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Working together, Learning together

Mr Mayer's News

Welcome back to the new school year at Hungerford Primary. I really hope you all had a fabulous summer holiday in spite of the erratic weather we had and you managed to get some fun family time. It was a very packed end of term with summer concerts, summer fetes, the Lion King, trips and class swaps and the new term promises to be just as busy.

The beginning of a new year always feels a little strange for everyone; new teachers, new classrooms, new children to get to know. It all takes a few weeks to get used to. This year we have kept the teachers and the year groups they are teaching the same and I know that they are all looking forward to meeting their new classes. We have had to move some of the teaching assistants around to work with different year groups but most are staying where they were last year.

We are welcoming some new (and returning) members of staff to Hungerford and they are keen to get started with us. Firstly Mrs Smith is returning to school after her maternity leave and will be in year one as part of a job share with Mrs Carter. In year 4, Mrs Maynard will be job sharing with Mrs Hyatt who is joining us from Wanborough School near Swindon. Mrs Hyatt is a very experienced teacher who has taught in all year groups during her career and I am hoping that as a musical theatre lover that she will be taking over running the school choir.

In year 5, our new teacher is Miss Crook who joins us fresh from University in Wales. Miss Crook will not only be a real asset in the classroom but also, as someone who has played international rugby, will be great to have with us to develop sport at Hungerford and build on the success we had last year. She is also a Welsh speaker so don’t be surprised if your children come home speaking more than French!

Welcome also to new teaching assistants in school; Mrs Julia Franklin, Mrs Lucy Pittock, Mrs Rosemary Luxford & Miss Donna Tucker.

Horse 7(1)

Reading

 This will be our biggest focus this year and will continue to be for the next few years. At Hungerford Primary School the children will “Learn to read and then read to learn”.  Whatever else they learn, reading will be our focus with the aim that every child leaves us as, at the very least, a functional reader, ready for their secondary school education.

We genuinely cannot do this without your support. I have said this before, but I say a big thank you to those of you who do listen to your children read, read stories to them and talk to them. Your children will do better than those who do not have these things.... by a significant margin.

To those of you who want to support your children but are struggling for one reason or another, then please come and speak to us. It could make all the difference to your child’s future. We won’t judge you but we can help you. If you struggle with reading yourself or don’t know what you should be doing or saying when you sit with your child, then you should talk to your child’s teacher or anyone else in school that you feel comfortable talking to. They will be only too happy to help you.

 “How to…” sessions for parents will be arranged for each year group in the autumn term. Please look out for them and sign up.

For those of you who don’t see this as important or don’t see it as your responsibility please think again. Imagine your child as an adult and what their life might be like if they can’t read or write or communicate effectively. Teachers in all their schools will do their best but without backup from home it is as effective as building a house on sand.

We are also still looking for adults who can spare some time to listen to children read in school. If you have some time or you know someone who does, please contact the school office or your child’s teacher. Thank you.

Safeguarding

Safeguarding

I was asked last term by a parent what they should do if they have concerns about a child’s welfare outside school. The answer is simple. If you believe that there is imminent danger to the child, then you should phone the police straight away. If you have any other concerns around neglect or emotional abuse or a child’s attendance or anything else then you should Children’s Services. Their number is 01635 503109. This can be done anonymously.

Friends of HPS

The friends of HPS did an amazing job last year raising thousands of pounds to help our school. This is all the more amazing when you consider the size of the group of people who are organising things and this got smaller as the year went on. It is great that there are people willing to help at events but I have been asked to make an appeal for more people to help with the organisation of events. It is just too much for the remaining 3 committee members. If you would like to help and want to make a difference, then please speak to anyone in the Friends or anyone in the office. Many hands make light work!

David Mayer, Headteacher

Art Success!

I hope most of you managed to see the fabulous display in the school hall at the summer Fete based on the whole school art project which used the National Gallery’s chosen picture “Men at the Docks”. The work was truly superb showing off a wide range of art skills.

There was also success at Newbury Races when our own racehorse came in first place. This wasn’t taking part in a race but in a painting competition. The school entered the competition to decorate a full size sculpture of a race horse which was judged by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai.  Mrs Pugh and her team from the art club took on the challenge and beat off lots of other challengers to win the top prize and a cheque for £2500. The winning horse is now ours to keep and will be returning to school so that everyone will see how fantastic it is. Well done to everyone involved and a huge thank you to all the teachers and children who gave up their own time to help with painting, varnishing or going to the judging at Newbury racecourse to represent the school.

Attendance

Attendance

From this September reminder letters will be sent to all parents if their child’s attendance falls to 95% whatever the reason. There may be a very obvious reason such a child having a sustained period of illness i.e. for chicken pox or because the child has been on holiday.

However from the start of this year once a child’s attendance drops to 92% or below and there is no obvious reason like the ones above, then the West Berkshire Educational Welfare Officer has informed me that I am not allowed to authorise any absences for illness unless accompanied by a doctor’s certificate or a signed medical appointment card.

If attendance does not improve after this, then the county will begin the process of fining parents for not sending their child to school. Currently this is £60 per child per adult in the house with responsibility for the child.

If you are having issues getting your child to school for whatever reason, please let us know so that we can help you; however, please send them in if they say they have a headache or aren’t feeling well. Experience shows us that in a vast majority of cases once the chid is in school they forget about their “illness”. If someone is genuinely poorly then we will call their parents to come and collect them.

We will of course continue to monitor children who are persistently late

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