Pen Pal friends in Kenya…

You may remember that last year we had a very special assembly delivered by Mr Alan Whelan. Alan is an author, a book editor and a very keen traveller. He has been working to support the development of a school in Kenya and we are helping too.We have gathered old resources and books to send to the children in Kenya, who have very little, and we have become pen pals with the children.

Beacon Class have been the first class to write letters and send pictures to the children and we will be extending this to the whole school. Jesus taught us to share our light and to love our neighbours. The Shalom Academy are trying to expand and provide education for children who cannot access it without support, love and encouragement. Families are too poor to send their children to school, as many schools charge a fee but Shalom Academy provides a service and a right for children in Kenya. A right to an education.

Alan Whelan and his wife are fundraising to help build a new school for children and their dedication is humbling and inspirational. We are humbled to have links with children in Shalom Academy.

Mrs Whelan has come to take the resources directly to Kenya.

 

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If I had to pick the highlights…

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There have been so many highlights of the school year that it has been difficult to choose a few. Our Year 6 class have been exemplary in every way and they have set such a high standard for other children to follow. We had many things going on in and around school in the last few weeks. Year 6 went to The Cottage for lunch, we went on a whole school trip, we celebrated many whole school prayer and liturgy opportunities, strengthened our links with children at a school in Kenya, played football and netball against Year 6, were awarded a Laudauto Si  award from CAFOD, got 3 rabbits for school (courtesy of our Year 6 leavers), created a ‘buddy bench’  (courtesy of Mrs Unsworth) and much more. We have had some incredible support from friends and families of our school and we give thanks for the many talents and gifts we have all been given. The school band are amazing. Mr. Warren will be continuing with us next year and we now have more brass players than ever.

When you have no option but to wait for building work to commence, it can become a little frustrating but we can assure you that we are working alongside LCC throughout the holidays to secure a start on our return to school.

On the last day of term, our leavers did a ‘staffroom sketch’ and it was hilarious. We forget how much children pick up on and they have been very observant throughout the year. It was when Jess walked on wearing a high vis vest, wellies, hard hat and a fishing net that I knew she had to be portraying my life at St.Francis’ and it was worrying!!I feel that I have unblocked far too many drains, rescued far too many bats, birds and toads, cleaned up too many cow pats and fended of far too many sheep! For those of you who have met me, you will know that these typical jobs of a Headteacher ( or my Headteacher role) are all in my bag of tricks and I can conquer most things. I have conquered nappies and car seats and very small children who ping my tights and laugh hysterically as I read them a story.  I have conquered power cut problems when children are about to sit their SATs.

I have yet to conquer creating a ‘rabbit welfare’ group for the holidays. This is a huge hint that we are reaching out to parents who would like to volunteer in looking after our new rabbits next half term holidays. You may think this is very soon in advance but I know what could potentially happen if I do not have a rota firmly in place! Year 6 gave us 3 rabbits and a beautiful 2 tier hutch, with a gold plaque on the door engraved with the names of the Year 6 leavers. I haven’t seen the rabbits yet but I know the children will love them very much.

Below, you will see me trying to get a reoccurring tiny fruit bat off my dress. It seems that, after drinking a lot of water from a wet paper towel, a tiny fruit bat will suddenly come to life! I am not keen on bats but I must do my duty. You will also see what I love about our school-a variety of activities…

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Class pages always show you so much about topics and ‘Learning Logs’ tell you what your children will be learning on a weekly basis but we will be sending you half termly curriculum learning overviews beginning  in September- on paper! These will also have dates for your diaries (particularly relating to your child’s class) and will be an addition to the monthly newsletter.

I cannot believe how much the children grow. Our Year 2 stars will be moving into juniors and our EYFS children will be in Year 1. The time has flown by and we couldn’t be prouder of them all. Our 12 new starters have already familiarised themselves with the classroom and their teacher, Mrs Davies, and we know that our new Year 6 class will be fantastic, sensible and caring in their new roles as children leading children.

We congratulate James Gornall and Libby Riley -our new Head boy and Head girl- and Henry Coupe and Charlotte Coupe as our Deputies. What wonderful role models they will be. Our school is a democracy and we teach this within our British Values curriculum. The children all listened to Year 5 speeches and they all voted to ensure the process was fair. There will be many roles in school for all Year 6 children to lead and use their initiative to further improve school.

Sports teams have been amazing this year, musicians have flourished and the progression and standard of art skills have been outstanding. Children have immersed themselves in Shakespeare and the Beacon Class play was breathtaking. The standard of singing was first rate. The children amazed me!

Children who took part in ‘St.Francis’ Got Talent’ were absolute stars and UFA groups have been thoroughly enjoyed by all. I wholeheartedly thank all staff who work tirelessly in creating and maintaining an amazing learning environment, enriched with active learning opportunities. I thank the parish and parents who continue to speak of our school so positively and thanks to our PTFA. The list could go on. For all volunteers, your work with our children is greatly appreciated and we thank your support.

