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Headteacher's News 18.3.22

All the most recent news from Edith

Friday 18th March 2022

Dear parents and carers of Stepney Park Primary School,

I hope you will enjoy reading this newsletter, as well as today’s class newsletter.

Have a nice weekend.

Parents’ evenings

A huge ‘Thank you’ needs to go to the teachers who stayed very late two evenings this week for parents’ evenings. I hope you have all managed to attend and get an update on your child’s learning. If you have missed the meeting for an unavoidable reason, you can approach the class teacher and arrange a time to meet them at a suitable alternative; they will do their best to accommodate you where they can. (Although please bear in mind that other commitments may mean that this cannot be done at very short notice) 

Importance of Talk

One of the most important things a parent can do with their child is talking to them. Talking and discussions can be covering a wide range of things, for example about what they have learned at school, about the book they are reading, about their feelings and worries, about general things that interest them and about what is going on in the world.

Children who are articulate do better education wise, whilst talking also creates strong bonds.

Try and make time to have a chat with your child every day, whether it is on the way to school or back, at the dinner table or whilst preparing dinner. The timing does not matter, what matters most is that it is done regularly.

Talking to your child about the conflict in Ukraine

As news of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine escalates, so do anxieties around the situation. Whilst we are geographically far away from the events, many in our schools and communities may be directly affected and have families or roots in the region. We are aware that children may have anxieties and feel unsettled about what they may be hearing in the news and possibly from their peers in the playground.  

 We are reassuring the children that there are people who are trying to help those affected by this war. We are also mindful of the rapidly changing situation and reassuring children as best we can. We will be setting aside class Discussion time for this to give a safe space for children to talk with their teachers/teaching assistants if they are worried or have heard something they do not understand. 

We wanted to send out some information that we have found useful to support you in talking (and listening) with your child about the situation. The challenge for schools is that every child is different and whether to broach the subject with a child depends on a range of different factors including age and family circumstance. 

Below are a number of links to articles and resources that provide support and advice in how you might approach speaking with, and listening to, your child. Help for teachers and families to talk to pupils about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and how to help them avoid misinformation (Department for Education). Supporting your child if they see upsetting content online about what is happening in Ukraine How to talk to children about what’s happening in Ukraine and World War Three anxiety 

www.barnardos.talking-to-children-about-war.pdf produced by the children's charity Barnardos, about how to talk to children about war We should not hide from children what is happening in Ukraine (Schools Week/Children's Commissioner) 

If you feel that you or your child need to talk to a trusted school staff person about their/your feelings towards this situation, then please come forward and speak to a member of staff that you feel comfortable with. We will do all we can to help and support.  

Our thoughts are with everyone in Ukraine, their relatives abroad, and anyone affected by the invasion, or any conflict globally, in any way.

Parking and dangerous drop offs

You will remember that I wrote to parents about the dangers of double and illegal parking only last week, and I was therefore horrified to hear that there was a parent who parked illegally during the parents evening, and by doing so had prevented a fire engine from attending an emergency. This could have prevented them from potentially saving a life..! Please only park in legal places and in legal ways.

There are also parents who pull over at the curb and let their children ( sometimes even Reception aged children) out of their car from the curb. Whilst we are on hand to receive your children safely into school, we are not responsible for the safety of your children until they have come into our playground. Parents are responsible for delivering children safely at the school gate. 


We know that our Muslim families will be preparing for the month of Ramadan, which will start around Apr 1st. Please refer to my letter dated 25.02.22 for more information around fasting in Year 5 and 6. 

Website updates 

I will share a little segment of our updated and lovely website  in this part of my letter each time. This week's focus is Curriculum- Introduction 


Our curriculum at Stepney Park is broad and balanced and ensures children develop the knowledge and skills not only to succeed in later education but also to provide a foundation in learning that will stand them in good stead for their future wellbeing and prosperity.

Our curriculum takes a subject specific, rather than thematic, approach as we believe this means we can offer children the best possible experience in each subject area. As such, we draw on published curriculum resources, such as White Rose for maths and Chris Quigley’s Essentials Curriculum for foundation subjects but have made sometimes extensive adaptations to ensure these meet the needs of the children in our school as closely as possible.

At the heart of our curriculum is a drive to develop children’s communication skills. Naturally, this involves excellent teaching of reading and writing, but it extends far beyond this. Our curriculum systematically builds children’s vocabulary, supports them in expressing their ideas and responding to others’, develops their articulacy and helps them understand what it means to communicate scientifically or historically for example.

Curriculum Principles

At Stepney Park, we understand learning to be a change to long term memory. As such, we have designed our curriculum to follow the principles below so that children not only learn more, but also remember more. 

  • Specificity. Our curriculum is very specific, so we know exactly what children need to learn in each term or unit of work.

  • Sequencing. We have worked hard to ensure the content of our curriculum is in the most logical possible order. This helps to ensure children learn everything they need in each year group to make them ready for the next.

  • Knowledge before skills. In general, we believe children need to accrue a certain amount of knowledge before skills can be developed meaningfully. For example, in history, children learn about the background of a time period before they learn about historical interpretations of the use of sources.

  • Repetition. Revisiting knowledge and skills frequently allows children to remember what they have learnt over time. For example, in science children cover each unit of work twice, the second time at a more advanced level, to help them remember what they learn.

  • Quizzing. We use regular quizzing and other techniques to help children remember what they have learnt over time. These are not high stakes tests but rather short classroom activities that have been shown by research to support children in remembering their learning.

Our Wider Curriculum

At Stepney Park, we aim to provide an excellent education in the broadest possible sense. As such, children’s personal development is a major aspect of our work. This includes enrichment through special days, our woodlands provision, trips and visitors, clubs, competitions and performances.


Thank you for reading this newsletter.

Kind regards,

Edith Philipsen

Headteacher- Stepney Park Primary School.