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Pulteneytown Academy
Newsletter 2 February 2006

Dear Parent

February Newsletter - 02.02.06

Music Festival – The programme for this has now been published and the school has a copy of all the poems for each age group as well as those for Caithness Dialect. If you would like a copy of the poem home to see if you would be interested in this please indicate on the tear off slip which age group(s) and gender you require and I will send you a copy of the correct poem(s). Please note this will not be done as part of school work and should be prepared and practiced at home if you intend to enter your child for the festival. The March newsletter will give instructions on how to enter if you decide to do so.

School Handbook – As there are a number of changes to this, I have distributed a copy to all families (except those who only have children in P7) along with this letter. Please do take some time to read this useful information. I would draw your attention to the following sections which are either new or have some considerable changes

  • Homework

  • Balance of the Curriculum

  • School Rules and Discipline - specifically what to bring to school, school clothing, naming of property and absence

  • Pupil Care, Welfare & Safety – where I have included our strategy for Health Promotion

  • The last section on Transferring Education Data about Pupils which is now compulsory for me to include in the Handbook

I must apologise to Mrs Ross, Primary 1 teacher, for her omission from the staff list. This was unintentional, but there was no time for proof reading before printing.

Cake Day – Tuesday 7 Feb has been cancelled as we are hoping to provide home baking on Wednesday 8 Feb instead as part of Big Heart Day.

Big Heart Day – Wed 8 February – This will go ahead in the same way as last year and the money raised will be split between the Tsunami Appeal and the Earthquake Disaster in Pakistan Appeal. This has been agreed by the staff and the PSA at their meeting last week. Activities will cost 20p each and children can choose from

· Bouncy castle
· Non uniform day
· Wear a hat to school
· Bingo
· Badges
· Face Painting – Big Heart Logo on one cheek
· Home baking 20p or 30p
· Raffle – this will start on Parents’ Afternoon and be drawn on Big Heart Day

We would be delighted if you could provide a little home baking for sale in the tuck shop for this very worthwhile cause.

PSA News – The PSA have agreed to contribute £1000 towards the cost of the Infant Patio. A Bunny Drive will be held on Tuesday 28 March as the entertainment for this term. Details will follow in the March Newsletter.

Parents Open Afternoon – Tuesday 7 February 1.45 to 3.00. Please try and come along to the school as your child will enjoy being your host for the afternoon. You will have the opportunity to look round the classroom and see your child’s work and have a look at all of their work on the walls both inside and outside the classroom. Wander round the school and look at the wonderful music resources we have and see for yourselves the state of the gym windows and toilets. Visit the displays in the hall – I am hoping to have but have not confirmed everything yet
· A display and advice on Head Lice
· A display and advice on Dental Health
· A Keep Fit Demonstration
· A display and information on the new school menus (with samples)
· Tea/coffee/juice and biscuits

You can talk to teachers for general information, but it is impossible for a confidential word with so many people in the classroom. Wait behind at the end of the day if you want a specific word on something which is troubling you, but please do not wait just for a general chat as this can happen during the afternoon and the teachers still have to mark Tuesday’s work and prepare for Wednesday after you have gone. Unfortunately, Miss Falconer cannot attend, as this clashes with her antenatal class, however, parents should feel free to come along as all the work etc will be on display and another member of staff will supervise the class in her absence. If anyone would like a word with Miss Falconer, please let me know on the day and I will arrange a suitable appointment.

Infant Patio – I am trying to arrange the work on this to be done before the Easter holidays so that the playground can be painted with games during the holiday. This may well cause disruption when coming into and leaving the school, but any difficulties will not be insurmountable and I would ask for your help if we need to make some changes for a short time. The children’s health and safety is always my highest priority and I will keep you informed before anything begins.

