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This is a nurturing environment where children, staff, parents and governors know each other and share a common understanding of the School’s purpose – to ‘aim high’ and through shared understanding of Gospel values, ensure that the potential of every child is fully achieved. Our children are happy, sociable, well-behaved and value our diversity, which enriches everything we do. We are recognised as ‘outstanding’ by the local authority and are confident this will be endorsed at our next Ofsted inspection.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Head Teacher's message for the New Term

We are now into the third week of the new School Year and it is good to be back at after the long Summer break.  As you may have noticed we have two new teachers who have joined us, Miss Mary-Ann Knight in Reception and Mrs Pauline Campbell-Hill in Y5.  We also have Mrs Laura Dawson working alongside Mrs Waite in the School Office.  I know that you will welcome them all to our School, as they settle in to the routines of St.Mary Magdalen’s.  During the holidays I heard from our Chair of Governors that Mrs Anita Sanders had resigned from her post as Higher Level Teaching Assistant.  This followed almost a term of absence for ill health.  We wish her every success and thank her for all her efforts over the years.  We hope that she will enjoy her new role at Our Lady & St Philip Neri Primary School.
From chatting to some of you and to the children everyone seems happy and contented and there is a very good feeling within the School.  Already your children are being challenged and stretched in their new classes, where they are aware of the high expectations we have of everyone.
I am happy to let you know that the Governors have changed Mrs Saunders title from Assistant Head Teacher to Deputy Head Teacher with effect from the beginning of this term.  I have always viewed Mrs Saunders as my Deputy and we work very closely together. It is with pleasure therefore, that I can convey to you that the School has recognised the considerable skills she has and her successes over the last year and a half.
Welcome too to our new Parish Priest, Father Philip Pak, who came into School today to meet me and will be in again on Thursday for a ‘tour’ to meet the staff and children and to have lunch with the Infants.  Fr. Philip has already offered to join us for some of the School’s special celebrations and is keen to work closely with the School in our joint Catholic mission to educate your children through the Gospel values.
In order that you have an early opportunity to meet your child’s class teacher we have arranged parent-teacher meetings before half term (see dates in separate blog posting).  If however you have any concern, please do not leave it until the meeting, but make an appointment with your child’s class teacher as soon as possible.  Our Inclusion Co-ordinator (Mrs Julie Piper) is also available on a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to meet with you about your child’s specific special needs.
As some of you may know all the children in Y6 take on special responsibilities in line with their role as the ‘top class’ in the School.  During last week those children wishing to become Head Boy and Head Girl presented their speeches to the whole School, who then, together with all the School staff, voted for the persons whom they thought would do the best job in representing St.Mary Magdalen’s School values.  I am pleased to inform you that Shalom Washington is our new Head Boy, with Michael McGrorty as the Deputy Head Boy and Lydia Searle is Head Girl with Lola Walton as Deputy Head Girl.
Each year St.Mary Magdalen’s aims to focus on a particular aspect of the curriculum, to raise the quality of teaching and learning in a subject(s).  In 2011 -12, based on School data and results in the KS2 tests, we realised that maths was an area of weakness across the School and in appointing Mrs Saunders (a maths specialist) we successfully implemented changes which resulted much better year on year progress in childrens’ learning.
In 2012-13 through the appointment of Miss Gardener, the School once again was able to offer high quality music provision, which had sadly been lost through the parting of Mrs Wickham.
This year (2013-14) our focus will be on Physical Education (Health and Wellbeing) and Mr. Pinks will lead on ensuring that we can offer more sport’s opportunities for both KS1 and KS2.  This has been enabled through a Government grant to every school in the country, based on pupil numbers.  Each term we will endeavour to provide subsidised clubs (before and after School, depending on the dark nights) which will be both skilled based and fun.  We have also invested in more PE equipment which will be used during lunch-times, in lessons and in staff training.  Mr. Pinks is also in the process of linking our School with other local schools, through a new Lewisham Sports League initiative.