We are delighted to have been chosen by the Department for Education to host a Best Practice Phonics Roadshow on Wednesday 27 February. This is one in a series of phonics roadshows run by Collins in 12 schools across the Midlands, South and East of England. Our selection recognises the excellent outcomes, which our children achieve as a result of a clearly structured and highly effective literacy programme delivered by our dedicated team in Early Years and Key Stage 1 at Greenfield.
The roadshow will highlight and celebrate best practice in the teaching of both systematic synthetic phonics and reading. We anticipate an audience of up to 40 senior leaders, English Subject Leaders and lecturers from teacher training institutions. Training will be delivered by Jo Jackson, a phonics expert from the Children’s Reading Company. Attendees will also have the chance to hear all about our teaching approaches and see best practice in action when they enjoy a Learning Walk through our Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 teaching groups.
It has been excellent to see so many of our parents at our Parents’ Evenings this week. Many thanks for your enthusiastic comments, which always make Parents’ Evenings at Greenfield very constructive events. The feedback on the detail of your child’s progress and attainment in the written Interim Report continues to be overwhelmingly positive. It is essential that we achieve 100% attendance from our parents at our Parents’ Evenings, so that we can guarantee that all our parents are informed about your child’s individual progress and know exactly what support you can offer your children. If you have still not attended a Parents’ Evening or already made arrangements to meet with your child’s teachers, you owe it to your child to do so. We shall be contacting absent parents and families to ensure no child is left out.
Our 2019 Eisteddfod takes place on the afternoons of Thursday 28 February and Friday 1 March. The original National Eisteddfod of Wales was a grand gathering to which poets and musicians from all over the country were invited and can be traced back to 1176, so we are following in the footsteps of a long artistic tradition. My own maternal grandfather was a keen amateur Welsh-speaking actor and reciter, who competed in Eisteddfods in South Wales in the first half of the last century. Our Eisteddfod is an important part of our life at Greenfield and enriches our curriculum by giving the children the opportunity to perform. It has been wonderful to see so many children taking part in this week’s auditions in singing, instrumental music, dance and poetry. The standard of entries has been really high and I know we shall all enjoy their artistic talents on the big day. The coming half term break provides the perfect time for our finalists to perfect those performances.
We have had a superb turn out for our SPAG (Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation) Open Sessions in Key Stage 2 this week and look forward to seeing all our parents at next week’s Parents’ Evenings on Monday 11 February and Tuesday 12 February.
We are really pleased that parental support and engagement continues to be excellent at Greenfield. It is essential that we achieve 100% attendance at Parents’ Evenings but there are still 25 pupils, who do not have appointments. The introduction of Parents’ Evening Manager on ParentMail, enabling you to book appointments online, has been well received. Many thanks to Mrs Clare Benson in our office for dealing with a few minor teething and helping parents out. If you ever have a problem with any of our online services, please contact Mrs Benson directly. She is an absolute whizz and will soon have you sorted.
Remember, if you ever have any questions or would like to know more about your child’s education in our school, you don’t have to wait for Parents’ Evening. Just come in and see your child’s classteacher or myself. The door is always open.
Since July 2015 all schools have a duty to safeguard children from radicalisation and extremism. This means we have a responsibility to protect children from extremist and violent views. Our staff have had training in this area with Mark Wilson, Dudley’s Prevent Officer. His presentation was both informative and really opened our eyes to what is actually happening in our own community. We feel that you need to know what’s going on too, so we have invited Mark Wilson to run a session for parents and our broader school community on Monday 4 March at 6.00 pm. Please do your best to come along. This session will actually follow the meeting for parents of Year 3 and Year 4 children going on our Ilam Hall residential, which will start at 5.30 pm that evening.
We are aware that many Year 6 children have daily access to social media and apps that allow communication online (Tik Tok, Instagram, Fortnite and specifically WhatsApp). We appreciate that each family has their own set of boundaries and opinions about what is appropriate for their children. However, we do want to make you aware of the problems the children are facing as a result of social media; these include inappropriate language and behaviour, which have resulted in friendship issues in school.
