Issue 10 - 17th November 2023
Last week, we invited families to an open evening at our wonderful school. We were overwhelmed by the number of people who came and we were incredibly proud to show them the fantastic displays and engaging activities in each classroom. We had so many volunteers from Year 6 who acted as ambassadors for our school and were tour guides for families. We had lots of positive feedback and I am incredibly grateful these children took the time to proudly represent our school.
On Friday, we observed a 2-minute silence in honour of Remembrance Day and children in Year 5 and 6 took part in a country wide online assembly.
We are now on the final day of Feeling Good Week and I hope the children have been speaking to you about the fabulous activities that hav been planned in school this week. To prepare us for the week, the children to took part in Kindness workshops last week. You can read more about this further down our newsletter. I would like to thank the staff for putting in so much effort to make sure the week has gone so well with fun sports, cinema trips, performances, as well as a focus on the more serious side of online safety and addressing worries raised when the school nurses came in!
A parent has asked me about having a non-uniform day in support of Children in Need. It can be difficult to accommodate all requests and this term we have focused on local charities with a non-uniform day in support of the Abilities in Me Foundation in September and our upcoming non-uniform day in December in support of The Stevenage Community Trust and their Christmas Gift Appeal. Whilst I fully agree that Children in Need are a worthwhile charity, there are ways to donate nationally (I have shared these below for those who are interested) and feel these local charities need our support.
Have a good week.
Parent Survey Feedback
Are we meeting your child's needs?
I was incredibly pleased to see some lovely feedback to this question and to read how happy many children are to come to school. Some parents told us they are happy with the communication from school, issues are dealt with well and many are happy with their child’s progress. Alongside this, some parents requested more communication, support for their child, a change in homework and a review into how we manage behaviour.
In terms of additional support, for children who require more help with their learning, there are provisions in the classroom to support them. Some children are taken out individually or in small groups for additional help but we feel that for the majority of the time it is usually better to adjust the resources in the classroom to be more inclusive and help the child stay and learn with their peers. We recognise there are also children who need to be stretched and for those children, there is a ‘challenge task’ offered in lessons and weekly homework for them to complete on top of their usual homework. All children have access to TTRockstars and some to maths.co.uk and all are provided with reading books to help their learning. All parents have been given the opportunity to buy CGP books at a lower cost to help support their learning at home.
As a school, we must offer parents at least one opportunity per year to discuss your child’s performance. However, we offer two parents’ evenings per year as well as the end of year school reports. Parents are also welcome to utilise the year group email addresses to contact their child’s class teacher for an update on their learning throughout the year. We want you to be interested so please ask!
Some parents mentioned our approach to poor behaviour and although some people felt we are too soft, there are others who believe we are too strict. This is of course down to personal preference and what we as parents expect from a school. This being said, we absolutely believe that unacceptable behaviour cannot be tolerated and urge parents to support us in dealing with this. We use the Therapeutic Thinking, Hertfordshire Steps approach to behaviour management (more information on this can be found by following the link below) but this does not work for all incidents. We welcome open discussion about this somewhat contentious area and the parents' forum is a great place to start!
School Improvement Plan
This can also be downloaded at the bottom of the page.
Year 4 and 5 DT afternoon
On Thursday 30th November, we are inviting all parents from Year 4 and 5 to come in and join us for a DT afternoon as part of our Autumn term engagement events. Parents with children across both year groups are able to visit children in both classes and can move freely between the two. We will be trialling a QR signing in system to (hopefully) make it quicker for parents to sign in. Please bear with us. Children from Year 6 will be helping to support this event by showing you to your child’s class. The afternoon will start at 1.30pm (but please don’t worry if you can’t get to us until later, the doors will remain open) and will finish at 2.45pm to allow parents to collect siblings from Letchmore. You are very welcome to take children home at 2.45pm from any of the classes as you leave. Please go to the classroom door where your child will be signed out by the class teacher. If your child is in Year 6, please go to the front of Acorn House where a member of the Year 6 team will assist you. Only children that are being collected by their own parents/carers may be allowed to leave before 3.15pm.
Year 3 Christmas Musical
On Monday, we sent information to parents regarding the Year 3 Musical in December. Please do log on and book your tickets before the 24th November. You are very welcome to book a seat at both the afternoon and evening performances but as previously mentioned, we can only guarantee one space per family at each. Unfortunately, this does also mean we cannot allow children on laps for the performance. We are very tight on space and are working within the limits allowed by the fire regulations and truly appreciate your understanding. Once the booking system closes and we have an understanding of how many tickets have been booked, we will re-open the system to allow for any remaining places to be booked.
For our full calendar, please click the 'button' link below.
Click here to view the events for next week...
Don't forget to preorder your child's lunches!
Follow the link below to order.
You can pre-order from home for the day, week, month or even the term.
