Care and Respect for All23/10/2020
Thought of the Week:
“I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.”
Message From Mr Sutherland
I took a little time earlier this week to look back at what I was writing about this time last year and the kind of things we were doing in school. As well as our lessons of course and the day-to-day aspects of life in a large primary school, we were undertaking a Harvest Festival whole-school celebration, a Scarecrow Festival, we had completed school photographs and were preparing to commemorate and remember our heroes on Remembrance Sunday, outside the St. Nicholas’ Church. Not to mention our cheerleaders encouraging the Newcastle Eagles and lots of whole-school singing in our assemblies! Now, this country looks a very different place, in that we have had to adapt our way of life to ensure that we keep everyone safe. However, if you read through the rest of this newsletter and keep checking your emails and social media, you will see that we are trying our best to ensure that the children and our community of families do not miss out and that we adapt to the new “normal” as best we can.
My priority for the first half term was always that children, parents and staff would feel safe to return to our school, our children would then settle quickly to their learning and we could identify and underpin gaps in learning since we entered lockdown. We returned cautiously and calmly and I really do believe that this has paid off. Now that we are at this point, we feel able to introduce more aspects of school life. So, we will be commemorating Remembrance Day – but on our school ground with a special Dunston Hill ceremony; we will be having the school photographer in as we know how important these memories are – but just a little later in the year than usual; and although we were not able to celebrate Harvest as a school, we will be working with you to support families in our community in the same way. Oh and we will be having a Children in Need day too! And our Celebration Assemblies every Friday afternoon have been a lot of fun and I look forward to them every week. We aim to keep involving you as much as we can over the next half term and are looking at ways to perhaps carry out an online raffle or Virtual Coffee Morning! Thank you to a lovely parent for those ideas. We are on it like a car bonnet!
Your support has been absolutely magnificent over the past 7 weeks and we couldn’t have achieved this wonderfully settled start without you. You have brought smiles and positivity on the gates in the morning as well as supportive phone calls and messages to school. I know that the current arrangements we have in place won’t have been ideal for everyone and once again I do apologise for any additional disruption this may have caused. I would stress, however, that everything we have done has been for the benefit of children right across the school. For us, it is always “children first”.
I promised that I would review systems and processes throughout the term, indeed we have already made some alterations which have allowed us to have more children safely accomodated in the hall for a school meal. Just to be clear, arrangements and timings for the first week back (commencing November 2nd) will remain the same as they are now. Any changes we may make after that first week will be communicated to you by letter from me in plenty of time.
In the meantime, stay safe and have a great week!
Whole School Information
Parents’ Evening Phone Calls
Our staff feel parents’ evening went really well and were delighted to be able to speak with most parents and update them on how their child has settled back into school life. We hope you found it useful and reassuring to have the opportunity to chat with your child’s teacher. Please let us know what you thought of parents’ evenings this time. Did you find the booking system easy to manage? Was it helpful when trying to coordinate with sibling appointments across the school? Did you find it easier to fit this into your busy days? Or did you really miss the face-to-face interaction? All constructive comments would be gratefully received.
We continue to ask for parents to support their child/children with homework each week and over the half-term holiday. All children will have a reading book and children in Years 2-6 will have spellings and maths homework too. Thank you for your continued support here.
Children will be using their Forest School sessions after half term to create a range of artwork to display outdoors at the front of the school for Remembrance Day. We will also be laying our school wreath there this year. We would love families at home to contribute and ask that you decorate a pebble with a poppy or picture to commemorate Remembrance Day. Once you have finished your pebble, please leave it in the labelled box outside of Forest School and we will display it for you. Unfortunately, we will not be selling poppies in school this year but will still be commemorating this important time in our own way and children are welcome to wear them.
This year we are collecting food for FACT. If you would like to donate any non-perishable foods or toiletries we will be passing these onto FACT. There will be a box in our bandstand next to Forest School for families to leave donations. Please do not send donations into classrooms. FACT have supported families in our local community throughout lockdown and we would like to support them in return. They will appreciate any contributions you can make.
Children in Need
This year the focus for Children in Need is children’s mental wellbeing. On Friday 13 November we will be getting involved with Joe Wicks ‘Ultimate Feel Good Friday’. Children are invited to come to school in sporty clothes or PE Kit (with a yellow or spotty accessory should they wish to) and bring a donation of £1 to support disadvantaged children right across the UK.
Great news!! We have arranged for our school photographer to visit on Monday 9 November when all children will have an individual portrait taken.
