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Penshurst Primary School

WEEK 18 - Friday 28 January 2022

I am going to keep COVID news to a paragraph!  We are still managing to keep all year groups open despite ongoing staff absence and we will continue to maintain this for as long  as possible. The highest rates in our community are the 5 - 16 year olds so it is not a surprise that primary schools are being hit really hard at the moment across the region. On this note a big ‘thank you’ to some of our nursery parents who helped by keeping their children off school on Thursday when staffing was a concern - this really did help.

This leads me nicely onto the Safer Streets initiative. The scheme is council led and during the first term we supported them by having staff out on the streets to inform parents and residents of the new rules and the signage that has been put up. We have had to drastically scale down staff visits to this area due to ongoing absence however it was never the intention that school staff continue to man these streets and we have started to pull back our visits since Christmas anyway to this area; my priority is that staff are in school educating the children. The council always advised us to support the scheme heavily at the outset and then scale back to spot checks which we will still accommodate. 

I will just remind everyone that the council has put this scheme in place to keep children safe around our school so please abide by the rules. It is sad to hear that some members of our community are taking advantage of the streets not being staffed every day to park and drive down the streets; I thank the vast majority of parents who continue to follow the rules and make the streets safer for those walking to school.

We have had an issue reported to us about the behaviour of children queuing at the Penshurst Avenue entrance resulting in a couple of younger children being hit by footballs etc. Please can I ask that children queue sensibly while waiting for the gates to open and are respectful of younger pupils and parents. Remember registration is not until 8.50am so there is 10 minutes to stagger yourself into school and no need to be queuing at 8.40am although I appreciate those heading off to work may want to be in quickly.

This week a couple of parents have asked me my thoughts on whether I support the teaching of phonics in school as there is a big splash in the press at the moment about phonics not being the best way to teach reading. I can honestly say that we have found phonics teaching to be a very successful way of introducing children to reading and our outcomes in Reading at every stage are well above national. We follow the Read Write Inc scheme which children generally complete by Year 2 at which point they begin whole class text comprehension. The Pledge that we complete every day introduces children to comprehension from FS2 upwards so this compliments the phonics scheme that we follow.


What I would add is that, like in any subject, not all children learn the same way and some pupils will learn to read via recognising whole words rather than breaking them down. My own two children were very different in their approach to reading with one learning phonetically and the other learning via sight words and both of them became secure and fluent readers. We do appreciate different learning styles and ensure that teaching of reading (although following a synthetic phonics scheme) does allow for other pathways for these children if required. I would also say that whichever scheme you follow, it is the quality of the teacher that counts and in that I am very lucky to have extremely skilled teachers who are passionate about teaching children to read.

This week we have held our first sports fixture of the year as our Year 6 boys have taken on Hymers at football! ***Hot off the press…4-0 to Penshurst*** Well done boys! The only change we are making to these sports fixtures is to have them in single year group teams instead of the usual mix we would have. We are also hopeful that the trip to York with Year 3 will go ahead on Monday and I know they will have an amazing time there.

For those of you heading to the food festival in Hessle this weekend, stay safe and enjoy 

Have a great weekend.

Mrs J Spencer

Head of School

Dates to remember:    

Flu vaccination catch up                                       Tuesday   12 January

Jorvik Y3 trip                                                           Monday 31 January

Parents Evening                                                     Monday 21 Wednesday 23 March