The first week was only four days long because of the bank holiday, I was out four days last week leading my first Ofsted inspection in over two years and then this week is shorter too. I’m looking forward to a regular week next week.
I should also mention here that it won’t be a ‘regular week’ as our Year 6 children will sit their SATs. These are the first national SATs since 2019 as two years of Covid meant that they were cancelled. I have mixed feelings about SATs and their value but now isn’t the time to share my thoughts. What I do want to say is that the Year 6 team has been absolutely amazing in preparing the children during the run-up to next week. The children have also risen to the challenge and, like athletes preparing for an event, they are ready to make their way to the starting line. We don’t know what the test papers have in store as we cannot open them until the day of the test. Whatever awaits the children next week, I know that they are ready and that they will give it their best. I am, as you can see, immensely proud of them and their teachers.
I have enjoyed getting back into inspecting. It is a privilege to be so involved in the life of a school for an intense few days. I get to look at what makes the school tick and always come away with new ideas that I bring back to Orton Wistow to discuss with staff. However, the saying that ‘there is no place like home’ is completely true, and I am always glad to come back to OWPS. Visits to other schools make me realise how special our school is and why I have not considered other headships. The calibre and commitment of staff at Orton Wistow are exceptional. I find myself filling with pride when teachers and support staff share the initiatives they are driving forward. I wish my children had had the chance to come to OWPS, and then I would have had the chance to experience what it means to be a parent at the school as well.
We have been so out of practice with having parents in school that the crowds who joined us for Foundation Stage Stay and Play and Year 3’s 2 Can Learn this week caught me by surprise! I found myself wondering who they all were. I know that the parents who joined us have been equally pleased to be able to share in their child’s education. One parent mentioned to me recently that it was the first time that they had been able to come into school and how it had opened their eyes to what we do. They enjoyed the chance to see our amazing teachers in action. We feel a bit giddy with excitement to be able to have you back in school and I hope that you will join us whenever you can.
Whilst on inspection last week, I still felt connected to OWPS thanks to our various Twitter feeds. I almost felt that I was part of the Grafham trip! Thanks to the exciting posts I was able to share what they were doing without having to navigate wearing a wetsuit! What a relief!
I have always believed that communication is key to building a strong partnership between home and school. We have always been a school that has moved with the times and embraced new communication opportunities. I was delighted to see that, in the recent survey on communications with parents, 84% of parents said that they read the school newsletter every week or most weeks. In the same survey, it was also clear that fewer parents access the website and our Twitter feeds than we had hoped. We will always write a weekly newsletter, but the Twitter feeds give you an added insight into what we do as a school. The class Twitter accounts in particular give you a fantastic insight into what the children are doing in school.
In the last week you could have seen these tweets:
I suspect that quite a few parents don’t have Twitter accounts which is why they don’t follow us. If this is the case with you, I do recommend that you consider joining just to follow the school account as well as the class accounts you are interested in. If you aren’t ready to join Twitter, do check out our website as our Twitter feeds appear there too on the homepage! You can even pick which classes you want to see.
We don’t intend to reintroduce the Facebook account, but I will look into whether it is worth creating a school Instagram account that picks up our tweets. We will leave no stone unturned when it comes to finding ways to communicate.
I hope that the sunny weather is a sign of things to come for this term and hope that you have a lovely weekend.
As part of our PSHE, we have been identifying some of the dangers facing us when we are out and about by roads and learning how to stay safe by the water. Molly in Iguanas has drawn a super poster reminding everyone how you can remain safe.
The Seals have been writing 2A sentences this week. They were writing sentences with adjectives using the book ‘Arthur and the Golden Rope’. Here are some excellent examples from Santino, Millie, George, Alex and Poppy.
By Mrs Granville, LKS2 Lead and Year 4 Class Teacher
Last week, children in Year 4 enjoyed a fantastic 2-night residential visit at the Grafham Water Centre, accompanied by Mrs Granville, Mr Cowles, Ms Porter and Mrs Fincham. And what a fantastic time was had by all! During the stay, everyone had the opportunity to try a range of land and water-based activities, many of which were ones they hadn’t tried before, and for many children, out of their comfort zone.
The Learning Toolkit values of resilience and perseverance were definitely put to good use as children tried their hand at sailing, mountain biking, kayaking, low and high ropes courses, and the climbing wall. It was great to see children who were unsure about trying out an activity overcoming their uncertainties and by the end of the session being confident and with a beaming smile.
Due to the pandemic, this was the first time that this year group had been on a residential visit, but they rose to the challenge, showing independence and teamwork in abundance, not only in activities but also at mealtimes and bedtimes. It was a pleasure to take them away; we hope that they will remember their adventures at Grafham for a long time to come.
My School Fund
You may remember that OWPS is now part of the My School Fund initiative. This innovative scheme allows us to be able to boost our school's budget with your help.
So far only a few parents have signed up. We would be delighted if more of you could join. The scheme not only earns you cashback on the things you spend in stores like Sainsbury's and Argos, but also earns the school cashback too.
How does it work?
Parents, guardians and carers can sign up to the scheme for free and start earning cashback on the things they buy in participating retail stores, including Sainsbury’s and Argos. As you spend you’ll receive 2% cashback in the form of eGift vouchers that can be redeemed in participating stores. By linking your spend to OWPS on the My School Fund website we’ll also earn 1% cashback on your spend.
Add that all up across our school's network of families, and together we can all make a big difference!
How to get involved
We would be really grateful if parents and carers could visit myschoolfund.org to register for free and link to Orton Wistow Primary School. From there, everything you spend in participating stores will go towards helping boost our budget, plus your own!
In the sixteen plus years that I have been Head at OWPS, the issue of dangerous parking has been a constant topic. I’m not sure what the solution is or how much we can do as a school. After all, we don’t control where or how parents park their cars.
However, as our day-to-day job is looking after and caring for your children, it is hard to ignore the danger that comes when parents park on double yellow lines, especially as our school is on a major bus route and a bend. I know that these are also concerns that are shared by other parents who let me know when they see dangerous or thoughtless parking.
I have been sent the photos below as an example of the issue. I have doctored them so that the car can’t be identified. I have also done this as this is not one isolated case, it’s just an example. I don’t wish to single out any one parent as the issue is much bigger than that.
What I do want to say is, before a child gets injured, or even worse – please do not park on the double yellow lines around school or on the grass verges. I am not sure if we will ever reach the point where everyone parks where they should, but I do know that it will only happen if each individual does what they can. This does not need a team effort, it just needs each person to follow the rules.
Taking place in Ferry Meadows across the weekend of 13th - 15th May 2022, Peterborough Celebrates is a free-to-attend, family-orientated event with a variety of entertainment, activities and cultural attractions.
Disclaimer: Orton Wistow Primary School does not endorse any products, services or activities that appear in the Community section of this newsletter, and is not responsible for any contract entered into by either party. Given the current circumstances, we would recommend all parents check with any providers regarding the status of these services, activities and clubs
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