Autumn A Newsletter 2023

Message from Headteacher

We hope you have had a great half-term break and managed to get out and about despite the bad weather! We have had a great start to the Autumn Term at St Julian’s and so much has already taken place! It’s been great to see children settle into their new classes so well and having spent time looking at a number of pupils’ work books over the past couple of weeks, it’s wonderful to see lots of progress being made.

Thank you to parents who joined us for our recent Pupil Learning Review meetings for Parents – teachers really enjoyed meeting with you and chatting about your child. We’ve started to call these parent meetings PLRs or Pupil Learning Review meetings as a number of ‘PLRs’ take place across the year. As well as PLR meetings for parents, we have PLR meetings with pupils themselves, where each child meets with their class teacher 1 to 1, or in a small group to talk about their strengths and targets for improvement. Most classes have already held these – your child may have mentioned them to you. We find these meetings really valuable, particularly at the start of the year for teachers to really get to know their learners.

We then have ‘PLRs’ for Leaders too, which is where each class teacher meets with school leaders to talk about the children in their class, the progress they’re making and discuss any further support children may need. This helps school leaders to really know every child and identify where to target support if needed.

Aside from these meetings taking place, Mr Jones and I have enjoyed visiting every class during lessons – we were so impressed with pupils’ knowledge about their learning themes and how many facts they could recall, as well as seeing the skills they were developing.

I hope you enjoy reading about all that we’ve been doing this half-term. We are looking forward to entering the Christmas countdown and will be sending out a diary sheet full of dates for Christmas events at the beginning of the first-week back.

Return to School

Children return after the Autumn Half-Term break on Monday 6th November.

As a reminder, our staff training day dates can be found here.

As previously stated, the last day of this next half-term will be a staff training day (Friday 22nd December) – parents in the past told us that they appreciated having the extra day with their children in the lead up to Christmas, so we’ve allocated this day again as it’s another late finish this year.


As a school, we’ve been having a big drive on Oracy – children’s speaking and communication. We believe that if children can speak confidently and clearly with effective vocabulary, it will help them with other literacy skills but more importantly in their futures as they go for job interviews or give presentations. We’ve done a number of things to improve children’s oracy – introducing prop boxes, hosting podcasts, giving children opportunities to present in assemblies, introducing speaking and listening games, becoming ‘YouTubers’ and recording self-reflections on our learning (you can see some of these on our SeeSaw accounts)… One other thing that we’ve done  is to introduce ‘Talk Tactics’. These are effectively roles that children take on when having a discussion. For example, during a debate or class discussion, one child would be the instigator and might say ‘I think children should have mobile phones because it can help to keep them safe.” Another child might be a builder and build on what the instigator has said. They might say “I’d like to build on what Joe has said. I agree that children should have mobile phones because if they are out at the park, their parents can call them to check they are safe”. Then another child may be a challenger. They may say “I disagree with what Laura and Joe have said and would like to challenge their ideas. I don’t think children should have mobile phones because they would spend too much time looking at a screen and playing games instead of socialising.” Why not have a go at using some of these talk tactics at home – you can see the roles and some sentence starters here! I will provide a certificate for any family who sends us a video on Dojo or SeeSaw of them having a family debate using the talk tactics!

REAL Curriculum

As you’ll know, schools in Wales have been developing their curriculum over recent years in line with the Curriculum For Wales framework provided by Welsh Government. In the early stages of our curriculum development at St. Julian’s Primary, we asked children, staff, parents and local businesses what they felt was important about primary school education and what they felt that we as a school did well. There were some great responses that we received and we then spent time collating all of the different responses we received. Most of the groups above felt that our school offers lots of different practical experiences and that this was important in helping children to be prepared for life. We, as a school, really try to make learning as exciting as possible but also to provide opportunites to apply knowledge and skills to real life situations and contexts. When we teach children new knowledge or a new skill, we want them to understand why we’re teaching it to them. As a result of all the responses from our surveys, we’ve created our REAL curriculum and often use the catchphrase ‘Keep it REAL’ when planning lessons and experiences. In essence, if we’re teaching children about multiplication in mathematics, we want them to be able to understand and apply that skill in the REAL world – ie, buying five apples at thirty pence each = 5×30… aa more exciting example is if we’re teaching them about renewable energy and electric cars vs petrol/diesel cars, we actually want to design and build electric go karts with batteries and circuits…

Where teachers make a particular link in a lesson or theme to REAL life examples, they display this logo which sums up the elements to our REAL curriculum.

