Dear Parents and Carers,
It was wonderful to see so many of you at the White Christmas Bazaar last Saturday, where we raised a magnificent £2000 for St James. What an achievement! We are so grateful to you for all the support that you provided for this very special event, with donations for our stalls, the production of delicious treats to rival anything produced on the Great British Bake Off and the sale of raffle tickets. Well done too, School Association Committee. You worked so hard and ensured that we all had a memorable day. Let’s hope that Father Christmas can remember the details of the orders placed by our very excited and increasingly well-behaved children!
With Christmas rapidly approaching, I wanted to remind you all of the important events that we have planned. At this busy time of year, we try hard to take time to remind the children of the true meaning of Christmas, especially when the media is full of stories promoting commercialism and encouraging us to spend money. I wonder how it is possible for the new ‘tradition’ of ‘Black Friday’ to have become almost established in such a short space of time and whilst it is inevitable for children to want to compare notes about gifts, we do want them to pause to remember the Christmas story and the life lessons that we can take from it.
We are hoping that you will all be able to join us for our Christingle celebration at the church of St James the Great on Monday 7th December from 6pm. All the children will be participating and we would like them to arrive at the church from 5.30pm. A separate letter has been sent out this week, asking you to confirm how many seats you require for the service and it would be helpful if we could have these returned to us by Tuesday, December 1st.
Mrs Dunford, our music co-ordinator has been leading the work to prepare the children and their musical offerings for the service and for our Christmas events and I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to the beautiful sounds of the children singing traditional carols as well as some other festive offerings. My thanks to Mrs Dunford for wielding her conductor’s baton with infinite patience and good humour, whilst managing to keep us all (even the staff) in tune!
I am aware that the Brownies and Guides in the village will be organising their own Christingle service in the church the day before our school celebration. I know that many of our children will be participating in this event too, and whilst our two events are entirely separate, we hope that both will be well attended. We are very grateful to Rev. Durant for accommodating us all.
Arrangements for the school Christmas lunch, which will be held on December 16th are well underway. This is a lovely occasion, when the entire school community comes together to share a delicious meal prepared by our school cook. As well as the traditional turkey (with vegetarian option for our herbivores), we will enjoy a tasty dessert and I’m hoping for a Christmas cracker with plenty of silly jokes to add to my repertoire. All orders for lunch need to be placed in advance. Children in receipt of free school meals do not need to do anything, but I have attached a slip for you to return if your child does not usually have a hot school meal. These need to be given to class teachers or handed in at the office by Wednesday, December 2nd, to enable the food orders to be placed in plenty of time.
Children will enjoy their class Christmas parties on Thursday December 17th and may bring in party clothes to change into for the afternoon .We close for the holiday at midday on Friday December 18th
We have been contacted by Oxford University, who are asking for support with their own Christmas appeal for hosts able to welcome students into their homes on December 25th. More details about the scheme and information about how to sign up as a volunteer can be found on the university website:
www.ousu.org/whatson. Sign up closes on December 4th.
On a more mundane note, I donned my hi-vis jacket to take a tour of the school this week, working with governors to conduct a health and safety walk around the school. Keeping children safe is a top priority for us and we made time to reflect together on our next steps. We would like to provide you with advance warning that we will be conducting our next regular fire and lockdown drills next week. We will, of course, be talking to the children about what this means in school, but some children may need additional reassurance and support to understand these drills.
As a maths teacher, I am very keen to encourage our children to feel confident with numbers and to enjoy having fun with numeracy. The National Curriculum rightly promotes the importance of primary school children knowing their times tables. By the end of the year groups set out below, children are expected to be fluent in the following times tables:
Year 2: 10, 2 and 5
Year 3: 3, 4, 8
Year 4: 6, 9, 7,11,12
Years 5 and 6: Consolidation
I can still remember learning my tables by rote with my parents, but tried hard to find fun ways to do this with my own son and with the children that I teach. We have used music, games and puzzles, but there are also some useful online resources that you may find helpful:
Hit the Button: http://www.topmarks.co.uk/maths-games/hit-the-button
Disappearing tables: http://mathszone.webspace.virginmedia.com/mw/tables_backwards/Disa ppearing%20tables.swf
Multiplication puzzle: http://tooeleschools.org/schools/elementaryschools/cces/hughes/Math% 20Flash%20Games/multiplicationpuzzle.swf
Moon maths: http://www.primaryresources.co.uk/online/moonmaths.swf
Multiple Madness: http://mathszone.webspace.virginmedia.com/mw/multiples/intro.htm
Finally, I would like to thank our dog-owning parents and carers for your help in respecting the rules about not bringing our furry friends onto the school site. I wonder if I could also ask you to ensure that dogs are appropriately supervised outside the gates too? We did have one incident, where a parent reported that a child was feeling anxious after an over-exuberant dog jumped up and attempted to nip the pupil as they left school. I am very grateful to you for your support with this.
With best wishes for a relaxing weekend,
Mr J Smith