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March Newsletter

NEWS

It has been a busy couple of weeks since returning from half term.

A huge thank you to the large number of Year 6 parents who attended the SATS Information Evening.  The PowerPoint of this is now on the school website, for those of you who were unable to attend.  We do hope that the revision books, revision website as well as Times Tables Rock Stars are proving popular at home.

World Book Day was cut short by the heavy snow that we suffered last week.  It was a delight to see the children all dressed up (or down in their pyjamas!) and talking about their favourite books. 

Next week we will have some visitors to our school.  As the school is part of a national school improvement group called Challenge Partners, we will welcome senior leaders from other parts of the country to our school.  They will be in lessons and talk to the children about their learning. We are very much looking forward to showing them the amazing things that go on at Lainesmead.

VALUES

Value for March:COOPERATION

In our assembly introducing the new value, we discussed the meaning of the word.  Children agreed that it was about team work, being fair, looking out for each other. We then went on to look at the global perspective of this and started learning as a whole school, the words of a song written by some of our Year 6 children—The Unity Song. 

The children wrote words to the tune of Count on Me by Bruno Mars and it really sums up that we are all working together to achieve the best for everyone. 
Here is the first verse and chorus to the song—please do sing along to it with your child at home:

No Matter what race or colour you may be, we won’t treat you differently
If someone got injured in the middle of a war, we’ll be there to help them
We need peace and harmony to live together as one big family

Chorus:
You can count on me like 1,2,3
I’ll be there and I know when I need you
I can count on you like 4,3,2 you’ll be there coz that’s what friends are supposed to do oh yeah(OOOOOHHHHHH OOOOOOH OOOOH yeah,yeah) 

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SPORT RELIEF

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We have an amazing number of events planned for Sport Relief this year.

Monday 19th March

Members of staff will be joining many other teachers and headteachers across Swindon in a 5km run.  This will begin in Westlea Primary School and they will run a route around West Swindon. They will be in coordinating T-shirt, all to raise money for Sport Relief.

Thursday 22nd March

As a school we will be participating in a school-to-school relay.  A route has been devised for each school to with our route taking us to Lawn Manor School. When we get there, a short fitness exercise will be completed by everyone before Lawn Manor take the baton on to the next school. Some children will then be chosen from the school to the Grand Finale which is taking place at the County Ground.  It is hoped that some of the Sport Relief stars themselves will be there to acknowledge the amazing take completed by all schools.

Friday 23rd March—Sport Relief Day
Non-school Uniform day

We are asking the children to come to school dressed as their Sporting Hero. Whether they are inspired by a footballer like David Beckham, a swimmer such as Becky Adlington, cricketers (Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali) or maybe even a gymnast such as Beth Tweddle. Whomever, they choose, the children must be prepared to talk about their hero and why they are inspired by them.

Mrs Painter’s Swimming Challenge
The challenge is well underway now. If you would like to sponsor Mrs Painter or donate, then please do so during the upcoming Parents’ Evenings or place your names on the sponsor form at the school office. Just a reminder that Mrs Painter will donate half of the fundraising to Sport Relief and half to the school for our next big project!

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ATTENDANCE

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The expectation for school attendance is that it exceeds 95%.  We will be writing to parents where their child’s attendance is below 90% and a meeting will be arranged with either Mrs Chapman or Mrs Painter.  Please note that, even if there are exceptional circumstances for these absences, it is our responsibility to challenge school absence and warn parents of possible consequences.

Across the school the group of children falling below 90% accounts for a huge 14% of Years 1 to 6 (but there are still others where attendance is between 90-95%). Please continue to make every effort to get children to school on time and, if uncertain what to do, rest assured we will send them home if too ill to stay in school.

How much schooling will your child miss?
98%=4 days 95%=10 days 90%=19 days 80%=38 days

With this in mind, children attending at 80% every year will miss almost 1½ years of education during their time at Primary School.  It is possible that formal action could be taken for persistent poor attendance – this quote is taken from the Government Website on attendance:

“You could get a fine of up to £2,500, a community order or a jail sentence up to 3 months. The court also gives you a Parenting Order.”

Please don’t shoot the messenger!

STAFFING NEWS
After half term, we welcomed back Miss Rance from maternity leave.  Miss Rance has returned to teach 2 days a week in Russia class (Year 3) replacing Mrs Chapman who returns to her Assistant Head duties.

This week we have welcomed the return of Mrs Mepstead, also from maternity leave.  Mrs Mepstead has returned as the Deputy Headteacher of Lainesmead and I am sure you will join me in wishing her all the very best in her new role.

Mrs Arnold, who has worked as a Specialist Teaching Assistant at Lainesmead for around 10 years has made the decision to retire at the end of this term.  As a school we wish her all the very best for the future. 

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AFTER SCHOOL CLUBS

Staff at Lainesmead try very hard to run after school clubs for the children.  We know that many parents have been unhappy about the small number of clubs that are being provided at present. So that you are aware, staff voluntarily give up their time to run clubs, without payment, and are under no obligation to provide clubs after school. Teachers key focus at the end of the day is to plan, prepare and mark work in order to ensure that the next day’s lessons are organised to maximise children’s learning.  As a school we endeavour to provide as many after school opportunities for children as possible and have looked to outside providers for this, for example Swindon Wildcats and Swindon Town Football.  We will be increasingly looking down this route to provide the clubs that we know everyone, including us as a school, value so much.

NURSERY UPDATE

You may remember that some time ago we informed you that we had been successful in receiving a grant from the DfE to extend our nursery provision.

We are delighted that planning permission for this has now been granted.  Currently we are out to tender and hope to secure a builder within the next 2 weeks to start the project during the Easter Holidays.
Plans of the development will be on view at parents evenings this week.

ACHIEVEMENT FOR ALL

This year we have also begun or work with the educational charity Achievement for All. AfA is a leading not-for-profit organisation  that works in partnership with early years settings, schools  and colleges, to improve outcomes for all children and  young people vulnerable to underachievement  regardless of background, challenge or need.

A huge part of the work that we are focusing on in this is working and developing our relationships with parents across the school.  We have a number of parents who have already attended a Structured Conversation with a member of teaching staff, including senior leaders, and the feedback we have received from this has been hugely positive. 

As we move on with this organisation, we will increase the number of parents who are accessing Structured Conversations. Maybe you will be the lucky one in future?

Dates for your Diary

Week Beginning 5th March
Parents’ Evenings

Friday 16th March
9am—Reception parents Phonics and Reading Workshop—the next stage

Thursday 22nd March
Sport Relief Running Relay

Thursday 22nd March
Fabulous Finish Afternoon

Friday 23rd March
Sport Relief Non-school uniform day (see previous information )

Thursday 29th March
LAST DAY OF TERM
Easter Craft afternoon at 2pm
School finishes for the Easter Holidays at 2:30pm

Monday 16th April
Nursery Closed (Home Visits)
Reception to Year 6 children return to school

Friday 20th April
Non-school Uniform day—Sports Focus

Week beginning 14th May
Year 6 SATS Week