Dear Parents and Carers,
The children have engaged in some great learning this week and continue to engage in their phonics sessions and numeracy learning with great enthusiasm. This week two pupils were working really hard on their stage 2 sounds ee, ea and e-e and were sounding out and attempting to spell words containing these sounds, such as tree, feat and also concrete! One class went to the park; some of the children for the first time. One child engaged in all of the activities and another played see-saw with a friend. In a particularly lovely example one child was playing with a member of staff and two young children in the park and the adult was blowing bubbles and the young children and adult were saying ‘bubble’ repeatedly. Our pupil worked so hard to say the word, making the initial sound the whole time they were in the park and on the way back to school! Other children have also been working hard on their communication during ‘what’s in the box?’ One has been making some lovely vocalisations during our circle time sessions and another used her ‘more’ switch to request a favourite activity. She was able to do this several times! One child had an ‘octopus sale’ and role-played selling his Octopus cakes to everyone. I really enjoyed a conversation with two of our older pupils at lunchtime play about the merits (or not) of school uniform! As part of their topic some pupils have been exploring the weather during their sensory story, ‘Elmer’s weather’ in which one child especially enjoyed the snow ball fight. One child has started wearing pants to school and is doing brilliantly with his toilet training. Finally, there has been lots of creative learning this week, one child becoming an expert at knowing how to make different colours using paints and others painting their handprints really carefully.
This week has been anti-bullying week with the theme ‘Reach Out.’ Bullying is one of the most damaging forms of discrimination and sadly, children with special educational needs and disabilities are at higher risk of bullying both directly (e.g. hitting, kicking, taking belongings) and indirectly (e.g. name calling, social exclusion). Moreover, some children cannot recognise bullying behaviour or the individual using bullying behaviour.
Children with SEN are also significantly more likely to experience online bullying (cyberbullying) which is increasingly prevalent with the increased use of technology and can take a wide range of forms such as threats, intimidation, name calling, harassment and exclusion. So, whilst being online is a great way for children to play, create, learn and connect, some children may feel under pressure to keep up with friends on social media and games.
There is a clear link between bullying and mental health problems and therefore, in relation to cyberbullying, it is vital that our children are taught how to use the internet and new technology safely and responsibly. Helping children develop into responsible digital citizens whilst getting the most out of technology is the best counter to cyberbullying.
The NSPCC has partnered with Ambitious about Autism to bring online top tips for parents, as does the Anti-Bullying Alliance .
Some things to consider:
- Talk to children about what they are doing online
- Familiarise yourself with your children’s’ favourite apps, games and sites
- Turn off notifications
- Use parental control software
- Use filtering options
- Check children know how to block someone
- Get to know the age rating of apps and social media – many have a minimum age of 13 years
For the week leading up to half term, the classes with the best attendance were;
- Explorers hub – Ladybird class
- Investigators hub – Husky class
- Engineers hub – Crocodile class
Staff have had a busy training day this Friday. All staff had a safeguarding update session. Others have done basic life support and many either their manual handling full induction training or their refresher (both compulsory training within special schools). When not in these sessions staff have been working on developing their skills in assessing learning using our target system or on understanding and supporting the engagement of pupils using the engagement model. Our midday meals supervisors have also had sessions on the school values and vision in practice and supporting play at playtime.
Parent Focus Group
Our Parent Focus Group will have its first meeting on Wednesday this week. The mission of the group is to act as a focused sounding board for future ideas, broadly discuss issues that need resolution or give cause for concern and give constructive feedback. The remit for the group would be to meet half-termly with at least one member from the Senior Leadership Team to discuss and provide ideas and work towards finding solutions that promote the excellent work, communication and reputation of our school within our families and the wider local community; we never underestimate the power of ‘parent voice’ which can be stronger than ours in certain situations. The group will not be a forum for individual complaints and issues; these must be addressed through your child’s class teacher in the first instance and then through the usual channels of escalation and ultimately our complaints procedure if needed. We have a small membership thus far and if you are interested and have not yet let us know please do via Kaarina email@example.com .
Diet & Nutrition Workshop
On Monday 21 November, 1pm – 2.30pm, our Family Liaison Officer, Kaarina, we will be holding a diet and nutrition workshop for parents/carers. Kaarina will be joined by specialist paediatric dietician, Molly Brennan and special school nurse, Nicola Clist who will be on hand with expert advice. We know of the challenges some families face when it comes to meal times and diet, so they will hope to offer some top tips and suggestions and answer any questions you may have. We hope to run this workshop in person but depending on numbers and the level of interest, we may extend this to Zoom as well. Therefore, please could you let Kaarina know as soon as possible if you would like to attend the workshop and your preference for in person or virtual. Email Kaarina at firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget the Warm Space Hub
With the clocks having changed and colder weather coming, don’t forget the Warm Space Hub on Tuesdays from 4pm – 8.30pm at Old Palace, Glebe Road, Worthing, BN14 7PF. The Warm Space Hub is open to families with children aged 0 to age 10/11 (year 6). Children will be given a free hot meal and a drink and parents will be offered tea/coffee, soup and bread (free).
With rising energy prices, financial hardship is very real for many as the cost-of-living soars and it is with this in mind that the Warm Space Hub wants to reach out to families that maybe feeling the ‘pinch.’
There is no cost and families do not have to commit to going every week. The venue is able to hold a considerable number of people, however, they do need to know in advance if you/your family will be attending and also details of any allergies for catering purposes. Please let Kaarina know email@example.com
Help for Households – find out what support is available to help with the cost of living, including income, benefits, bills, allowances and childcare. Click here.
Have a lovely weekend!
Very best wishes,