Dear Parents and Carers
We have reached the end of this half term and it has been lovely to see how much progress the children have made. The youngest children have settled in brilliantly and enjoying all their learning opportunities both indoors and outside, the oldest are rising to the challenges and expectations set to prepare them fully for transition to secondary school, and all those in between seem to be fully engaged in lessons and out on the playground.
You will, I am sure, be aware of the rise in cases of COVID recently. Hopefully the half term break will stem this, but many of my headteacher colleagues have reinstated some of their previous restrictions. In order to avoid insisting on masks in the car park and stopping meetings in school, I would be grateful if you could do all you can to maintain distance on the car park and, if you do need to come to the office, always wear a mask and apply hand sanitiser. The children have really enjoyed interacting as a whole school again – I aim to continue like this for as long as we can safely manage.
Many thanks to everyone for the wonderful collection of produce brought in for last week’s Harvest Assembly. This was all boxed up and taken to the Foodbank in Gillingham where it was very gratefully received and will, no doubt, soon be sent on to local households in need. It was lovely to hear the children perform in front of a live audience again and, by holding the assembly outside, to welcome in everyone who was able to come.
Christmas Shoe Boxes
Thank you also to everyone who has put together a Christmas Shoe Box for the local Rotary campaign – they look beautifully wrapped and I am sure will be greatly appreciated by children who will receive very little else this Christmas. They are being collected tomorrow so if you have planned to bring one into school there is still time!
I am aware that with our increase in pupil numbers and the popularity of the pre-school, the car park is becoming more congested. Please exercise extreme caution when approaching and leaving school on the lane, as well as driving extremely carefully and slowly on the car park. There is a one-way system designed to keep parking safe and fair – please always go around the central island clockwise and, if you are parked in the car park in the morning, vacate your space as soon as your child is in school to make spaces available for others. The zigzag lines in the road indicate it is fine to park just to the west of the school entrance, but this narrows the road so much the bus cannot get past – please only park there if literally dropping and running. In the afternoon, it is safest to wait until the majority of children have left before attempting to drive out of the car park. Finally, as requested by our neighbours, please do not leave your engine running when parked in the car park as the fumes seem to funnel straight into their house. I would be grateful if you would pass this information onto any friends or relatives who help with the school run to ensure the safety of all the children at the beginning and end of the day. If you live in any of the villages within our catchment area, except Stour Row, you could be eligible for your child to come to school on the bus for free. If you would like more information about this facility, please contact the school office. Thank you all for your consideration.
We held a very productive meeting of the Parent Forum on yesterday evening, with the governing body and every year group except Year 4 represented. I shared the school’s Strategic Plan and School Development Plan priorities with the group, explaining how the actions we are taking are designed to enhance what we provide for the children and meet the requirements of Ofsted. The inspectors will almost certainly be returning during this school year for a full inspection when we hope they will recognise the work that has been done has made us a school which can be judged as at least good. We discussed the class groupings for the morning and afternoon sessions to see how effectively they are meeting the needs of the children as well as any other support we can give to them.
Our various methods of communication with you were also discussed. We recognised that there are many different ways for you to hear what is happening both for your child and in the school as a whole, including texts and e-mails via ParentMail, e-mails direct from school, newsletters, the website, Microsoft Teams, Tapestry, the reading record and the parents’ Facebook account. We are in the process of revising the website which will make it much easier for staff to keep current, so I am hoping that will become a medium which will be used much more to share information. After half term I am going to distribute a brief questionnaire to ask for your thoughts on the ways we currently use to keep you up to date, and to ask for your input on how we can improve or simplify them to make them more effective.
We are aiming for all clothing, lunch boxes and water bottles to be sent home tomorrow. Please check that they have arrived at the right home and that the names on each item are clearly legible.
I hope you all have a very happy and relaxing half term holiday and we look forward to welcoming the children back to school on Monday, 1st November.
With best wishes