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Newsletter Autumn Term 1 - 8.9.14


Autumn Term 2014 - Newsletter 1

8th September 2014

Dear Parents/Carers,

Welcome back! An extra special welcome to the children who have joined us in Reception and in several other classes, as well as our four new members of staff: Mr Moss, who is teaching Sycamore Class; Mrs Besley who is in Lime Class part time; Mrs Norman who is working as a teaching assistant in Chestnut Class and Mrs Haynes who will be working part time as a TA in various classes.

Apologies for the long length of this letter. There seems to be a huge amount of information to share about the new term and due to various government initiatives resulting in school policy changes this September.

New Curriculum

Teachers have been working hard over the last few months to develop a new school curriculum that provides exciting  and engaging learning opportunities and meets the requirements of the new National Curriculum that comes into force this month. We aim to have a curriculum that is distinctive and will really make use of our locality - the school site, the village and local community, and beyond, and reflects the interests of staff and pupils. You will shortly be receiving curriculum newsletters from your child’s teachers with more details about what this term’s curriculum will include.

Class Meetings

As in previous years, parents are invited to a brief after school class meeting for each class where your child will be able to show you their new classroom and teachers will explain the routines and expectations for the class. this will also be a chance for you to have an informal chat with the teacher about any concerns. These will take place next week straight after school on:

Willow Tree Class -  17.09.14

Lime Tree Class -     15.09.14

Sycamore Tree Class - 18.09.14

Chestnut Tree Class -  19.09.14

Class Assemblies

Parents are warmly invited to our class assemblies. These are a chance to share and celebrate each class’s learning and for children to gain confidence in speaking in front of an audience from an early age; one of our school aims:

Willow/Lime Tree Classes -  10th October 09.00

Sycamore Tree Class -  7th November 09.00

Chestnut Tree Class -   17th October 09.00


Children in Y3-6 will be swimming at Stowmarket pool this term, starting this Thursday. A letter with a permission slip has already been sent home. Please make sure this is returned as soon as possible. Children will not be able to go if the letter has not been returned.  Copies of letters are available at the office and on the website.

Forest School

We are delighted to be rolling out Forest School sessions in our wonderful Whispering Woods to the whole school this year. Children in Reception and Y1&2 will have a weekly session. The older classes will have take turns in half-term blocks, starting with Sycamore Class this half term. A letter has already gone home to these classes.

Harvest Festival - We have a provisional date for Harvest Festival which is 5th October at 9.00 in church, should this date                                                                                                                                                  change we will inform you as soon as possible. Children are asked to bring in shoe boxes of harvest gifts which are then sold and the money donated to a charity.

Behaviour Policy

Golden Time will continue following its successful trial last term. This is 30 minutes of special activities each week that children have as a reward for keeping the school rules. If a school rule is broken by a child, 5 minutes of Golden Time is lost (usually after a warning). Staff and children agree that this has been a really good incentive. The Friends of the school have kindly agreed to give £100 for each class to buy some new resources for Golden Time, which will make it an even bigger incentive!

This year are also introducing Behaviour Forms. For more serious behaviour incidents, a Red Behaviour Form will be completed. If children go over and above the expected high standard of behaviour and do something particularly positive, a Green Positive Behaviour Form will be completed to recognise this. In both instances, the child will be sent to me with their form and a copy sent home for parents to see.


REMINDER - As mentioned last term, we will be making sure that everyone’s uniform is of the expected standard this year. Please remember that jewellery should not be worn and earrings should be small studs only. Socks and tights are plain grey, white or black only.


*IMPORTANT INFORMATION* - As you may have heard in the media, Suffolk County Council is now issuing penalty notices with a £60 fine per child from each parent for unauthorised absences, including term time holidays i.e. parents with 2 children would be fined a total of £240. Please read the accompanying letter from Suffolk County Council about this.

We have also received some new, very sensible advice from Suffolk County Council about time off for children when they have sickness or diarrhoea. In the past, parents have been told to keep children off school for 48hrs after symptoms stop. We have now been advised that parents can take a more flexible, measured approach. If a child has obviously been very ill or there is a nasty bug going around, it would still make sense for them to have 48hrs off and there may be times when we ask parents to keep to the 48hr rule. However, in many circumstances, it makes sense for children to return to school more quickly, providing they are better, and parents are now free to make this judgement.

