WEEK 3 - Friday 24 September 2021
I would like to start by saying thank you to everyone who enters school via Winthorpe Road. Due to work on the KS1 playground we have had to divert to the field to drop off and collect and it has all gone very smoothly. Fortunately the weather has been on our side this week and we have been able to use the field for lunch and playtimes, meaning we haven't missed the playground too much. I'm sure the pupils are really going to enjoy their new playground markings and equipment. In addition, thank you for your support with the Safer Streets initiative. I would like to point out that the school did not provide or have any input into the council signs and marketing which have incorrect spellings - we did point this out to them on Day 1!
I have spent most of the week checking in on the quality of teaching and learning in the classrooms and have seen some wonderful activities taking place. Year 6 has been grappling with fractions all week. On Monday a pupil told me she hated fractions, by Wednesday they weren't too bad and then on Friday fractions were actually kind of ok! This is good news as the SATs exams are full of fraction questions! Staying with Year 6, there is a meeting straight after school on Tuesday 28 September for parents to learn a little more about the Residential trip. If you could enter school via the school office entrance, a member of staff will escort you to the Year 6 classroom. It is worth noting that the residential is an optional trip.
The EYFS has had many national reforms which come into play from this academic year. The focus is much more on playing with the children than observing them while also ensuring the curriculum is ambitious enough to challenge those children ready for formal learning. To that end we have split the unit up into three distinct classrooms with new dividing doors to ensure that lesson time can be focused without any surrounding distractions. The children will still mix in choosing times but will remain in their own class for reading, writing and maths learning. Please make use of the online platform Tapestry to let us know about any specific interests your child has or any achievements as we will celebrate these in the class and adapt provisions to suit their interests.
The new library has had a very successful opening with lots of excited children clutching brand new shiny books. These are logged out as they would be in a public library so we can keep tabs on where the books are and make sure they return. Very occasionally a pupil make pick up a book of the wrong level (usually because the cover is exciting) and if this happens, please pop the book back and we will change it. We do encourage free readers to pick their own book. If you have any books your child has grown out of, we are always really grateful to accept them.
Lunchtimes are also very smooth now and it is a credit to the pupils that they have adapted so quickly to going to the hall for lunch and following all the procedures in place. The new catering company has been a hit with the bigger portions and a great choice of foods. We are working incredibly hard on using our manners in the dining hall, encouraging the children to say please and thank you to the servers and taking responsibility for clearing their plates and not making a mess in the hall. It is strange to think that for FS1/2, Y1 and Y2 pupils they have never accessed these communal parts of the day and I am so proud of the way they are coping with all of the changes in school this year.
While we are still maintaining a certain amount of caution regarding mass gatherings such as assemblies and events, we will begin to embark on the cycle of sports fixtures that are slowly returning. I have to issue a word of warning to all those who will have their children on sports teams.... we don't get a great deal of notice from the schools association! Often we get given a couple of days’ notice for a match or event. We will of course inform you as soon as we know but I am apologising already for any short notice!
Finally it is with sadness that we say a fond farewell to three members of staff who retire next week. Mrs Lewis, Mrs Kochar and Mrs Potter have worked at Penshurst for 105 years between them. They will be missed but we wish them all the best for a well-deserved retirement.
Plea: If you have any prams and toy babies or dress up that you no longer require, please donate them to the EYFS.
Mrs J Spencer
Head of School