St Cecilia's News
St Cecilia's Catholic Primary School - October 2019
Autumn Half Term
The first few weeks of term have flown by and we find ourselves at half term. I hope that the start of the school year has gone well for you. A big welcome to all our new parents, it has been great to see you all taking to Class Dojo and our other systems so quickly and lovely to see your children settle in to school.
We have been extra busy in school as we managed the change in staffing since our reorganisation plan was put in to effect at the end of the school term. Redundancies are never easy, especially in a small community. Our staff have done very well to pull together make the necessary changes so that the children's education can continue with little impact.
I am very grateful to our staff who now have additional duties and our teaching assistants in particular - they now work across the lunch hour and have been working through new processes to make the lunchtime work for all.
Many thanks to all those parents who wrote to politicians last term to raise the issue of school funding. We have since heard from our current Prime Minister that the message has been received and that more funding is on the way. I will keep you updated with information as soon as we receive confirmed allocations for the new financial year.
I have been in discussions with our caterer to improve the school lunches in recent weeks, they are generally good but not without issue at times.
There is now a new bains-marie for custards and gravies and portion sizes are now being more carefully controlled. If you have any comments on the catering at school please send them through to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put Catering in the subject line, we will collate repsonses for our catering manager when he next visits us after half term.
Many thanks for your support for our initiative to improve the children's use of cutlery - there is still some way to go - please encourage the correct use of a knife and fork at home. We will continue to prompt the children in school - it's a very important life skill!
We welcome Miss Pearson to Reception Class, she is covering Mrs Dean's maternity cover until the end of the school year.
We also welcome Mrs Mitchell to Y5, she is covering Mrs King's maternity cover for the remainder of the year.
Term dates and school calendar
Please keep an eye on our online school calendar for details of events that are coming up in the school year. Class teachers will keep in touch with you via Class Dojo as events draw closer.
What we are working on
We are about to invest in new reading scheme books to supplement some of our existing stock, many of our books are also now ready to be replaced. Miss J Moore is leading our work in English, we have recently agreed a new schedule for guided whole class, group and individual reading in class. Please make sure that your child has their reading book in class each day! Children need to read from a wide variety of quality authors, better readers make better writers. Please try to hear your child read aloud now and again and note reading in the reading contact book.
Writing is a key focus for us, it's the most important aspect of our work at the moment. We are making many changes to our practice to work as effectively as possible with our children. Last year we invested in new learning programmes to support the planning of lessons. We also developed learning checklists in writing so that children have a clear idea of next steps.
Our recent training day was with Alan Peat. He was working with staff on non fiction writing, ensuring that we are working as one as a team, with common principles in teaching and a common understanding of key aspects of our teaching routines and practice.
This year the children will work towards regular significant pieces of writing, we are calling these "stepping stones," we expect to see two or three of these each half term. The children are also practising their handwriting each morning, please make sure of on time attendance - it is often the first activity of the day.
You can help us by enabling your child to have a wide variety of experiences and to talk about those experiences at the time. With our younger pupils, lots of fine motor activities at home can really help with building strength for good handwriting, even doing the washing up!
Keeping you informed
This is assessment week where the children complete a variety of independent tasks so that the teaching staff can assess their current level of achievement. This judgement is then balanced with current work in books and understanding shown in learning activity to form an assessment result. We will publish the results to you before the Parent Teacher Meetings.
Our Autumn Term data report will be the second published from Pupil Asset in the new levels of attainment. The report will come home to you before the Parent Teacher Meetings (via email, not the app) so that you can prepare any questions for the class teacher about your child's attainment. Mrs Martin and I are also available on the night to answer any attainment questions. As we involve the children more and more in using checklists to assess their own level of working, we hope that as a community we can make use of greater information to ensure progress for all children.
All children should have an appropriate level of challenge to get them to the next level, for some children they need to make more rapid progress in order to catch up.
Please check in with your child's teacher to discuss if your child is a High, Middle or Low achiever and what that means for their work in the classroom.
Children on the SEN register working at a level below their year group may receive a report from Pupil Asset which simply shows working below. We are working with teachers to add additional data to the system so that we can measure progress more clearly for you. This may arrive later than other reports.
This Friday afternoon we will send home our first half termly attendance report, it will come to your email as a pdf file. The report will show attendance since the start of term and any late minutes accrued. Mrs Martin or I will be in touch with families where we have a concern about attendance.