Science Evening Wednesday 15 Feb 7.00p.m. – Children throughout the school will shortly be coming home with our new Science Homework Bags. These activities are generally fun to do and some, especially with older children, involve research using computers if possible. I know many of you do not have computers at home, but there is access to these in the local library and this should enable all children to complete this work. You may be asked to provide some things for use in the experiments, but these are all household items e.g. vinegar or an egg or a jam jar. Each bag contains an instruction card along with most of the resources needed to complete the work.
This evening is planned to give you the opportunity to preview the bags and ask any questions you may have. There will also be a ‘hands-on’ activity for you to complete in groups. This is a fun activity and should be viewed as non-threatening. It is designed to show you the level of learning which can take place through this homework. As I need to ensure there are enough group bags prepared for you all to take part meaningfully, I really need to know numbers attending. I would therefore ask that you return the tear-off slip before the long weekend (Wed 8 Feb) indicating whether you will be taking part or not. Along with the management team, staff who have helped write and prepare these activities will be on hand to answer your questions.

Homework – It has been brought to my attention by a number of teachers that a significant proportion of the children are not completing their homework or not handing it in at the appropriate time. In fact, I have personal experience this term of children handing in work full of careless errors and those not handing it in at all. I would ask that parents please ensure that children are given an opportunity and appropriate space to complete their work and then have a look over this to ensure it is of a standard that you as a parent find acceptable. Please sign or initial the work to say that you have seen it. Thank you for your co-operation with this.

I have been asked to include the following in my next newsletter to parents.

Most children and young people need some support for their learning at some point in their school life. Usually the class teacher in primary school and the subject teachers in secondary school can provide this support. Some children, however, need significant additional support, long or short term, for whatever reason, in order to make the most of their education.

In Highland we use a Staged Approach to supporting children and young people with additional support needs. This means that if there is concern about a pupil’s progress the school should carry out a review in partnership with the pupil’s parents or carers. This review will consider whether it is necessary to offer further support. Sometimes it may be helpful to involve specialist teachers, and sometimes the Head Teacher may suggest consulting the Community Paediatrician, the Educational Psychologist or other specialists.

If a parent or carer is concerned about their child’s progress in school it is usually best therefore in the first instance to speak to the child’s class teacher or the Head Teacher.

A new Education Law came into force on November 14th 2005, the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act. This new law aims to improve and modernise the ways in which Councils identify and respond to the educational needs of all children and young people. It strengthens the rights of pupils to receive any additional educational support which they require. It also places new duties on other services such as NHS Highland to help support the education of children and young people with additional support needs.

The Scottish Executive has prepared a Code of Practice to accompany this new law. The Code of Practice explains the duties which Councils now have and sets out good practice. It emphasises the need for schools and others to work in partnership with parents and carers, and highlights the importance of Individualised Education Planning for pupils with significant Additional Support Needs.

If you would like more information about this change in education law and what it may mean for your child you can contact: your child’s school, or CHIP+ ( Children in the Highlands Information Point) telephone 01463 711189, e-mail chip.birnie@ukgateway.net  . CHIP+ has produced a series of information sheets for parents about the Act. You can also find information on the Act on the Highland Council Support for Learners website – go to the Highland Council website www.highland.gov.uk  and then click on Support for Learners in the A-Z Directory of services.

Yours sincerely
Head Teacher

Pulteneytown Academy
8 February 2006

 Dear Parent

Big Heart Day
We have raised the magnificent sum of £ (amount to be notified) Thanks to everyone who donated to this and to everyone who took part in the various activities.

The raffle winners were –

Holdall & Toilet Bag                        Callum SutherlandP5
Carving Set                        Jane Banks (Kobe P6)
Thermometer & Message Recorder                        Andrea Young (Aidan P2)
Knife Block                        Fiona Henderson (Scott P7)
Thermometer & Notelets                        Yvonne Shearer CEYAC
Fairy Ornament & Toiletries                        Holly Forbes P4
Half Btl Whisky                        C Smart (Leanne P2)
Dog Ornament & Notelets                        Molly & Eve Swanson P5
Lunch Box & Book                        Jack Coghill P3
Action Man                        Ryan Edwards P3
Sponge/Chalk Paints & Book                        Duncan Maclean P4
Lunch Box & Book                        Pam Mason (Katherine P2)
Football Boots                        Cameron Young P5

Parents’ Afternoon - I hope everyone enjoyed the Parents’ Afternoon and that their child(ren) were good hosts as it seemed to go very well.

Science Evening – There are a number of these slips still to come in.  To allow me to prepare materials I really need to know how many will be attending – it will be good fun as well as informative and remember children will be bringing home science homework very shortly which you will need to support them with.