Article 15

You have the right to choose your own friends and join or set up groups, as long as it isn’t harmful to others.

Welcome back

It has been wonderful to welcome all of our children back into school this week. They have come back into school with such a positive attitude and appear really happy to be back into school – seeing their friends again and settling back into school routines. They have adapted extremely well to the new arrangements put into place to keep everyone safe.

Can I take this opportunity to extend a very warm welcome to our new Nursery and Reception children and their families. We appreciate how hard it has been for all of you starting school without the usual transition arrangements that would have been in place. Your children have made an amazing start to their time at Blanford Mere – they have come in smiling and positive and have been a credit to you. Thank you for the part that you have played in preparing them to start school. We look forward to working with you all and getting to know you better. We hope that all of our new children and parents will be happy at Blanford Mere.

Thank you too, to parents/guardians of our existing pupils for sending them back to school looking smart and in correct uniform – remember children can wear either summer or winter uniform up until half term.  However, if they are wearing winter uniform they should have a tie on. Reception children should wear a red polo shirt, grey trousers/shorts or skirt or a summer dress. This forms part of our behaviour system.

A reminder that all PE kits should be in school as timetables started on Monday. Although all classes have timetabled PE sessions, there are often additional opportunities for sporting activities as well as staff making the most of the last of the good weather for outdoor PE lessons. Children are not allowed to take part in PE unless all jewellery/earrings have been removed. This forms part of our behaviour system.

Can we ask that parents check that all of your child’s belongings have been labelled, to include shoes.  We have so many children in each class and want each child to learn to look after their belongings and keep them safe.  It is so much easier to give the items to the correct child if they are labelled.  Many thanks.

Earrings if worn should be a plain stud earring (not hoops).  If you wish your child to have their ears pierced, can I suggest that you have this done at the very beginning of the of the summer holidays, so that their ears have the full six weeks to heal.

The arrangements for children being dropped off/collected from school are working well, but we ask that all parents/carers for drop off and collection to be prompt with timings and vacate the area swiftly.  We understand that some siblings have the same arrival/collection time – we are asking that you drop/collect the eldest first.  Staff are aware of this and placing younger siblings at the back of the line when dismissing.  I’m sure that this will become swifter as the time goes by!

Year 1 – Year 6 children should bring sanitiser, and tissues daily.  Many thanks to those parents who have read and are following our guidance to keep everybody safe and keep the school fully open. 

Children are now enjoying more freedom and a more ‘normal school day’ with the reintroduction of activities at play/lunchtime and a full curriculum without the restrictions of equipment.  However, we do realise that Covid is still prevalent within the community, so, as a school will still have measures in place to try and keep our children, staff and community safe.  If your child displays any symptoms of coronavirus such as a temperature, persistent cough or loss of taste/smell, then we ask that you still get your child a PCR test and wait the results. We would ask for your support with the measures and that you read the information that we send to you to try and keep everybody as safe as we possibly can.

Staffing news

We would like to welcome the following staff to Blanford Mere:

Mrs E Morton – 3/4 class teacher

Mrs L Monkton – Catch up teacher – part time

Mr S Huntley – Site Manager

Mrs J Small – After School Club Assistant

We hope that they will be very happy with us.

Miss R Foxall will be leaving us on 1st October as After School Club Manager and Teaching assistant.  She will be pursuing her passion for working with SEND children at a local SEND school.  We are disappointed that she is leaving us but would like to thank her for her time, commitment and contribution to Blanford Mere.  We wish her every success with this new chapter in her career.

Meet the Teacher Sessions

Thank you to the many parents who attended our virtual ‘Meet the Teacher’ session on Wednesday 8th September 2021. These sessions are in addition to our usual Parent Consultations later in the term when you will have a chance to talk with your child’s teacher and discuss your child’s progress. The purpose of this meeting was for your child’s new class teacher to introduce themselves, to tell you about the year ahead, expectations of the use of planners and also about our new behaviour system. By the end of the session parents received information about the curriculum that will be taught as well as the standards that children are expected to achieve by the end of the year. Teachers took this opportunity to clarify how parents can help to support their children and answered any questions.

We were aware that some parents have children in more than one class and can only be in one place at a time! We suggested that it would be beneficial to attend the session for your oldest child as you will already have some knowledge of the routines and curriculum for previous year groups.

We appreciate that some parents were not be able to attend due to work commitments. We have posted a PowerPoint on this newsletter, so that you can see what was discussed; details of the behaviour system are attached below.

We hope that this provided a positive start to the year and helped to establish a good working relationship between you and your child’s teacher.

Summer HomeworkChallenge and extra Golden time reward.

A huge well done to everyone who completed some or all of the Blanford Mere Summer Homework challenge. We can see from the way that you have settled back into school that this learning has been beneficial to you! As a reward for your hard work, you will be sent home with a certificate today. Again, well done for your hard work over the summer holidays everyone.

