25 Apr

As we hurtle towards a new month life in school gets busier and busier!

Clubs have begun again and we have tried to ensure a broad range of activities so that each year group has some choice. This isn’t easy and as always I am grateful staff for providing these extracurricular opportunities for the children. There are lengthy waiting lists for some clubs so it is really important that children don’t abuse their place by not attending.

Some parents have asked me about Class Dojo and why some classes use this more than others as a communication tool for parents. Where Dojo is not used regularly this is because only a few parents in the class have registered. This is something we shall look to address, in order to gain consistency, when we have new classes in September.

A reminder that we have whole class photographs this Friday (28th) so it’s important the children look extra smart!

This is also the term for Year 6 to undertake their National Curriculum Tests. https://www.theschoolrun.com/key-stage-2-SATs-2017. These are government tests taken by all year 6 pupils across the country. They are externally marked and are used to provide information about how well the school is performing. This is often the starting point when a school undergoes an Ofsted inspection. Inevitably it is a potentially stressful time for the school as a great deal can depend upon these results but we will, as always, ensure that the children’s welfare is of paramount importance during the week. Test week is the week beginning 8th May.

Year 2 are also assessed formally by national tests but this process is a great deal more discrete and is made to be as much part of general class work as possible. https://www.theschoolrun.com/KS1-SATs-in-2017.

The testing period of Year 2 is throughout May.

Year 1 children have a phonic screening in June to assess their phonic knowledge and word building skills. https://www.theschoolrun.com/year-1-phonics-screening-check.

The results of all tests will be shared with parents via the end of year report.

As we progress through the term I can honestly say it is the favourite time of year for me in school. From a teaching point of view you can do so much more with better weather encouraging outside learning and light evenings of course give an extra dimension to the working day. Strategically it’s a time to make plans for the forthcoming academic year and I am keen that we build upon our positive inspection outcome and move forward to provide an even better education for our young people.

I have received a worrying notification of an online game called Blue Whale, which originated in Russia. It encourages self harm for 50 days, where young

people carve a whale on their forearm, before committing suicide on the last day. There has been increased suicides in Russia, linked to this game and in Hampshire there have been 2 completed suicides and 2 very near misses.

I have also been made aware of a new dating app specifically for under 18s called Yellow. I know our children are very young but I think it’s important that we are all fully aware of the potential risks that can be out there. I am also very much aware that many of you have older children and this information may not have come to your attention.

Don’t forget to follow the school Twitter account if you don’t already do so @GreatstonePS I try to update it as regularly as I can with photographs of day to day life in school (although I know I have let this lapse lately!) For these to go on the website would not be possible as there are potentially so many. I just think it’s a good way for you to be able to see the school at work, and trust me it is a very busy place. You don’t have to be a prolific Tweeter yourself to engage with the school in this way. Also don’t forget to register with Parentmail…our long term aim is to become paperless!

As always if there is anything I can help with or you wish to make a comment, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best wishes

Nicola Wood