Chartwells School Dinner Menu

Please find the latest school dinner menu here

Chartwells Autumn Menu 23

Harvest Assembly

We held our annual Harvest assembly earlier this half-term. Children in the junior, infant and nursery buildings joined together connected by a live video stream (sadly, we don’t have a hall big enough to squeeze everyone in and the Beaufort Centre can no longer accommodate us). Farmer Giles explained the history of Harvest time and talked about the importance of being thankful for all that we have and sharing what we can with others. Various classes and year groups then performed Harvest songs, poems and shared their harvest artwork. You can view some of our Year 5 pupils performing ‘Cauliflowers Fluffy’ on the glockenspiel here!

We are so grateful to all the children who brought in tins or packets of food. Half of the tins will go to the Raven’s House Trust charity, who support people across Newport, and the other half will go in our Big Bocs Bwyd.

Defibrillator Update

As most of you will know, one of our Pupil Parliament groups did some fundraising last year to raise money for a defibrillator for the school. The children did a great job fundraising, selling cakes and having a non-uniform day. In addition, we were blown away by the kindness of three local businesses who donated money to help us reach our target. We were hoping to have the defibrillator installed by now but we’ve had to wait until the electrical rewire of our building is complete until we can have the wiring installed to power the defibrillator. We’re hoping it will be installed over the next couple of weeks.

New Benches

Each year, as part of our self-evaluation, we invite children to complete a survey about their feelings about school. We always then involve children’s views in our development plans. In last year’s survey, a lot of children in Year 3 and 4 said that they wanted more places to sit and chat on the front playground. The pupil parliament groups were then going to work on fundraising but on the same day, we received a cheque from some very kind grandparents with a donation for £500! We were blown away by their kindness and spoke with the children who thought putting it towards new benches for the front playground was a great idea. The Eco Council members suggested buying benches made out of recycled plastic as they are good for the environment and apparently have a 25-year lifespan! Children have been enjoying the new benches… so much so in fact that one boy fell asleep on one of the benches during a break time and we had to wake him up to bring him back inside after break time had finished!

Parents, you’re welcome to make use of the benches as you wait for your children at the end of the day – though please try not to fall asleep 😉

Big Bocs Bwyd

Our Big Bocs Bwyd is being kept well stocked and used by lots of people in the community! We’re so grateful to the local and national businesses who contribute towards this initiative. If you’ve not been down to visit the Big Bocs Bwyd yet, please go and say hi to the member of staff running it and see what we’ve got available! There’s also school uniform items as well as food! Cash and card accepted and you just pay whatever you feel your items are worth or whatever you can afford. The Big Bocs Bwyd is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays after school.

Keyboard Lessons and Peripatetic Music Lessons

We’ve paid for all children from Year 4 to Year 6 to receive class keyboard lessons this half-term. They’ve been learning the basics of piano playing as well as some pieces of music linked to their themes.

Gwent music have continued to provide woodwind lessons for pupils and have recently started guitar lessons in the school, too. These lessons from Gwent Music are available to learners from year 3 – year 6 and parents can pay via the Gwent music portal. Financial assistance is available to support some families. Fore more information, you can contact Gwent Music on 01633 987700 or email [email protected].


Our whole-school current attendance is 93.04%.

