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Astbury School Newsletter ~ 2nd May 2019

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Dear Parents,

We have purchased beautiful new reading books for the children’s ‘take home’ books. These are ‘real books’ to supplement the reading scheme. With support from the Academies Trust, Class Noah have created an inviting reading area in their classroom and now, with the addition of these books, the children really are excited and desperate to read more! There was an opportunity this week to share some books with friends from year three – ‘I feel happy’, ‘I feel really cared for and feel like I want to read all the books’.

Books have also been purchased for classes Mary and Jacob to enable the children to have a scheme book to support their free reading choices. The older children have also been exploring and sharing their new home readers. We love reading!

Over the Easter holidays, work began on improvements to the outdoor classroom for class Noah. The old equipment was removed and additional space created. The new surface and clear canopy cover are the next phase in this development.

As reported in the Congleton Chronicle, we are expecting the final planning approval for our daily mile track on the field very soon. We are just waiting for a response from Sport England, once they are satisfied that we are not losing any of the pitch space on the field. We are looking forward to installing this as we seek to be able to include additional opportunities for exercise into the school day.

Chester Diocesan Academies Trust have appointed a new Chief Executive Officer, Neil Dixon. He has already visited our school and met with staff and children. Neil will soon become a familiar face at Astbury St Mary’s. He officially began his job yesterday, and as a former Her Majesty’s Inspector (OFSTED), has a wealth of experience and knowledge to further support our school.

The Trust have requested a parent questionnaire from all seven schools to help with their self-evaluation process. Please follow this link and make your responses by the end of May.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf3Mvfk7-6Du9LGrOyB5yVTe5tZzZEAUGGHich1tB9SyApqWg/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1

Yours faithfully
Mrs P Worswick

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Astbury School Newsletter ~ 21st March 2019

By | School newsletter

Dear Parents,

Our head girl and head boy, Evie and Fahren are running a fund raising competition for children at Astbury. They have been working with Neil from Merekats to develop their idea.

“Our competition is that you need to think of positive words that begin with each letter of ASTBURY to write inside bubble letters – these need to be words that describe our school. Draw out the bubble letters and write your words inside the letters – use colour and the shape of the bubble letters to make your design unique. Write your name on your design and hand it in to Evie or Fahren by 24th April 2019. The designs will be judged and the winning entry will be printed onto Tshirts. The winner will get a free Tshirt with their design on it and at May Day the Tshirts will be for sale on the Merekats stall.”

Twenty members of the school choir joined in a County wide ‘Singfest’ at Crewe Lyceum on Tuesday. The children have been rehearsing each week in school with Mrs Douce and have learnt an amazing number of songs in two medleys. They danced and sang, thoroughly enjoying themselves, as well as entertaining family and friends who joined them in the audience. Katie and Becky, pupils at Astbury, also stayed at the theatre in the afternoon to play their instruments in the youth and senior orchestra.

Yours faithfully,

Pip Worswick

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Astbury School Newsletter ~ 7th March 2019

By | School newsletter

Dear Parents,

What a lovely time we have had celebrating world book day! A little strange to be in school in our PJs but lovely to share bed time stories and enjoy reading together – how grateful we are that we have access to so much
literature.

“I will defend the importance of bedtime stories to my last gasp.” —JK Rowling

‘According to Jim Trelease, author of the best-seller, The Read-Aloud Handbook: “Every time we read to a child, we’re sending a ‘pleasure’ message to the child’s brain…” (ReadAloud.org)

Reading is the key for lifelong learning, and if you can instill a love of reading at an early age, then a commitment to lifelong learning is sure to follow. Reading aloud presents books as sources of pleasant, valuable, and exciting experiences. Children who value books are motivated to read on their own, and will likely continue to do so throughout the rest of their lives.

When it comes to reading to your children, the benefits range far beyond the development of a close bond with them, although that’s certainly one of them. Reading aloud to children is truly the single-most important activity for building these understanding and skills essential for reading success that your child will carry with them all throughout their life.’ – Children’s Bureau

The children are looking forward to spending their vouchers and have had a good look at the books that are available – why not pop down to the shops so your child can get their free book?

Yours faithfully
Pip Worswick

Read the full newsletter here

Astbury School Newsletter ~ 7th February 2019, Issue 9

By | School newsletter

Dear Parents,

Our new school opened on Friday! Children and staff enjoyed a party to celebrate as the school joined an academy family. This is the press release: On 1st February, St Mary’s CE Primary School, Astbury, joined the Chester Diocesan Academies Trust (CDAT) Family. As a church school, Astbury St Mary’s has already been working closely with CDAT schools and were delighted to officially convert into the Trust at the start of the month. The collaboration between CDAT schools will provide great opportunities for staff and children to come together.

