I hope that you are all well and that you had a restful summer. I felt that I didn’t get around to completing the big tasks that I had planned. Instead, I found the time to ‘potter’ and relax, which was just what I had needed.
As you would expect, there is still work that gets done in the summer holidays. We are excited about the new Golden Mile track which was installed and pleased with how cheery the reading nooks and shed look with their bright stripes. Other building projects happened in school, and we were busy writing the new staff handbook, School Improvement Plan and our COVID Outbreak Management Plan. Teachers were also busy in their classrooms getting everything ready for the children’s return to school.
All the prep and hard work are worthwhile as the children have made a settled start to the new school year. I feel like a bit of a dinosaur when I look back on the start of my career when we would have an off-task fortnight in September to gently settle the children back into school. I now realise that the reason my classes were still ‘bubbly’ by the half-term was because I hadn’t established my routines and expectations with them from the very start.
Establishing these routines is fundamental to what we do as a school from the very first day and our staff training this week and last week has focused on what we want the children to do and how we expect them to behave. 98% of parents who responded to our questionnaire said that the school makes sure children are well-behaved – with only one parent disagreeing. This is a fantastic result, and we feel proud of what we have achieved. We are always looking for ways to recognise when children go that extra mile. You will know from the Positive Behaviour Policy which we introduced in September 2019, that we expect children to be on the PRIDE Step of our step system. The step above that is the Golden Step, when a child has:
Been a good role model to others
Demonstrated the Learning Toolkit
Exceeded our expectations
As you would expect, this is difficult to achieve – it takes hard work, determination and effort. To recognise this, we are introducing a new Golden Sticker for children who have reached the Golden Step. We will make a point of noticing these children and asking them about their achievement when we see them in school and I wanted to let you know so you can do the same if your child comes home wearing a Golden Step Sticker! I hope that you have also accessed the Class Dojo app for your child as this will also help you to see when they are doing well. There will also be PRIDE Postcards, Shining Stars and Honours Awards as usual. When children make poor choices, we will continue to help them to review their behaviour and to think about what they should have done. There will also be sanctions.
Even before the start of COVID, we had prioritised staff and children’s mental wellbeing in school and have devoted one of our Working Parties to drive this area. This year we are taking this one step further and Mrs Scarff (PSHE Lead and Lead of the Wellbeing Working Party) will write to you about this in the coming weeks.
I have also challenged the children and staff to set themselves a HUGG (Huge Unbelievably Great Goal) for this year and it was lovely to hear some suggestions in my assembly. Quite a few children want to work on their handwriting and several want to be better readers. Miss Wyatt is going to learn to use a sewing machine, Mrs Edwards aims to read ALL the texts that the children focus on in FS through to Year 6 and Miss Tansley plans to read her own height in books. I set my own HUGG back in January when I set about learning to knit so that I could knit a scarf for my dad this Christmas. I have now progressed onto cable stitch and bought the wool and pattern for the scarf.
My other HUGG is to run the Cambridge Half Marathon on October 17th in aid of Kidney Research UK, a charity close to my heart. I’m seven weeks into my training schedule and now up to a 16km run. Mrs Schneider is also running the same race to raise money for Cancer Research UK. I will write to you again with details of our Just Giving pages in case you would like to donate.
My reason for mentioning the knitting and running is that I want the children to see that even grownups have to attempt and overcome things that they find difficult as I hope that this will help them to Persevere and be Resilient (two of our Learning tools) when they find things tough. I think it is important for them to hear how we cope when we fail at something as, when you are at primary school, a lot is difficult and a challenge. You are welcome to set yourself a HUGG as well.
I have high hopes for this year. We already have lots of exciting plans and we hope that we can reintroduce some of the things that we couldn’t do because of our COVID risk assessment. We are looking forward to seeing you in school for events as we know that you gain a lot from hearing from staff and seeing how we teach parts of the curriculum. For now, please make sure that you help your child achieve their weekly target of reading to or with an adult at least five times a week. Last year we achieved our best ever result in this area, and we want to do at least as well in 2021/22.
Enjoy this late summer mini-heatwave and make the most of the chance to be outdoors.
In our art lesson this week in Year 2, we became art detectives. We analysed a small section of a painting by the artist Aloys Zotl. We thought carefully about what we could see and considered what the full painting would look like. We responded to the art work by drawing the rest of the painting...
Year 4 have been exploring our new Power of Reading text, Varjak Paw. Lucy, from the Giraffes, has written in role as a member of the family of Mesopotamian Blues, telling Varjak what she thinks of his behaviour.
