Dear Parents and Carers

Great learning

 This week the children have made some fantastic progress especially in regards to communication skill development. One pupil has increased her range of vocalisations considerably. Others have been using their PECS books, including to create 4 part sentences, also to engage in an activity for 20 minutes (using it to request coloured sand to make a picture) and to make requests at snack time independently too. One pupil has learnt everyone’s names and is keen to say hello to everyone in class! Two girls have been signing colours and one signed “hungry” when she wanted some food. Another child has been using a communication program to make sentences using symbols. One of our youngest pupils described his potatoes as “too salty” at lunch time! There has also been significant progress in social skills developments too; some of our pupils with more complex needs working hard to interact with their peers, even trying hard to move over to their friends, another smiling and listening to activities happening around her and another interacting with his friends on the mats trying to hold their hands. Others have worked hard in their standers. Some of our older pupils were engaged in a game of Duck, Duck Goose at playtime with no support from adults at all. The laughter, smiling and interactions were just lovely – a true highlight of the week! A number of our pupils who find it hard to interact with peers have been playing with children from other classes at playtime, interacting on the roundabout with each other! Some other pupils have made leaps forward in using the toilets and another in trying different food at lunch time. One of our youngest pupils independently got changed for swimming! Others have taken part in group activities and been more independent in their learning.

Within the pool there has been some terrific progress in developing water confidence for a number of pupils. Others have been undertaking physio routines, developing stroke technique, tolerating water, learning to travel through the water, floating, playing games and using equipment, for example, stepping across some floating islands. Of particular note our pupil’s brilliant behaviour was noticed and commented on by the lifeguards at Littlehampton Wave. Around school two of our older pupils saw a member of staff carrying lots of items back to the PE cupboard and independently offered to help. They have also been great role models to our younger pupils on the playground. And finally one of our oldest pupils wrote a 9 page story independently which included speech marks and exclamation marks. The story showed some wonderful word choice including words such as “shocked,” “trespasser” and “anxiously.”

 Save the date!

Transition Day: Wednesday 6th July

As we approach the end of the school year many of you will be aware that planning for next year is well underway. As usual the number of pupils who want places exceeds spaces available and this means that often final decisions about places are communicated with school at the very last minute which impacts on class groups and staffing decisions. Within this we always strive to keep our pupils at the heart of everything and help them to have as smoother transition as possible. Currently 188 children are due to start at Palatine in September although this number may vary once the local authority finalise plans for the pupils for whom there is no space.

Two years ago the parent community voted for individualised transition visits, which those who attended, found helped them as a family to prepare for the next school year. This is particularly valuable for pupils who may be moving to a new teacher or to a new classroom (or both) as well as for our new starters (in all year groups).  This is because they can experience the room and space in a calm way without the busyness of a usual classroom. It also gives you a chance to see the space and talk to the teacher and, therefore, support your child over the coming months as they prepare.

For our current Year 6 pupils

Please note that if your pupils are in Year 6 their new school will have their own transition events as appropriate to their secondary setting. More details of this will follow shortly.

Please do not send your pupils to Palatine on July 6th.

 For our current Reception to Year 5 pupils

Your child will not attend school as usual, instead, you will be offered a meeting with your new class teacher at a specific time on Wednesday 6th July. Your son or daughter should come with you for this meeting. For most pupils this will be to their new classroom but because of the building works there may be some alterations in the summer holiday and for those children there will be an opportunity to meet the teacher but not see the classroom.

We would strongly urge everyone to attend their meeting slot (even if your child remains in their current class). This is because although for families with children in Year R – 4 annual reviews are coming up, these are formal meetings. At the end of another year impacted by the pandemic transition day will provide you with an opportunity to see first-hand what your child has been learning. Many of our children love to look at their work and it helps them to remember what they have learnt and for some of them to describe it and evaluate it. To do this with their parents is a lovely way for you to be involved in their learning and to help them to process what they have been learning in school.

You will also be provided with some transition activities that your child can complete at home.

After Transition day class staff work together to create individualised opportunities for pupils to prepare for next year. For some pupils this involves play sessions with new staff or new classmates. For others staff will visit them in their current class. For others it is better that none of these events happen as they heighten anxiety. Staff endeavour to make these arrangements as suitable as possible for each pupil bearing in mind pr

We will contact you in the next few weeks to book appointments via School Ping, so please do make sure your email contact details are up to date. 

We do hope these arrangements will support your child to settle well into the autumn term.

Every year, in May, the Mental Health Foundation lead Mental Health Awareness Week.  It has been running for 21 years and this year it falls on Monday 9 May to Sunday 15 May and the theme is loneliness. One in four adults feel lonely some or all of the time.  There’s no single causes and there’s no one solution, but the longer we feel lonely, the more we are at risk of mental health problems.  Some people are also at higher risk of feeling lonely than others and certain risk factors increase our chances of severe and lasting loneliness that can affect our mental and physical health.  These include:

         Being widowed

         Being single

         Unemployment

         Living alone

         Having a long-term health condition or disability

         Living in rented accommodation

         Being between 16 and 24 years old

         Being a carer

         Being from an ethnic minority community

         Being LGBTQ+

The stigma of loneliness can make it hard to talk about and people worry about being judged or feeling like a burden.

Dealing with loneliness can be difficult but there are things we can all do to cope with loneliness and prevent some of the negative feelings and mental health problems that can come with it.  Some of the coping strategies suggested by the Mental Health Foundation include:

         Doing enjoyable things that will keep you busy

         Doing things that stimulate the mind

         Think about doing a physical activity

         Trying to engage with people we meet in our daily life

         Find people that ‘get you’

         Spend time with pets

         Use social media in a positive way

         Talking therapies can help

To download the loneliness help and advice, visit https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week/loneliness-help-and-advice

Their website also gives top tips for how we can help support other people who are feeling lonely

Loneliness affects people of all ages, including children and young people and Young Minds provides some helpful advice and tips for parents and carers, including helpline and webchat

Emergency Planning final reminder

Please complete and return the questionnaire I sent out before the Easter holidays about your working pattern to inform our emergency planning.  If you have lost it please find another attached. We have had 58 back so far but to make this most effective we really need to hear from you all. Thank you.

After school club

Please email pasc@palatineschool.org if you are interested in your child having a place in the future. Thank you.

With very best wishes,

Catriona

Our website is currently undergoing its annual update due for completion September 16th

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