End of summer term

Tuesday 16th July 2019

Dear parents, carers and families,

I can’t believe that we have arrived at the end of my third year as Headteacher of this fantastic school. We have, yet again, enjoyed a jam-packed year full of challenge, fun, development and learning.

Our Year 6 children have been particularly successful in their end of year tests. We wish them every success as they move on in their education. Yet again, they have been a credit to the school with their enthusiasm for life and learning.

This demonstrates that as a school we can deliver a rounded and vibrant curriculum that also supports excellent academic outcomes for our children. This also shows how your support at home, working in partnership with us, achieves the very best for your children. Yet again, I remind and encourage all parents to learn with their children at home, whatever their age and ability. Talk to them, play with them, read and share books with them, practise tables and spellings with them and encourage them to be interested in the world around them. This investment in their future makes all the difference. Research shows that children who have a wide vocabulary and a broad range of interests are the most successful and happy in later life, they have the greatest number of choices.

As a school, we always want to work in partnership with families and support their needs. However, over time, we have seen our attendance figures fall year-on-year. At Sedbergh Primary School, we don’t have an issue with persistent absence by a few, but increasingly children are missing days in school for annual family holidays. I absolutely understand the reasons for this (and would love to do the same) but if this pattern continues I know that we will have to enforce a stricter attendance policy, involving the Local Authority Attendance Team, in an attempt to reverse this trend. The Governing Body and I would therefore urge families, wherever possible, to avoid term time absence.

The Governing Body would like to appoint a new Parent Governor as a result of Stephen Hall’s resignation from this position. On behalf of all of us involved in the running of Sedbergh Primary School, I would like to thank Stephen for the time he has invested in supporting our development. We will miss his expertise, experience and enthusiasm for the role. If you would be interested in supporting the progress and development of our school as a Governor please do contact me for more information. I would be happy to discuss this with you and explain the role. After the summer break we will be seeking nominations for this vacant position.

Thank you all for supporting your children and the school by attending many of the various events that have taken place over the last few months. Our Key Stage Production was a real treat, thank you to Mrs Whetton and team, and the Sports Days, despite the weather, went very smoothly; thank you to Mr Cayley.

Sedbergh Sports was great fun again and a brilliant fundraiser for the school. Many thanks to all of you who came, and all of you who supported the event through sponsorship, donations and endorsements. Thank you to Fraser and all at Howgill Harriers. Thank you in particular to Andrew Pratt for kindly allowing us to use Buckbank Farm for the event.

A number of parents and staff completed the Holme Howler at the weekend in support of the EYFS Big Build; some of our children completed the Mini-Howler. Well done to Charlotte Robson-Peale, our first parent over the line, closely followed by Claire Alderson. Mrs Livesey was the first staff member to stagger home but there has been some suggestions that she might have been assisted in her efforts (by a quad bike!) If only we had some evidence for the steward’s enquiry. Mr Thomas Young wasn’t far behind Lynda; I can confirm that he finished the event without the benefit of transport. Thank you to everyone who participated and all your sponsorship.

The Governing Body of our school are looking carefully at how we communicate with you. We have the communication app, but we are still using many letters and our school website to pass on information. In the new school year we will be surveying parents to find out which method of communication works best for you. I’d be very interested to hear people’s ideas about how we can efficiently make sure as many of you as possible know what is going on here in school.

I am hoping that over the summer break, work is completed to improve safety at our Maryfell gate entrance. The council are due to install ‘no–stopping zig-zags’ on the road and safety signage, although this is yet to be confirmed. I know that our next challenge will be encouraging parents to respect these markings without the school having to pay for enforcement strategies. Some of you will be unhappy about the inconvenience of not being able to drop at the school gate, but you will understand that the school will always prioritise pupil safety above this. I am optimistic that additional parking provision and planned traffic calming projects in the town will begin to improve safety for all of you who walk or cycle to our school.

Settlebeck School are having work done on their roof over the summer and we are having some minor work completed in the school grounds. For this reason, can I insist that parents do not allow their children to play in the school yard over the holiday period. It is interesting to note that we are still responsible for pupil safety in the holidays and in reality should lock the school grounds to ensure safety. We avoid this for the convenience of local people.

Events for the new academic year; we will update the events section of the app, but here are a few dates for your diaries ready for the new school year.

September 2019

Tuesday 3rd                                         School restarts for the autumn term of 2019

Thursday 5th and Friday 6th           Wheelchair Basketball – rescheduled because of the snow in early April

Tuesday 10th                                       The Tour of Britain cycle race comes through Sedbergh

Saturday 21st                                      Sheepfest!

October 2019

Friday 11th October                          PTFA and EYFS Big Build Promise Auction

As the term ends, please do have a search around at home and return any school property. In particular, be on the lookout for books and sport kit that has been lent for fixtures and events. We are always pleased when items are returned to us.

Thank you once again for all the ways in which you support your children and our school. I hope that everyone associated with Sedbergh Primary School has a fun yet peaceful summer, and also has the opportunity to recharge their batteries ready for another year of learning in our brilliant school.

Warm regards,

Matt Towe