 8:40am. Staff are often in meetings or briefing sessions until this time. This does mean that any parent who chooses to drop their child at 8:35am without waiting with for the five minutes until the doors open does so accepting that school does not have responsibility until 8:40am.

Put simply, arrive at 8:35am if you are able to stay with your child until 8:40am or drop off between 8:40am and 8:50am when all children are allowed on site without adult accompaniment.

End of day collection

From Monday 19th February, we will be opening the gate leading into the KS1 playground at 3:10pm to allow parents to wait here in a safer place until we dismiss the children at 3:15pm. We are unable to open the KS2 playgrounds as our KS2 children line up there in readiness for collection by the parents/carers. I know not all parents are happy with this arrangement, which has now been in place for 18 months, but it is the safest way of ensuring our KS2 children leave the building under the direction of their class teacher/teaching assistant and gather in a place where they can be easily dismissed to their parent. In FS and KS1 this is so much easier as each classroom has it’s own external door, which means that parents can collect from the classroom door. Yes, this does mean that these children aren’t standing in the rain or the cold, especially at this time of year, or even the heat of the summer, which is what the KS2 children have to do, but there is not other solution. I have suggested to the Trust Estates Manager that our LKS2 classrooms need external doors but approval and the finances for building works to realise this project has not been granted. The KS2 children leave their classrooms a few minutes before 3:15pm and walk to their designated collection point. They are only out in the elements for a few minutes unless parents are delayed in collecting. KS2 children can always be collected first and then younger siblings afterwards given that these are the children waiting inside.

From Monday 19th February I ask that any parent who chooses to wait on the KS1 playground stays in this space until the barriers are moved to enable you to collect your child. From a safeguarding point, it is important that we get our KS2 children to their collection points before parents get to these playgrounds.

In the event of a PE lesson taking place on the KS1 playground, the gate will not be opened until the lesson has finished and the children have returned to their classroom.

This new arrangement will begin on Monday 19th February. For this week, the current arrangements will remain in place, i.e. the gates will be opened for parents to enter the site at 3:15pm.

Parent Forum Meeting – Wednesday 21st February

 

Ever wanted to have your say about something we do at school?

Want to know more about why we do things in a particular way at St. Austin’s?

Do you have a suggestion or an idea you would like us to consider?

Interested in learning more about our school and our curriculum?

Then come along to our Parent Forum Meeting on Wednesday 21st February straight after you have dropped your child(ren) off. Tea/coffee and breakfast pastries will be available. Five parents attended the autumn term meeting so let’s see if we can at least double this for the spring term meeting. It’s an informal meeting which gives you the chance to ask questions, make suggestions and get to know other parents. It lasts for approximately an hour and I hope to see you there!

Looking ahead to next half-term… Further details on each of these events nearer the time.

Y5C Class Mass – Monday 4th March at 9.30am

Careers Week – Monday 4th March – Friday 8th March

World Book Day – Thursday 7th March

Science Week – Monday 11th March – Friday 15th March

Mother’s Day – Sunday 10th March

Whole School Mass for Lent – Monday 11th March

Neurodiversity Celebration Week – Wednesday 13th March – Tuesday 19th March

Book Fair – Monday 18th March – Friday 22nd March

KS2 Lenten Reconciliation Service – Monday 18th March

Bikeability for Y1 children – Monday 18th March – Friday 22nd March

Parents’ Evenings – Tuesday 19th and Wednesday 20th March

Holy Week begins Sunday 24th March

Thank you for your continued support. Have a good week everyone and an enjoyable half-term break when it comes.

Mr. Molyneux

Awards

Virtues Award

The following children have demonstrated in school that they are living by this virtue and have been recognised by their class teacher. Parents of children who win the virtue award are invited into school to watch the Celebration Assembly on Friday 9th February at 2.45pm.

RG: Kehinda
RS: Emmanuel
1T: Ugochukwu
1/2T: Jacob H
2B: Vincent
3CD: Pola
3/4MT: Phebe
4B: Haiza
5C: Sandra
5/6C: Amelia G
6B: Adaam

Headteacher Recognition Award

The following children have been chosen by their teacher to receive a personalised letter from our Headteacher, Mr Molyneux .  Parents of children who win the Headteacher award are invited into school to watch the Celebration Assembly on Friday 9th February at 2.45pm.

RG: Taiwo
RS: Efrain
1T: Zainab
1/2T: Jakub L
2B: Amelia
3CD: Nadia P
3/4MT:  Ayaan
4B:Emaan
5C: Victoria
5/6C: Amelia M
6B: Jakob Z

Handwriting Award  

The following children have been chosen by the class teacher as being the Star Handwriter of the week. Winners of this award will be presented with their Handwriting Certificate in class, not at our celebration assembly.

RG: Caden
RS: Ciara
1T: Miloslaw
1/2T: Adachukwu
2B: Chloe
3CD: Livia
3/4MT: Goda
4B: Anabel
5C: Maja L
5/6C: Jasmine
6B: Sinead

Class Attendance Award

Class  5/6 C were the  attendance winners last week with 99.31%. This class will get to spin the attendance wheel.

