Message from Mr Mansfield
I hope you’re having a great half-term and have managed to have a rest and enjoy time with your children. It’s been another busy half-term since Christmas and there’s so much packed in the calendar for this next half-term too. Please do have a scroll right the way through this newsletter as there are some important dates included. Please pay particular attention to the update regarding strike action, World Book Day, the Eisteddfod and Parent Pupil Progress Meetings.
We’ve also had a number of parents ask us if we’re doing another family quiz night – we’re hoping to get one in this half term!
Enjoy reading about the fantastic things that our children and staff have been up to this half-term.
See you next week!
Parent Pupil Progress Meetings
We’d like to invite parents/carers into school to meet with their child’s teacher for a progress update meeting. 10-minute appointments are available and can be booked online using the buttons below. Alternatively, you can telephone the school office to book your appointment. During the meeting, your child’s teacher will update you on your child’s progress and will also give you a chance to have a look through their schoolwork. We do hope that you’re able to join us as these conversations are so important in helping you understand the progress your child is making and what their next steps are.
- Nursery – Appointments available Tuesday 7th March after school, Thursday 9th and Friday 10th all day.
- Reception to Year 6* – Appointments available after school on Tuesday 7th or Thursday 9th March.
- *Year 3 Miss Millett – Miss Millett is not able to hold her meetings on the same days as the other classes as she is on a course. Therefore, appointments can be made for her class on Monday 13th or Tuesday 14th March (you can use the same online booking form).
Year Group Updates
Click the buttons below to read the update from each year group or click here to view all our recent blog posts
Strike Action / World Book Day
The industrial action which was planned for the 14th February was postponed whilst unions continued negotiations with the Welsh Government. The National Education Union have announced that as deal was not reached, this postponed action will now take place on Thursday 2nd March. It is highly likely that the school will have to close to pupils on this day.
This day, 2nd March, is due to be World Book Day where children dress up as their favourite book characters. If the strike action goes ahead, we will celebrate World Book Day on Friday 3rd March. Year 4 children are also having a climbing session on this day so we advise Year 4 children to wear a tracksuit/sports kit (with long sleeves, trousers and trainers) to school and bring a simple costume to change into after they have had their climbing session.
*Reminder that there are two further strike days planned during March as previously announced – 15th and 16th March. It is hoped the the Welsh Government will make an offer that’s agreed by Unions and members before then, but please keep these dates in mind.
Our current whole school attendance is 92.2%. Our target for the end of the year is 92% – please help us reach it!
You can see each individual class attendance for the previous week here. This graph updates weekly.
This page from the NHS is helpful for knowing how long to keep your child off school when they are ill.
‘Parenting – Give It Time’ Webpage
We’ve been asked to share this new webpage with helpful tips and advice on parenting, which the Welsh Government has asked us to share with our families.
Update on School Development Priorities
- All staff have received training from leaders on the ‘Talk Tactics’ and these are in the early stages of being embedded throughout the school. The different talk roles have been considered and an approach within each progression step has been agreed.
- SeeSaw is being used effectively to record and store oracy activities in all classes
- All staff have received further training from the literacy coordinator during a second training day on the use of Oracy warm ups, games and strategies
- Louby Lou, the storyteller, has visited the school on a number of occasions to deliver oracy sessions in the Early years and Foundation Phase.
- Staff have visited other schools to consider oracy development and independence
- Most children in junior classes are now able to independently upload SeeSaw reflections
- Maths lead has delivered training during a training day on further developing the Concrete Abstract and Pictorial approach. A resource audit has been undertaken and new resources have been purchased.
- Intervention groups relating to this priority have been implemented and are having a positive impact on all learners involved.
- Children are being given regular opportunities to lead and present in assembly which is improving confidence and oracy skills.
- Significant work has gone into developing an anti-poverty strategy. Our Big Bocs Bwyd has been installed and is awaiting its first delivery of food. Shelving, fridges, electric and air conditioning have all been installed. Launch day will take place in March 2023.
- A ‘Spiral of Enquiry’ research project undertaken by wellbeing leads within the school is developing well with support from the university. A question has been posed and research into community wellbeing underway – survey shared with staff. Awaiting results and analysis.