Staff will share good practice across the Trust to impact teaching and learning and children will have access to wider curricular and extra-curricular activities. The shared Christian values across the Trust closely match the values of the school and the CDAT Board are delighted to welcome Astbury St Mary’s into the Trust and look forward to working with Pip Worswick, the headteacher, and all of the staff, governors, children and parents.

Yours faithfully

Pip Worswick

Yours faithfully

Pip Worswick

8-02-2019

Astbury School Newsletter 24th January 2019

By | School newsletter

Dear Parents

On Friday 1st February we are joining Chester Diocesan Academies Trust. Leaders, staff and children have already been involved in working with other schools in the Trust and we look forward to being part of a wider family of schools that support us in our vision and aims for education at Astbury. There will be no changes to the day to day running of the school. The educational vision of CDAT is outlined below.

CDAT will seek to be a successful family of schools providing distinctive and loving environments which ensure effective education for all children, through excellent teaching, innovation and the sharing of good practice as schools work together across the Trust. We will:

  • build a thriving community of schools with common moral purpose rooted in Christian values and ambition for children, but encouraging each academy to develop in the best way to serve its community;
  • provide a culture of healthy dialogue and listening between CDAT and its academies;
  • provide mutual support and improvement to develop the practice of all our professional staff so that all can improve;
  • empower effective school leaders and local governing bodies to take courageous decisions in the best interest of young people;
  • provide systems and services that aim to reduce the administrative burden and support school leaders with the professional management of their academies;
  • provide purposeful and supportive early intervention for academies that would benefit from accelerated school improvement.
  • CDAT will seek to provide the very best education for every child in its schools so that they succeed and are well prepared to move onto their next phase of education. Our strong Christian ethos will be the foundation of all we do and by guiding and informing the actions of children, staff and governors we will:
  • ensure that all children achieve their full potential – making at least the expected level of progress and with many exceeding;
  • value and respect children from all faiths and beliefs – and taking into account their beliefs when planning for their learning and the learning of others;
  • provide a curriculum that is broad, rich and balanced; focused on developing knowledge and skills; and meeting the needs of each child;
  • provide learning opportunities that are inclusive, engaging and challenging for every child;
  • create a learning environment within which children are happy and motivated learner;
  • support our leaders to be highly effective in leading school improvements;
  • support our teachers and support staff to be outstanding practitioners – providing high quality teaching so that every child learns;
  • listen to the children and taking their views into account;
  • work with parents to enable them to contribute to their children’s learning;
  • work with other schools and the wider community to ensure that we maximise on the learning opportunities that they can provide for our children and staff.

Friday 1st February is also the first event of May Day for the year. It is a non-uniform day to raise funds for the May Day raffle and it is the day that the May Queen and retinue will be drawn from the top hat. The ceremony will take place during worship at 2:45pm – you are welcome to come in to school to watch the draw!

Well done to the Y5/6 cross country teams and the Y5/6 indoor athletics team who both competed last week. The cross country race was incredibly gruelling in the fog, cold and damp but all persevered and crossed the finishing line.

Yours faithfully

Pip Worswick 

newsletter 24-1-2019

School Newsletter 11th January 2019

By | School newsletter

Dear Parents

Happy New Year!

We have had an exciting beginning to the year, starting our new maths scheme of work – Power Maths. Children have been keen to receive their new maths books and to explore learning together. The maths lessons and resources will further develop your child as a mathematician. The new scheme continues to improve our maths teaching as it supports mastery of mathematics as well as challenging more able pupils to explore concepts and understanding at greater depth.

We have also signed up to one month free trial of Times Table Rock Stars. We would encourage all children to log on at home on a phone, iPad, computer or other device and challenge themselves to progress as a rock star as well as challenge others to a battle of the bands. We have only started to introduce this this week but all children have log in details in their diaries, It is lovely to hear the children (and staff) so enthused about their scores and challenges and being so keen to have a go and speed up their recall of times tables to 12 x 12.

On 25th January, Mrs Hodder will be starting her maternity leave and Mrs Stevens will return to teach class Noah. We wish Mrs Hodder all the best as she prepares for the birth of her baby. Mrs Stevens has had many keeping in touch days and has been in to get to know the children and work with Mrs Hodder to ensure a smooth transition. This week, we have welcomed Mr Davies back in to school to work with the year six children and class Jacob.

