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Newsletter - w/c 14/10/2019

Dear parent/carer,


Please find below the weekly newsletter containing important information.  


Computer Games, Mobile Phones and the Internet (!) - A Message from the Headteacher


This week, there have been several arguments among children at break- or lunchtime.  From speaking to the children, we have discovered that these arguments start at home while the children are using live messaging when playing computer games such as Fifa 19 and Fortnite.  Your children are sending each other abusive messages - either written ones or spoken ones during live gaming - that include swearing and racist language.  The anger and upset they feel is then causing them to argue with one another in school.  


Please be aware that many of the violent crimes we hear or read about in the news involving teenagers start on social media and on-line gaming and spill over into the real world.  


You must make sure you are aware of what your child is experiencing (and who they are experiencing it with) when they are using on-line gaming and the internet.


We need parents and carers to support us by doing the following:


1) Check the PEGI (Pan European Game Information) rating on your child's game/s.  These ratings have been decided by psychologists, scientists and gaming experts - if your child is playing games aimed at older children (or adults) you need to stop this right away as it is not good for their mental well-being.  Your children should only be playing games rated 3 (for 3 years of age or older) and 7 (for 7 years of age and older).  Some Year 6 children may be mature enough to play games rated PEGI 12 but this is a decision for a parent/carer to make based on the child.


2) Ask your children to tell you about the sites they like to visit and what they enjoy doing online.  By showing you are interested, they are more likely to tell you when they see something that makes them uncomfortable.


3) Talk about things they, or their friends, have seen that made them feel uncomfortable.  Be specific - What made you feel uncomfortable?  Is it people or animals being hurt?  Is it nasty comments about you or other people?  Remind your child that you are there to keep them safe on-line and offline, and remember, if you act shocked or angry when you realise they have seen or done something wrong on-line, your child will stop telling you.  Please remain calm and put in place appropriate consequences (e.g. set up parental controls).  


4) Monitor their screen time - too many of our Years 5 and 6 children are using mobile phones in bed.  We know this because we are shown conversations on Whatsapp and the time stamps are often beyond 11:00pm.  Your child does not need their mobile phone at night.  


5) Do you recognise any of the apps below?

a) HIP
b) Calculator+
c) Line
d) Vora


a) HIP which stands for Hide it Pro.  It looks as though it is a music app; users actually use it to hide images, videos and other documents they do not want others to see.  


b) Calculator+ is another app used to hide apps, browser history etc.  


c) Line is similar to Whatsapp but users decide how long the messages will be visible.  This is particularly worrying for children and teenagers as it can be used for cyber-bullying as before the receiver has the chance to take a screenshot, the message is gone.  


d) Vora is an app that encourages fasting (i.e. not eating).  Of course, if a child or teenager is prone to an eating disorder, this can have devastating effects.  


You must know that just because your child is sitting quietly on their smartphone, tablet or games console, it does not mean they are safe.  


We care about your children and we know you do as well.  Please work with us to encourage your children to behave safely and kindly on-line.  


If you are concerned about your child's gaming or internet use, and you need our help, please talk to your child's teacher or any member of staff.  

Breakfast Club


As you will know, our Breakfast Club is very popular.  We have never had so many children wanting to attend!  Because of this, we have had to hire a third staff member and so we will need to start charging £1 per day to cover the cost after the October half term.  


On Monday 21st October 2019 at 4:45pm you will need to book your November and December places on the School Gateway app.  You will need to pay in advance to secure your child's place.  We have 50 spaces available each day.  Once these spaces are booked, we cannot safely take more children.  Parents/carers must bring their child to Breakfast Club between 7:45-8:20am.  After 8:20am, we cannot accept children through the door.  


If you already booked free places for November or December, you will need to book again on 21/10/19 at 4:45pm as we have reset the system to give everyone a fair chance to make a booking.  


Individual & Sibling Photographs - Friday 18th October 2019


On Friday 18th October 2019, the children will have an individual photograph taken.  We will also arrange for siblings to have a photograph together.  If you have a baby, toddler or nursery-aged child, and you would like them to have a photograph with their older brother/s and/or sister/s, you should bring them to school at 8:45am and queue in the Dining Hall.  Mrs Chamberlain (Office Manager) will oversee the process but please be patient as it can take some time (e.g. take a book or a toy to entertain any little ones).  


Parents & Carers' Consultation Evening - Thursday 24th October 2019 3:30-9:00pm


It is very important that all children have a parent or carer who attends Parents and Carers' Consultation Evening.  This is a chance for your child's teacher to tell you about how your child is progressing with their learning and their behaviour.  You will make a 10-minute appointment.  To make an appointment, you will need to use a booking system on our school website.  The instructions are attached to this e-mail.


Please note, you will be able to book your appointment from 6:00pm on Monday 14th October 2019.  Please be aware that the appointments between 3:30-4:30pm get booked up fast!  


Dinner Money


Just a quick reminder that dinner money needs to be paid in advance on a Monday. Our preferred method of payment is on School Gateway. If you are unable to pay on the School Gateway, please come into the office with the correct money in an envelope. The weekly cost of school dinners is £13.00 for five meals.


If you receive a dinner debt letter, please make sure this is cleared straight away to avoid your child having to bring in a packed lunch until the debt is cleared. Unpaid dinner debts could result in the cost of the school dinner charge being increased in the future which would be unfair for those parents/carers who always pay on time.


Lost Bear


A toy bear was found on our playground at the beginning of this week!


If this bear is yours please come into the office where the bear is waiting for you on the front counter.


Yours sincerely,


The School Office Team

Hurst Drive Primary School 

01992 624099