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Issue 15 - 12th January 2024

Dear Families,

Welcome back to the Spring term! A big welcome to the families who have joined Almond Hill this term! I hope you enjoyed the Christmas break with your families – Miya certainly did! The children have shown me this week how enthusiastic and well prepared they are for the term ahead.

We have plenty to look forward to and some of the key events are highlighted below - please add the dates to your diaries.

  • Tuesday 16th January – FOAH Meeting at 5.30pm via Microsoft Teams – teams link can be found below.
  • Year 6 SATs Meeting - Monday 22nd January 6.30pm – this is an opportunity for Year 6 parents to meet with the Year 6 teachers (online) to gather information and resources for the SATs which will take place in May.  I would encourage all parents to attend where possible as the information provided is invaluable.
  • Tuesday 30th January - SEND/Pastoral Afternoon Tea 2.30-3.15pm – your opportunity to speak to Mrs. Birchall and Mrs. Burgess about all things relating to SEND and/or pastoral needs and a chance to meet and chat with like-minded parents. There is no need to book. Please come to the main office.
  • Wednesday 31st January – 50p Book Sale – if you have any books you would like to donate, we would be very grateful. Donations can be given to your child’s class teacher.
  • Monday 5th February - Year 3 visit to North Herts Museum
  • Wednesday 7th February – Uniform Sale 3.00-3.30pm
  • Monday 19th February – Half term
  • Thursday 29th February at 7.00pm – Parenting in the Digital World virtual session for parents. 
    Flyers
  • Thursday 7th March – World Book Day and back by popular demand – children may dress up!
  • WC 11th March – Science Week  - we are hoping to invite all parents to come in during science week for various events – look out for more information.
  • Tuesday 12th March - SEND/Pastoral Coffee Morning 8.45-9.30am – please come to the Friendship Room which can be accessed via the quadrant.
  •  Tuesday 12th March – Individual school photos
  • PTIs – this will be take place on Thursday 21st and Tuesday 26th March (times tbc)
  • For children who have a reading intervention to help develop their skills we would also like to invite those parents in at some point in the coming term to learn how to help their child even more.

As well as these events, there will be lots of other things planned such as sporting events and writing days which we tell you all about in our upcoming newsletters.

Have a good weekend.

Emma Fordham
Headteacher

Key Messages 

 

Safeguarding
Please be reminded, we are a nut free school. Children should not be bringing any products containing nuts into school. This does include treats for the class on birthdays or gifts.

Organising Events – Deadlines

As I am sure parents will have noticed, we have been working hard to offer lots of opportunities for children to take part in different events and activities. We ‘subscribe’ to Stevenage Sporting Futures who organise a variety of sporting events throughout the year. As well as this, there are adhoc events in maths, writing, visits to our feeder schools, netball/football matches and plenty more. With lots of children here, it is important we are organised when planning these events to ensure risk assessments are completed in plenty of time and everything is in place for the event to be safe and successful. We know parents are very busy and sometimes emails are missed but going forward, we will be adding a date and time to our deadlines for consents etc. If these deadlines are not met, we will offer the space to someone else. Often the sporting events have a minimum numbers requirement and if we do not have enough people, then the whole team will miss out. There are other events that we have paid for and would lose money if the space is not taken. We will endeavour to ensure our deadlines are as reasonable as possible to help parents with this although please bear with us as sometimes information from external providers is not given to us as promptly as we would like.

We have set ourselves a target this year to ensure every child is involved in an additional extracurricular sporting activity or event and are tracking this carefully to ensure all children have access to these opportunities.

I would encourage all parents who have not already done so to log in to Arbor as this will be a key method of communication for consents etc going forward.

Reports Feedback

Firstly, I would like to thank the parent who alerted me that we did not come back to the reports survey after this was completed by many parents in the summer. I can only apologise for this oversight and assure parents the feedback has been read and will be used to adapt/improve what we provide in the summer term.

I am going to take the time to address some of the points here. It was lovely to see so many responses with the vast majority being positive.

Parents told us they were happy with the length and amount of information received and particularly liked the child’s feedback section. The reports were described as ‘in depth, easy to read, and not generic’. One particular comment really stood out ‘I am always impressed with how much thought and work goes into this report, it’s a challenge to do that for each kid’. We are really grateful for such positive feedback.

As we would expect when asking for feedback, there are some areas that parents felt could be improved and some of which requires a more personal, 1-1 response and where this is possible (i.e. a name has been provided as the feedback is anonymous), I will be in touch if I have not already to discuss the reports with you

Some parents requested more information per subject regarding areas of concern and/or praise and some asked for more detailed information, particularly if their child is not at age related. Another request was for school reports to be received more regularly.  The general comments section is used to provide further information on what a child has done well or where a child needs to develop.  School reports take a huge amount of time to draft, read and rewrite and providing additional reports is not feasible. The school holds two parent and teacher meetings a year as well as the school report, but as always, parents are very welcome to meet with their child’s class teacher to discuss any areas of concern/interest. Please use the year group emails to let teachers know if you would like to speak to them about anything,

Whilst some parents said the reports felt personal, there were some who felt they were quite generic. The reports are written using a formula to ensure all parents receive the same areas of information. However, I read every school report and can assure parents they are personalised to your child.

Finally, I would like to say thank you to so many of you for responding to the survey about reports. In the past years, I have only received two or three responses and had considered not adding it to last year. I am so glad I did as I genuinely appreciate and consider all comments.

Online Safety - Managing Screen Time

99% of current children will own a smartphone before they reach 18 📱👶. With phones and other devices offering an increasing number of ways to pass the time, it can prove difficult for young people to set them aside. As a gateway to messaging services, games, television, music and more, digital devices can become borderline indispensable items in a young person's life. 

Studies have shown, however, that managing a child’s screen time can have positive impacts on their cognitive development. The guide below provides you with some simple but effective tips to help you bring your family’s screen time down to a healthier level, while suggesting alternative activities that are far less reliant on technology.

Managing Screen Time Guide

Term Dates

We have not yet planned INSET dates for the next academic year but we have had some parent queries regarding the start of term in September 2024 so we have liaised with Letchmore and agreed we will have an INSET day on Monday 2nd September and term will start on Tuesday 3rd.  I hope that helps parents to plan their summer holidays.

Diary Dates

Attendance

Year 3 - 92.25%
Year 4 - 93.8%
Year 5 - 92.87%
Year 6 - 90.85%
All students – 92.45%
Class winners - 4O - 96.8%
The government expectation for attendance is 96%

Almond Hill Achievements 

Click the button below to see all the wonderful things our children have achieved outside of school. 

House Points

Upcoming FOAH Events

Urgent call for help! FOAH had lots of events planned for this term such as movie nights, sweet jars for valentines, raffles and present rooms but the committee are finding it hard to organise events with the number of volunteers they have.

To ensure we are able to offer these events, we need more volunteers. Even if you are only able to commit to specific events, we would be exceptionally grateful for your support. If you are able to volunteer for any events, please email foah@almondhill.herts.sch.uk

Next meeting: Tuesday 16th January at 5.30pm via Microsoft Teams

Join on your computer, mobile app or room device

Click here to join the meeting

Meeting ID: 333 682 308 471
Passcode: U2RsJk

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