Introducing our new Friendship Ambassadors

We have introduced a new scheme to help our children with friendships and play.

As part of our wider Ready to Learn provision our first Friendship Ambassadors have graduated from their training programme and are already at work supporting children on both the Key Stage 1 and 2 playgrounds.

The Ambassadors are there to help with strategies and but they are not problem solvers. They have a code of conduct that they follow and are aware that the adults on the playground remain in place to keep the children safe.


Friendship Ambassador Code of Conduct

We recognise that we are strategy givers NOT problem solvers.

We understand that if a child has been hurt either by hitting, swearing or name calling, then we must tell an adult immediately.

We understand that if we have any issues or concerns about a problem that we must speak to an adult immediately.

We shall always work in pairs.

We shall design our own timetable and be responsible for keeping to it.

We shall have a Friendship Ambassador meeting every other Wednesday during singing assembly.


The Friendship ambassadors launched their role by presenting a fantastic assembly on 25th June where they explained their role to the whole school.

The aim of the program is to select and train a group of Year 5 students each year so that there will always be a peer support mechanism on the playground. This initiative is also in direct response to a request from our school council - SPEAK.

Year 1 - Exploring volume with water

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Another lovely week weather-wise and Year 1 have been working extremely hard.

We have been very excited about the summer fayre; it was lovely to see so many of the children participating in the fun and games on the field after school today.

In maths, we have been using our knowledge of fractions to learn about capacity, and investigating how many half or quarter litres are in a litre, 2 litres etc. We were fortunate to be able to use our outside area during the beautiful summer weather to explore the capacity resources and water.

Following last week’s visit from Witch Sims, the children wrote a ‘thank you’ letter to her for coming to see us. We have also revisited using ‘ed’ to show the regular past tense and worked on our editing skills. Next week, we will be planning our letter that we will be writing to a family friend or relative, to showcase the incredible grammar, vocabulary and punctuation that we have learned this year.

In Geography, we reminded ourselves about the different maps and why we use them. We went outside and made a 3D map of the route the Jolly Postman took, then acted out the story. Thank you to Nora for being an excellent narrator! We have started to map out our classroom and create a key for some of the features. 

The children have been learning about the importance of following instructions in our ICT lesson, which is an introduction to algorithms. I was particularly impressed with the speed that most children are able to log in with – this is a huge improvement and allows us to get through more learning within the lesson. Many thanks to everyone who has supported their child in learning to type in their password!

We continue with our phonics and reading daily. We are concentrating on the alternative spelling of different phonemes in phonics, as well as learning to read and spell tricky words. 

Stanmore’s Got Talent

At the end of each academic year, the children are invited to audition for Stanmore’s Got Talent, to be held in the school hall.

Each class will be holding auditions, with the children voting which act they would like to send forward (1 act per class). If your child (or a group of friends) would like to audition, that would be great! We ask that we have no fighting or wrestling acts, and acts must be suitable to be performed safely on the school stage.

Breaking News!

Juniper Class have won the £100.00 prize for selling the most raffle tickets! Many thanks to everyone who has supported this. The money will be spent on the class party which will be on Monday 22nd July in the afternoon. A letter about the arrangements for the end of term and class parties will be issued shortly. 

 

Dates for your diary

Thursday 11th July – Meet your child’s new teacher straight after school. The teacher will be in their current classroom.

Friday 12th and Monday 15th July – INSET days 

Tuesday 16th July – Ukulele concert in the hall. Exact times to be confirmed, but the provisional times are doors open 2.15pm, Y1 concert from 2.20pm – 2.40pm, Y2 concert from 2.40 – 3.00pm.

Thursday 18th July – Stanmore’s Got Talent class auditions (Y1)

Friday 19th July – stamped addressed envelopes to a family friend or relative to be handed in today

Friday 19th July – Trays cleared and PE kits sent home (please bring in a large, named carrier bag!).

Monday 22nd July – Home learning due in (map of your route to school)

Monday 22nd July – Stanmore’s Got Talent (morning), class parties (afternoon)

Don’t worry, be happy!

We all get worried from time to time. Sometimes they are little worries, and sometimes they feel a lot bigger. Whether it is to do with friendships, growing up, someone close to us not being well, or that we just don’t know what to do about a situation. A worry can become, well, worrisome.

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That is why we have the Worry Box. Located in a prominent position within the school, children are encouraged to share their worry with the little worry monster by filling in one of the simple forms. Our trained staff check the worry box each day. Once they’ve picked up the worry, they formulate a plan. They’ll arrange some time to speak to the child with the worry and then talk it through with them.

The idea is that our children get the help and support they need. So sometimes things can be solved by working out a new strategy to tackle the issue. Other times people need help to resolve things, or they just need to know that someone is able to listen to them and understand.

