Christmas Cheer @#CCF2017 Each year, the Christmas Craft Fayre develops and improves, as we build on the successes of the previous year and continually ‘tweek’ the process. So, it was wonderful to see that CCF2017 was such a triumph! The children are now so well-versed in the process that they immediately roll out their ‘Apprentice’ style patter. It is testament to how honed their persuasive skills are that Year 6 managed to persuade me to part with all my money before 9.30am! Having replenished my purse, I found that each and every stall had equally compelling arguments and I was convinced to buy at least one of everything! It was genuinely wonderful to see the children putting the skills they have learnt in literacy, into work in real life – this is what a cross-curricular and practical approach to learning is all about – making it real! Some entrepreneurial souls even managed to persuade me to buy more than one item, offering an extra discount on account of my role as Head – the promised 10% discount was duly calculated (in their heads) and deducted from the overall cost. If that isn’t an example of maths problem solving, I don’t know what is! The highlight of the whole experience for me was watching the children perform the carols they had been learning over the weeks leading up to the event. We are blessed to have had Mr Marseglia lead our music lessons, linking the carols to the music objectives which each year group needs to cover. His expertise and experience were invaluable in enabling the children to showcase their talents! It was wonderful to watch their joy when performing for their families.
The Autumn Term is always an exciting one, but can also be challenging. The days get shorter, we are all plagued by Winter bugs, the children get progressively more excited and the adults get progressively more tired and stressed in the run up to Christmas! However, for us, this is a most special season. Advent is our time of preparation, not for the festivities, but for the birth of Christ. In all the bustle it can be easy to forget the true meaning of Christmas. Please make sure you take time to pray, to reflect and to appreciate the time with your families.
As last Sunday was Gaudete Sunday, the homily at my local church was based around what brings true joy to our lives. Walking out of Church I chatted to a lovely lady who I sit next to every week at Mass. She had just moved out of her home of 58 years, into a small, ground floor flat, which was more suited to her needs as an elderly lady. This was a very emotional time for her – leaving years worth of memories behind. However, what struck me the most was that she was overjoyed to discover she had lovely neighbours. What had brought her such joy, in the midst of a challenging, lonely time, was the welcome she had received from these strangers – they had invited her in for a cup of tea. Such a small thing to do, yet such a gift to Mary – the impact was to make her feel loved and accepted. This Christmas, as Year 4 Alphonsa reminded us through their wonderful ‘gift a box’ donation, we need to think about those less fortunate in our society. Let us try to reach out to them and bring the true spirit of Christmas into their lives. For anyone looking for some thought-provoking spiritual nourishment, I cannot recommend Deacon Quinn’s blog highly enough. It is always clear, inspiring and relevant to our day to day lives: https://notesfromthethresholdblog.wordpress.com/ Tomorrow we will celebrate the birth of Christ, in our Church and in our homes, with those we love. I would like to wish you all a happy Christmas – one filled with true joy. I feel blessed to be a part of such a wonderful school community. With love on behalf of the family of St Catherine’s, Ms Kane
Mike Pargeter - Chair of Governors' Blog
The last half term seems to have flown by, with several committee meetings and a Full Governing Board. There was much debate over the government’s decision to double our Sports Premium funding. A nice problem to have, you might think! However the school leaders needed to formulate a plan for this unexpected bonus to further improve the quality of PE and sport in the school; and the governors needed to fulfil their role of providing challenge to ensure the money is well spent and has the best chance of delivering the expected outcome. The difficulty is doing all this in a short timeframe – leaving it until the summer is not an option because then there isn’t enough time left in the year to make a difference! We are excited by the plans, and look forward to seeing them implemented next term. A highlight of this half term was the Diocese of Westminster’s annual Governor Day. Cardinal Nichols spoke inspiringly about the mission of Catholic schools, and there were presentations from the National Governance Association, and an experienced chair of three governing boards. These provided much practical advice, and we are looking to take on board several suggestions to improve our own governance. Another highlight was meeting the Junior Leadership Team to talk about governance, hear their ideas, and answer some very tough questions! They are great ambassadors for the school and it’s wonderful to see the commitment they have to their new role. Governors have enjoyed attending the recent race night and carol concert organised by the new PTA team, and we would like to express our thanks for all they are doing to raise funds for the benefit of the children. This of course would not be possible without parents supporting the events, and it was fantastic to see so many people coming along to them, as well as supporting the Christmas Craft Fayre Finally on behalf of the Governing Board I would like to wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas.