Peer Supporters

Our new team of Peer Supporters have now finished their training and will be helping to sort out worries in the Rec, KS1 and KS2 playground very soon.  Tate, Harry, Dexter, Riley, Daniel, Mikey, Ethan T, Laila-Mai,Lydia, Tia, Lacie W, Bella, Hannah, Libby, Hope and Emily-Rose – Year 6,  have been trained to listen to others and show empathy when others are having problems.  They will be wearing a hi-vis jacket to and a Peer Mentor badge so can be easily spotted when on duty.  Keep up the good work.

Morrison’s – It’s Good to Grow Campaign

Morrisons has launched their “It’s Good To Grow” campaign in all of its stores in hope of educating children about where their food comes from. The aim is to make school children more aware of the journey of food from field to fork, and to encourage healthy eating. 

For every £10 spent in store or online you will receive a grow token to help our school get a range of gardening equipment. You can download the “My Morrisons” app using the App Store to start collecting your tokens which you can then donate to our school by selecting our school name when you register. 

We believe it is really important for children to engage with nature and develop the skills to grow healthy food for themselves. This campaign is a great way of showing children where food comes from and the importance of making healthy choices. Your support would be much appreciated. For more information please visit the “My Morrisons” App. 

English ‘Growing Our Future’

For the first week back to school, we have been using some new stories to help us get back into the swing of things. These books have led to excellent reading, writing and cross-curricular opportunities, and the children have really enjoyed them! The link across the school has been 'Growing our Futures', focused upon enabling children to reconnect with their peers and with nature. 

Reception have been looking at 'Errol's Garden' by Gillian Hibbs, KS1 have been studying 'The Secret Sky Garden' by Linda Sarah and Fiona Lumbers and KS2 have been enjoying 'The Promise' by Nicola Davies and Laura Carlin. These books have helped feed our learning around our Rights (RRSA) and other curriculum subjects too.

Using a whole-school focus has helped everyone to settle back into school and learning.  It has encouraged the children to look closely at their local environment and think what they can do to improve the world around them.

Times Tables Rock Stars & Numbots Apps

Well done to all the children who have been learning their times tables on Times Tables Rock Stars (TTRS).  TTRS is a free app that children can access to help them learn their times tables.  It is aimed at children in Y2-Y6 but younger children can have a go if they want to. Passwords are on the inside front cover of your child's planner. Please remind your child to play 'little and often'.

Numbots is also a free app download that is brilliant for children of all ages - particularly Reception and Key Stage 1.  It helps children with their number work so that they can recognise numbers and improve their number skills.  Passwords are on the inside front cover of your child's planner. Please encourage your child to have a go.

TTRS dressing up day 21.10.21

Thursday 21st October will be our first 'TTRS dress up day' of the new term. Any child who has achieved Rock Star, Rock Legend or Rock Hero status (for the 1st time) will be allowed to dress as a Rock Star or come in their own clothes.

'Rock Hero' children who can correctly answer 60 questions in a minute will dress up too. All children who are eligible to dress up will have a sticker in their planner.  

Many thanks, Mr Baker.

Dates for your diary

I know that parents find advance notice of forthcoming dates and events helpful to help when juggling family and work commitments. Further details will be sent nearer the time but known dates for this term are:

Macmillan Coffee Morning - Friday 24th September            

Inset Day - Friday 22nd October

Half Term Holiday - Monday 25th October—Friday 29th October

End of Term - Friday 17th December  

Support for the Mental Health and well-being of children and young people, and of parents

Did you know Dudley MBC have PRE-PAID for every parent and carer in Dudley to access a range of courses for parents/carers (access now for life-long access)?

There are courses for parents, carers and grandparents about children from bump to 19+ years, from the Solihull Approach (NHS).

  • inourplace.co.uk
  • Access code:  CASTLE
  • Understanding your pregnancy, birth, labour and your baby
  • Understanding your baby
  • Understanding your child (0-19+ yrs, main course)
  • Understanding your child with additional needs (0-19+ yrs, main course)
  • Understanding your child’s feelings (taster course)
  • Understanding your child’s brain (short course)
  • Understanding your brain (for teenagers only!)
  • Understanding your child’s mental health and wellbeing (accompanies UYC and UYCAD)

Nuts in School

Please note that we have children in school with a severe nut allergy – a reminder please that we are a no nut/nut free school (including Nutella).  We really appreciate your support with this as the matter is extremely serious.

Birthdays

It has become a tradition here for children to celebrate their birthday in school by wearing their own clothes. These still need to be appropriate for a normal school day but will help to mark their special day in a fun way. For children who are lucky enough to have their birthday on a Saturday, Sunday or in the school holidays, then they can wear their own clothes on the following Monday. Children can send sweets into school again, should you wish.

Hairstyles:

A reminder that it is not suitable for children to come to school with shaven heads, tramlines or extreme colours.  Please remind your children of the rules. Children who have long hair must tie it up.

A plea!

Can we ask that parents check that all of your child’s belongings have been labelled, to include shoes.  We have so many children in each class and want each child to learn to look after their belongings and keep them safe.  It is so much easier to give the items to the correct child if they are labelled.  Many thanks.