Having a worry is perfectly normal, but we want to help our children through it. Whatever the worry, we are here to help.

Class structure from September 2019

Dear Parents,

It was good to see many of you at the School Improvement Meeting last night. This was a very positive meeting where we heard from the staff at Stanmore about the significant positive steps we have taken on our school improvement journey. 

We are determined to deliver our purpose of being committed to purposeful and irresistible learning where our children are inspired to thrive and everyone is the BEST that they can be.

As I said in the Stanmore Post last week, at the meeting last night we also announced staffing and class arrangements for the school from September 2019.

With the financial pressures that all schools are facing across England, the significant improvements in the quality of teaching in our school and the desire to keep the staffing structure as stable as possible for our children, we have decided to introduce mixed aged classes from September.

This change will allow us to:

  • Provide a quality education for all children throughout the school with minimal disruption caused by staff changes

  • Give children the opportunity to mix socially with a wider group of friends to help build a strong whole school ethos

  • Provide well-resourced additional help and support to children with special educational needs, or who have social, emotional or behavioural issues 

  • Build our rich balanced curriculum over two-year cycles, allowing children to experience more irresistible learning opportunities

  • Allow us to invest in better resources to allow support our children in their learning and their outcomes

  • Structure the classes in line with our published admissions number (PAN) of 45

  • Allow us to balance the school’s budget and to continue to invest in the improvements we are making

Many schools in Hampshire have mixed classes, we are not breaking the mould and there are good support and structures in place for schools that are planning and assessing in mixed age classes.

From September the class structure will be:

  • Year R - Miss Day (Catkins)

  • Year 1/2 - Mrs Askwith (Maple), Mr Read (Hazel), Mrs Jones (Rowan)

  • Year 3/4 - Miss Hurley (Willow), Miss Evers (Sycamore), Mrs Horkan (Birch)

  • Year 5 - Mrs Ruddick-Smith and Miss Norris (Aspen)

  • Year 6 - Mrs Kempson (Elm), Mrs Laver (Oak)

Please note that Years 5 & 6 will not be combining in the 2019/20 academic year, but they will in 2020/21. They will however follow the same curriculum for foundation subjects.

Miss Young and Miss Kingshott are both leaving Stanmore for new opportunities at the end of term. We would like to take the opportunity to thank them for everything that they have done for the children at Stanmore and wish them all the best for their future.

We appreciate this is a change for many people and so we have included more details with this letter.  If you wish to discuss any aspect of the changes we are making please do come and speak to me in the mornings at the front gate, or please do make an appointment.

Sharon Taylor
Headteacher

Frequently Asked Questions about mixed age classes

Why are you mixing different year groups? 

The government funds schools according to pupil numbers. Our published admission number (PAN) is 45 which creates a 1.5 form entry school. A fall in our roll, alongside ongoing pressure on school budgets has meant that the school is no longer in a position to financially support a 14 class structure.  We have considered a range of options and have balanced these against factors such as infant class size limits and the challenges of teaching across Key Stages. Following research, and after taking advice from the Local Authority, having discussions with colleagues in other schools and undertaking a number of meetings involving Governors and school leaders, we feel that the best option to allow the school to continue on its improvement journey is to combine Years 1 and 2 within KS1 and to combine Years 3 and 4 within KS2 from September 2019.  

How will two year groups be taught alongside each other in one classroom? 

All children develop at different rates. It isn’t automatic that the oldest child in a class will achieve better than the youngest child. Children will be taught to their individual academic needs and not simply to their age. All classes in the school have a large range of maturity and attainment. Teachers will choose work appropriate to the standard a child is working at, ensuring that all needs are catered for. In the majority of lessons, the children will start the session together on the carpet with the teacher targeting questions at individuals or groups of children at an appropriate level.We refer to this as ‘flexible grouping.’ Children will then be provided with appropriate tasks to consolidate or practise what they have been taught, with the teacher and / or Teaching Assistant working with children who require additional assistance or who need to be challenged to explore concepts in greater depth or learn something new. On occasion, groups of children may be removed from whole class teaching in order to facilitate this. 

How will teachers plan, ensuring coverage of both the year group curriculums, and preventing repetition of content? 

With the exception of Maths, English and Science, the curriculum content isn’t split into separate Year group content, rather, there is an expectation for the end of the key stage. Subject Leaders at Stanmore are developing a progression of skills for children to work through in each year group. Curriculum areas such as History and Geography will be taught on a two year cycle, ensuring that content is not repeated unless it needs to be built upon. In the case of Maths and English, the two curricula are completely aligned, with the majority of objectives being matched with a similar but slightly trickier objective for the older year group if appropriate. Ensuring coverage of national curriculum objectives for both year groups in the same classroom will therefore be easily facilitated by normal classroom practice.

