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Headteacher's News

All the most recent news from Edith

Monday 18th December 2023


Dear parents and carers of Stepney Park Primary School,

We have finally (almost) come to the end of a very long, eight week half term.  I can see staff and children are ready for a well -deserved two week holiday.  Everyone has worked so hard and made sure it was a very successful half term.  The children made great progress with their learning, enjoyed their trips and extra-curricular experiences and generally have come to school happy and eager to learn.  They are a credit to you, our parents, so thank you very much for all your support and well done to all of you.

‘Special Groups’

Your child may have spoken to you about our ‘special groups’ and you may have wondered what the purpose for these groups is. 

'Special groups’ (we are in the process of consulting the School Council for a better name for these groups) are mixed age groups. This means that children from Yr 1 to Yr 6 have been placed in  small groups of about 10 children, who occasionally get together for joint activities. So far, we have had one afternoon of working in our special groups. This ‘launch’ afternoon had an Arts & Crafts Christmas theme, and also gave children opportunities to get to know each other. We will have one further special group activity this term: a joint assembly and playtime.

As with everything in our school, forming these groups has been a very deliberate and purposeful decision, I have explained the reasons and benefits to children’s personal development below:

  • It will give children the opportunity to be ‘part of a wider school community’ beyond their own classroom and year group. Feeling part and belonging to a community is very important; we are all part of a big ‘Stepney Park School community’ and it is therefore important that we all feel confident and ‘at home’. Getting to know as many of its members as possible, just like you would want to know members of your extended family, is part of this.

  • It will give children opportunities to work with a wider range of teachers and will help familiarise them with both North and South buildings. This will help their confidence with transitions in years to come. 

  • Older children will have the chance to be ‘leaders’. They are asked to escort the younger children to and from their classes, leading play, explaining and supporting activities, initiating and leading discussions and ensuring that the younger children are happy and safe (of course, under adult supervision). The leaders will need to think about what this may look like, for example when a young child appears shy or when a young child runs in the playground instead of walks. They have to consider how to be good role models and how to set the correct example, thus developing maturity and responsibility.

  • Younger children also benefit from being in the special groups. They get to know a wider group of children who they can be friends with and who they can go to for help or play with in the playground. In addition, they learn to be confident with children from a range of different ages. 

  • There are of course, a number of Learning Behaviours which children develop further during these special group activities including: empathy, collaboration, trying new things and responsibility. Ultimately, this will enable our children to develop resilience and independence, two of our school values.

We will be considering further opportunities for children to take part in activities in the special groups, for example when we have our Arts day later on this year. 

Parent / Teacher meetings - Thursday Mar 14th 

In consultation with our Governors (and similarly to a lot of other local schools), we will close the school for children at 1 pm for the next Parent-Teacher meetings, so that we can start the next Parent-Teacher meeting at 1.20 pm. This will enable us to see all parents in one day instead of over two late evenings. We have carefully calculated the number of hours children are required to be in school and I am pleased to say that we have more than enough ‘spare’ hours in order for us to do this, as we are open to children an extra 50 minutes beyond the statutory hours each week.

Parking cars at the start and end of the school day

We have received a number of complaints from parents about the parking habits of other parents, who  park their cars in inconsiderate ways:

  • They double park, making the road unsafe for children.

  • They park in front of or next to other cars, blocking others in, resulting in them being late for work or school.

Can I please politely request that all parents park their cars in a safe and considerate way? Thank you. 

Medication reminder

Please make sure that medication for children is kept up to date and let us know if there are any medical conditions we should know about. Parents could call or email the school office if they are unsure about anything with regards to medication. 

Support with the cost of living

We have been asked by Tower Hamlets Council to share the following information with you regarding Cost of Living Help booklets and supermarket vouchers for Free School Meals eligible families:

Cost of Living Help booklets.

Household budgets continue to be stretched as the cost of living increases and families struggle to afford everyday essentials. Tower Hamlets Council has produced a number of printed ‘Cost of Living Help’ booklets which will be delivered to schools to hand on to families.

Booklets signpost residents to the help and support available in the borough, including information on financial support and council services, as well as third sector organisations that can offer assistance over a range of areas. A digital version on the council’s Cost of Living webpage in due course. The council  webpage also has information on the support available in the borough which parents can read here: 

Supermarket Vouchers

Tower Hamlets Council will be providing £100 supermarket vouchers to schools to distribute to FSM-eligible households after the Christmas holidays.

This is part of a £5.9m relief package to tackle the cost-of-living crisis in the borough. Vouchers are available to those who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals. The council  will liaise with School Business Managers about the process and what will be required from schools which must be followed to ensure secure delivery and distribution of vouchers.

Please note: There is nothing eligible families need to do in order to receive these vouchers, the school will contact relevant families in due course. 


Thank you for reading this letter. I hope you will all have a lovely and restful break and I am looking forward to seeing you all on Monday 8th January, 2024!

Happy New Year and kind regards.

Edith Philipsen

Headteacher- Stepney Park Primary School