I hope you all had a fantastic summer and enjoyed spending time with your children. The children have been telling us all the places they visited, it sounds like you have all been very busy. I am sure though that you are glad the children are now back in the routine of school!!
We had a great first week, although I think the children and staff were tired by the end of the week! All the pupils have settled back in to school life very quickly and there has been a lovely atmosphere in all classes over the last week and a half, where the children have been getting to know their new classmates and in some cases new teachers.
As I mentioned in the newsletter on Friday we have reviewed our reward systems and behaviour management approaches over the summer. There are a number of reasons for this, mainly after researching effective approaches and also to motivate the pupils, as sometimes after using the same system for a long period of time a change is needed.
We are having an even greater focus on our RESPECT Values, each week we are concentrating on a different value. This week the whole school have been looking at ‘Responsibility’ both during assemblies and in class. We are also placing even greater emphasis on team work and the importance of working together. Rather than being awarded individual ‘Dojo’ points like we have done previously, the children are now trying to achieve marbles which go towards a collective reward of extra golden time on a Friday. Hopefully through this approach the children will see the benefit of working together for the good of everyone.
We will also be sending home very special ‘Respect’ Postcards to pupils who demonstrate the Respect Values consistently over a period of time. These personalised postcards are currently being made and we hope to have them with us as soon as possible. I know many of the teachers already have children in their classes who they have earmarked for a postcard. When your child receives a postcard, we would love it if you tweeted about it to raise the profile of these special acknowledgements by the staff members and to celebrate your child’s achievement.
During this academic year we will have four main School Improvement Priority areas that we will be looking to develop. The first area is preparing for the introduction of the New National Curriculum which is being made available in September 2019 before it is compulsory in 2022. A key part of this action plan we will be providing parents with information about the new curriculum, so please keep a look out for updates on the school website. We will also be developing a different approach to our topic work this year through a highly effective teaching approach called ‘Mantle of the Expert’. This is a dramatic approach to teaching fits in perfectly with the New National Curriculum and has had an extremely positive impact across many schools who are using this approach. All the staff have had ‘Mantle of the Expert’ and we will hopefully be working with other schools in the area to further develop our practice. We hope to invite you to see the end results of one ‘Mantle’ in each class over the course of the year.
The second priority will be Maths where we will be looking at developing a greater reasoning and problem solving approach to Maths. Again like the ‘Mantle of the Expert’ approach we will be inviting parents into school as part of our ‘Super Maths Day’. During this day we will be updating you on the approaches we are using in school so you can see the types of activities the children are completing.
The third priority is Welsh. This action plan will involve looking at the use of incidental welsh across the school, particularly through the development of the ‘Criw Cymraeg’ which involves a group of children promoting the Welsh language across the school.
The fourth priority will be ICT which will focus mainly on developing the Digital Competence of the pupils. A Digital Competency Framework was introduced in September 2016 so we are continuing to develop the learning and teaching of the necessary skills to ensure the children are digital competent which is a key skill in modern life. As part of this action plan will intend to hold an ‘ICT Party’ where we can show you the apps and programs the children are using in school to develop their digital skills.
We have been busy over the Summer improving the school building. I believe that a positive working environment motivates and inspires both pupils and teachers. The boys’ and girls’ toilets have been updated and are now much more welcoming and pleasant for the children. The old ‘ICT Room’ in the middle of the school has been altered into a more useable and worthwhile space where groups of children can work with staff members. Once the School Council have been elected this week we will be asking them to help develop a plan for the room including colour schemes, furniture and accessories. We have also purchased new dining room tables for the hall which are much more practical and save an awful lot of time setting up which allows the hall to be used more effectively for PE sessions and other activities. We are very grateful for the PTA who part funded these tables with the monies raised last year.
As I mentioned before the Summer break we were extremely grateful to MBNA bank who approved a grant application to develop the outdoor area of the school. We will be using the grant to develop two outdoor areas. The Nursery outside area will be updated which will make it a much more useable and attractive area for the children to work in. We are also having an adventure playground area built at the bottom of the playground on the sloped area of the field. This will hopefully provide more space on the playground for the children to run around whilst also entertaining the pupils at lunch time. We are very grateful to Mrs Hannah Burfoot, Evan and Isaac’s mother who informed the school about the availability of the grant.
We have started our Extra-curricular activities this week both sporting and non-sporting. Once again, we have a wide range of clubs and opportunities on offer as we believe the children benefit greatly from such opportunities. We are looking forward to seeing how the pupils develop and we will hopefully hear of many successes like we have had over the last few years including being crowned Flintshire Cricket champions and Lower Junior Boys Mold and Buckley Cross Country winners along with some super performance from our Drama group.
You will also be receiving the class information booklets on Friday. The booklets aim to provide you with important information about your child’s class which will hopefully help you to support them both from an educational and organisational point of view.
We are looking forward to another busy year ahead and once again thank you for your support.