Dear Parents and Carers
What a wonderful Year Six sharing ssembly we had on Friday 20 May! I was so proud to be in the hall and see all the marvellous work that had been occuring, over time. The children pointed out that they had only thirty six days, left at Horsenden. They will all be so ready to move on to High Schools. The parents/carers who did attend were given a real treat and thank you to the parent who stood up at the end to give a short speech.
The Year 4 children who attended Lincolnsfield Children's Centre returned, safely, all having had a wonderful time! We kept in touch with them, regularly, as you would expect; everyone was surprised/horrified that the children woke at 5.30 am on the first sleepover there! They all looked healthy and happy on their return, which was Wednesday 18 May... just before the end of the school day. Those children who had not gone on the trip had a wonderful time participating in all the events Miss Hannah and Mrs Bapna had prepared for them. Year 4 had an eventful week as, on the Thursday, they had been invited to see the first ever show by William Perkin students, which was 'Little Shop of Horrors'. They walked all the way there and all the way back, enjoying the show in the middle! I went to see it too and we were all excited to see many of out ex-Horsenden pupils starring in the show. Just as Year 4 arrived back, the first set of Year 6 girls who had been out at a cricket match, turned up, obviously having had a wonderful time. The second set of children, in a different mini-cab, were not due back until later so I did not hear how much they had enjoyed the event but I am sure they did and having these opportunities to participate in sporting events, although messy to organise, is just wonderful for the children attending.
Although you received the April Newsletter a few weeks ago, we are busy preparing the May one and you should receive this before we break up for half term. In that you will hear about it being Miss Denise's (Place2Be) and Miss Bourke's (a teacher at the school who, this year, has been covering other teachers' times out of class) last days at Horsenden as they are both leaving to live in other countries! Miss Denise's last day is Thursday 26 May and she will be living in Ireland and Miss Bourke's is Wednesday 25 May. She will be going back to Australia. We will miss them both and (obviously) wish they were not leaving but wish them every happiness in their futures. If you know either of them, you may wish to say your goodbyes. Miss Fernandes has been working with Miss Denise so that there will be a smooth transition regarding Place2Be.
The second 'Internet Safety' session, for Key Stage 2 parents/carers took place from 9.00 am to 10.00 am, on Wednesday 18 May and was run by a local authority expert called Mark Robinson, a regular visitor to the school and someone who advises us on information technology issues. He then took the Year 5 and Year 6 for sessions throughout the morning.
On Friday morning (13 May) the Key Stage 1 hall was full of parents coming in to share the phonics session being run by the Year 1 members of staff, with an initial input by Miss Borsig. After her short introduction about the Phonics Test, coming up soon, those who attended were able to go into the classrooms and participate in what was happening with their children. Year 1 had decided to do this instead of having a sharing assembly. Miss Borsig told me, at the end of Friday 13 May, that she had had very positive feedback and had taken on board all the suggestions made about future sessions eg what about running maths sessions? Since the event, two sets of parents/carers have sent in information, which have been passed on to Miss Borsig, saying that they would really like a Year 1 sharing assembly. What year groups do to share what they are doing is in the hands of the Year Groups, themselves.
Just in case parents/carers are interested, Miss Borsig gave me a book entitled, 'A-Z of Grammar' and, although it was for teachers, with grammar being such an 'in' thing, at the moment, I thought you may like to order it. There is a copy with Mrs O'Connor, in the office, if you wish to see it BUT...some of you might find it useful...especially if you did not come through a time when grammar was taught! The ISBN number is ISBN 978-0-00-817292-3. I thought it looked quite good! When I was young, we actually had been taught grammar at primary school but that was a long, long time ago!
Most of you will be aware that the testing season is upon us and the Year 6 SATs took place from Monday 9 May and finished within the same week. This year, I am calling it a 'testing' time... as it certainly has been!!! I can say that everyone worked very hard... pupils and members of staff! Having seen all the papers and having worked as the headteacher here for 23 years, the tests were, without doubt (in my opinion), MUCH harder that they have ever been! I am sure that you have seen all the media coverage about the tests and so I am not saying anything that hasn't been said already. The Year 2 tests extend over a longer period of time and still continue. Thanks to those Year 2 teachers who have been making sure the children are feeling as little stress as possible during their 'testing' times! (I am sure that you, the parents/carers, have been trying to do the same while being as encouraging as possible.) Pupils in those (and other) year groups will have received information, via the Year Leaders, regarding what assessments are taking place and you will know that non-statutory testing is taking place in years 3, 4 and 5. The last Year 2 test is taking place on Friday 20 May and it is the second reading paper. The Year 1 Phonics Screening Check Week starts on Monday 13 June and extends until Friday 17 June (inclusive). The teachers involved in doing the phonics checks, with the children are Miss Borsig, Mrs Francis and Mr Murphy.
For those of you who knew Anne Szczepanska, who was a valued volunteer at the school for many, many years, an active church member (at All Hallows) and a highly thought of member in our community, there is a memorial service being held on Sunday 29 May, at midday, at All Hallows. She died towards the end of last year. As it is during the first week of half term, many school members will be away but a service is being planned on a different date in the future when members of staff will be able to attend. I will confirm the date when it is know but we are hoping it will be a date in November, 2016.
We hope that you will notice the dispays being put together in shared areas and the Key Stage 1 library. We are trying to promote reading and the displays in these areas should reflect what is being read in the classrooms. Some of the displays going up in the Key Stage 2 building, this week, are really ambitious. I am sure, when they are finished, you will be able to come and see them in order to admire what you see!!
We continue to try and improve the communication in the school and so many of you have said how much you appreciate what is uploaded to the website, by year group teams, as well as others. Miss Holden ensures that the quality of what is on our web site is of a high standard, so thanks to her. It must be wonderful to see what your children are doing, each and every day! We try to find out what we can do to improve and consider all the comments which come to us, whether names or anonymously. I did have one anonymous letter, which I copied to all Year Leaders, saying that children had been seen in just PE kit, on a particular Friday, when the weather was rather cold. As the information was undated, all I could do was copy it to members of staff so that everyone knew that the concern had been brought to me. Whilst I appreciate why some parents may wish to write in anonymously, it is far more difficult to fix a problem which is non-specific and I am sure that you can all understand why this would be the case.
Miss Borsig, our Key Stage 1 Manager, has given a really high profile to children NOT kicking, in Year 1, particularly, and I am supporting her in trying to keep the profile high in this area. All the Year 1 parents will know about this and also why they have received information about promoting the message, at home, with their children. She is introducing a 'kicking' slip to send home so that, if a child is seen to kick, you will receive this slip. In this way, we will gradually, through talking and explaining how dangerous it can be to kick, stop kicking altogether.
It will be interesting to see what will happen, regarding attendance, about the recent court case where a parent took his child out of school for a family holiday. If you have been following this story you will know all about it. The judgement went with the parent and not the authority, which was the Isle of Wight and I think I can say that that is NOT what would have been expected. Watch this space! As of Thursday 19 May, I have had no updates from the Department for Education!
We continue to publicise the achievements of our pupils outside of school, click on the `Home' tab, followed by the `Achievements Outside of School' tab. Recent uploads to this section include hearing about Muhammad's karate achievements and Tusara's awards from the Ealing Festival. Miss Holden always enjoys hearing about the marvellous achievements outside of school. Feel free to contact her on email@example.com and share the news of any achievements. Miss Holden, in turn, will share the news with the rest of the world!
Remember, class photgraph day is on Tuesday 24 May!
Mrs Walton :)