If you would like a family photograph taken of those children who are currently in attendance at Dunston Hill, please click this link https://forms.gle/5ApRF3cMDFRsuwsh9 to order. Family requests must be completed by 9pm Sunday 1 November. Unfortunately, family requests after this date will not be accepted.
As in previous years, we intend to have class photographs taken of Reception and Year 6 and these will also be available for parents of these children to purchase. We will ensure strict Covid measures are in place throughout the day.
This week’s Class News is from …
Key Stage One:
Key Stage One have settled back into school with ease and we are delighted with the progress they have made in such a short time.
Our Year 1 staff are so proud of how the children have settled back into school this term! They are enjoying exploring their new classrooms and the new learning opportunities they have. This term, we are learning about the human body and have been exploring the five senses. The children loved testing out their sense of smell with our Smell Challenge! You can see from the looks on their faces that some of these smells they liked more than others!
We are extremely proud of how well our Year 2 children have settled since returning to school in September. They have adapted well to new routines, have worked hard and have loved socialising with their friends again!
One of the highlights of the term for the children has been learning about The Great Fire of London. They found out when and how the fire started and they could also explain why the fire spread so quickly and why it lasted for so long. When designing our very own Pudding Lane, children showed an excellent understanding of how houses were different back in 1666 compared to now.
We are also delighted with how well children are working in our English lessons and we have particularly enjoyed reading the story of Beegu by Alexis Deacon This is a fantastic story about an alien who is not supposed to be on Earth. She is lost. She is a friendly little creature, but the Earth People don’t seem very welcoming at all until she meets children in the school playground. Our Year 2 children enjoyed putting themselves in Beegu’s shoes to try to understand how she must have felt and why the characters in the story behaved in the way they did. We also used this story as a stimulus for our creative writing and over the coming weeks will be creating lost posters and writing postcards.
Well, what an amazing half-term we have had – it has been so lovely to see lots of our wonderful children accessing the Dunston Den, Dunston Retreat and Forest School whether that has been in a planned small group or on a 1:1 basis with Miss Tuart, Mrs Cox or one of our external members of staff, such as Kalmer Counselling.
Mrs Cox’s highlights of this half-term: watching the children catch their hopes and dreams in handmade dream catchers, and having lots of fun making positive ‘potions’, reflecting on the positive acts we do for ourselves and others.
Miss Tuart’s highlights of this half-term: hearing the sound of laughter again in the Dunston Den and seeing our lovely children accessing and embracing the support they need.
Miss Tuart and Mrs Cox are extremely excited to launch (Monday 2 November) our new ‘peg’ system, which is all about having the opportunity for a little 1:1 time to talk about feelings and worries the children may have. The name of our exciting new ‘peg’ system and exactly what it entails will be revealed on our school website and Facebook on the launch day so keep your eyes peeled!
Forest School will continue after half term for Years 2-6. Children should come to school dressed in warm clothing with a school jumper. The should also have waterproof clothing and appropriate footwear to put on in the afternoon. With the colder weather please ensure they have hats and gloves too.
|1st session||2nd session||3rd session|
|2B||Mon 2nd Nov||Mon 16th Nov||Mon 7th Dec|
|2J||Mon 9th Nov||Mon 23rd Nov||Mon 14th Dec|
|3M||Wed 4th Nov||Wed 18th Nov||Wed 2nd Dec|
|3C||Wed 11th Nov||Wed 25th Nov||Wed 9th Dec|
|4C||Tues 3rd Nov||Tues 17th Nov||Tues 1st Dec|
|4W||Tues 10th Nov||Tues 24th Nov||Tues 8th Dec|
|5O||Thurs 5th Nov||Thurs 19th Nov||Thurs 3rd Dec|
|5B||Thurs 12th Nov||Thurs 26th Nov||Thurs 10th Dec|
|6P||Fri 6th Nov||Fri 20th Nov||Fri 4th Dec|
|6R||Fri 13th Nov||Fri 27th Nov||Fri 11th Dec|
Children’s PE Days will remain the same as this term up until Christmas. Children should come to school in PE kit with a school jumper on top and trainers on their feet.
The menu for week commencing Monday 2 November is Week 2. Reception, Year 1, Year 2 and Year 4 will be following the Dining Hall menu, the rest of the school will follow the temporary menu.
A reminder that as part of our Healthy Schools programme, we ask that children do not bring crisps, chocolate or fizzy drinks in their packed lunches. Due to allergies, please ensure that no peanuts or items containing nuts are brought into school, including in the form of Snickers or peanut butter sandwiches. This is especially important to remember for children bringing in packed lunches or snacks.