We’ve had a few questions about school attendance recently, following the letters that were sent out at the end the half-term. These letters are automatically generated and are to provide parents with an update of what their child’s current school attendance is. The percentage figure at the top of the letter is what your child’s current attendance is from the beginning of this academic year. The table underneath that percentage shows what that percentage would equate to in terms of days missed across a full school year. Below are some of the most common questions we’re asked about attendance.

Can I take my child out of school during term time for a holiday?

The school is unable to authorise any holiday taken during term-time unless there is an exceptional reason why that holiday couldn’t be taken during school holiday periods. An absence notification form can be completed on the school website where you can provide any reason for absence. Any supporting evidence can be emailed to the school email address. If your child’s attendance is already below 97% over the previous 12 months, the holiday wouldn’t be authorised in any case.

Can I be prosecuted or receive a fine if my child misses school?

The Education Welfare Service may decide to prosecute parents where their child’s attendance is particularly low without good reason and where little improvement is seen.

Fixed Penalty Notices can be issued for any absences not authorised by the school, including holidays. Newport City Council will issue these notices when concerns are raised by school, Educational Welfare Service or the police. The fine is £120 unless paid within 28 days when it is £60.

Do I have to inform the school if my child is going to be absent?

Yes, if we are expecting your child to be in school, you must inform us of any absence and the reason for absence. It is considered a safeguarding concern if a child is absent without providing us with a reason. The only ways you can inform us of an absence are via telephone, email, text message or using this online form. Schools are able to remove pupils from role if a child is absent for an extended period and no reason has been provided.

Should my child come to school if they are ill?

If your child is too ill to be in school, then they should stay at home. You must notify the school as soon as possible. This guide from the NHS is helpful for knowing how long to keep your child off school for various illnesses. If your child is admitted to hospital, please let Mr Mansfield know. We care enormously about our children and would want to know if there’s anything we can do to support your family in those situations.

What should I do if my child has broken or fractured a bone? Can they return to school?

Depending on the injury and the treatment, your child may be able to return to school with a risk assessment. It is crucial that you contact the school to speak with Mr Jones before sending your child back to school, so we can put safety measures in place.

If you have any questions about your child’s attendance or school attendance in general, please contact Mr Jones, via the school office, who will be able to chat with you.

Trainee Teachers

As a school, we have partnerships with the University of South Wales and Cardiff Metropolitan University. Each year, we have students join us for placements from these institutions as part of their teacher training or educational practice courses. We currently have five students working with us – Miss Gibbons (currently working with Miss Sier and her class), Miss Allen (currently working with Mrs Hill and her class), Miss Kelleher (currently working with Miss Rawlings and her class), Miss Berry (currently working with Mrs Hard and her class) and Miss Stone (currently working with Miss Amso’s class). All students have been working tirelessly to plan and prepare exciting lessons and experiences for their classes. They will be with us for most of the next half-term also but will be switching classes soon to get experience working with a range of ages. If you see them around do say ‘hello’ and ask them how everything’s going!

Wake and Shake

Children in breakfast club have enjoyed the Wake & Shake Programme run by Newport Live. Their coaches come in to deliver multi-sports offering children the opportunity to be physically active before school.

After School Clubs/Sports

I’m so grateful to staff for running after-school clubs – they do this in their own time after teaching for a full day and receive no additional pay. It’s been wonderful to see all that each club is doing – the choirs sound fantastic as they rehearse, I’ve enjoyed eating treats cooked by the cookery clubs and the creativity of the crafty stitch and creative clubs blow me away! I’ve also loved walking through the cookery suite as parents take part in ‘Cook with your kids’ – the meals have smelled amazing!

I’ve also enjoyed chauffeuring the football teams to various football tournaments in the minibus – on the way, the players usually try their best to persuade me to buy them chicken nuggets if they win the match and inevitably start chanting ‘chicken nuggies’ over and over until I say yes. Fortunately/unfortunately, my money has been safe over the past few matches we’ve played… but in fairness, the team did get to the semifinals of a tournament last week.

