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22 January 2016 – Focus on Primary

Dear Parents/Carers

As we move through January the weather continues to prove challenging!  In classrooms though, we’ve been keeping active developing skills.  I’ve been keeping busy being in classes across the primary and secondary departments looking at cooperative learning in action.

On Tuesday, I attended the Parents’ Council.  Once again it was a very positive meeting – please remember all parents are welcome.  I spoke about the National Improvement Framework (NIF) which is an important document from Scottish Government asking schools to focus on:

  • Improving attainment, particularly in literacy and numeracy;
  • Closing the attainment gap between the most and least disadvantaged children;
  • Improving children and young people’s health and wellbeing; and
  • Improving employability skills and sustained, positive school leaver destinations for all young people

All these are already high on our agenda – and indeed staff from across our cluster are currently working to develop our teaching of literacy skills, especially around reading comprehension.  We are focusing on strategies which ‘close the gap’ between our most and least disadvantaged pupils and using new data to help us analyse our progress.  The health and wellbeing of our young people is key to getting it right at school, and we have been asking them to self-assess to help us identify key groups which need additional support.  We have also been working hard to improve our delivery of enterprise and employability skills, and our positive leaver destinations are well above the national average and one of the highest in Perth and Kinross.

A copy of my presentation on the NIF is here.  A parent-friendly document summarising the document is here, and the full document is available here.

Looking back

Children and staff are working hard to review our Eco Code by coming up with eco related words. Please encourage your children to think about these and we will share these during our Parent contact meetings in March. Their plan is to create an eco wordle, so the more words the better!

Our Primary 1 pupils made their first trip to mass in St John the Baptist Church ably supported by our Primary 2 pupils. Thanks to all parents and helpers who joined and made this trip possible.

Primary 6 & 7 pupils are preparing with Mrs Graham for Perth’s Cross Country Event in Scone Palace on 16 February. Training will take place on Tuesday and Thursday lunchtime for all those involved.

P5 & 6 pupils are also preparing with Mrs Tomb for Perth’s Gymnastics Competition in Bells Sports Centre on 9 February. The team are working hard on their routines and practising hard on a Monday and Wednesday lunchtime.

Primary 4 pupils are learning about The Great Flood of 1993 and invited parents and friends along to speak with them about their experiences during the flood (see picture).

Our nursery have started their own Nursery Twitter account:

@stjohnsnursery_

Please follow and share in their learning and keep up to date with new information.

Looking ahead

Nursery registrations begin this week. If you child is born between 1 March 2014 and 31 August 2014 your child may be eligible to start nursery in August 2016. Please contact the school office for a registration form and more information.

P6 are joining with P5/6 from Balhousie Primary School to take part in the Scottish Opera project Fever! There will be a performance for parents on Tuesday 2 February at 2pm. More information will follow.

Friday 29 January will be our next Soft Start and Tayside Contracts will join us in the Noisy-Quiet Room for a taster session. Please come along.

Sunday 31 January is the start of Catholic Education Week. This is an opportunity to share and celebrate the great work happening in Catholic schools.  P1 and P5 pupils will help us celebrate the end of this week at Sunday mass in St John the Baptist Church.

A reminder about our God’s Loving Plan Parents’ Information Evening on Thursday 4 February in the staffroom. You are invited to hear about this new relationships resource that will be used across the whole primary school.

Also – don’t forget that tomorrow (between 10am-4pm) you can view the exciting new plans for the Old St John’s Primary building.  Bring yourself (and any memorabilia) along to Perth Museum and Art Gallery. More information here.

For now, every best wish.

Seán P Hagney

Headteacher and Campus Leader