Wednesday 13th December 2017We have been so excited to welcome some new additions to our St Catherine’s Farm Family…. Five gorgeous little chicks! Reception and Year 2 looked after their eggs very carefully, talking to them and giving them lots of love and were rewarded by watching the eggs hatch. Currently in residence in our library, the chicks are being looked after by our Farm Rangers.
Farm RangersFollowing a rigorous selection process, involving an application and interview, we were delighted to appoint our Year 5 and 6 Farm Rangers. Charged with feeding, cleaning out and generally looking after the animals and our farm area, these hardworking pupils have been undergoing weekly training. We have been astonished by the way they have stepped up to the role, showing incredible maturity, common sense and practical skills – they really have been an asset to the school. Well done Farm Rangers!! After Christmas we will be appointing Farm Managers to lead the Rangers. In the Summer Term we will also be seeking some Apprentice Rangers, who will work alongside the Rangers, being trained for the future.
Holiday RangersAt the weekends, our Farm Family are currently being looked after by Mrs Robinson, Mrs Wildey, Mr Atherton, Mrs Griffin (and family) and myself. However, we would love to have members of the community join in the fun! It would be wonderful if families could volunteer to look after the animals one day each (or more!). The tasks include letting out the chickens, feeding the chickens and rabbits and then returning later in the day to put the chickens back to ‘bed’ and ensuring the rabbits and chickens have their evening meal! The occasional mucking out is also appreciated! We will provide any volunteers with a gate key and instructions on how to feed/look after the animals. If you would like to help over the Christmas holidays, please email the school office with your availability and I will get back to you with further details.
Despite weather warnings, the recent heavy snow still took most of us by surprise! We always endeavour to keep the school open whenever possible, however, sometimes the health and safety risks mean that it is not possible. It was lovely to receive such positive comments from many parents on the way that we dealt with the school closure and the communication surrounding the bad weather. As you are aware, we have been really focusing on improving our communication so it is wonderful when parents take the time to give us feedback on what has worked well – we can use this to continue to build and improve.
I would also like to reiterate my thanks to Mrs Robinson, Mr Dommett, Mrs Wildey (and family), Mrs Griffin (and family) and Mr Atherton for joining me in school on Sunday, Monday and the early hours of Tuesday morning to feed the animals, shovel snow and grit pathways. Without these joint efforts, it would not have been possible to reopen on Tuesday. In a small school, the willingness of staff to all pull together and take on multiple and varied roles is essential – we are blessed that all our staff are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the smooth running of the school. As well as those staff I have named, I would also like to thank all the staff for braving the elements and treacherous travelling conditions to get into school on Tuesday. Finally, I would like to thank you for working with us to ensure such a smooth transition at drop-off and collection time.
Christmas Craft Fayre
The unexpected snow day has left us with less time to prepare for the CCF 2017 than we had planned. Thankfully, our ‘little elves’ have been working hard to catch up. Take a look our Twitter to see all of the wonderful learning (and mass prodeuction) the children have been doing.
Miss Kane's Award Board
Congratulations to the following pupils who were sent to me for outstanding work over the past two weeks: Bella, Hannah, Lucy G, Sam W (Y2) Joseph, Olivia, Ben (Y5), Ryan, Dylan R, Aliabbas (Y3), Leah, Samara(Y3),Tiana, Nella (EYFS), Sam R, Harry K, Zahra (Y2) (Y3), Lena, Kristina W, Nina, Luke W, Isabelle, Sophia L, Yasna, Zaeem, Aidan (Y4), Arian, Gabby, Layla, Alexi , Summer, Zoe, Julia, Maddie,(Y6) Well done all!