September – Newsletter

Dear Parents/Carers,

Welcome Back.

It has been lovely to welcome all the children back into school after the summer break, and it sounds from all their stories you have been making the most of the fine weather with adventures and fun activities all the way.

We have been busy in school during the summer with changes to the indoors and outdoors which we hope to share with you all very soon, unfortunately due to problems with getting hold of resources some of the finishing touches like the fencing around Early Years play area will not be completed until next week, but everything else has gone to plan!!!

As usual we have many new developments planned over the new academic year for both learning and the school environment. In relation to the building, our new doors and windows will now be installed later in the spring, hopefully when the weather is fine!

Later in Autumn we are opening a new Support Base for children with additional needs, with the school being recognised as a resource to be used by the partnership for those children with issues in communication for example. Ms McLeod and Miss Maitland have joined St Mary’s to help launch the base, but will be working across school this half term as we prepare.

My role at Norham First School means I will be out of school about 1 day per week, which normally will be a Wednesday, but as always this may change as needs must, therefore if you want to contact me please just let Mrs Bradbury or Mrs Kerr (our new admin officer) know in the school office and they will pass on your message.

Below is an update on some of the happenings so far!

Breakfast and After school Clubs

Our FREE Breakfast club this year is supported by Greggs and begins on Tuesday 13th September at 8am. With a selection of cereal, toast, juice, milk etc every day, plus a wide range of activities it caters for all. If your child would like to come please simply book a place via the school office.

After school clubs begin on Tuesday 13th and run Monday to Thursday 3:15-4:15pm, with a range of activities to cater for all tastes from Reception to Year 4. On Wednesday Newcastle Foundation will be running a sports club (the sport this half term is yet to be confirmed), this club for Autumn 1 will be open to Years 3-4 initially, but we may be able to expand depending on numbers. If your child would like to come please simply book a place via the school office.

Homework and Home Reading

After listening to responses in the parent survey, we are changing the homework timetable so the children have enough time to prepare for their spelling and mental maths tests on a Friday, the homework will now be shared with you the Friday before. We hope to be able to share all the work via your child’s Tapestry account.

‘Home Reading’ will be set each week, (your class teachers will inform you of the date). Many of our children will be coming home with 2 books. One linked to their phonic stage of learning and it is this book they should be reading to you as they build fluency and accuracy. A few minutes each day at home makes a massive difference to their progress so please support them when you can. Please do not worry if they get the same book a couple of times, the principle behind the success of Read Write Inc is that children need the opportunity to repeat and practice, therefore known books can develop confidence and therefore performance over time.

The second book, if they have one, is one they can share, so they can read with you or you can read with them. This book is to help them develop a love of reading and again the message of little and often is clear if we want our children to fulfil their potential.

School Uniform

It was so lovely to see the children so smart yesterday on their first day back in school, but I fully appreciate the rising costs of what appears to be everything at present, therefore as the year progresses and children grow, we are mindful of the costs of uniform.  As a school we want to support parents as much as possible, so we will continue to run a uniform exchange to recycle quality uniform. If you have any donations during the year please drop them into the school office and we will be arranging half termly events when we can hopefully recycle. Similarly if you need any uniform please let us know, don’t wait for an event, we will always be happy to help if we can.

School Visits

You may have heard in the news that schools like us all are facing new financial pressures with the energy crisis, rising food costs, etc. As such schools are required to look at how they best use what money they have available to them, with some extracurricular events such as visits being reduced. St Mary’s, like every other school faces these challenges, however the benefit of having 2 schools means we can share resources and hopefully save costs, whilst still keeping the unique identity and strengths of both schools.

One example of this will be the shared curriculum activities we have planned over the year, with the 2 schools coming together for special events and trips, so allowing both schools to continue to provide an enhanced curriculum offer with children visiting each other’s schools, as well as going to places together. A further benefit of this approach is that it is hoped it will limit the need for parents’ financial contributions, although I may be asking for volunteers at certain times to join in the fun!

School Website

Miss Pearson and I are currently reviewing the school website, unfortunately with a change in the regulations/expectations by the Government on the 5th September 2022, we are having to do a little more work before we are ready to launch the changes. We envisage to start making the changes over the next few weeks and have everything up and running fully as soon as possible.

Golden Book Assemblies

We will be starting Golden Book celebration assemblies on Fridays in the next week or so when parents/carers can join staff and children in celebrating their achievements over the last week in school. Please watch out for a text message from the school office to confirm times.

Dates for the diary

We have many things planned but as yet only a few are confirmed, so here are a few events to start with, but more will follow.

DateTime  Event
TBC Harvest Service in school
30/09/229:30amWhole school MacMillan Fundraising event
07/10/229:30-10:30Parent Drop-in – Reading with children focus
20-21/10/22 Berwick art exhibition hosted in St Mary’s.
21/10/223:15pmSchool closes for Autumn half term
31/10/228:45amSchool re-opens
07/11/223:15 –Parents Evening
08/11/223:15 –Parents Evening
18/11/22All dayChildren in Need Day
21/11/22All DayWorld Cup Celebration Day at St Mary’s
TBC Advent Service in school
12/12/22AMPanto visit to the Maltings
16/12/229:30-10:30Parent drop-in – Christmas Crafts
19/12/22PMEarly Years Christmas Party
20/12/22PMKey Stage 1 Christmas Party
21/12/22PMKey Stage 2 Christmas Party
20/12/22NoonSchool Christmas Lunch
22/12/229:00amSchool Carol Service – Venue TBC
22/12/223:15pmSchool closes for Christmas Holidays


Gary Hilton

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