Dear parents and carers of Stepney Park Primary School.
The days are getting shorter and the weather is getting wetter; the half term is already drawing to an end. We’ve had a marvellous and busy half term, and are looking forward to our well- deserved holiday. We hope you do too and that you will have a nice family break next week!
School will close for the half-term holidays today, Friday October 20th, and will reopen on Monday October 30th.
Parent Teacher Meetings
We will have our first parent teacher meetings on Tuesday November 14th and Thursday November 16th. Letters with information about how to book a slot will be sent to you today. We hope all parents will be able to attend these meetings as they are so important and will really help us work in partnership effectively. Please sign up for a slot at your earliest convenience.
Reminders and changes re dropping off and picking up children:
For security reasons, only Nursery and Reception children can be dropped off at the Nursery gate. Children from all other year groups need to be dropped off at any of the other four gates from now on. We apologise for the inconvenience.
We have noticed that some parents smoke cigarettes or use vapes near the playground gates. Please note that whilst it is not illegal to smoke cigarettes in outdoor places, it still affects our young children through ‘secondary smoking’. I hope you will also agree with me that smoking in front of children does not present them with a good example, as smoking is likely to lead to long term health conditions. Vaping is also increasingly becoming unsafe; I will write more about the dangers of vaping in my next newsletter.
We understand that parents may choose to use umbrellas on rainy days. However, they can be unsafe as they may hit others in their face/ near their eyes, especially in crowded spaces. We would prefer it if parents would not use umbrellas in the school playground for this reason.
The small Smithy Street gate can get very busy at drop off times. Can you please consider using another gate and please avoid crowding the pavement near the gate, so that others can pass easily.
There have been a few near misses with cars almost hitting children recently. Parents sometimes double park their cars and open doors to let children out, whilst other cars are overtaking them. Please park safely and walk your child to and from school instead.
Drugs taking in Smithy Street
We have recently noticed there have been members of the public who take illegal drugs whilst hanging around on the pavement in Smithy Street, within 50 metres or so from the school entrance.
We have notified the police, and would like to ask you to do this too by calling 999 each time you notice this. The more phone calls the police receive about this, the higher a priority it will become and therefore more likely that they will send a patrol car/ officers to the street to keep an eye on this. Let’s work together to keep our children and parents safe.
Unfortunately, we have been having some email issues in school; some of our emails have not arrived in parents’ inboxes.
Please let us know by phone if you were expecting an email from us and if you have not received it, so that we can act on this appropriately. In the meantime we are working very hard with Google and LGfL to resolve these issues.
The advantageous habit of reading
In my last letter I told you about the strategies we use to encourage and promote reading, so that we develop a ‘love of reading’ culture in the school.
Research has shown that regular book reading makes a very big difference to children’s lives, both now and in the future. Regular reading is positively associated with:
richer general knowledge
a larger vocabulary
higher reading comprehension
wider school achievement
It is also linked with better psychological well-being and better adjustment at the start of the teenage years.
Fiction reading in particular is linked to the development of the imagination, empathy and mindful awareness of other people’s values and cultural practices.
As Amanda Spielman, Ofsted chief inspector, said last year: “Reading is the gateway to all learning, a vital life skill – reading to learn, to expand horizons and for pleasure.”
There are some great ways parents can support their child at home to promote a ‘love of reading’:
Talk to your child about the books they read in school and at home: the story plot, the characters, the setting and ask them what they liked about the book.
Even better: read children’s books yourself so that you can talk about these books with your children in greater detail, sharing your views and thoughts and so that you can recommend great books to them.
Ask your child to recommend a book to you so that you can read it too. Ask them why they recommend this book. They would love it if you then went ahead and read this book and discussed it with them, thanking them for the recommendation!
Visit the Idea Store/ Library and encourage your child to pick out and take home books they like.
Research famous and popular children’s authors and encourage your child to read their books. Ask your child about their favourite authors. Encourage them to read books or series by the same author if they have enjoyed a particular book.
Be a great lifelong reader advocate by being a good role model. Show children that you are an enthusiastic reader yourself, read your own books in front of them.
School Crossing Patrol Officers- we have been asked to promote the following:
Tower Hamlets Council is currently trying to recruit six new School Crossing Patrol Officers (Lollipop Men and Women) to fill vacancies throughout the borough.
The job is for two hours per day (one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon), and the pay is £12 + per hour. Full training/Uniform/Pension Package will also be provided.
I understand that this job is unlikely to suit any of our parents due to the working hours, but maybe you know someone else who might be interested in one of these positions and who you could promote this to.