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Back to School

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19th September 2013

BACK TO SCHOOL NEWSLETTER

Welcome back everyone.  We hope you all had a good summer holiday – although it all seems a long way away now we have been back at school for two weeks!   

We are writing to let you know that all the children have settled back into school very well and exciting things are already underway in every year group.  Our new Early Years children have also had a super start to their schooling at Arthur Bugler and it already seems as though they have been with us for ever!  The new Year 3 have also settled very well into KS2 and are excited to be Junior children. 

As most of you know, this is a big year for the Arthur Bugler Schools with our formal amalgamation taking place on April 1st 2015.  We have already been busy this term meeting with representatives from Thurrock and contractors to finalise the designs for our new building.  Building work will now get underway at the beginning of January and will provide the new primary school with a joint entrance and office area.  As the building works will all be taking place between the two current school buildings we are very glad to say there should be very little disruption to the children’s learning.

The New National Curriculum

This year also sees the introduction of a brand new national curriculum and throughout the course of last year we were busy getting ready to introduce the new curriculum.  For Arthur Bugler the new national curriculum came along at the perfect time because it has provided us with the opportunity to develop one Arthur Bugler Curriculum that ensures continuity and progression for all the children at Arthur Bugler as they move through the school from Early Years to Year 6.  All year groups are now studying new topics and themes and we have asked teachers to plan in more school trips and visitors to school to add to the children’s learning.  Topic Newsletters will be coming home very soon from each year group to show what the children are focusing on this term and curriculum information will also be displayed on the school websites. 

Phase Leaders

Another change for this year is that we have introduced the role of Phase Leader with some members of staff taking on additional responsibilities for particular year groups throughout the school: Mrs Hilder is the Phase Leader for Early Years and Year 1, Mrs Green is the Phase Leader for Years 2, 3 and 4 and Mrs Livingstone will lead Years 5 and 6.  As part of their role they will be communicating with you about their ‘phases’ and they will be an additional point of contact for you should you wish to discuss anything about your child. The first port of call should always be the class teacher of course but Phase Leaders can also be contacted.  

‘Open Door Thursdays’

We are also going to introduce ‘Open Door Thursdays’ throughout the school.  These sessions have already been taking place in the Infant School but from next week (Thursday 23rd) whatever year group your child is in you will be able to pop in after school to have a look at your child’s work in their classroom if you should wish to do so.   

Swimming

If your child is in Year 4, you will already know that swimming lessons have also changed and we are now going to the Basildon Sporting Village pool for swimming lessons rather than walking down to the Corringham Pool.  The new pool was a big hit with the Year 4 children last week.  Year 3s will be going later in the school year. 

Golden Tickets

Our Golden Ticket Challenge will continue this academic year – so keep reading everyone.  Early Years staff will tell our new parents and carers all about this exciting initiative.

Attendance

Our overall attendance last year was 95.7% in both schools which is considered (just) good attendance and we want to see if we can improve upon this percentage this year.   Minimum satisfactory attendance is considered to be 95% but Government guidelines say that most children should attend school 97% or more of the time.  90% attendance is the same as having half a day off every week and 80% attendance is the same as having a whole day off every week.  If you take a two week holiday in term time your child’s attendance will be less that 95%.  Term time absence will not be authorised unless in VERY exceptional circumstances and we ask that you do all that you can to encourage your child to be at school every day.

If your child is too ill to come to school, please phone the school at the beginning of each day of absence. 

Year 6 extension activities

This academic year we will be working closely with members of staff from Hassenbrook Academy.  Teachers from Hassenbrook will be coming to school to work with our children on Level 6 Maths and Literacy activities and our children will be visiting Hassenbrook to use their ICT and Science labs.  These activities are already underway and we know that our pupils will certainly benefit from these joint activities.   

There are already some further things to let you know about:

School Fete – Saturday 27th September

Our annual School Fete takes place next Saturday and we hope to see many of you there.  Last year the Fete raised £3,013.28 for the school!  Putting on the Fete takes a lot of hard work and many thanks to those members of the PTA who have been very busy preparing for the day.  If you are able to offer your help on the day, it’s not too late to volunteer.  Just leave your name with the ladies in either school office and a member of the PTA will contact you.  Please also continue sending items in for the Fete.  Donations for the cake stall should be sent in at the end of next week please.

