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Newsletter - w/c - 19/04/21

Dear Parent/Carer,
We have had a fantastic first week of the summer term, including a fun den-building day on the first day back which helped to ensure our attendance was just above 99% which is a tremendous achievement.  Please see below for notices about school life:
In line with our Attendance Policy, we have begun sending you a termly e-mail to let you know your child's attendance for the year so far.  Some parents/carers have asked questions about these e-mails so we have listed the frequently asked questions and their answers below for your information:
My child had one day off school because they were sick and you authorised this absence so why isn't their attendance 100%?
Even if an absence is authorised, it still affects a child's attendance.  There are 142 children in our school who have not missed a day of school and who have not arrived late to school - these children have 100% attendance.  Remember, arriving late (i.e. signing in at the School Office) also affects your child's attendance.
Any child with 100% attendance by the end of the school year will have their name entered into a prize draw to win a brand-new tablet and all these children will receive a certificate from Hertfordshire County Council to celebrate their achievement.  
Why is my child's attendance at 93% when they haven't had 7 days off school?
To calculate a child's attendance, you divide the number of sessions they attended by the number of overall sessions and then multiply the answer by 100.  
There were 123 school days in the autumn and spring terms combined which equals 246 available sessions because each school day equals two sessions - the morning and the afternoon.  If your child missed 5 school days (i.e. 10 sessions) and arrived late to school on 7 school days (i.e. 7 sessions) then they attended 229 sessions.  If you divide 229 by 246 and then multiply by 100 you will find 93%.
If a parent/carer wishes to see a copy of their child's attendance record, they may e-mail or telephone 01992 624099 to request it.  
I didn't like receiving this e-mail and seeing my child's attendance was rated amber/red.  It made me feel like I was a bad parent.  Why did you send it?
There is a strong link between attendance and attainment.  Those children who have the highest attendance usually have the highest attainment.  Due to the pandemic, no school has completed Year 6 standardised assessment tests (SATs) since 2019.  However, in that year at our school, of the 20 children whose attendance was below 96%, only 55% of them passed the tests, and of the 39 children with attendance at or above 96%, 77% of them passed the tests - this is a big difference and it's not a coincidence!
It is our job as a School to ensure as many children as possible leave primary school being ready for the challenges of secondary school.  We never set out to upset parents/carers but we will not apologise for wanting as many children in school as possible because we know it will help them achieve success in school and beyond.    
My child's attendance was rated red.  Will the school send me a fixed penalty notice now?
If you read the Attendance Policy, you will find out that fixed penalty notices are raised by the local authority (and not the school).  If a child has had 7.5 days (which equals 15 sessions) of unauthorised absence in this term or the previous term, the local authority will be made aware and they will award a fixed penalty notice to a child's parent or parents.  If you do not wish to be fined, you just need to make sure you bring your child to school every day and on time to raise their attendance across the summer term.  
You should be aware that it can take months for the fixed penalty notice to arrive in the post.  
If you want to know how many unauthorised absences your child has, you are welcome to request a copy of your child's attendance record.    
Behaviour Webinar
Mrs Bye (Family Support Worker) has recorded a short video which you may watch here to explain the Hertfordshire Steps approach to supporting children's behaviour.  This approach informs our School Behaviour Policy and has ideas you may use outside of school to ensure your children learn and practise pro-social behaviours.  
St Mary's Church of England High School - Tours
Please find below a message from St Mary's Church of England High School for the attention of parents/carers with children in Year 5 or Year 6 inviting you to tour their school in the summer term:
St Mary’s are delighted to be able to offer short tours of the school during April and May 2021, on a pre-booked basis. These tours are approximately 45 minutes (9.00am start) and are aimed at Year 5 students who would like an opportunity to visit secondary schools ahead of the transition process in September 2022. They are also open to Year 6 families you may have been allocated St Mary’s for September 2021 but have not had an opportunity to view the school. The dates of our school in action tours are:
  • Tuesday 20th April
  • Wednesday 21st April
  • Wednesday 28th April
  • Friday 30th April
  • Tuesday 4th May
  • Wednesday 5th May
  • Wednesday 12th May
  • Friday 14th May
  • Tuesday 18th May
  • Wednesday 19th May
  • Wednesday 26th May
  • Friday 28th May 
If you would like to visit the school on one of these mornings, please contact the school on 01992 629134 or email Mrs Judith Bundock, PA to Head Teacher, via to reserve a place. Places on the tours will be limited so that small groups can safely move around the school and comply with Covid restrictions.
A-Life Fitness Workshop - Thursday 22 April & Friday 23 April 2021
Next week, A-Life will be returning to lead fitness workshops with the children.  Please make sure your child brings their PE kit to school on a Monday and takes it home on a Friday for washing (if needed).  We have too many children who attend school with no PE kit which makes it hard for them to access the learning but also makes them feel uncomfortable as they see that other children have a parent/carer who makes sure they come to school with the correct uniform and equipment.  If you are having financial difficulty and need support to make sure your child/ren have correct PE kit, please speak to a member of staff you trust.  Also, please make sure your child's clothing and kit bag are clearly labelled to help us reunite lost items with their rightful owner.  
In the week after next, A-Life will return to lead mental health and well-being workshops.  The NHS have recorded a video which parents/carers may find helpful - it directs you to their microsite, Every Mind Matters.

Yours sincerely,
The Administration Team
01992 624099