We look forward to September. Until then, have a safe and relaxing holiday.

Good luck Year 6- enjoy your next adventures and always believe in yourselves.

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Year 6 Mass CHANGE OF DATE

Due to circumstances beyond school control, we have no other option than to change the date of our Year 6 Mass. Fr  Sony can no longer be present on Monday and we have been advised that the Mass must be moved to Tuesday at 1.30pm. We were due to have the very special Year 6 leavers’ Mass on Monday at 1.15pm but it can now only be on Tuesday 18th July at 1.30pm. I can only apologise for this unforeseen circumstance. I appreciate your understanding and flexibility in this matter. A text message has gone out to all Year 6 parents earlier this evening.

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To Year 6-CONGRATULATIONS!!

Preparing children for life is what school is about-this should put things into perspective.  For those of you who know me and understand my philosophy on education, this letter will come as no surprise. It isn’t often that I can discuss my views on education and my views on the testing process and current testing systems. If you walk into our school and visit classrooms, you will find creativity, children being listened to and lots of smiles and active learning. Our Year 6 children didn’t bother at all when it came to taking their SATs because they were thoroughly prepared and had been for some time. Learning didn’t change for them. They continued to thrive on a creative curriculum, where writing is exciting and grammar is taught through songs and dance moves! When children are excited and motivated to learn, they will thrive. Happiness first and all else will follow- under a blanket of excellent teaching, learning and care.

Yesterday, our Year 6 class received their SATs results-and a covering letter…                                                  `

 

To our wonderful Year 6 children,

I write this letter to you all to congratulate you on your wonderful achievements over the past year: you have worked so hard and we are all so proud of you.

Not every skill in school is tested and they cannot all be measured. SATs didn’t test your enthusiasm for animal welfare or how great you are at Judo. They didn’t test your kindness towards others and they didn’t test how good a swimmer you are or what incredible knowledge you have about History. They didn’t listen to you perform in a concert and make us all laugh and they didn’t see you helping the younger children in school. SATs didn’t see your compassion for the elderly and they didn’t ask you what YOUR dreams and hopes are.

You tried your very best and no one could have asked for more. Some of you will have found you have passed all of the tests or passed some. I would like to tell you that not one of you scored ‘below’ (which means that the scores were too low to meet the scale). This is a huge achievement in itself!

We have our own standards and they involve how we conduct ourselves in this world and how we have integrity and enthusiasm to work hard for what we want. Children, you have to believe that you can do anything if you believe you can. The sky really is the limit and you must listen to this.

Keep your unique personalities and spark. Keep your smiles and your kindness. Keep your manners and your exciting hobbies. Keep your high spirits and take these things with you to High School. You are about to have a wonderful summer break and then you embark upon a great adventure.

We couldn’t have asked any more from you and we are all very proud. You are truly amazing.

Good luck on whatever path you choose. Make the right choices and know that ‘If you think you can, you will. If you think you can’t, you won’t.’ Always think and BELIEVE you can!

You can find your results on the next page. A scale score of 100 or above means you have met the threshold and passed the test. Anything close to this is brilliant-especially as SATs are now a lot harder than they used to be.

I am privileged to have known such a wonderful Year 6 Class.

Well done all of you!

 

 

For parent information, we are SIGNIFICANTLY ABOVE NATIONAL AVERAGE with the following % achieving the expected score:

SPaG =100%      Reading= 90%    Maths= 90%    Writing=80%

Congratulations Year 6!

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Den Day, Saws and Here’s One I Made Earlier- or did I?!

Save The Children Den Day has been ‘awesome’ and certainly a day the children will remember forever..

Collaborative learning is always a valid experience. Maths skills have been heavily put to the test and Geography skills have been at the forefront. Key Stage 2 explored natural disasters and the challenge for the whole school was to creatively engineer a structure that stands from easily sourced materials. The children learned how fundraising will help save children globally and appreciate the many opportunities and blessings we have. The groups were given a price list and they could spend their first £350 on what they calculated to be the most value for money. The children planned,designed and discussed.

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And then the fun really began…

 

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We loved to see parents on the fields at the end of the day looking at the dens. This just shows how much the children have enjoyed the day. We ate lunch outside together and teachers even gave up their planning time to spend the afternoon engrossed with the children. Days like these do not plan themselves and I thank all staff for the hours of planning and effort that has gone into this special day. You are wonderful. Our Football and Netball teams are wonderful and so are the staff who give their time freely. It was such a joy to be able to support them at Barnacre this week. 2nd and 3rd place after competing against bigger schools is amazing!