- Mrs Walshe, our Family Support Worker, continues to develop her role supporting families and children and being a bridge into our community. She oversees food parcels and hosts the ‘Families Connect’ programme
- All junior pupils have taken part in the ‘Decipher’ survey – awaiting results for analysis and action planning.
- All staff have completed the remaining modules of the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) training – delivered by EAS wellbeing team
- Task and finish group has been set up to develop metacognition – further work required to embed strategies during the next two terms, involving Department for Curriculum.
- School now needs to collate its Wellbeing offer to share with all stakeholders.
- Three sections from the teaching WALKTHRUs training have been delivered to staff over two professional learning sessions. Two leaders have attended the EAS instructional coaching 2-day training course. Lesson observations have been undertaken in all classes and Behaviour, Relationships and Routines have been strengths in all lessons observed. Further training on effective pedagogy has been booked for April 17th with an external provider.
- Further work has been undertaken to develop our REAL curriculum and all stakeholders are developing their understanding of transferring vision into practice. Authentic contexts for learning remain a strength of the school with staff thinking of innovative ways to provide real-life contexts for learning/applying skills.
- Humanities leads have attended the cluster and EAS workshops on developing progression in Humanities and have highlighted key concepts.
- Staff have met to review and further plan progression through key humanities concepts. Staff are developing understanding of principles of progression.
- Leaders have joined the Mick Waters EAS working group for Progression along with colleagues across the cluster.
- Three working groups across the cluster have been established to develop a joined-up approach to progression.
- New approach to home-learning was established and agreed with parents and pupils. First term of implementation has been successful for many children although further work to increase home-learning uptake is required.
- New approach to Metacognition in early stages with the implementation of the learning tree encouraging children to reflect on themselves as a learner and the skills needed to improve.
- New assessment procedures are in development with greater emphasis placed on Pupil Progress Meetings with teachers from Year 2-Year 6. Pupils say that they have enjoyed meeting 1-1 with their teacher to talk about themselves, their learning and identifying next steps together. This will happen twice this year.
- New canopies are being installed (one complete – second installed during Easter break) in the Foundation Phase to encourage greater use of the outdoors for learning.
- Pupil Leadership Groups in the Foundation Phase are back in operation and the School Senedd from Year 4-Year 6 has been particularly successful in giving children a voice on school development priorities.
- Attendance is currently at the target set at start of year
- Attendance lead meeting regularly with the Education Welfare Service
- Reward strategies and systems remain in place
- The Education Welfare Service is satisfied with the school’s monitoring of and processes for attendance
- Support in place for a range of pupils across the school to improve attendance
- Three members of staff have completed Emotionally Based School Avoidance training and are supporting a number of families/children
- The Additional Learning Needs coordinator is migrating the Welsh Government ‘mandated cohorts’ across to the new ALN systems and processes
- Parents of children with ALN have received the Local Authority initial notice letter
- Allocation and monitoring of ALN provisions is effective
- All staff are receiving training for supporting needs which are to be met through Universal Provision
- Whole leadership team have completed the Simon Breakspear Agile Leadership programme hosted by the EAS
- Two additional members of staff have commenced national masters and one staff member continues from last year
- Professional Learning Lead has administered the SLO (Schools as Learning Organisations) survey, which has been completed again by all staff. PL lead has given a presentation back to staff identifying areas for development, along with creating an action plan for this
- Teacher performance management procedures have been developed and Teaching Assistant/Support Staff appraisals are being developed
- New tool for recording effectiveness of Professional Learning sessions has been implemented
- Staff Sharing of Good practice event has taken place which was particularly successful at sharing innovative ideas – such as scientific data loggers, 3D printing, Technology Tools, Expressive Arts techniques and others
- Deputy Headteacher is attending effective leadership programme
- Teachers are in the process of being given opportunities to observe each other teaching with the focus being led by teachers themselves.
