Newsletter 10th February - Issue 20
We are proud to say...
A message from Mr Barton
Ask anyone who works in a primary school what time of the day is busiest and "lunchtime" will often be the reply. Often in schools, lunchtimes throw up a range of issues from first aid to behaviour and teachers and teaching assistants only just about manage to find time to eat something between all the other jobs they have to do such as marking the morning's work or setting up for the afternoon. Throw into the mix the opening up of the Playpod with all its myriad items of scrap all over the playground and there can be a feeling of chaos in a typical primary school between the hours of noon and 1pm!
It was therefore a real pleasure for me to experience a very different sort of lunch hour on Tuesday this week, when I stepped in as a lunchbreak supervisor. Maybe it was the sunshine, or the end of term feeling in the air, but 'chaos' was certainly not the way to describe it. I spent the vast majority of the time simply watching the children play, giving out library tickets to those who wished to borrow books, and admiring the very good behaviour and co-operation going on around me.
Of course those who work very hard every day in the playground at lunchtime will no doubt have something to say about this idyllic picture I'm painting, and will quite rightly insist that it is down to their enormous efforts that lunchtimes work so well. I don't doubt this for a minute and would like to pay tribute to our lunchtime staff for the way they have built up a system over the years that really works I was privileged to experience a particularly good day on Tuesday, but this was not surprising, given the wonderful children that we are so fortunate to have at Pensford.
Sadly, though, one of those children will be leaving us this term. As mentioned in the newsletter of 13th January, Tatiana's mum, Mrs Williams, has secured a new job and will be moving home as a result. We will miss both of them very much as each in their own way has brought a lot of happiness, hard work and excellence to our school. I'm sure that you will enjoy reading Mrs Williams' message to everybody below. Goodbye and good luck to both of you!
Have a very enjoyable break over half-term. We look forward to welcoming the children back on Tuesday, 21st February.
A farewell from Mrs Williams
It has been an absolute pleasure to work with the children, staff and parents at Pensford School over the past 18 months. I have really enjoyed being here and wish to thank you all for your support and cooperation during my time at Pensford. Tatiana was made very welcome when she joined the school earlier this year and has made lots of friends. We will both be sad to leave and wish you all well for the future.
Sarah & Tatiana
Kingfisher Class Assembly
We would like to thank all the parents who came to see Kingfisher deliver their class assembly on Thursday. The children wrote the words themselves and spoke well about the many different activities that they have seen as highlights of the year so far. From Roald Dahl Day, to their examination of real hearts with our governor Dr Parker, from the highs of their sporting achievements in football and rugby to the nicely-skipped-over lows of the county tournament and from the achievement of the maths competition to the enjoyment of their art with visiting governor Mrs Hunt, they related the story of their very varied year so far. The children also performed a song on the brass instruments they have been learning and we would like to congratulate them on an impressive performance in the assembly. Next term it will be Dragonfly class's turn, on Friday, 31st March.
Pensford - one of the country's "Top primary schools" (really!)
Although this news is not exactly hot off the press (having been in the Times newspaper back in December) the school league tables for 2016 were brought to our attention this week. We are pleased to say that, on the measure of Year 6 attainment used by the Times to rank schools, Pensford were 8th in BANES last year.
This is clearly an achievement to be very proud of. Although it is now almost a year since Mr Miller joined the school and started his hard work with last year's Year 6 pupils, we would like to thank him, the rest of the staff involved, the parents, and of course the pupils for all their efforts that caused this success.
Already, of course, our current Year 6 cohort are gearing up for their tests in May. It is pleasing to note that even in their first practice test (taken this week) the results show that, as a group, they have made more progress in maths during their time in Key Stage 2 than the 2016 results showed for last year. They have a lot of hard work ahead of them in Term 4, and Mr Barton will be supporting Mr Miller, Mrs Croucher and Mrs Tidcome in helping Year 6 to do their best while teaching the Year 5 curriculum to the younger children in Kingfisher class.
This does mean that Mr Barton will not be continuing to teach Otter and Kingfisher on Thursday afternoons next term. Instead, we are delighted that Mrs Bills will be returning to take over that teaching while the class teachers plan, prepare and assess their lessons. Mrs Bills will teach art to both Key Stage 2 classes, allowing Mr Barton to devote his teaching time to supporting Kingfisher in the mornings next term.
Healthier Lunches. Will you take up the challenge?
You may remember that in the New Year we launched a healthier Breakfast Club menu, which is now in full swing. We also invited parents to hear about the quality of the ingredients sources by Fresh Range for our school meals and Mr Barton's Monday assemblies have been about 'Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies' this term.
Part of this work on becoming a much healthier school has involved a survey of packed lunches, taken on Monday 31st January. In the results of this anonymous survey, it was good to see that the most popular drink children had was water and that the vast majority included at least one portion of fruit. On the other hand, the number of 'treat' foods (such as crisps, biscuits, cake, chocolate etc) exceeded the number of pupils who completed the survey, telling us that in some cases at least more than one 'treat' was included!
Next term, we want to encourage as many pupils and parents as possible to help us improve the standards of food eaten by our pupils. One way to do this is to take up a school meal for one extra day per week. The school meals will be even more healthy as we try out a 'sugar smart' menu involving only fruit and yoghurt for dessert on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Another way is to make one small change to lunchboxes. If you and your children decide to take part, pupils having a packed lunch will be able to tap a few buttons on an iPad as they leave the hall to register their healthier choices. Points will be given for including any of these items in your child's lunchbox:
- wholemeal or brown bread
- salad included in sandwiches
- each portion of vegetables
- each portion of fruit
- choosing water as your only drink
To be eligible to register these choices, though, pupils should have no more than one 'treat' food in their lunchbox. Treats are: crisps, biscuits, cake, chocolate or other items with a high sugar or salt content. Sugary drinks should not be brought to school at all.
Also, every pupil who has a school meal will be given three points and five if they eat all of it. We will celebrate the healthiest eaters at the end of term. The points will be tracked using a separate part of Class Dojo. We will trial this system in the first week back, and the points will start to accumulate from Week 2. From then, you will be able to request details of how to track the points on the Class Dojo app if you are interested. Remember that this initiative is completely voluntary though.
End of Term Reports
You should have received a paper copy of your child's end of term report today. In response to parent feedback, we have now colour-coded these to show more clearly how well your child is doing with their learning. We have updated our parent guide to the reports, which can be found in the 'useful links' section of the Parents tab above, or by clicking here.
We really have been working hard to increase the number of off-site trips built in to our curriculum this year. So far the trips to the Roman Baths, the Tobacco Factory Theatre and Forest School have been very successful and we are pleased to announce plans for Kingfisher class to undertake another trip, this time to Bath Abbey as part of their Easter celebrations. We are very pleased to announce that a bid to the Elizabeth Pine's Foundation has been successful in partially funding this trip, so the cost to parents will be significantly reduced. More details will come out nearer the time of the trip, which is planned for Tuesday, 28th March. We are very grateful to the Elizabeth Pine's Foundation for this funding.
We are also looking forward to an exciting trip for Year 1 and 2 children. They will be visiting the Apple Store in Cabot Circus on 24th March to try out some creative ICT as part of their art topic next term. Again, costs to parents will not be great because the activities are free and we only need to cover the cost of transport.
We are also working on an opportunity for Reception to visit the forest school and more details on all of this will be coming out in due course.
Pupil Survey Results
As promised, you can find the results of our pupil survey carried out last Friday here. These give a positive view of the school from the children's perspective, as you will see. The school council will have an opportunity to look at these and examine how we might further embed our school values into school life.