RG: 97.37%

RS: 94.44%

1T: 98.33%

1/2T: 92.00%

2B: 98.62%

3CD: 98.67%

3/4MT: 98.67%

4B: 92.67%

5C: 97.67%

5/6C: 99.31%

6B: 97.24%

Diary Dates

Monday 5th – Wednesday 7th February – Bikeability instructors in school for Year 5
Monday 5th – Friday 9th February – Children’s Mental Health Week
Friday 9th February – Last day of term before the half term break
Monday 19th February – first day back after the half term break.

Safeguarding Updates

Safer Internet Day 6th February

Top Tips for Mobile Phone Use for children:

1) Talk with your child about responsible use of their phone

Discuss what is okay and not okay to use their phone for. Talk about time limits and expectations of where the device can and cannot be used, this could include things like the phone being charged outside their bedroom overnight.

2) Discuss what to do if something upsetting or worrying happens

Give them the strategies they need in case something concerning happens whilst they are using their device. This could be to lock the screen and tell an adult, to make a report to the platform they are using, or to block the user.

3)Explore parental controls

Take a look at the controls available both on the phone itself and on your home Wi-Fi. Talk these through with your child too. Parental controls are a helpful tool, but an open conversation with your child is the most important thing.

This Safer Internet Day why not explore the helpful topics on the UK Safer Internet Centre website designed for parents and carers

Parents and Carers

Facebook Checklist

Facebook has always been the most frustrating to go through all the settings to make sure they are appropriate to the individual. Thankfully, the days of all the features reverting to their default settings after every update are behind us, but still there is a lot to go through.

SWGfL have updated their Facebook checklist for 2024. Only a small percentage of pupils will be using Facebook, but a lot of parents will be using it so the checklist is accessible here: https://bit.ly/3OlvC2b

General Updates

Children’s Mental Health Week

This week is Children’s Mental Health Week and children are being reminded that ‘Your voice matters’. At St Austin’s Mental Health awareness is at the forefront all year round. We will be using this week to remind children about the importance of taking care of our mental health like our physical health, through an assembly with some of our School Council members, a drop in session with our PSHE lead, Mrs Mills, Daily 1K and increased physical activities and some mindful activities. Children will also be completing questionnaires about their feelings.

As a parent or carer you may have concerns around your child’s mental health.  You may be worried about eating disorders, obsessive behaviours, self-harming, addictions and suicidal ideation.
Help for children can come from several sources, including family, friends, schools and colleges, and the voluntary sector. Charities provide vital and varied interventions via their frontline services, networks, helplines and campaigns. Usually when a child experiences negative emotions such as sadness, anxiety, feeling frightened or worried, these feelings will pass. If they go on for a long time it may be time to seek help from a professional CAMHS stands for child and adolescent mental health services. CAMHS are the NHS service that offers support and treatment for children and young people, aged up to 18 years old, who are experiencing difficulties with their mental health and wellbeing. If you’re a parent or carer of a child or young person under the age of 18, you can contact the Wakefield CAMHS Single Point of Access team directly: Monday to Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm, on 01977 735865.

 

Leavers Hoodies – Year 6 Children only

There is now the opportunity to purchase a Leavers Hoody for your Year 6 child. The hoodies may be worn in school instead of your child’s usual green jumper or cardigan. There will be occasions however, where school may request full standard uniform is still worn, such as  for Mass.

The hoodies will have the St Austin’s logo on the front and then Leavers 24 on the reverse, where all the first names of children in Year 6 will be listed. This is a memorable keepsake for children to mark their final year at St Austin’s. If you would like to purchase a hoody for your child, please log on to your child’s School Money account and visit the ‘shop’ section. Select the desired size by adding this to your basket and then checkout your purchase. Prices range from £16.50 – £18.50.  Last order date for hoodies is Friday 9th February at 9am as the order will be submitted on this day to the manufacturers. No orders after this time can be accepted. As all orders are made to order, parents must ensure that they order the correct size for their child by referring to the sizing guide. School cannot provide any refunds or exchanges. Please note the picture is for illustration purposes only.

 

 


NSPCC Numbers Day

Thank you to everyone who donated to NSPCC’s Number Day last Friday. A total of £220.11 was raised for this excellent cause.

 

Attendance

What to do about the common cold?

Parents often contact school for advice as to whether or not to send their child to school when they have a cold virus.  It’s fine to send your child to school with a minor cough or common cold. But if they have a fever, keep them off school until the fever goes. Encourage your child to throw away any used tissues and to wash their hands regularly.

Our school attendance percentage is below our target, we need everyone to work together to be in school. EVERY DAY MATTERS.

PTA News

If you have any fundraising ideas for the PTA , please message Contact Office on Class Dojo.

Remember, we are always looking for new members to join our friendly team.

Extra-Curricular Activities

If your child in involved in clubs or sports teams outside of school and you would like your child’s efforts to be recognized by our school community, please email a brief description and a photo to: admin@sa.bkcat.co.uk.

 

 

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