Eisteddfod / St. David’s Day
On 1st March, we will hold our annual Eisteddfods. Children can come to school dressed in traditional Welsh Clothes/Wales Rugby Shirts or the colour of their house (you can see house colours here)
Our main Eisteddfod will take place in the junior hall throughout most of the day. Year 3 – Year 6 will take part in this throughout most of the day. Year 2 will join for the morning only. Nursery, Reception and Year 1 will perform on stage at various points throughout the morning. The whole of this event will be live-streamed to enable parents to watch as well – visit our YouTube channel from around 9:20am.
The competitions will be: Art, Design and Technology, Handwriting, Singing, Musical Instruments, Dance, Poetry Recitation, Story writing/Poetry Writing.
Design and Technology entries made over half-term must be submitted by Monday 27th February (first day back after half-term) in order for them to be judged.
During the afternoon, our Mini Eisteddfod will take place in the infant hall with Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 taking part.
Fundraiser for Defibrillator
The Department of Finance and Statistics came up with the idea of raising money to buy a defibrillator for the school. They had noticed that there are a few other places with defibrillators in the surrounding areas, but also researched that for the best chance of survival you need to get a defibrillator to a casualty within around 8 minutes. They put the idea to Mr Mansfield in one of our cabinet meetings and Mr Mansfield was fully on board with the idea.
Last week, the children held a ‘Wear Red’ day and sold jam tarts and other cakes in order to raise money. It was a brilliant day and all the children were so enthusiastic about the cause for which we were raising money.
So far, we have raised £1416 out of our goal which was £2000. This money will pay for the Defibrillator, a lockable box, installation including connection to the electricity supply and training for staff.
Thank you so much to everyone who has donated! We are genuinely so grateful to you for getting behind this cause. A particular thank you to WT Laminates, a local business who gave us an incredibly generous donation!
There is still time to donate – the Department of Finance and Statistics are hoping to be able to order the defibrillator and have it installed this half-term.
Safer Internet Day
On Tuesday 7th February, we joined schools across the world to celebrate ‘Safer Internet Day’. On this day, children spent time discussing the benefits and dangers of the internet and talked about ways to stay safe online and be a good digital citizen. The Department for Digital Learning also took assembly and gave everyone good tips and advice. Please do take the time to talk to your child about what they do online. If they have a phone or a device of their own, make sure you know what they’re accessing and who they communicate with.
This is a new webpage from the Welsh Government with information about apps/website/games that your children may be using. It’s a helpful tool to keep parents up to speed.
Junior Celebration Assemblies
Last year, when we surveyed pupils, parents, governors, teachers and local businesses about what the most important knowledge and skills children should have by the time they leave school, a common answer came up – confidence!
We want our children to feel confident and also to be comfortable speaking and presenting to groups of people. We’ve been asking Key Stage 2 pupils to host our Friday assemblies in groups of four. They welcome the children to the assembly, then present the star pupil and achiever certificates, then they ask children who have brought in awards from outside school before closing the assembly and wishing everyone a good weekend! The teachers have been so impressed with the children who have done it. We’ve even had children who are usually particularly shy saying “I’m quite a shy person, but I think it would be good for me to have a go at taking assembly, so I’m going to put my name down”. Providing these types of real opportunities and seeing our children grow and thrive is what we’re all about at St Julian’s. We’ll done to everyone who’s presented so far and well done to everyone who’s put their name down to host in the future!
Support for Turkey/Syria
A huge thank you to everyone who donated items or money towards helping those affected by the Turkey/Syria earthquake. As a school, we collected a number of tents, sleeping bags, bags of food and toiletries, as well as £254.40. The items were taken to Maindee Primary School who sent them on to London where they will be loaded onto a lorry and taken out to Turkey. The money will be donated to the Disaster Emergency Committee’s Turkey Syria Appeal. We continue to support and stand with our Turkish/Syrian families.
Building Work Update
Since October, there has been a significant amount of work taking place on the junior school roof. For many years, we’ve suffered with a leaky poorly insulated roof. The workmen have been overlaying a new roof covering and adding additional insulation which hopefully, will keep us dry and warm in the future! We’ve also increased the number of solar panels on the school roof by nearly double which means that more of our electricity is coming from the sun! Much of the scaffolding from the front playground has been taken down over half term as the top levels of the roof are now complete. The lower levels are still being worked on and we’re hoping these will be completed by the end of March.
