Start of term update
Last week was joyous for a number of reasons, not least that the children are once again collaborating in groups, we were able to gather as a school for assembly in person and sing our welcome song, and we have been able to reintroduce the use of the dining hall and hot school meals with our new catering provider, Caterlink. The school was a calm, happy and focused place of learning and the children came back and settled into their new classes and routines beautifully. Now that we have settled into the autumn term, I would like to take the opportunity to update parents on a few school routines for this term.
Uniform: Our policy is that all children should wear clothing that is in keeping with our purposeful learning ethos. We believe that when pupils look smart and take pride in wearing the uniform, it helps them to feel ready to learn, to feel equal to one another and proud of Botley School. We also believe that certain school activities, including Physical Education and Forest School are facilitated by specialised and appropriate clothing. Now that we are back to normal school routines and lessons, pupils will be having a minimum of 2 PE lessons across the week, including both an indoor Gymnastics/Dance lesson and an outdoor Games/Sports lesson. Pupils are expected to change to and from the appropriate PE kit for the lesson to ensure high standards of hygiene and to keep them safe in their PE lesson. For example, the indoor kit for gymnastics is shorts and bare feet to keep pupils safe when using gymnastic equipment, but this would not be suitable for an outside lesson in the colder months, when they would need trainers and tracksuit bottoms. Changing for PE is also an important part of teaching younger pupils how to look after themselves independently. During the week there is a possibility that the teacher may need to change the day of the lesson to accommodate the weather or another aspect of the curriculum, and therefore it is not always possible to specify which days the pupils will need to have their PE kit in school. We therefore recommend that children bring their PE kit into school on Monday and take it home again on Friday.
Changing for PE at school has always been a part of good practice in primary schools but we understand for some of our older pupils experiencing the onset of puberty, this can be worrying. As a school, we are sensitive to these needs and have organised for our older girls and boys to change separately. If you have any specific concerns about this relating to your child, please contact the class teacher using the contact form on the class pages of the website (See paragraph and link later in letter).
We have recently reviewed our uniform policy as part of this return to normal expectations and it has been forwarded to the governing body for final review and approval. You can find a copy of the policy on our school website.
Clubs: We are in the process of setting up new enrichment clubs at Botley, following the successful reintegration of the football club last term. This will take us a little while to organise, but we will try to get clubs up and running as soon as possible. I was particularly impressed with the uptake for the running club that Mrs Bosco and our Year 6 Sports Leaders have organised for KS2 pupils leading up to the Oxford School’s Challenge on October 17th. We hope to have many more opportunities like this available for all our pupils throughout the year.
Healthy Snacks: The school policy for snacks is that they should be healthy snacks. KS1 pupils are provided with a piece of fruit for their morning snack, and KS2 pupils are asked to bring in a healthy snack from home, ideally a piece of fruit or vegetable sticks. During last week, the staff saw a number of chocolate bars and crisps being brought in for the morning snack which do not meet our healthy snack expectations. Should this happen in future, staff will ask pupils to return the unhealthy snacks to their lunchboxes or school bags, and will offer a healthy alternative instead. More ideas for healthier snacks for children can be found on the following NHS website: Quick & Easy Healthy Snacks For Kids | Change4Life (www.nhs.uk)
Arrival at school: The morning routine ran smoothly in the first week, however I would like to remind parents of a few requests that will keep it running smoothly and ensure our pupils arrive in school safely. We request that parents:
The main gates will open at 8:30 and members of staff will be on duty on the playgrounds until the doors open at 8:45, when children can walk independently to class. The gate to the playground will close at 8:50 and the class register will be closed at 8:55 ready for the first lesson of the day. Any pupils arriving after 8:50 will have to enter the school by the main entrance.
Website Class Pages: The class pages have been updated for the start of term and have key information regarding the learning that will be taking place this term in school. In addition, the Phase Leads for Early Years (Mrs Jones), KS1 (Ms Fiaz) and KS2 (Miss Doran), have sent letters out for the start of term with key information as well. If you have any further questions, please contact your class teacher using the contact form on the class page.
FOBS AGM: After 3 years of service, Laura (Chair) and Shazia (Treasurer) have reached the constitutional limit for committee members to be in role and are now ready to move on. FOBS are looking for enthusiastic parents or carers to take on the roles and keep the fantastic work and fundraising going for the pupils at the school. Do let FOBs know if you are interested and Laura and Shazia will be happy to share their experience and what the job involves. They have both kindly offered to continue to support whenever is needed as they will continue to be part of FOBS. The date and time of the FOBS AGM where the roles will be voted on will be sent out soon.
School Calendar: We will be updating the school calendar on the website with key dates for the diary as soon as we have finalised these for the term and year ahead. But in the meantime, we hope you all had a great first week and are ready and raring to go for week 2 of learning at Botley.
Mrs Jo Reid BA(hons) PGCE MA NPQH