It is now two years since our OFSTED inspection and all the targets set out in the report have been worked on with a wealth of evidence and improvements in all areas. The Local Authority are conducting a whole school review to support us in our preparation for our next OFSTED. This will be on Wed 23rd January. Reviewers will be in school for the day and may wish to speak with parents on the playground in the morning or after school. We are pleased to have been given this opportunity to have an independent evaluation of our work.

Yours faithfully

Pip Worswick

newsletter 11-1-2019

School newsletter 13th December 2018

By | School newsletter

Dear Parents

Rehearsals for the nativity this year ‘Born in a Barn’ have been going well in school and in church. All children need to be in church at 10:45am this Sunday.

 Children in class Noah need to come in their costume, which will be sent home with your child tonight. Children in classes Mary and Jacob need to wear their school uniform.

After the nativity there will be drinks and biscuits served in church – we had previously asked for cakes, but this has now been changed to donations of biscuits. Please can you pass your donations to a church warden on Sunday in church.

 Thank you to everyone who supported the Christmas Fair. The total amount raised was £672.25. It was lovely to see so many families in school together enjoying all the fun of the fair. Thank you to all the parents and family members who helped out on the night. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of the local community who donated items for the fair, in particular, we’d like to thank Astbury Garden Centre for donating the school Christmas tree and Roberts Bakery for donating the rolls and gingerbread men.

The generosity did not stop there as the Grand Christmas Draw prizes are amazing this year. Thanks to Shrigley Hall and the George Michael tribute act, Lucilleloves photography, Mr Bonney, Pecks Restaurant and Mr Jones of Allan Jones and Son, carpet and blinds for the top five prizes, as well as all those who have donated smaller prizes including spotty dotty and Cheshire toy shop from Glebe farm and a £20 Foundations shop voucher.

The raffle will be drawn tomorrow in school. Please make sure you have bought your tickets and returned the money and stubs to the office.

Next week, we will be going to church for the Christingle service on Thursday morning at 9:15am. Each child needs to bring their own Christingle which they need to make at home. If you require a candle, they are available from the office for 20p. You are welcome to join us for the service!

 

Yours faithfully

 

Pip Worswick

School Newsletter December 13th 2018

School Newsletter 29th November 2018

By | School newsletter

Dear Parents

Thank you to everyone who was able to join in the school singing at the Congleton Christmas Light switch on last Saturday. It was great to be able to support the community by taking part.

Thank you to all the children who came to showcase the school at the open evening last week. All who came were a credit to the school.

I am extremely proud of all our young artists who won prizes in the Congleton Rotary art competition. Out of five hundred and eighty-four entries, Astbury School won many awards, including an amazing first prize. With a beautiful piece of art work showing her favourite season, Claire received a frame of her work and a prize.  Evie H and Sid also won two runners up awards. What makes this award even more outstanding is that this is the second year running that a child from Astbury School has won first prize!

I look forward to seeing you at the Christmas Fair after school tomorrow night. There are many games, stalls and activities for you to take part in as a family and prices are really reasonable. It would be lovely if everyone could stay and be part of the fair – the children are really excited about it!

Remember to wear a Christmas jumper and bring a cake or two tomorrow!

Yours faithfully,

Pip Worswick

Newsletter November 29th 2018

 

School Newsletter 15th November 2018

By | School newsletter

Dear Parents

I would like to take this opportunity to share with you my blog ‘Living with the Label’ written to explain and share the journey of our school following OFSTED in January 2017.

Inadequate: Living with the Label.

Being a school labelled as inadequate by OFSTED in January 2017 simply marked the start of a special journey, something that is making us effective and better in our practice.

My journey with Astbury School began twenty-one years ago when I started teaching in the infant class. Since that very first day, my heart has been drawn to serving the children, families and community who are the life of the school. Upon my appointment as Head teacher, in January 2016, I started to build a strong governing team to challenge and support the school in its actions and developed leadership across all levels of the school. This brought renewed vision and strategic direction to set the pathway to planning for excellence and my staff embarked on a rigorous and enriching training plan, giving them the tools that they needed to deliver outstanding teaching in a nurturing environment.

I knew that first class education was essential and that my children deserved the very best.

I received the first major milestone from the Church SIAMS inspectors in December 2016, where we were rated as ‘good’. This involved looking at the school’s Christian vision, how we embraced that in the running of the school, and most importantly enabling all pupils to flourish.