Reading Buddy and Library Volunteers
If you are able to support with book lending in the library and have a love for the Dewey system we would be glad for some help in the afternoons - please get in touch!
All Reading Buddy and library volunteers require a DBS check, the school arranges and pays for the check. Volunteers undertake some simple safeguarding training as part of the volunteering process.
Pastoral Care Assistant
Children are allocated to Mrs Foxen's workload through the Senior Leadership Team / SENDCo. If however you feel that your child would benefit from someone other than their class teacher to talk to please get in touch with Mrs Foxen via the school office. Whilst Mrs Foxen may have simple conversations in the classroom or playground if we need to help solve a pastoral issue, she will always contact a parent before commencing a longer support strategy with their child.
Mrs Foxen is also our link person for our children living with autism and she links with Mrs Gallant as SENDCo, the local authority and specialists in this field on a regular basis. Parents of children with autism may therefore hear from Mrs Foxen as part of her new role.
PTA Annual General Meeting
It will take place at 7pm. on Tuesday 29th October, we will have refreshments available. We will also be starting to make plans for our Christmas Fair which is taking place on a Friday evening this year - Friday 29th November.
Please enter via the car park gates on Clarkes Avenue and come along to the school library.
Parent Teacher Meetings - Save the dates
When logging in, please make sure to use the name and email address registered with the school, the name has to exactly as entered on our database.
Parent Teacher Meetings take place on:
Monday 4th November (Mrs Gallant is available in the SEN Department on this night)
and Thursday 7th November.
Y1 Phonics Workshop
We have some workshops coming up for Year 1 parents on our Phonics Programme and the Year 1 Phonics Check.
Wednesday 13 November at 9am
Tuesday 19 November at 6pm.
Please look out for the invitations from the booking system to reserve your place. We have also updated our webpage on phonics, see the link below.
Understanding Your Child - Research project with UCL
Thursday, Oct. 31st, 9-9:45am
St Cecilia's Catholic Primary School, Worcester Park, Sutton, UK
Worcester Park, England
We have been approached by researchers at University College London to collaborate on a project looking at whether skills important to future life success (i.e. memory, concentration, self-control, fluid intelligence) can be trained in children. Such skills are very important predictors for present and future well-being and success and I can imagine that this would be of some interest.
The researchers have designed a training programme that can be delivered via a computer. The training is delivered both at home and at school for a duration of 8 weeks. Each week, children would participate in four 15-minute training sessions and one of these would be at school.
Before and after the training, children and parents are invited to come to UCL to participate in a series of games and tests so that the effects of the training can be evaluated. The team, which is based at the Developmental Change and Plasticity Lab at UCL, is a young, dynamic and engaging group of researchers headed by Dr. Nik Steinbeis - see the link below for their website.
We are very excited by this opportunity and hope that you feel it would beneficial to your family. Having talked to Dr Steinbeis at some length I feel he has some interesting ideas worthy of consideration about the nature of learning and education.
Dr. Steinbeis and his team would clearly benefit from coming into a school such as ours, we have such a committed community and I know many parents would welcome greater insight into their children. Equally, our children could benefit from having this opportunity to consider aspects of their intellectual make up such as memory, concentration and self control.
Dr Steinbeis is coming to the school to give a presentation to all parents about the project and what it involves on Thursday 31 October at 9am. His presentation will last around half an hour.
Please let us know if you are interested and able to come through the email RSVP below.
If you are unable to attend the session with Dr Steinbeis but would like to take part please email email@example.com - put UCL Research in the subject line, we will then get back to you once the talk has taken place with further information.
RSVPs are enabled for this event.
Heathwatch Sutton Survey - Years 5&6
Parents of children in Years 5 and 6 should look out for an information letter and permission slip, please return this to us as soon as possible.
Sutton School Nursing Open Day
London Fire Brigade (Sutton) Visit
Please have a chat with your child about what they learnt in the assembly (Years 3-6.)
Half term already!
I have been absent for the last two weeks after a fall at school, I have injured my ribs. I will be back after half term, apologies if you have been looking for me. It couldn't have come at a worse time, school is very busy, many thanks to all the team back at the ranch for covering for me.
With best wishes for some happy family times over the half term break,