Finally, following the success of the Punctuality Certificates given to children for being time for school every day, we will be giving out special certificates to recognise when childrens have 100% attendance in a term. If a child has one term with 100% attendance, they will be awarded a Bronze Award, two terms earns a Silver Award and if they manage the whole year with no absences, they will be awarded Gold. These can be awarded in any term - for example, if a child has bouts of illness in autumn and spring terms, they could still be awarded Bronze for the summer term.

PE Kit

Last term too many children were unable to take part in PE lesson because they did not have their PE Kit in school, some for several weeks. PE is an essential part of the curriculum and it is crucial that children have their kit in school every day. More details about what kit is needed will be in each class’s Curriculum Newsletter.

Special Educational Needs (SEN) Reforms

Thank you to those who responded to the  consultation letter sent out jointly with other pyramid primary schools about the SEN reforms and the information schools supply for parents.

The new government SEN Code of Practice now in place. The school’s draft SEN Policy and ‘Local Offer’ (now renamed ‘Information Report’ by the DFE) outlining how the school supports children with SEN are available on the school website http://www.wvcpschool.com/home/other-info/special-educational-needs--disablity (or hard copies from the office). Any feedback from parents about the content of both of these would be very welcome. I will be in touch with parents of children with SEN in the next few weeks to arrange to meet them individually .

Supporting Pupils with Medical Conditions

New guidance has also come out to ensure that schools support children with medical conditions, ranging from taking short term medication, to those with longer term conditions such as asthma and epilepsy. It also outlines parents’ obligations, for example, making sure the school is kept up to date with information. A draft policy for this is also available on the website http://www.wvcpschool.com/home/school-policies (or a hard copy from the office) and, again, any feedback would be very welcomed, particularly from parents of children with long-term medical conditions.

All parents need to be aware of the following changes:

  • any child with a medical condition (eg asthma) will need parents and the school to complete a Healthcare Plan with more detail about triggers, treatment etc (we will get in touch with affected families shortly)

  • Schools are now obliged to administer medicine when needed. However, it is still very strongly recommended that medicines are administered out of school hours where at all possible. For example, antibiotics take 3 times a day can be taken before school, after school and before bed.

Attached items:

There always seems to be a wad of paperwork for parents at the beginning of each school year, but please take the time to look at the documents that come home with this letter and complete and return any forms  by Monday 15th September. They include:

  • Authorisation for Collecting Children -  For your child’s safety, please make sure you return the form stating who is authorised to collect your child if you have not done this before or there are any changes.

  • Responsible Use Agreement - Staying safe online (eSafety) in incredibly important for children. As part of this, please go through the attatached Responsible Use Agreement with your child(ren) and return a signed copy to school

  • Data Collection Sheet - please check carefully, especially emergency contact information and return to school,

  • Letter from Suffolk County Council re Penalty Notices - as explained above

Ice bucket Challenge

And finally...just as I was congratulating myself on escaping nomination over the summer for the MND ice bucket challenge, I received an email from Emily and Bryn Thomas nominating me, complete with a video of their challenge (in warm, sunny France, I add). If you would like to see me getting cold and wet (and I really hate getting cold and wet), you can see me take part at the end of the school day on Friday. Emily and Bryn will be passing round buckets for more donations! I’m not sure who I will nominate yet ...

Vicky Doherty



15th September  - DEADLINE FOR RETURN OF COMPLETED FORMS sent out with this newsletter

15th September - Lime Class meeting

17th September - Willow class meeting

18th September  -  Sycamore class meeting

19th September  - Chestnut class meeting

5th October - Provisional date for Harvest Festival

10th October -  Willow/Lime class assembly

17th October - Chestnut class assembly

7th November - Sycamore class assembly

Term Dates - 2014/15 School Year

3rd September to 19th December

Half-term 27th to 31th October

5th January to 27th March

Half-term 16th to 20th February

13th April to 22nd July

Half-term 25th - 29th May

PD Days

24th October 2014

5th January 2015

23rd February 2015

Please note: all future letters/newsletters will be emailed to the email address provided by you on the data collection sheet. If you would prefer to receive letters by paper please advise the school office.

Parent Response Slip

Either email or send in a paper version for the attention of the Headteacher.

Name of parent  ________________________ Date _______________

Comment  (items in this letter )

Thank you for taking the time to respond. Your views are listened to and given careful consideration..