Brockmoor Bugle No.3 - November 2016

Welcome to the first of our new look school newsletters. Please bear with me as this is my first attempt on our new 'School Life' format. In response to our annual parents questionnaire we're moving to this format improve communication with you. It is now also available on the website in other languages including Urdu, Punjabi, Romanian, Hungarian and Greek. It will also save time, paper and expense as each newsletter works out to around 1000 pages of colour printing every month. Paper copies of the newsletter will be put on the 'what's on noticeboards' placed at the office entrance and by the playing field and will also be available in the school foyer.

Our new website and app

If you're reading this newsletter online then you're obviously on our new website. Please also download our IoS (i-phone & pad) and Android app. We hope to have a Windows version available soon. To access the app please pop into the school office and fill in a registration form. Once you've done so we will provide you with login details and you then download the 'School Life' app from either the Google Play store (for Android smartphones and tablets) or the Apple App Store (for i-phones, i-pods and i-Pads).

Simply search for 'schoollife' (all one word), open the app up and accept the notifications when asked. Finally, login with the details sent to you and you will start to receive all of our messages to you.

If you do not have an Apple IoS or Google Android device don't panic! You can use your logon details on our school website to get all of the same content.

Pupil Premium funding

Thanks to all of you who have completed these forms and returned them to the office team. If you haven't filled a form in and think there is any possibility that your child is eligible for free school meals top up funding please pop into the front office to discuss this. For Reception, Year 1 and 2 parents please do so even though your child can have a free school meal regardless of whether they are eligible for Pupil Premium or not.

Governors Day in School

Governors spent Wednesday 2nd November in school to look at the achievement of children in reading, writing and maths (School Priority 1), teaching and learning (School Priority 2) and the behaviour and well-being of children (School Priority 3). They visited classrooms throughout the school, looked at children's work, talked to children and spent time in the dinner hall and on the playground. They spent time in the afternoon looking at how well Special Educational Needs (SEN) children who spent their mornings in SEN Supergroups were given the opportunity to mix with their classmates. All, including guest governors from two local partner schools, commented on the outstanding behaviour of our children, the calm and ordered feel of the school, the variety of opportunities on offer to the children (including at play and lunchtimes), the high quality of food on offer at lunchtimes (which was considerably better than previously seen) and the excellent teaching that was on offer.

Keeping our children safe

Dudley Local Authority is desperately trying to make ends meet in times of considerable financial challenge. One proposal is that the school crossing service be funded directly by schools. As school budgets are also shrinking this has, not surprisingly, fell on deaf ears. We have a crossing warden near the railway bridge behind the school. We simply cannot afford to pay for this service. If you wish the service to continue it is of the utmost importance that you sign the petition held in the front office imploring the council to continue this service.

The Pastoral Care Team have prepared a display board in the front entrance explaining their role in ensuring that every child is safe, happy and learning. The noticeboard also holds information about local services on offer to you.

I've met with Mrs Blunt (our other Designated Safeguarding Lead alongside myself) to follow up the recommendations of our recent safeguarding audit undertaken by an OFSTED trained inspector. He found that the procedures and practice in school are of the highest order but has made a few recommendations for us to improve this further.

Our Christmas Fete on Friday 9th December

We're trying something new this Christmas. We're going to be holding a Christmas Fete on the afternoon of Friday 9th December.The Fete will run from 2:00 to 4:15 in the school hall and Reception classrooms so that as many families as possible can join in our celebrations. This does have a knock on effect for the school day. There's a lot of organisation around this so here goes!

To clear the school hall in time for setting up dinners will all start 15 minutes earlier than normal. Consequently Reception dinner will run from 11:30, Years 1 and 2 will start dinner at 11:45 and Key Stage 2 at 11:55. Box meals will be served on the day so that lunchtime staff can clear the hall quickly.

AFTERNOON NURSERY WILL BE CLOSED on Friday 9th December. This is so that Reception children can re-locate into Nursery for the afternoon and that Nursery staff can help set up the hall and Reception classrooms for the Fete.