A SIAMS inspector stated: “All members of the school community recognise that, although the Head Teacher has been in post for less than a year, the impact of her vision on the development of the school’s Christian character has already been and continues to be extensive…this has impacted strongly on all aspects of church school improvement.”

When the school was labelled in January 2017, I also took solace in the following comment from Ofsted: “The new Head Teacher’s responsiveness to pupils’ needs, particularly for new arrivals to the school, has ensured that these pupils make sufficient progress from their starting points.”

Ofsted also reported that: “Governors monitor and evaluate the work of the school with increasing vigour. They ensure that the needs of all pupils are met through the effective use of additional funding and human resources.”

Parents were aware that the school had experienced difficulties, but they had faith in my ability to lead the school forward and commented favourably on the change in atmosphere within the school and on the recent changes in the way in which expectations of pupils’ behaviour have been raised.

Testament to this were the Pupil Progress Scores in July 2017, they had dramatically improved from being inadequate in 2014, 2015 and 2016, a clear sign that the school was no longer ‘coasting’.

In the latter half of 2017, after a delay brought about by the General Election, we were finally able to access significant school improvement funding.  This accelerated our progress, enabling further staff training, including working with an educational consultancy, the Literacy Tree and the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics.  The Literacy Tree placed children’s literature at the core of our English teaching, transforming English across the school and mastery in maths enables our children to participate, be inspired and succeed in mathematics and supports our teachers in lesson planning and meeting the needs of all children.

Our School Improvement partners, Cheshire East and Chester Diocese Academy Trust (CDAT) – Sue Riley previously of Brereton C of E Primary School, and temporary Head Teacher before I took my position, have all provided positive observational evidence and feedback which supports how far we have come as a school on our journey towards outstanding provision and gives external validity to our progress. “The children showed good attitudes to learning both when working individually and collaboratively.  The lesson was well planned and the children were engaged in their learning. The classroom environment is bright, colourful and supportive of pupils learning.” June 2018.

We have also been able to invest in our buildings and infrastructure, with our brand-new extension to the reception area, creating an altogether safer and more inviting entrance to our school and enhancing our flexible learning environment. The classrooms have been refreshed with new furniture, carpet and attractive displays being used to support children in their learning and to show off our children’s hard work.

Through it all, our children have continued to flourish: they have confidently taken place in the 2nd Annual Town Triathlon, Eaton Bank Dance Festival, Town Choir Festival, the School Gardens’ Competition and the Cheshire Police Social Media Challenge; where we took first place.  Not forgetting their well-renowned performance at Astbury May Day and two floats in the Congleton Carnival.

 Further improvements on the horizon

During the remainder of this year and the start of next, we shall be developing a daily mile running track on the school field, which will support active learning. We will also be regenerating the EYFS outdoor classroom, creating a stimulating all year round learning environment.

Most significantly, we are due to become an Academy in early 2019, joining an established Multi Academy Trust (CDAT) with a proven record for school improvement. Once that milestone is achieved, we will be ready, and on countdown for the next Ofsted visit under a new Ofsted framework currently being developed for September 2019. It is only then that we will be able to cut off the label, which is a cross we have had to bear for some time now due to Ofsted being unable to re-inspect us until academisation.

Overall, I am proud of how far we have come, and although it has been an up-hill climb, we are able to see the shoots of growth being recognised, these are being nurtured, and my aspirations are becoming a reality.

Please take a look at some of the exciting things that we do at our school on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/astburyschool/

If you want to discuss this in any more detail, please ask to see me.

Yours faithfully,

Pip Worswick

Newsletter November 15th 2018

School Newsletter 25th October 2018

By | School newsletter

Dear Parents

It was lovely to see many parents sharing their child’s story together in Class Mary yesterday. The language the children had used and the ideas in their stories show great creativity. Maisie and Zach have reviewed Kalebh and Rufus’s stories from class Mary and have written book reviews for the newsletter this week – why not pop into class Mary and have a read of the stories they have recommended?

There will be an opportunity for parents of children in class Jacob to share their work based around their text ‘Can we save the Tiger?’ on Thursday 8th November 8:45 – 9:15am.

On Tuesday 20th November we will be holding an open evening for parents of children due to start school in reception 2019. In order to showcase the variety of learning that takes place in school we would like some of the children to come and be involved in activities planned by the adults in school. You would need to drop your child off at school at 6:00pm and collect them again at 7:00pm. Please let us know if your child can be involved by completing the slip attached to the end of the newsletter.

 Have a lovely half term break!

 Yours faithfully,   

Pip Worswick

School Newsletter October 25th 2018