We are currently living in a time of rapid technological change and recent studies have shown correlations between the use of social media and mental health problems in both adults and children. We appreciate the pressure on young people to have access to online gaming and social media platforms, however, as parents we have a responsibility to safeguard our children against potential harm or exposure to inappropriate content. Perhaps the most important thing is to be aware that these popular platforms provide an opportunity for your children to connect with strangers – people who may not be as they present themselves online to your child. These sites are a perfect platform for predators and as such should be treated with caution. Are you aware of the types of games and social media apps your child is using? Please make sure you talk with your child about their games and social media and monitor them closely.
Over the next few weeks, we will be dedicating the back page of our school newsletter to raising awareness of these apps and games to enable you to make informed decisions about the platforms you wish your children to have access to.
Safer Internet Day 2019 takes place on Tuesday 5 February. It will be celebrated globally with the theme ‘Together for a Better Internet’. This theme covers the responsibility that all users have in making the internet a safer place. Whether children, young people, adults, parents or grandparents, everyone has a role to play. Safer Internet Day (SID) is organised in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre to promote the safe and responsible use of online technology and mobile phones for children and young people.
We are looking forward to welcoming the team of Digital Ambassadors from Turves Green Boys’ School back to Greenfield. They led some excellent and informative work with our pupils last year and Safer Internet Day provides a timely opportunity to work with them again. The day will start with a whole school assembly called ‘Our internet, our choice – understanding consent in a digital world’.
Our Key Stage 2 children will participate in a series of morning workshops to encourage the children to take responsibility for their own online behaviour:
- Online Choices Compass – What Would You Do?
- Who owns the internet?
- Drawing the Internet – Data Jargon Buster
- What is Permission?
In the afternoon our Reception and Key Stage 1 children will participate in sessions aimed at encouraging them to make sensible choices when using the internet.
Don’t forget to join us for our Open Sessions in Key Stage 2, when you will have the opportunity to work with your child. Our Spring Term Open Sessions focus on how we teach key skills in Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation. The National Curriculum demands that the children have a high level of technical knowledge and understanding. So if you don’t know your antonym from your ellipsis or have a persistent problem with your fronted adverbial, please come along at 9.10 on:
Wednesday 6 February Year 4 children in Mars, Jupiter and Saturn
Thursday 7 February Year 5 with Mrs Knapman and Miss Midgley
Friday 8 February Year 6 with Miss Cook and Miss Tang
Our Open Sessions with a focus on Kinetic Letters for Early Years and Key Stage 1 will take place on Wednesday 6 March at 9.10.
Our Spring Term Parents’ Evenings take place on Monday 11 February from 6-8pm and Tuesday 12 February from 4-6pm. In response to demand from parents for more online services, we are introducing Parents’ Evening Manager on ParentMail, so you can book your Parents’ Evening appointments from your smartphone, tablet or computer. You will be alerted once you can book appointments and will then be able to select the times that are convenient to you. Please note, you will need to be registered on ParentMail to be able to book appointments – if you don’t have an account or haven’t received a registration email or text, please contact our school office. Slots will be released on ParentMail at 6pm today, Friday 1 February.
We shall be celebrating Chinese New Year on Monday 4 February with a day of art to celebrate the Year of the Pig. Our staff and children are encouraged to wear something red to enter into the spirit of celebration.
We were pleased to welcome Ashley Bertie, the Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands, to Greenfield this week. Ashley is supporting the roll out of knife crime workshops across the Dudley Borough. The ‘Tackling Knife Crime Together’ campaign aims to combat the growing issue of knife crime, by using sports as a positive diversionary and is run by Opening Boundaries, a non-profit sporting organisation, in which one of our parents, Farah Ahmed (mother of Ammal and Aadam) is involved.
Our children in Year 3 and Year 4 enjoyed a workshop called ‘Safer Together’, which aimed to reinforce the importance of life skills such as teamwork, respect and discipline. This session included a presentation by Andy Peters, Young Persons and Early Help Officer at Brierley Hill Police Station, on staying safe. He engaged the children with his knowledge and humour, leading them in a discussion about how they can help themselves and each other safe both in and out of school. To finish things off the boys and girls enjoyed a practical sports session with Ollie Taylor from Evolve Coaching and his colleagues Adam and Clive.
At Greenfield, we do our best to prepare all our children to become responsible, proactive citizens, who know the difference between right and wrong and are able to keep themselves safe. It’s important that our broader school community unites together to say ‘no’ to any form of violence, alerting our pupils to the possibility of risk without scaring them unnecessarily.