Parents can come into school, through the main office entrance and Year 6 children will be on hand to collect children from classes to for you. So that we don't have a queue round the block could you please try to arrive no earlier than these times:

1:55 for parents of children in Reception. Older sibling can also be collected with them by our Year 6 helpers. From 2:05 any parents of Year 1 and 2 children can come into school (again older siblings will be collected for you). From 2:15 any parents of Key Stage 2 children (that's Years 3, 4, 5 & 6) can come into school. PLEASE NOTE YOU SHOULD ONLY COME INTO SCHOOL EARLIER THAN THE NORMAL END OF THE SCHOOL DAY IF YOU WISH TO VISIT THE CHRISTMAS FETE, NOT SIMPLY TO TAKE CHILDREN HOME EARLY! As the Fete runs until 4:15, if you choose to you can collect your child at the end of the school day (children will be leaving school through their normal exits at 3:15) and then pop into the hall through the front entrance. Children who have been collected from classes before the end of the school day can go home as soon as you've visited the Fete.

You'll be receiving a letter setting these arrangements out, it will also share all of our Christmas dates with you.

Promoting reading at Brockmoor - Bedtime Stories

As you hopefully know we expect that every child is listened to read at least three times a week and this should be recorded into their home school reading records. With the Year 2 and 6 reading tests becoming ever harder for the children this is more important now than ever before. We're also trying to encourage children to read more themselves. With this in mind sometime later this half-term we're going to be trialing a new initiative call 'Bedtime Stories'. The idea is that children come back into school of an evening in their pyjamas, slippers and dressing gowns. Teachers will read a bedtime story to them, encourage them to read a book of their own and we'll even try to lay on hot chocolate and toast marshmellows for them. Parents can wait in the school hall and hot drinks will be made available for you. More details to follow.

Brierley Hill Christmas lights and our School Choir

The official Brierley Hill Christmas celebrations takes place on Saturday 3rd December. There are a whole series of activities planned for the day culminating in an afternoon craft fair in the Civic Hall and the official switching on of the lights. The lights will go on at 5pm with accompanying church bells and an adult choir performing by the Christmas tree outside the Civic Hall. Straight after that our school choir will make their way into the Civic Centre and onto stage. We will be performing for about 30 minutes on stage for parents and the community from about 5:30.

Lost uniform, forgotten PE kit and PE in the winter months

Please do ensure all items of clothing are clearly labelled as the lost property boxes are full to bulging again. Please also encourage your children to have their school bags ready the night before. This includes PE kit that should stay in school all week. Every time a child loses or forgets some kit a teaching assistant is dragged away from working with other children to find them a replacement. Now that we are in the winter months please add a pair of jogging or tracksuit bottoms to your child's PE kit. Staff will not take children outside on very cold days but may do so on milder days.

Sumdog online Maths Challenge

Our latest Dudley Sumdog Maths Challenge begins online from Friday 11th November and runs for one week. Every child from Year 1 upwards has a Sumdog password (if they don't know it teachers have them as well). To take part children need to answer up to 1000 maths questions that are pitched to match their maths ability. As a school we have a fantastic record in this competition and would love to keep that proud record going.

Vote Brockmoor and earn us money!

As mentioned in the October newsletter alongside Friends of Marsh Park we have been one of three groups who have been successful in winning a gardening grant from Tesco's. The size of the grant is entirely dependent on your support! You can vote in the Tesco mini-stores opposite Crestwood Secondary School, opposite Russell's Hall hospital or at the Kingswinford petrol station near to Penn Models on the way to Wolverhampton.

Attendance

Our aim is that no child should miss no more than one day off a month averaging across the school year. This would then mean their attendance was at least 95% for the whole year. We thank you all for encouraging your child to be in school as often as is reasonably possible. We know the new arrangements around holidays and special circumstances can cause tension between school and home but we do look to be fair and reasonable. Our attendance for the first half-term was just above 95% (our target).

Dates for your diary

I'm trying to get my head round the best way of presenting these to you in this, our new format. They can also be found on the calendar on our website and app. In the meantime please read the back page of the Christmas Fete letter that is going out on Monday 7th November.

A School Life Website
School Life app download
School Life app download