How will we ensure the highest academic expectations for all children? 

Both national and local data for performance of children at the end of KS1 and 2 suggests that being placed in a mixed age classes has no negative impact on children’s academic achievements. This is supported by educational research, with some studies suggesting that children often perform better when placed in classes with a bigger age range. A mixed age classroom means that the children will have greater flexibility to learn with children of their own standard. Children who find aspects of the curriculum more challenging will be supported in the same way they have been in single year classes. Children working above the expected standard will be provided with work which both deepens their understanding and moves them on to explore new concepts. As part of our curriculum, learning will continue to be focussed on explaining reasoning and problem solving both of which extend children’s understanding without them having to access a separate curriculum. Rich texts will be carefully chosen ensuring that they are easy to learn but contain the relevant sentence structures and vocabulary to stretch children at the appropriate level. 

How will we ensure that children cope socially and emotionally with changes in their current class structures? 

Our previous experience of mixed age teaching shows us that children thrive in a mixed age class. Children learn to form wider friendships and relate to broader groups of children, creating a classroom atmosphere where children are enjoined to help others and seek support from their older peers rather than simply relying on adult support. 

How will we ensure that Year 1 children cope with the transition into a more formal classroom environment? 

The EYFS and Year 1/2 teachers have been working closely together to ensure that EYFS children are well prepared for the formalities of a KS1 classroom. The transition from Year R to Year 1 will be managed particularly carefully for those pupils who have not achieved a good level of development by the end of Year R as these children will still need more access to play based activity. 

How will we create the new classes? 

We will consider a number of factors when creating classes for next year. In order to ensure equity of provision for all children, we will be creating 3 mixed Y1/2 classes in KS1 and 3 mixed Y3/4 classes in KS2. In doing this we will consider pre-existing friendship groups, the current attainment of children and any other social or emotional concerns. Where possible, family members will not be placed together. This will be done in close liaison with class teachers, who have a strong understanding of how different groups of children work together. 

How will we manage statutory testing in KS1? 

As you may be aware, children in both Years 1 and 2 are subject to statutory testing, with Year 1 children undertaking the Phonics Screening Check and Year 2 undertaking SATS tests. At Stanmore Primary School we are committed to achieving the best possible standards for our children without teaching to the test. Year 1 children will be prepared for the Phonics Screening Check in the same way they would be every year, with planned improvements in place to raise the quality of phonics teaching, enabling the children to confidently decode when it comes to the assessment. Equally, preparation for SATS testing in Year 2 will not sit outside of normal classroom practice. Year 1 children will not be expected to sit the Year 2 papers and they will be taught their usual curriculum during KS1 SATS week, with Year 2 children being removed in groups to sit the papers.

How big will the class sizes be?

All infant classes will have 30 pupils or less, and junior classes will have 30 pupils.

Parent survey – June 2019 – Results

Introduction

This survey was undertaken over a two-week period in June 2019. All parents and carers were invited to give their views via messages from Parent Mail and Stanmore Post.

The survey consisted of a number of questions or statements where the respondents were asked to state the extent to which they agreed or disagreed.  

In addition to the questions, a comments section was provided where parents were invited to give more context to their answers or their ideas for further improvements or feedback.

Engagement

In total we received 89 responses, representing 44% of pupils in the school. This represents an increase of engagement compared to 86 responses representing 36% of pupils last year.

On a year by year basis the lowest representation came from Year 3 at 36% and the highest from Year 2 at 58%.

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What three words would you use to describe the school to others?

The word cloud shows the words used in all the responses. The larger the word, the more times it was used by the respondents.

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Questions

Overall the percentage of positive responses (green bars) remained in line with last year, however the percentage of negative responses (orange and red) has reduced. The grey bars indicate a neutral response to the statement except in the questions about SEN and inclusivity for children with additional needs where parents were asked to give a neutral response if they had no direct experience.

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Year 1 - resilience and persistence paying off

The Year 1 children have shown resilience and persistence in their learning this week. We have had an exciting time, despite Sports Day being cancelled, and have had some fantastic experiences!

In writing, we posted off our books of spells to the witch, who paid us a visit to say ‘thank you’! She was very impressed with the children’s instruction writing, and even made one of the spells in a beautiful round bottle! We have started to recap on our grammar ready to write some stories for the Year 6 children. We have been practising the prefix ‘un’, contractions and the use of exclamation marks.

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Multiplication and division has been on the maths menu this week. Many of the children are becoming fluent in these calculation strategies, and are able to prove their answers using equipment and in different presentations, such as the bar model or the part-part- whole model.  We are looking forward to revisiting fractions next week!