Collection Arrangements

Collection arrangements at the end of the day.  If your child attends our After School Club, Playbox or other provider on a regular basis please indicate this in your child's planner.  This also applies if the routine changes or another relative is collecting.  If the arrangements for collection change throughout the day, then please call the office on 01384818365.  Thank you.

A reminder about our Healthy Tuck Policy at break times.

All schools are expected to adhere to the School Food Standards which include guidance for “school food other than lunch.” In addition, food provided in school will be inspected by Ofsted as part of the inspection framework.   You will be aware from the media that the healthy eating agenda for children is extremely high profile and schools are expected to play an important part. The inspection framework clearly states that:

“Inspectors will look for evidence of a culture or ethos of exercise and healthy eating throughout their entire inspection visit, in classrooms as well as in the school canteen. They will look at the food on offer and visit the canteen to see the atmosphere and culture in the dining space and the effect this has on pupils’ behaviour. Inspectors will also speak to school leaders about how they help to ensure a healthy lifestyle for pupils by helping them gain knowledge of a good diet, physical exercise and mental and physical well being.”     

We ask parents to help us by only sending in

                        - Fruit

                        - Vegetables

                        - Water (plain) from home for tuck.

Children can order daily fruit on a half termly basis when letters are sent out prior to each half term.  Thank you to all those parents who have sent in healthy tuck.  As part of promoting good health, we encourage children to drink water during the day to stay hydrated. Can parents please remind children that plain water is allowed and not squash, juice etc. Children are welcome to include squashes, juices and juice drinks in lunch boxes.

                                                                                                                                       

Planners – please read

Planners are an integral part of communications between home and school. The planner will be used daily to aid learning in school as they have valuable resources inside, messages can be written in the planner by parents, children and staff. All children in school have been given their own planner already. The planners have been carefully chosen to include a mixture of information—some specific to Blanford Mere, other more general information in the reference section. You will find a new reading record as well as a diary.  Children will be encouraged to record spellings to learn and homework.

Teachers will sign planners weekly.

We would like parents to sign the planner every week to confirm that their child’s reading and homework have been completed.

Homework will be set from next week every Wednesday so that it can be completed by the following Tuesday.  This is mainly set online, however paper work may be set occasionally too.  Spellings will be checked every Tuesday.  Please help your child by ensuring they complete homework set and read daily.

Please encourage your child to check their planner every day so that they don’t miss anything important. We would like the children to value their planners and look after them; we will be asking them not to graffiti or deface them in any way.

Children might like to include the following:

  • Homework
  • Reminders of things you need to bring to school
  • Who is collecting you from school if different from usual
  • Team practices
  • Rehearsals
  • Music Lessons
  • Swimming lessons etc
  • Other after-school activities
  • Going home with a friend
  • Parties
  • Holidays

Planners and PE kits must be in school every day – as this means that children are ready to learn and have all resources to hand.

In the front section of the planner (pg 4) – there is a home school agreement – we are asking all parents to sign and date this by Friday 11th September please.  You may want your children to sign this alongside you, so that you can talk about this together or children and staff will sign them in school. Thanks.

Macmillan Coffee Morning Friday 24th September 2021 Nursery to Year 6

Each year we support the Macmillan coffee morning fundraising event.  Over the years we have raised hundreds of pounds to support this amazing charity.  Last year, with the community and your support we raised an amazing £711!  We know that this charity is very dear to many of you.

This year, due to the precautions we are taking in school because of the Coronavirus, we are unable to invite parents and the community into school, again.  However, we still want to continue to support the charity, by raising funds.

If you would like your child to take part in this fundraiser, we are asking you to do the following:

  • Send your child to school on Friday 24th September wearing their own clothes (sensible clothing, as learning will continue as normal)
  • A minimum donation of £2 – you are more than welcome to donate more should you wish
  • Your child will receive a cup drink and an individually wrapped cake/biscuit
  • You will be supporting an amazing charity and our local Macmillian services

Of course, if your child does not wish to take part, then they can come to school in their uniform, as usual. 

Thank you for your continued support. Let’s hope that the rest of the term is as productive as this week has been! 

Mrs Miller and Miss Stanton

Dates for this academic year:

Autumn 2021

Term starts – Thursday 2nd September 2021

Half term – Monday 25th October to Friday 29 October 2021

Term Ends – Friday 17th December 2021

Spring 2022

Term starts – Tuesday 4 January 2022

Half term – Monday 21 February to Friday 25 February 2022

Term Ends – Friday 8 April 2022

Summer 2022

Term starts – Monday 25th April 2022

Half term – Monday 30th May to Friday 3rd June 2022

Term Ends – Thursday 21st July 2022

Bank Holiday

Monday 2nd May 2022

INSET Days 2021 / 2022

Thursday 2nd September 2021

Friday 3rd September 2021

Friday 22nd October 2021

Friday 18th February 2022

Friday 27th May 2022

Polling Day – Thursday 5th May 2022

Queen’s Birthday – school - closed Friday 22nd July 2022

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