We have been discussing the forthcoming election with the children at school, linking it to their learning and the rights they have. Please DO talk about the election at home with your children in whichever way you feel is appropriate and encourage them to use their votes in school when we ask their opinions. We try to model ‘citizenship’ to the children (in a global and local manner) and so it is important to use your vote on June 8th so that children can see democracy in action. This isn’t a plea on behalf of any political party, just please use your vote.
We have changed our Facebook page to make this into a closed group, with new members being verified by staff or nominated parents from the school. The new page is called ‘West Town Lane Academy Official’ and is linked from the old page. It will be populated with new photos in the next few days, and the old page will be archived in the summer. Please look us up now as we know the page is extremely popular!
The Bristol Evening Post has today printed a list of Bristol schools and the cuts we need to make over the next couple of years due to the reduced central budget, citing that West Town Lane is losing 11 teachers. Whilst the budget cuts will hit us as our funding from the government is reducing considerably, we will not be losing 11 teachers. The Governing Body met last week to discuss our budget, and as we have our other funding streams as listed in previous newsletters and good financial management, the reductions over the next twelve months are minimal. This will need to be reviewed as the cuts are being phased in over the next 2-3 years, but we can assure you we will do everything we can to continue to provide the current level of resources for the children. Inevitably the number of staff may have to reduce as the cuts are significant and we need support in fighting this, however we do not want to alarm you in thinking 11 teachers are going.
Our offer letters were sent on Friday, and so if you didn’t receive a letter on Saturday you should have it in the post today. We have been able to offer places for the core entitlement of 15 hours but not yet the additional 15 hours for eligible families as the Government system for administering this has not yet launched. We will process these requests as soon as you have found out whether you are entitled or not, and currently have approximately 14 places available.
Many of you will have received an email or text from our new ‘Caremonkey’ system, which is being introduced over the next few weeks to improve the medical information we hold on pupils, and also to move to sending more information to you via email. Please could you complete the information as soon as possible if you have received a prompt as it is very important to us that the system is populated before we can use it. We are aware that in some cases the ‘second contact’ has been sent the email instead of the first, and we will resolve this next week.
Do you have any old dressing up clothes (suitable for a 3 or 4 year old) that you could donate to school? This could include hats, shoes or bags as children love accessories. We could also do with some additional spare pairs of underwear (for reception/ Yr1) for when children have accidents in school. Thank you in anticipation of your help.
The deadline for the first ’round’ of admissions has now closed, and those parents will hear back from us on May 1st. The initial offer will be for the 15 hours as per our admissions policy, although those parents who are eligible for an additional 15 hours (once the applications open by central Government) may then have an opportunity to extend their offered hours. We will also do our utmost to offer any top-up hours you have requested by May 1st.
The Government is offering 30 hours of free childcare to working parents of 3 and 4 year olds from September 2017, which will be launched shortly. In order to be eligible, a household will need to demonstrate that all parents (either lone parent or couple) are working and earning equivalent of 16 hours a week at living wage and no more than £100K. There are some exemptions such as maternity leave, carer’s allowance etc. You will be able to apply shortly online, however you need a Government Gateway ID in order to do so- if you haven’t already got one then our advice would be to apply as soon as possible as this can be time consuming!
Mrs. Handford has been busy writing the menu for the summer term, and we see the return of a packed lunch option on a Thursday. You can find an electronic copy of the new menu under the ‘Parents’ section of the website, and we will send out a paper copy to everyone once they have been printed. The menu will come into effect after Easter until the October half term.
Year 6 children should hear this week from the Council about their Secondary School choices. We do not have access to the information yet as to schools offered, but if you are a Year 6 parent and you did not apply for a secondary place then please contact the office urgently. Offers of primary places are due mid April, and offers to our Nursery classes will be made by May 1st.