Wearing your jeans to school, and making a donation, helps to improve the lives of children with life-altering genetic disorders. Mr Eardley will be talking about Jeans for Genes Day in his assembly next week.
On Friday 17th September, if you donate £1, you can wear jeans, or other non-uniform, for school.
Our lovely kitchen staff are making biscuits which children will be able to buy for 50p.
If your child would like a biscuit, you must pre-order by 9am on Thursday 16th September.
You can pre-order using the Jeans for Genes Day Biscuit Order Form. If you haven't pre-ordered then unfortunately we won't be able to guarantee that your child will receive a biscuit on the day.
Your child will need to bring in 50p on the day to pay for their pre-ordered biscuit.
Please donate and make a difference to the lives of these children.
Curriculum Evening 2021 - Reading
by Mr Marks, Deputy Head
This year we have decided to record our curriculum evening event and make it available to you on our school website. Although school has taken many steps back towards normality, we feel inviting all parents into the school hall and classrooms is a risk at this point and one we can avoid by using the technology we harnessed last year!
Mrs Edwards, our Reading Lead, will record a video explaining our approach to reading at OWPS and some of the theory behind it. Each year group will also produce a thirty-minute video, walking you through what reading looks like in that particular year, and they will include some useful resources and top tips for parents.
A Google form will be available for you to give some feedback after watching the videos and ask any questions you may have about reading at OWPS. Mrs Edwards and the English team will look at these and send a response home to all families answering the frequently asked questions.
Our Curriculum Evening was due to happen on Wednesday 29th September. We will upload all videos and the form to our school website on that day and send home a link.
By Ms Porter, Eco Lead
The children had the first Eco Assembly of the year this week. This was to remind them of the Eco code and to recruit new Eco Warriors. Warriors will take responsibility for ensuring classes follow our ‘ERICS’ Eco code. Winning classes look after Eric & Eddie (the toy eagles) for a week.
The assembly also explained the difference between food waste and waste food. This will be revisited again later in the term.
We are promoting also Bike to School week which is from 27th September - 1st October 2021. More details will be coming soon, but in the meantime, you can read all about it and much more in the Sustrans Bike Newsletter.
The weather has been perfect for sustainable travel. We hope it continues and that we see many children travelling by bike to school.
New Reception (Sept 2022) Tours
From 4th October 2021, we will be offering new reception tours for parents with children starting in September 2022.
New reception tours for entry to Orton Wistow Primary School September 2022
For Entry to OWPS September 2022:
1 September 2017 - 31 August 2018 to start school in September 2022.
Please call the School Office on 01733 370646 to book a place on the tour that you wish to attend.
Freshening Up the Playground
On the afternoon of Friday 3rd September 2021, it was all hands on deck to repaint the sheds and the reading nooks.
Thank you to all the staff who rolled up their sleeves to give the sheds and reading nooks a much-needed lick of paint. It was great to see staff demonstrating elements of the Pride Code (Do your Best) and Learning Toolkit (Teamwork), and we are particularly grateful to Mrs Clark who came in to help as well.
The jaunty stripes and eye-popping colours have really transformed the playground, giving the sheds and reading nooks a beach-hut look that will lift everyone's spirits in the winter.
We are sure the children will enjoy using them in the months to come.
A reminder to parents and carers NOT to send your children into school with nut-based food.
We currently have pupils in school with severe nut allergies. These allergies are such that the slightest contact with nuts could be life-threatening. We therefore respectfully ask that no nuts are knowingly brought onto the premises by adults or children. This includes peanut butter and Nutella spread which is popular in lunch boxes. Please double-check the ingredients list for other food like cereal and protein bars, which can sometimes contain nuts.
Please do not hesitate to contact the School Office if you have any further questions. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.
We are delighted to welcome the following new staff members to the school:
Mrs Wilson - House Keeper/Cleaner
Mrs Whittock - Cleaner
Mrs Atkinson - Platform One Playworker
Miss Toyne - One to One TA
Mrs Phillips - Year 5 Class Teacher
Miss Strike - Year 3 Teacher
We also welcome three trainee teachers from Teach to Orton Wistow this year. Mrs Carroll will be working in the Iguanas, Mr Mitchell in the Cobras and Mr Impey in the Flamingoes. We hope they enjoy their time with us!
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
Orton Wistow Primary School is delighted to offer a range of clubs to children now that the Covid restrictions are beginning to lift.
Below are details of the clubs run in school by external organisations. We will be writing to you next week about a range of new free clubs run by OWPS staff which will run from 27th September 2021. Further details about clubs can be found on the website Clubs page.
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