I,on the other hand, have been quite the opposite. In fact, my day has been photographed and it does seem that I have done alot of sitting back and enjoying the freedom of outdoors. Now, I have many ideas but the problem is sometimes the execution of these ideas. That is when I tap into other people’s talents and pretend (for the photograph) that I have had maximum practical input. I have been teaching for two weeks-yes two- so when I decided we need a water system making for the class it only seemed fair that I had a rest. I then had another rest when I wanted two benches making after seeing the children’s incredible benches created today. Surely I could do the same…it seems not but Miss Dickinson has a little saw.I had a little pink saw and was integral to the process. I think you will get the gist of the day…

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If you look closely, you will see how integral I was to the bench making process. I even didn’t sand it all down or move the tree trunks! I am so blessed to have the best team ever and the greatest children and parents that anyone could wish for. When you sit back and think about life, we are very lucky. The children we were raising money for today are not as lucky. A super day like this for us is only a dream for others. I will always be thankful for even the smallest of blessings. Have a lovely weekend. I hope to see you for Family Mass and First Holy Communion this Sunday in church. The children will be having a celebration after First Holy Communion and you are all invited. Mrs Rossall has been running the First Holy Communion and Confirmation sessions for a long time. Again, she gives her evening and weekend time freely in order to do this and to support children and families. Thank you Mrs Rossall. It is very much appreciated and thank you to Joan Moran and other volunteers.

 

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Well done Netball and Football teams!

Well done to all children who took part in the Barnacre Rd Football and Netball tournament.

Our Netball team cam 2nd overall (a huge achievement) and our Football team came third. We are so proud of the children. Thank you so much to Mrs Riley, Miss Dickinson and Mr Gilmour, who give their time freely each week to coach the children. Thank you to all other helpers with these teams. It is truly appreciated. A Football team picture will follow soon.

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Here we go…again!

Each day brings a new set of smiles and a new set of dilemmas. On Monday, there was no power to the school hall and the kitchen fridge broke. Luckily, I could keep out of the way a little because I am in class-and Loving it! With the power of delegation, a team from LCC came to solve the problems. Two days later, they were solved but today the internet is completely down. This has affected all classrooms and homework! I know that many of the children will be devastated to hear this but we will resume our usual internet power by Monday.

Something that does not require technology is a letter and I received one on Tuesday. I was contacted by Sister Marcellina Cooney from TERE. This stands for ‘Teachers’ Enterprise in Religious Education’ and we were asked if our school could be featured in the new ‘Way Truth and The Life’ Scheme of work, which is the scheme of work used in Catholic school nationwide. It could be worldwide too but I do not want to claim worldwide fame for the school just yet. We now have a copyright CD ROM with our school featuring the May Procession from last year. All schools (who use this scheme) will see St.Francis’ as a leading example to others. Brilliant!

Because I am in Pendle Class at the moment, I cannot sit down for long. This is not a problem because I think I have damaged my coccyx during my terrible effort at roller skating. My lower back must have gone into some sort of shock on the day of the float and bruising only began on Sunday! This is completely my own fault as I was trying to skate in Miss Stewart’s stone floored kitchen before the float began. I have put a post of thanks on our website to the families who helped to create and drive the float. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Beacon Class are busily preparing for their play and St.Francis’ Got Talent is at 1.30pm on Friday 23rd June. The children are very excited about this. Please make sure they have any backing tracks/music etc. prepared for Friday 16th June (next Friday) for a run through of acts. They will need these in school next Friday.

All children will need a packed lunch next Friday as it is ‘Den Day’ in school. Collaborative outdoor learning will be had by all. If your child has a school dinner on a Friday, Mrs Keenan will prepare a packed lunch for the children instead of a hot school dinner. We are very excited about this!

Painting shells, making googly eye sea creatures, estimating, measuring and collecting sticks for book spines and extended writing sums up my week. Head teacher agendas can wait until the weekend. I have had a great time in Pendle and I look forward to next week for more fun, laughter and learning.

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All new starters will be given a PE kit courtesy of school and we aim to have a uniform ‘swishing’ event before we break up. The PE kits will be spread in full tracksuits onto the tables in the school hall probably for a week each night after school. School is open until 6.00pm so you can feel free to swap tracksuits. Pick one up and leave one on a year group table. Current PE kits that the children have outgrown will be separated onto tables of size/year groups and you can swap for a different size. We had a recycling assembly and the children feel it is important to reuse quality goods. So do we! More information will come from our Eco Warriors soon.  Have a lovely weekend.

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Thank you to…

Our sincere thanks go to Mrs. Hamer, Sam Eastham, Bernadette Coulthurst, Alison Proctor, Caroline Griffiths, Vicki Coupe, Leila Spinks, Sam Coupe, Sara Arundale, Miranda Lockley-Briggs, Saz Walton and Nikki Brice for their time and dedication. They created wonderful floats for the Goosnargh Festival Day. They looked amazing! We thank Chris McGowan, who organised T-Shirts and Mark Eastham and Mark Joyce-our float drivers. It was a wonderful day that could only go ahead because of the huge amount of support given to our school. Thank you!

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