Due to the age of the building, we are due to have an electrical re-wire across the whole site. This will begin on 6th March and will likely continue until the end of the summer. I’ve had a number of meetings with the electrical contractor and the current plan is that they will rewire two classrooms at a time and do corridors and communal areas during school breaks. This will mean that two classes at a time will need to relocate to our school halls whilst their classroom is rewired. As part of this works, we’re also switching our lights to LED lights which are far more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
On top of that, we’re having a new boiler installed. You may have seen the temporary boiler we’re currently using at the front of the school. The new boiler will be installed in the coming weeks which will be housed in a metal container.
Though all of this building work has been quite disruptive, it is improving our building and learning environment – we can’t wait for it to all be completed.
New Canopy Outdoor Learning Area
Last year, we had to have a wooden canopy removed from the site as the wood was starting to rot. Children kept saying how much they missed having a canopy and that they love learning outside. We managed to use grant money to have two new canopies installed – one has been installed around the back of the school in the Forest School area during half-term. The other will be installed where the previous wooden canopy was outside class 5 / 6 during the Easter break. We’re so excited to decorate under our canopies with lots of learning areas and resources for the foundation phase children to use.
Children’s Mental Health Week
We celebrated Children’s Mental Health Week on February 6th-12th this year. This year’s theme was ‘Let’s Connect’ and we were very grateful for all of the photographs sent in, of you connecting as a family. The children loved sharing their stories and experiences with their teachers and friends in assemblies!
We also decided to ‘connect’ with our community and spend time with our friends at Glyn Anwen. Each class has had the opportunity to visit the residents and take activities of their choice to complete with them. Lots of classes have already been and have thoroughly enjoyed their visits, with more classes continuing after half term!
Our ‘SJPS Well-Being Challenge’ also launched during Children’s Mental Health Week and we cannot wait to see all of your completed challenge cards! You can find the challenge cards that include simple activities to complete, such as getting outside for a Spring adventure and cooking a healthy meal, on your Class Dojo and Seesaw accounts. A fantastic afternoon of fun will be organised for all children who complete their challenge cards! Good luck!
We’re very pleased to be able to offer football club to Years 3&4 this year. Mr Jenkins, a school governor, and his son Harry have very kindly agreed to help Mr Jones with the running of this club. It is wonderful to see so many children enjoying themselves and learning new skills.
The school football team currently sit in 4th place in the Newport Primary Schools’ Football League. Having won one, drew one and lost two matches, the team know they’re going to have to work hard if they want a shot at winning the league title again this season. The team played Ysgol Gymraeg Ifor Hael back in January in their first match of the new year. The match started with SJPS taking an early lead when Finley’s shot from the half-way line found the back of the net. However, the team quickly found themselves on the back foot when Ysgol Gymraeg Ifor Hael equalised. Both teams had a number of opportunities and played with a real sense of determination. Unfortunately, the match ended 3-1 to Ysgol Gymraeg Ifor Hael. Our second match of this half-term was an away fixture against Alway Primary, where the team won 2-0.
There are a number of matches left to play this seasons and we’re looking forward to the end of season football festival which will take place at Newport Velodrome. Mr Jones would like to thank all those children who attend training every week and look forward to seeing them after half-term.
*Football training will switch to a Tuesday after half term.
We’re very grateful to Macey Sports for their continued support and would like to thank them for kindly donating a new football kit for the team.
‘Dragons in the Community’ Tag Rugby Festival
On Thursday 9th February, 11 children from Years 5&6 attended the ‘Dragons in the Community’ Tag Rugby festival at Rodney Parade. This was a tournament the children had been looking forward to for some time and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The team played 3 matches in the morning against Jubilee Park Primary, Thornwell Primary and Pontnewydd Primary, 2 of which they won 6-5 and 7-5. It was nearly a clean sweep, however, moments before the final whistle Jubilee Park dived over the line to secure the win. Due to the team’s brilliant performance, they found themselves in the play-offs, where they played with confidence and determination. This resulted in their fourth win of the day. However, the team narrowly missed out on a spot in the semi-finals due to points difference with another school. Mr Jones was extremely proud of them team’s efforts and performance throughout the day and would like to thank those parents in attendance for their support.