School Lunches

School meals are now free to every child in the Infant School so please do encourage your child to stay for school dinners if they are not already doing so.  As we often say, Mrs Ball our school cook, is a masterchef!  She and her team provide very tasty and healthy meals at lunchtime and we know that those children who already have school dinners would certainly agree.  As expected there has already been a large take-up of school dinners in the Infants and this has meant a change in school lunchtimes in both buildings to provide children with adequate time to eat their meals and to ensure meals are ready for all the children at the appropriate time.  Therefore, Early Years children will now have lunch from 11.45-12.45 pm, Years 1 and 2 from 12-1pm and Years 3-6 from 12.15-1.1.10 pm.  

On the subject of school dinners, if your child is in the Early Years, Year 1, 2 or 3 can you please ensure that you send the form showing your child’s dinner choices for the week into school on a Monday.  Those children in Years 4,5 and 6 will continue to make their choices each morning. 

School Clubs

A number of clubs are already underway, taking place before and after school and during the school lunchtimes.   These clubs are organised by members of the school staff as well as outside groups.  The list of clubs on offer will be displayed on the school website and on the outside of the school buildings by the school entrance.  Children in the Juniors are told in assemblies and in their classes about the different clubs on offer to them, so we hope that many of our children will be able to take part.  If clubs are full, we will always provide an opportunity for the children to take part later on in the year.  Year 2 clubs, other than those run by Premier Sports will start, as usual, in January. 

Parent/Teacher Meetings

These will take place on Tuesday 21st October and Thursday 23rd October and will take place after school.  Nearer the time we will send timetables home for you to sign up for your appointment time to meet with your child’s teacher.  Please do make an appointment time to see your child’s class teacher before this time if there is something you would like to discuss prior to these more formal meetings.  Never be at home wondering or worrying about something, please do come into school to talk about it.

Open Day

On Thursday 6th November we will be holding an Open Day for parents and carers of pre-school children to come along to find out more about Arthur Bugler prior to applying to Thurrock Admissions for a school place for September 2015.  If you have a pre-school child born between September 1st 2010 and August 31st 2011 please do drop in between 9.15 am – 11.45 am or

1.15 pm – 2.45 pm.  If your child is currently in the Infant School and you would like the opportunity to look around the Junior School building you too can visit on this day to have a look around.  

Facebook

As many of you know last year we had a very important focus on the need for e-safety.  We will continue working with the children to ensure they understand all the risks involved on-line.  Can we please also remind you about the protocols of using Facebook safely.  Please do not post any images of our pupils on your Facebook pages nor mention any pupils’ names.  We also ask that Facebook is not used to discuss school matters when answers are best found in school.  As we have said above, the doors here are always open and if you are worried or concerned about any matters, please do come into school to discuss these with us face to face rather than through the medium of the internet.

Parking

On the subject of safety, we would like to remind everyone about parking in the school car park.  Please do not drive into the school car park at the end of the day unless you are a ‘blue badge’ holder who has registered your badge number with the Infant or Junior School office.  Last summer term we had two accidents with cars being backed into and we also had an incident where an adult was driven into by one of our parents whilst turning their car round in the car park.  Fortunately this did not lead to injury but next time it could be a child or adult who is hurt in a more serious way.  Governors have said that the next step will be to close the gates completely at the end of the day and then allow ‘blue badge’ holders in once most children have left the premises.  This is what happens at many schools but we do not wish to do this because of the congestion it will cause in Balmoral Avenue but it could be that we do not have a choice because the safety of the children must come first. 

The morning drop-off will continue to operate as it does currently.

School Premises

Sadly, we had an amount of vandalism over the summer school holidays. Windows were broken and resources outside, such as the PE sheds and Early Years resources, were damaged and destroyed.  The Governing Body will now install additional security equipment and procedures but we would like to call upon our school community to be vigilant and to keep an eye out for anything unusual that might be happening at the school out of school hours.  We did inform the police over the summer holidays and they too are helping us to ensure our school is more secure.

Training Day Dates

Further dates for you to put in your diaries are Monday 17th November, Monday 5th January, Wednesday 18th March and Friday June 26th all of which will be days on which the school will be closed. ( Please note that Wednesday 18th March will be our Termly Learning Conference Day where you will be asked to come up to school with your child at some point during the day to meet with your child’s teacher and to look at your child’s work.)

Hoping to see you at the Fete,

Ms K Phillips        Miss L Glandfield        Mr G Thomas

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