Pupil Parliament/School Senedd

In years 4-6, we have a school ‘pupil parliament’ which meet fortnightly. Every child within those year groups sits in a particular department. Each department has an elected chairperson or cabinet member. Our new cabinet members have been elected into post and as one of their first duties, they have represented the school in a visit to the Senedd in Cardiff Bay. They enjoyed a tour of the Senedd as well as getting to see the Siambr where all the debates take place.

Crazy Hair Day is back by popular demand!

Children in Need day is on Friday 17th November this year. Each year, to celebrate this and to raise money, we hold a Crazy Hair Day. Children can come to school with crazy, wild and wacky hair – the crazier the better! Ideas here from previous years if you need inspiration.

Building and Maintenance Update

Roof – our new roof is now pretty much complete with only a few finishing touches remaining. We’re already noticing the building being warmer with better insulation above us, not to mention it being drier with no leaks!

Electrical Rewire – Due to the age of the building and the existing wiring, we were due to have all electrical wiring replaced. This has been a huge undertaking and the electricians are nearing the end of their installation work.

Painting – We’ve saved some money over a few years to enable us to fully repaint the inside of the building. Each time we had tried to do this before, water leaks would just ruin the walls again. Now we have a new roof, we’ve finally gone ahead with it! The junior building was repainted during the summer break and the infant building has just been repainted over this half-term break. I popped in on Friday to have a look and it’s looking brilliant. We have been really pleased with how the building has been transformed over the past few years.

Staffing Changes

Mrs Merriman

We are so sad to say goodbye to Mrs Merriman who leaves us this half-term. Mrs Merriman joined us in 2019 and has taught in Year 5. She has been a brilliant part of our team and we are so sorry to see her go. She leaves us to spend more time with her daughter and also to work on a new business venture! We wish Mrs Merriman all the very best for the future.

Mrs Watkins

Mrs Watkins started teaching in 1996 and has been teaching for 27 years. She taught as Lliswerry Primary prior to St Julain’s Primary. She has taught right the way across the school in most year groups, most recently in Year 4 job-sharing with Mrs McKenzie. Mrs Watkins has decided to take early semi-retirement as she also works on her little business venture but she won’t be leaving us completely… we’re pleased to say that Mrs Watkins will regularly return as a supply teacher and will also provide literacy support for children.

Mrs Parry

You may have noticed that Mrs Parry is pregnant! She commences her maternity leave this half-term and we wish her and her husband well as they begin parenthood together! We are so excited for you both and look forward to meeting the little Parry!

Year Group Updates

Year 2 Autumn A Update

This half-term, we have journeyed beyond the Earth’s atmosphere to explore the galaxy for our theme ‘To Space and back.’ We started off with a Discover and Do session with…

Year 1 – Autumn A Update

We have had a fantastic half term in Year One and have loved learning through our theme ‘Truly Scrumptious!’ Throughout the half term we have been learning lots about where…

Year 6 Autumn A Update

We are absolutely thrilled to share the news that Year 6 has displayed unwavering dedication and effort throughout this half term, making us incredibly proud. Their commitment to their learning…

Year 5 Autumn A Update

Gruel, hand caning and children stuck up chimneys…yes, you guessed it, we are knee deep in studying The Vile Victorians!  Children have enthusiastically taken on the role of History detectives…

Reception Autumn Update

Once upon a time there were three busy reception classes! This term has been busy settling into new routines and developing our independence.  Our theme has been ‘Once Upon a…

Nursery Autumn A Update

WOW! What a fabulous first half term we have had! We have loved meeting our new friends and the children have settled in so well with their new routine. We…

Year 4 Autumn A Update

The Year 4 teachers are so proud of how well the children have settled back into school life and the ease with which they have adapted to our rules and…

Year 3 Autumn A Update

What a fantastic start to the academic year we have had! All of the children have settled in so well to year 3. So, as we reach the midway point…

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