We’ve been so impressed with the amount of children who have borrowed books from our new lending library. The librarians are doing a fantastic job going through all of the orders, searching for the books and getting them delivered to classrooms. The librarians inform me that some books have been extremely popular and have a long wait time as so many people want to borrow them, so we’ve given them some extra money to increase stocks of the most popular books and also choose some new books, too!
Holocaust Memorial Service
On 27th January, our school ambassadors visited St. Woolos Cathedral for the council’s Holocaust memorial service, accompanied by Mrs Hollings and Miss Vers. Representatives from schools across the city joined the service.
Louby Lou Storyteller
We’ve had a number of visits from Louby Lou’s Storytelling over the past couple of months. Foundation Phase children have absolutely loved the enthusiastic staff who come in to bring fairytale stories to life by involving children in the story.
Sharing our Practice
As a school, we’ve been asked by the Education Achievement Service to run a professional learning programme to share our practice with other teachers across the region. These teachers joined us for the first session before half-term and will visit us for three more days. Whilst with us, they visited classes and spent time with our teachers and pupils. The school ambassadors gave them a tour of the school and we even treated them to a coffee from our catering trailer! Each of the teachers wrote some lovely comments about our school and our children following their first visits!
Crafty Stitch Club
Our Crafty Stitch club wanted to showcase some of their work – they have learnt basic sewing skills and made a heart shaped pin cushion, they’ve learnt how to sew a button onto a piece of fabric, they have created mandala art paintings using dots and dashes and made badges using glass seed beads and safety pins.
Big Bocs Bwyd (Big Food Box!)
You may have noticed the two large blue containers in the Foundation Phase carpark next to the nursery… we’ve had these converted inside and they will open this week as part of the Big Bocs Bwyd initiative. We’re one of the first schools in Newport to set up and launch the Big Bocs Bwyd and Miss Shepherd and Mrs Walshe have been working flat out to get everything ready in time for our launch on Friday 3rd March!
What is the Big Bocs Bwyd?!
The Big Bocs Bwyd is a sort of mini supermarket… we’ll keep it stocked through re-investment of money collected, donations from supermarkets and local businesses/organisations, donations from our own families and staff and self-grown produce that we grow in our poly-tunnel/garden. We are so grateful to the members of St. Julian’s Baptist Church who have given us a donation of £150 to get us stocked up for the first launch.
How will it work?
The Big Bocs Bwyd will be open at various times throughout the week – on 3rd March, we’ll be open from 2:45pm – 3:45pm. Once we’ve got ourselves set up, we’ll let you know our regular opening hours. Come in and have a browse (we suggest coming before the school rush as it will get busy!). Take whatever you want – there will be suggested prices on things, but it’s a ‘pay as you feel’ shop, so just drop your payment in the box and away you go!
What’s the Point?
Convenience – how convenient is it to be able to do your food shop when dropping off/collecting the children from school?! Let’s face it, we’ve all be in a situation where we don’t know what we’ll be making for tea that day! We’ve got you covered!
Reducing Food Waste – We’ve seen the food waste from some large companies and want to try to reduce the amount that gets wasted by bringing it to our community shop!
Support for the Community – Because it’s a pay as you feel shop, we’re hoping it will help some families as it’ll be cheaper than going to a large supermarket chain.
If you have a business that supplies food or perhaps you have your own allotment and manage to grow lots of things – please do get in touch if you’d like to help!
Red Nose Day
Red Nose Day is on Friday 17th March. Children can wear their own clothes on this day and we’ll set up a ParentPay payment item for those who are able to donate. You may want to buy a red-nose in advance from the online Comic Relief store. I’m conscious that there have been lots of things to donate to recently and we’re mindful that not all families may be in a position to keep donating to so many different things. No pressure from us! It’s nice to be able to support lots of different causes but just give what you can.
We’ve been asked to share this flyer with parents by a local rugby club.