Celebrating Excellence through our Faith and Learning

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Translatable Newsletters

NEWSLETTER 3 -  04.10.18

Can you believe we are already in week 5 – how quick the term is going! With all pupils settled into their classes, we are looking forward to all the events leading up to half term.

It was lovely to see so many pupils from St Mary’s make their First Holy Communion recently at Holy Family Church. Some staff also attended in order to be involved in this important step in the children’s lives.

St Francis’ class are shortly off on their residential trip to Mill on the Brue and there are trips coming up for many of the classes, including St Bernadette’s (Y4) trip to Glastonbury Abbey and the Reception and Year 6 Buddy Trip, which is always an enjoyable event.

We also have Poetry Fortnight coming up, with the poet James Carter, visiting our school and our popular poetry trails (see details below).


Harvest Assembly is on Tuesday 16th October at 2.30pm. You are all welcome to join us for this.

This year our Harvest collection is being donated to both the North Bristol Food Bank and to Holy Family Parish to be distributed to parishioners in need. Donations of products would be gratefully received.  We are only collecting non-perishable foods so please only send in tins, bottles and long-life goods. We had a fabulous collection of items last year. Please send in items as soon as possible

Thank you for your wonderful support at this event. The coffee morning, the staff cake sale organised by the kitchen and after-school cake sale, raised an excellent £191.01 for MacMillan Cancer Support



The dates for the rest of the year are as follows:-

  • Friday 26th October
  • Monday 25th February
  • Monday 22nd July 2019
  • Tuesday 23rd July 2019


Poetry Fortnight at St. Mary’s

15th October till 25th October 2018

We have planned an exciting couple of weeks focusing on reading, writing, reciting and experiencing different types of poetry based around the themes of harvest and autumn. Classes will be learning a poem based on this theme and then preparing their own performance of it as a class, to share with the school in the last week of term. I’m sure they will be able to recite their class poem at home too.

The popular poetry trail will also be running after school during the week of 15th October, with a raffle draw of completed entries from KS1 and KS2. Please do come along and read some brilliant poems with your children. Hand in your entries by Tuesday 23rd October please.

The talented, published poet James Carter will be visiting us on Tuesday 23rd October, providing workshops and poetry readings for all the children, along with sharing his expertise in composing poetry. Many thanks to Friends of St Mary’s School for funding this fantastic opportunity for our children.

Over the half term break, we will also be setting a poetry writing competition based on The Great Outdoors! Children can use all their skills that they have learnt during the focus weeks to write their own poem based on something they have experienced linked to being outside. Again there will be a KS1 and KS2 prize for the winning entries and these will be shared on our website. The closing date for this competition is Friday 9th November.

We really appreciate your support with this and would love it if any parent would like to come in and share some poetry with classes. Please do share poems with your children at home, borrow poetry books from the library or write one together for our competition.


Flu Vaccinations

Final reminder: consent forms need to be returned by Friday 5th October.

The vaccination clinic will be held in school on Monday 5th November, giving the pupils the flu vaccination in the form of a nasal spray. This will be administered to children in Reception to Year 5 if parents have authorised.



St Mary's will have an open afternoon for parents seeking a place in Reception Class in September 2019 on Tuesday 13th November at 2pm (please contact the school office if you would like to attend).  Please note that this is not a meeting for children to attend.

All applications have to be made through South Gloucestershire Council, with the closing date 15th January 2019. Full details on the application process are available on the school website.


New School Calendar

There is a new calendar feature on the school website, which has replaced the Diary of Dates. Dates are subject to change in unavoidable circumstances but an email/text will be sent if this event is within 7 days.


Data Collection

Data collection forms have been issued to Years 1 to 6. If you have not returned this, please do so immediately. It is essential that we have up-to-date contact details for emergencies.


Maths Workshops

Last year, at St Mary’s, we had a big push to introduce the Bar Modelling method into our daily Maths lessons. This method is a strategy to help pupils understand mathematical problems so they know which calculation they are required to do. We have a Bar Modelling progression document on the school website and you may remember the different activities and examples that we had available at last year’s parents evening. Over the next few months I will be holding two different drop in sessions for parents who want to learn more about bar modelling, these will be very informal sessions where different examples will be available and in which you can ask me any questions. If you would like to attend either of these sessions please let myself or the school office know.

Date:Thursday 11th October 2018 or Tuesday 4th December 2018

Time: 3.30pm – 4.00pm

Location: Year 5 Classroom



Thank you, we have had an overwhelming number of parents offering to volunteer in the school. We are currently in the process of trying to match the offers made with needs across the school. Parents that have offered to help will hear from us by the end of next week, with details of the required DBS check application.

Reading Support  

We are also looking to build a team of people able to spare 1 hour a week to hear children read in school. There will be full training will be provided by Mrs Hobday on Friday 12th October at 1:30 pm.  If you are interested please sign up at the office or email:-


Miss School: Miss Out


As you know, we have been carefully monitoring late arrivals of children at school.

If your child arrives after the children have gone in to class, you will have to sign them in at the front desk. Going in through the playground gate late is no longer an option.

To clarify, when it is raining, if children arrive after the bell has gone, they will also be marked late.

Our motive behind this is not to upset parents or children or to get into a conflict situation. We simply want to maximise your child’s learning time and make a smooth start to the day for all children, with as little disruption for everyone.

We would ask you to respect this and to comply with our requests to follow these tighter procedures. We understand that everyone is late on the odd occasion for a variety of reasons and that is acceptable. What we are trying to improve is the arrival times of the persistently late.




T1 Wk 3

T1 Wk 4

Number of late arrivals in this period

Minutes lost in this period

St George





St Nicholas





St Elizabeth





St Augustine





St Bernadette





St Martin de Porres





St Francis











Congratulations to St Augustine’s Class for 100% attendance in week 4.