Year 3 – 91.84%
Year 4 –95.82%
Year 5 –94.16%
Year 6 –91.37%
All students – 93%
Class winners 4L – 98.8%
The government expectation for attendance is 96%
Upcoming Friends of Almond Hill Events
Christmas Present Room - Friday 8th December
Christmas sweet jars – details to follow.
In Other News…
52Lives, a charity who aim to change someone's life every week of the year, visited us all online last Wednesday. After gathering thoughts on kindness and how to spread gratitude, they set Almond Hill an aim of improving someone's day by sharing some kindness. Our children were inspired and created some wonderful pieces; we're hoping some of them made it home to families. There was a lovely feeling of warmth around the school as children and adults received gifts of posters, cards and kind wishes.
ECO Trip - New Community Woodland at Fairlands Park
On Friday 10th November work on the new community woodland was completed and officially named “Fairlane Wood”. Although all the past and present members were not able to join due to limited places, we were able to take some of the ECO Committee members to re-visit the trees that they planted and take part in various nature-themed activities. We learnt more about the trees in the existing woodland – did you know there is actually a moat in the woodland! We also collected some seeds and then were lucky enough to interact with some amazing birds of prey! Click the link to view some photos from the event and look out for our upcoming ECO Committee Autumn Newsletter where we will tell you more about our trip.
Reverse Advent Calendar
Almond Hill is organising a reverse advent calendar. Instead of receiving, we're giving to a food bank for less fortunate people. A food bank is a place where you can pick up food items, for example, potatoes and couscous. Items need to be brought into the classroom before the 28th November. Your items can then be taken to Miss Porter and then head off to our local food bank. You can bring in toilet roll, fruit and vegetables, sweets, pasta, rice, tinned items, small toys, presents and more. Remember, it's reversed: not receiving, but giving.
By Laxmitha, Fredrick and Ayo (5S)
Scholastic Book Club
Children brought home a leaflet this week for the Schoolastic Book Club. Buy books and earn money for our school. You can order using the link below:
On Wednesday, our Year 6 team had their first school match against Round Diamond. It was sadly not Almond Hill's day and the team lost 5 - 0. However, there were so many positives that the team can take from the match. I would usually ask on of the children to write a match summary but felt I wanted to do it this week. I would like to express just what a fantastic team they are. There was so much teamwork and selflessness in their play and despite being behind and on the backfoot their heads never dropped. They supported each other and there was no blame. They make me and their parents so proud. This week's 'Player's Player' was Keiyan - very well deserved! The 'Manager's player of the week' went to Dawson - again, well earned! It wasn't our day today team but next time it will be! Gooo Almond Hill!
Almond Hill Year 5 played their first ever netball match on Friday. After keeping the score at 0-0 for the first quarter with some great defending, Shephalbury managed to go 1-0 up during the second quarter. There was more brilliant defending throughout the match, with wonderful interceptions by Olivia. Almond Hill gave a few good attacks but could not manage to score any goals, with the final score being 3-0 to Shephalbury. The team morale stayed high throughout the game; the other team even noted what a super team we were. Special mention to Hetty, who was chosen as 'Player of the Match' by the opposition - fabulous footwork and movement around the court.
Almond Hill were again gracious in defeat against St. Nicholas in their second match as a Y5 team. The final result of a 3-1 loss doesn't tell the story of the improvement in all of the players to date - some of them playing in their first ever netball match today. Congratulations to Lois for scoring our first ever Y5 goal and to Isabella for an amazing amount of interceptions as GD. There were some very fluent movements of the ball down the court in the fourth quarter - the girls managed to find the open spaces well.
Well done to Ava for being nominated as 'Player of the Match' by the opposition and to Hettie for leading her team so well as captain.
A Message from the Children's Commissioner for England - "The Big Ambition" survey
‘The Children’s Commissioner recently launched The Big Ambition to hear directly from children and young people across the country about what they need to make their lives better. We would like to thank all of the schools that have participated so far and are delighted to see that thousands of children have already had their say. The Commissioner is keen to build momentum on this and so we would appreciate it if you could encourage all of your schools to take part, if they have not done so already. Now, as we approach the General Election, it is a crucial moment to take children and young people’s voices to policymakers and the Government, to make sure they are heard. That is why, through The Big Ambition survey, we want to hear from children and young people about their schools, communities, family life, and the wider world, as well as what they want for their future, their hopes, dreams, and aspirations. This survey is for all children and young people aged 0 to 18. Children aged 6 to 18 can complete the survey themselves. For those who may need additional support or for children under six parents and other adults can complete the survey on their behalf. Schools play a critical role in enabling us to hear from as many children and young people as possible. That is why we would appreciate your support and help in encouraging your school community to complete the survey.’
The survey can be completed here: www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/thebigambition