St Catherine of Siena - Headteachers Blog
St Catherine of Siena Catholic Primary School / Headteacher’s Blog / 24th April 2018
So, it has been quite some time since my last post, as we have been working with our website developer to make the format more user-friendly in response to your communication feedback.
Our new Communication Policy has been uploaded to the website, under Parents’ Area/Policies. Following feedback from a range of stakeholders, communication will now be via the following routes:
- Events – We will endeavour to ensure that all events are added to the school calendar at least 6 weeks before they are due to take place. We now have a ‘Subscribe to Calendar’ option, which will import all calendar events into your own calendar on Outlook, on your Ipad or Iphone. When events are added, these will sync with your phone and automatically update. To subscribe to the calendar, please follow the instructions which were sent out on Parentmail and attached on the document below.
- Newsflash – The newsflash page now takes the form of a Twitter feed. For those who subscribe to Twitter, following this page will ensure you get updates as they are posted. These will include any deviations from the calendar and will also include class announcements. If you do not currently use Twitter, you can view the Newsflash page on the website in the usual way.
- Parentmail – Where we need to notify parents of last-minute, important information (such as school closure), we will also send a Parentmail. However, as the recent school closure notification showed, a high volume of messages (such as snow days) can result in a significant delay in Parentmail messages being received. As such, we would encourage all parents to use the Newsflash page as the primary source of urgent information.
The last half-term was jam-packed, with the whole school competing to demonstrate which class was the most entrepreneurial! We were astonished to see the children’s ideas come to fruition, with such a variety of money-making schemes all executed to ensure maximum profit. The highlight of the week was our ‘Dragons’ Den’, where pupils pitched their enterprise ideas to a select panel of ‘Dragons’, which included Mr Marsegelia (Music teacher at St Michael’s), Mrs Spiff (Business Studies teacher at St Michael’s, David Aniebonam (Head Boy at St Michael’s), Tara Pelley (Head Girl at St Michael’s) and Vera Woolls (Governor).
Our incredible children devised and ran the following businesses: EYFS Faustyna – A scooter and bike washing facility 1 Teresa – Animal bookmark sales 2 Drexel – A ‘Fairtrade’ Café 3 Bakhita – Soap making 3 Orione – Cake sale/café 4 Alphonsa – ‘Rubbish’ Art – a recycled art gallery 4 Bosco – Bosco Breadmakers 5 Lupita – Quiz and ‘mocktail’ bar 6 Tekakwitha – Industrial plant pots Although all the classes were amazing, the following were recognised as being worthy of special mention: Most Innovative –1 Drexel Best Pitch – 4 Alphonsa Most Profit – EYFS Faustyna Most Sales – 6 Tekakwitha Overall Best Business – 3 Bakhita Well done to those children who also won individual awards for being enterprising and demonstrating positive learning behaviours.
My synopsis of the week doesn’t do the children justice, so please do look at the ‘Dragons’ Den’ clips on the Videos section of our website! Here is a taster for you...
It was wonderful to start the Summer term with activities based around our local, national and international community. These themed weeks are a vehicle for children to put their learning into context and to make links across the whole curriculum. As such, Community Week involved a wide variety of different activities in each class. On Monday, we were fortunate enough to have eight Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers visit the school, complete with their cars and vans! Each class took part in a workshop around an aspect of Safety, such as ‘Stranger Danger’, bullying and e-safety. They also had lots of fun….
Our younger children learnt about keeping themselves safe outside school (as well as getting a good nose around the police cars!), while Years 5 and 6 learnt important lessons about their actions and behaviour having legal consequences. They also had great fun acting as forensics experts, taking their own fingerprints. The day culminated in an assembly where each class shared their learning – from the NSPCC’s ‘Pants Rule’ to staying safe online, we all learnt so much!
Thank you so much to PC Jonathan Lister and his wonderful team for devoting so much time to making an informative and exciting day for the children. As well as receiving help from others in our community, we took the opportunity to give something back. Acting for the Common Good is a cornerstone of our Catholic ethos, so it was brilliant to see the children acting as the ‘servants’ of others. Some of the acts of service performed included:
- Mentoring younger children within the school;
- Carrying out guided reading with younger children;
- Teaching others about good oral hygiene;
- Tidying our Outdoor Area and mucking out the farm animals;
- Passing on our faith through our Easter Story production at Coates Way School; and
- Performing the ‘Three Little Pigs’ to nursery children at St Michael’s pre-school.
4 Alphonsa received a visit from Watford New Hope Trust, who explained the plight of homeless people within our community. They also explored music from across the world from and researched the different cultures they originated from. 4 Bosco demonstrated the difference that ‘random acts of kindness’ can make to the world. Helping around the school, they cleaned whiteboards, sharpened pencils, put up displays and generally improved our school environment for all.
A particular highpoint of the week was 5 Lupita’s visit to Lancaster Court Residential Home. It was incredibly emotional to hear the positive impact that the visit had on the elderly who live there. Lupita brightened the mood by singing some classic songs including, 'We'll Meet Again' and 'It's a long way to Tipperary'. The residents joined enthusiastically with the singing and enjoyed chatting to our pupils about their lives. The children built up a real rapport with the senior citizens, swapping stories and making each other laugh. One lady told Lupita that she had had a lovely life and was happy in the home, but the children’s visit had “been an added highlight”. The whole experience was so positive for all involved, that they have asked us to make it a monthly event! Thank you to Miss Gabriel for organising such a special Community Week experience.
St George’s Day.
We celebrated the feast of St George on Monday 23rd April and in keeping with our British values we looked at how St George’s heroic deeds pre-empted the actions of people in our community who stand up against prejudice and intolerance today. EYFS demonstrated their amazing acting skills, re-enacting the myth of George and the Dragon for the whole school!
Our view of ‘community’ extends to the global community of which we are part. As Stewards of Creation, we have a sacred duty to protect and preserve our planet. Today we have been responding to Pope Francis’ call to enter into ‘a dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet’ (Laudato Si). The children have been discussing how we can act to reduce environmental damage and contribute to a sustainable future for all.
First Holy Communion
Congratulations to those who have made their First Holy Communion and good luck to those who will be celebrating the Sacrament for the first time this weekend. We will update the blog with photos once all the children have received the Sacrament.
It was wonderful to see the Home Learning which took place over the Easter holidays. EYFS Faustyna’s Easter gardens were a joy to behold! Thank you to those families in all classes who worked together to produce such marvellous work!
Please note that our school calendar has been updated. ‘Trip Season’ will soon be upon us, so please do make sure you are aware of key dates such as evening meetings. We look forward to celebrating our St Catherine of Siena Feast Day Mass on Monday 30thApril. We would be delighted if you could join us on this special occasion. Please let the office know if you are available to help with walking to the Church. Our next themed week is ‘Media Week’. Again, we hope that this will be even bigger and better than last year! Now that we have a fully-functioning website, we will endeavour to update you on a much more regular basis.
With love from the family of St Catherine’s,