In science, we conducted an experiment to find the most suitable material to make a new bag for the Jolly Postman. This included prediction skills, planning and carrying out the experiment and writing a conclusion. It was pleasing to see so many of the children using scientific language during their experiments.

In phonics, we are looking at the alternative pronunciations of different letters (ea/ie/ow and er), as well as learning to read and write tricky words. We are now resetting spellings on a Thursday, to be tested the following Wednesday. 

Have a lovely weekend!

Year 1 - the weather won’t stop our learning

Phew – what a wet week it has been, but hopefully the weather looks brighter for the weekend! Happily, Year 1 have bought the sunshine into their classrooms with their enthusiasm for learning. 

In maths, we have been learning about the inverse in addition and subtraction which we can use to check our calculations. The children have shown their working out using the bar model, part-part whole models and a number line. 

In writing, we have recapped on some of the grammar we leant earlier in the year (plural suffixes ‘s’ and ‘es’ and using a noun phrase). We have been exploring amazing alliteration and using it to bring our writing alive. The children have demonstrated their understanding of these grammar skills by planning and writing some super new spells for the witch in The Jolly Postman book; I hope that she enjoys reading and using them!

We are starting a new geography unit on our local area. To start us off, we have been looking at different types of maps, including aerial photographs. We explored an aerial photo of Stanmore and had fun identifying some of the features we could see, including our school!

In ICT, we have continued our work on pictograms; the children have used data to create their own pictograms of farm animals and have started to learn how to interpret the data shown.

We have enjoyed our ukulele lesson – the children are able to strum and pluck as well as sing along to their tunes. We are very much looking forward to performing to you at our ‘Listen To Me’ concert on the penultimate week of term. 

The children have been busy practising for Sports Day on Wednesday 19th June. They will either be sprinting, skipping, in the ‘egg and spoon’ race or in the sprint relay and competing for their house (Kingfisher, Lark, Heron or Buzzard). We are very much looking forward to a fun-packed morning of racing on Wednesday – fingers crossed for good weather!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friends of Stanmore - discos, ice-cream and Rachel takes over from Rachel

The FoS had a fantastic evening on Wednesdayas it was our annual Hawaiian disco! Thank you to all those who gave their time to help set up and run the event. It was lovely to see so many children, parents, carers, helpers and teachers enjoying themselves. As always, Andy the DJ did an amazing job at keeping over 130 children entertained for 2 hours! That man deserves a medal! His details are on the FoS page of the school website if you would like to book him. He gets a five star rating from the FoS and children!

I also want to congratulate the children on their exceptionally good behaviour. It was a pleasure to watch and chat to them all. The FoS are always very proud to see Stanmore school children being their usual brilliant selves!

Next week, bags2school are collecting any donations on Wednesday, 12th June. If you didn't receive a bags2school bag please don’t panic! You can place your unwanted items in a normal bin liner. Please bring your donation to school before school drop off on Wednesday morning.

On Thursday, 13th June we are running an ice cream and ice pop stall from 3pm...whatever the weather! We will also be selling secondhand uniform and hoping to have representatives from Kings' school attending, to give advice and answer any questions you have regarding your child's transition.

Finally, we have very exciting news! As Chair of the FoS I have decided to step down and pass on the reins to Rachel Wells. She is a young mum who has been very supportive of the FoS since her son started school last September. The handing over period will be gradual giving Rachel time to settle in and adjust to this very rewarding role.  Please wish her the best of luck and support her as much as you have done with me.

Thanks again for all your support, Rachel D, Rachel W, Jen, Hayley, Ali and Jo.

It is summer - it is time for cricket!

On Monday 20th May, a team of talented, young criketers attended a cricket tornament at Hursely Park Road Cricket club. The weather was on our side, and the children hit some fantatic 4s and even some 6s. The bowling and level of play was fantastic; the children got some wickets, caught out a few players from other teams and made some great runs. Because of the highly skilled play, the mixed team of Year 4/5/6 made it to the semi final. Every child finished with a smile on their face and a new T-shirt. 

This was the first of our cricket competitions. This week, on Monday 3rd June, another group of talented cricketers attended a cricket tornament at Hursely Park Road Cricket club. None of the girls in the team play cricket outside of school for a club, and some hadn't played since Year 4, but, nonetheless, there was some fantatsic bolwing, some great runs, some excellent hitting - again scoring some 4s. The team had a fantatsic day in the sun and assured me they enjoyed every game they played. 

Both teams showed respect towards each other and other teams; cooperation by communicating, working together and supporting each other; resilience and persistence during the matches and every child had the confidence to represent Stanmore Primary School .