In the last two weeks, there was over 5 hours of learning time missed by being late, when this can often be avoided.


Free Club Taster Sessions

KS2 Netball club -  Are you in KS2? Come along and experience a free session of netball on Friday 9th November, 3.30-4.30pm (outside or in the hall if weather is bad). The session will be delivered by a qualified netball coach and will include lots of games, skills and team building tasks. 

KS1 Gymnastics Club - Calling all KS1 children. Come along and experience a free gymnastic session on Tuesday 9th October, 3.30-4.30pm, in the hall. The session will be delivered by a qualified gymnastics coach, where children can learn different jumps and balances with use of the apparatus.

These clubs will initially be subsidised by the school’s Sports Premium funding and will cost just £1 per session. Forms to sign up to the trial session will be sent shortly.


St Mary’s  Parent Language Champions 2018/19 

Thank you to the parents who have signed up to be new Parent Language Champions this year, and to those Parent Champions who continue to provide this valuable support. We are very lucky at St Mary’s to have such a supportive school community, welcoming families from so many different cultures and countries.

Don’t forget – if you require some support in understanding school communications such as letters, reports, or even parent evening or teacher meetings, then please do ask one of our Parent Language Champions to help you. This can be arranged directly with the nominated parent, or through myself. It’s so lovely to hear of so many families who have benefitted from some language support, and who have made new friends and connections through our school community.

Attached is the current poster detailing our Parent Language Champions 2018-2019. It’s still not too late to sign up! Contact the school office or myself if you’d like to volunteer.

Many thanks – Mrs Creese


Wet Weather

There have been several pupils arriving at school from 8.30am during wet weather, hoping to come into school early.

It has been the school’s policy to let children into class at 8.40am when there is heavy rain and we are happy to continue this practice. This will be through their normal playground doors and not through the main entrance. However, staff are busy preparing for the day before 8.40am and are unable to supervise pupils before this time. During light rain/drizzle it is expected that pupils remain on the playground as normal until 8.50am.

We also run Wake and Shake sessions between 8.40 and 8.50am from Terms 2 to 4, where children can come into the hall and participate in a short fitness session before classes start. These sessions are cancelled when there is heavy rain, in order for staff to supervise the children in class.


Recorder lessons We have a large number of recorder groups in the school from beginners to advanced. All children are able to read music fluently by year 3.

Some children learn for fun or to play in ensembles and there are also groups which cater for children who wish to play more seriously in competitions and music festivals. Players can also opt to prepare for grade examination if desired.

Lessons are available in lunchtimes. Please contact Mrs Mitchell direct for availability and costs, if your child would like to learn.


Admission to Secondary Schools

All current Year 6 children must complete the appropriate application forms for their transfer to secondary school in September 2019.

Applications need to be made directly to the Local Authority: for residents of South Gloucestershire applications need to be made directly to South Gloucestershire Council’s Admissions & Transport Team; you can find more information on their website, where you will find an Admission to Secondary Schools booklet 2018-19.

Secondary School Admissions

Applications can take place from 10th September, with the closing date for secondary school applications being 31st October 2018.

For children applying for Year 7 places at St Bede’s Catholic College, the St Bede’s Additional Information Form must also be completed and returned directly to St Bede’s by 31st October 2018. This is available on their website.


Be Safe: Be Seen

The clocks are due to go back in the early hours of Sunday 28th October, so once more South Gloucestershire Council Road Safety team we will be promoting the Be Safe Be Seen campaign.

There will be an assembly for all year groups on Tuesday 9th October. They want to encourage all children to wear something bright and take extra care when out and about near roads, especially as the nights start to draw in and children become more vulnerable as they are less visible to motorists.

 The key messages are:

  • Be bright morning or night.
  • Make sure you can be easily seen, especially at night, on dark days and in bad weather.
  • Bright or fluorescent clothes show up best by day, especially in dull or misty weather.
  • By night, reflective material is best and shows up in car headlights - fluorescent clothing doesn't work after dark. Reflective tape can be put on clothing, school bags and equipment.
  • It is against the law to cycle at night without a white front light, a red back light and a red reflector at the back, so make sure all bikes are properly equipped and lights are working.
  • Cross the road at the safest place possible. e.g. zebra, pelican, puffin or patrolled crossing.
  • Use the Green Cross Code: Stop, Look, Listen.

If you are out at night, choose routes that are well-lit by streetlights and cross at well-lit places.



If you think that your child may be eligible for free school meals, please click on this link – Free School Meals. This will be treated as confidential.

Children that are entitled to free school meals also bring an additional payment to the school through Pupil Premium funding. This money is spent on supporting your child through any required intervention, paying for school trips and many other ways. Even if your child is in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 and already gets the free meal that children of these ages are entitled to, you should still apply for the free school meals as it will then trigger the additional funding to support your child in a variety of ways.

Further information can be found on our website under Pupil Premium.


School website

Please use our school website as a point of reference for information about school matters. This is in the process of being updated. Please click here.

You can also find out what your children have being doing on their class page and keep up-to-date with what is happening in the school through our blog.



In the case of illness, parents must provide the class teacher with an explanatory note/email on the pupil’s first day back at school. Messages do not suffice.

On the first day of absence you must contact the school before 9:30am informing us of your child’s absence from school that day. In the case of diarrhoea or vomiting your child must remain at home for at least 48 hours after the last bout of sickness in order to minimise the spread of illness throughout the school.



Please notify the office of any changes to contact numbers or addresses as a matter of urgency.  It is vital that you keep us up to date with emergency phone numbers etc. We regularly have occasions when we are unable to contact the parent.