14th June 2024

Dear Parents and Carers,

As we continue to wait for summer, the children have enjoyed their week at school. The therapy donkeys were a big hit! A number of children showed great engagement with them and were very calm, brushing the donkeys’ coats, walking them or stroking them. As a reminder, the donkeys are visiting again as we couldn’t fit all classes in on one day. In the Investigators hub, a Sea Shanty choir came to visit too. They were very popular, and the children enjoyed the experience!

One child has been getting himself dressed for school this week.  Two children were interacting with each other on the playground, making eye contact, laughing and taking turns to push the trolley and chase each other. One child even gave the trolley back to the other and tapped it to initiate that it was their turn.  One child overcame their fears to walk down the road with their class on a visit. Children have been continuing to develop their communication. One child has been saying ‘hello’ lots and another tried to say ‘mushroom’. Another used an aided language board really well within a session. One child counted out items to 6. Another has been making requests for Musical Mats and is tolerating the sessions being extended, and out of sequence.  We are so proud of them all and what they are achieving.

School trips
Recently I wrote to you about school trips. Throughout the school year, teachers work hard to plan extracurricular activities. When planning them, they consider the needs of individual children. Within that responsibility they need to assess the risks and make decisions to ensure they can keep the children safe. Ultimately, they make the judgement call.

This can be a really tricky decision and at times they may feel a situation is unsafe that you, as a parent, may feel is not. Our expectation would be that they would talk this through with you in the planning stage of the trip to see what steps can be taken to enable the child to go or to discuss what other opportunities would be better for them and could be planned instead for your child.

It has come to my attention that there have been a couple of instances in the last few weeks where this discussion has not been had clearly or in the right timeframe. Therefore, we are going to work in school to make our policy clearer for the start of the next school year. We are also putting together a charter of activities / visits and events that all children will be able to experience during their time at Palatine and some of you have contributed ideas for this which we really appreciate. Thank you for working with us.

Safeguarding Spotlight

Water Safety

Drowning Prevention Week is observed annually, and this year will take place from 15th – 22nd June.  This timing coincides with the start of the summer season, highlighting the importance of water safety as people take to the beach and swimming pool.  It was initiated by the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) to address the alarming number of drowning incidents and promote water safety across the United Kingdom and is one of the largest summer water safety campaigns across the UK and Ireland. For more information visit https://www.rlss.org.uk/pages/category/drowning-prevention-week-campaign.

With warmer weather many of us will venture to the beach.

The RNLI’s Float to Live campaign aims to help inform all of us, young and old alike, of what to do should they find themselves in trouble.

When taking a trip to the beach, the advice is;

  • Chose a lifeguarded beach
  • Know the risks and what to do from rip currents to tides and cold-water shock to waves
  • Just because it is hot and sunny, does not mean the water will be too.  Cold water shock can cause difficulty breathing/gasping for air, muscles may cramp and heart pain
  • When you go to the beach, always carry a means of calling for help. If you are going in the water, carry your mobile phone in a waterproof pouch.
  • In a coastal emergency, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard
  • Know your flags; if you visit a lifeguarded beach, there will be flags on the beach to show you where it is safe to swim. For swimming or bodyboarding, stay between the red and yellow flags. For surfboards, stand-up paddleboards, or other non-powered craft, go between the black and white chequered flag. You should not swim there.   If a red flag is flying, the water is dangerous. Do not enter the water under any circumstances.


Did you know?

On average, 304 UK and Irish citizens drown each year

People can drown in just 2cm (about 0.79 in) of water

Water Safety begins at home –

In the last 5 years, 50% of children aged 7 and under who accidentally drowned did so at home.

  • Do not leave children unsupervised in paddling pools
  • Securely cover or empty paddling pools
  • Install fencing and add strong mesh on top of ponds


Attendance Focus – Important Information for September 2024

From the first day of term to the last, the small moments in a school day make a real difference to your child.

Good attendance supports learning, the development of social skills and friendships, and building good habits essential for adult life.

At the end of February, the DfE (Department for Education) announced several changes to the law relating to attendance. The changes will come into effect on 19 August 2024.

From the start of the 2024 to 2025 academic year, it will be mandatory for ALL schools (including special schools) to share their attendance data with the Department for Education (DfE). The aim is to drive down absences in ALL schools, including holidays taken in term time. We know that at Palatine holidays are important learning for our children and not all are able to manage with peak time travelling in the school holidays so we will continue to consider requests on an individual basis. More information will follow.

At Palatine, the expectation is that all children should be in school from 8.45am to 2.45pm. For a small number of children, different start or finish times might need to be agreed through a formal agreement of a Late Arrival Plan or an Early Departure Plan. These can only be agreed with Kaarina Dougherty to enable us to have oversight of the plans. All existing plans will be reviewed so please contact Kaarina if you feel your Late Arrival Plan or Early Departure Plan is still needed in September.

This week’s sign of the week is  shorts! 

We are looking forward to seeing lots of you at the summer fair tomorrow.  Please note that card payment will be accepted for a number of stalls and attractions and to buy tokens but other attractions will be cash only.

Have a lovely weekend!

Very best wishes,



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