Friday, 28 September 2012

When I walked around school this morning it felt like I was walking around Epcot because as I entered each classroom it was like entering a different country. As some of you may know this is because we are celebrating the European Day of Languages today to help children appreciate the traditions and cultures of our European neighbours. Each class is studying a different country and on Monday morning in assembly the different classes will be sharing with each other some of the learning that they have covered today.

Today is a particularly good day for Year 6 because this afternoon they have been invited to Lochinver School to meet the famous author Darren Shan. Some of his more well- known books include ‘Cirque du Freak’ and ‘The Vampire’s Assistant’. Experiences like this are good for the children because by meeting someone in person who has had success in writing it helps motivate them in their own writing and who knows – it may inspire one of them to dedicate their life to becoming a published author. It is always good to let the children see that anything is possible.

A lot is happening for parents in school next week. On Wednesday at 2.30pm there is the PTA AGM which is going to be held in the school hall. This is where the PTA share what has happened during the last year and inform you of how the money raised has been spent. It is also where the officers for the next year are nominated and voted in. If at least 25 parents do not attend the meeting is not considered quorate and technically we could have no school PTA. This would be disastrous for the school because the money raised makes a big difference to the lives of the pupils and in recent years they have purchased essential items for the school such as computers, lap tops and the KS2 library as well as many other items which help to enrich the learning of the children. By attending the meeting you are not committing yourself to being on the PTA committee. Refreshments will be served and after the meeting has ended (which will be in time for the end of the school day) parents whose children attend after school clubs will be welcome to stay until their child’s club has finished.

I am also looking forward to next week when I hope to see lots of you at our ‘Harvest Coffee Morning’ which will be held on Friday morning. Although this is a great social occasion it does have a more serious undertone in that all the money raised goes to charity. However it is only a great success thanks to all your generosity in both your donation of cakes and biscuits and your donations of money during the actual event. Remember that you can start to send in your cakes and biscuits from Wednesday onwards. If you are using Tupperware containers or tins to send in your goods please ensure they are labelled so they can be returned to you. I am sure that it will be a great success as always.

Friday, 21 September 2012

What a week it has been. I could have been quite a local celebrity if I had accepted all the opportunities that I had been offered to speak on the local radio. I am, of course, referring to the ‘Chickengate’ saga and the belief that the school were being forced to get rid of the chickens because of the health and safety department at the council. Since I sent out my newsletter you will now know that this is not the case. I understand that the people who created the petition site to keep the chickens thought they were acting in the best interests of the school but what I would ask is that in future, if anybody would like to support the school could they please contact me so that firstly, I know what is being said about the school in the media and secondly, they can check that they have all the facts correct. Not only have I had to deal with constant calls from the press I have had to apologise to Welwyn and Hatfield council who were falsely accused of making us get rid of the chickens which they did not do. They were very unhappy at the allegations that were made against them and we are very lucky that they are not taking further action. This has been a very time consuming activity when quite frankly my time could have been better spent doing other things in school - such as focusing on the education of the children. I would also like to say to the two parents who did contact environmental health about how we were keeping the chickens that if they had any concerns that they could have firstly come and spoke to me and then, if they were not happy with how I responded to their concerns that would possibly have been the best time to contact environmental health.

On a happier note we have decided to relocate the chickens to the wildlife area where they will have a fenced area in which to wander freely during the day. The children will be able to go and see them although they will have to be supervised at all times during these visits to ensure that they follow the correct hygiene rules when handling birds. If any parents are not happy for their children to have contact with the chickens I will be sending home a letter with a slip for them to complete so we have this information on record.

Hopefully next week will be a more normal week with the focus being on everyday school activities. Something that is slightly out of the ordinary is that we are having the individual pupil photographs taken on Monday morning so everyone will have to make sure they are extra clean and well presented. We do ask that if possible the KS2 children wear their winter uniform.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Our first full week in school is over and the holidays really are a dim and distant memory. The good weather has sort of lasted and there is a very exciting vibe in school as all the school clubs have started again.

We had the ‘Meet the Teacher’ meetings in school last night where the class teachers outlined their expectations for their class for the coming year. Everyone who attended seemed very happy with what they had heard which is pleasing to know. Some parents said that they could not come and wanted separate appointments but the things that are discussed in these sessions do not apply to individual children and if you need to know what is happening in your child’s class then there are the class blogs which the teachers update weekly with information as to what is happening in your child’s class. Some people also felt upset that we do not allow children to attend the ‘Meet the Teacher’ sessions but this was done at the request of some parents who feel more comfortable asking some questions without the children present. We will be having the teacher consultation sessions at the end of October where you will be updated on your child’s progress by the class teacher but if you have any issues about your child before then you can always arrange an appointment with the class teacher to discuss them in private. I was disappointed that some parents ignored the request not to bring children and left their children unsupervised in the building while they attended the meeting even though they knew they should not be doing this.

We have no major events happening in school next week but we do have some coming up soon. We are having our ‘European Day of Languages’ on September 28th and our ‘Harvest Festival Coffee Morning’ is on October 5th. There is also the PTA quiz night on October 6th and the Annual Rotary Club firework display on November 3rd so there is plenty to look forward to in our school calendar and I look forward to seeing many of you at these events.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Welcome back to everybody. I hope you all had a fabulous holiday and are all feeling well rested. I had a great holiday but it is amazing how quickly it can become a distant memory once you have been back at work for a couple of days. We have had a lovely start to the term and the sunny weather has helped to make it a pleasant return for everybody. We have a lot planned for this term and we start next week with our ‘Meet the Teacher’ meetings. You will already know about these from the newsletter that I sent out yesterday and for those of you who have never been to one they are for parents only so they can find out what is expected from their children for the coming year and it also gives parents an opportunity to ask the teachers any questions about the academic year ahead. Children are not invited as in the past parents have asked for this as they feel a little freer asking the teachers about certain matters without the children being present. In the past parents have ignored this complaining that they have no childcare but as the teachers are all busy on this night we do not have any childcare facilities either and it is not acceptable to have children wandering around the building unsupervised so please do not bring them into school on this occasion.

All the school clubs start again next week and that is when I truly feel that school life returns to normal. Hopefully you will have received a timetable of when all the school clubs are available –the clubs that are run by external providers are not on the list as parents make their own arrangements with these groups. Once the children attend a club their name will be put on a register so if your child is unable to attend or does not wish to continue could you please inform the school as we need to keep our registers up to date for safety reasons.

That is all for now. The good weather is supposed to last over the weekend so let us all make the most of it while it lasts as we tend to have a long winter in this country.