Welcome back, Happy New Year!
Straight back to it this week. Very pleased to see nearly all staff back and raring to go and lovely to welcome a new member of staff, Mrs Kath Sutherland, who will be teaching in our year 3 class as a job share with Miss Toombs. Mrs O Connell is still recovering after her knee op but fingers crossed she will be back with us soon. We pray for a speedy recovery for her and also one of our pupils who is poorly in hospital at the moment.
All staff were trained in first aid this week, learning to deal with bumps and bruises and also with CPR and use of the defibrillator. Hopefully we will never need to use these skills but it’s reassuring to know staff have them!
We had a visit from our EAS link Welsh teacher Sian Tinnuche who spent the day going through all the work Mrs Hall has done as our lead in Welsh teaching and also supporting how we teach Welsh in the classroom. Mrs Hall is working really hard to develop our Welsh oracy skills – it’s lovely to hear how much more confident the children are and how they are using a wider range of vocabulary too.
I have received a number of complaints again this week regarding our car park, particularly at the end of the day. I’ve tried to get out there at the end of the day – not always easy as this is the time that lots of parents ask to see me, just before they pick their children up! I know how pushed for space we are and we now have 2 taxis and a bus picking children up – please allow them room to park and avoid parking opposite them as this narrows the road and prevents the flow of traffic. And remember to use the empty bays where possible too!
Kerbcraft is starting for year 1 next week, our Creative Schools project with Ruth Stringer in Year 4 is underway and year 5 continue their swimming lessons thus half term. We have also been informed that Mr Langdon has been accepted as part of a cluster maths working project and he and 3 colleagues will be visiting China later on this term to observe maths teaching! What a wonderful opportunity for him and also for our School who will benefit from his increased knowledge and understanding of the best teaching methodology!
We have sent our nomination forms this week to become a parent Governor. Please do consider this exciting opportunity to become more involved in school life. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you require any further information
Mrs Joanne Bayton
2 lovely community events to finish a very busy term. Firstly our Christingle Service held in St Teilo’s Church on Thursday night. It was lovely to see so many families joining in this lovely Christmas service and I was exceptionally proud of all the children who took part in the reading and singing. It always makes me feel really Christmassy!
Our second community event was to do with our school family. Mr Langdon, Mrs Jones and the year 6 children organised and worked with the rest of the school in solving some Christmas maths reasoning challenges in the Hall. It was fantastic to see how the younger children responded to the challenges and were helped and supported by the Year 6 pupils. The way the children gel together as a School is a real strength of Llantilio and something we should all be very proud of.
I have to say a huge thank you to the staff for all their hard work this term. It has been a long term with many challenges thrown our way but we have come through them and are in a strong position to continue to build on our successes in 2018.
I hope you all have a lovely Christmas, enjoy your time with friends and family, and I leave you with all good wishes for a peaceful and happy 2018!
Mrs Joanne Bayton
My luck ran out this week – after 3 years in post my first official snow days!!
As I said last week, deciding to close the school is never an easy decision to make. Monday’s closure wasn’t so bad as I think most schools in South East Wales enjoyed an extra day on their weekend. Tuesday however was a different story! I had asked MCC to clear the site (bearing in mind how many other schools/ car parks/ doctors / care homes etc etc etc had to be cleared too!)
I then spent 20 minutes Tuesday morning digging out my car and defrosting it then driving exceptionally slowly out of Abertillery. The journey to school took nearly an hour and then when I arrived the site was a sheet of ice, nowhere for the staff to park and far too dangerous to open for the children. The pavements on the estate surrounding the school were just as treacherous so it left me with no option but to close again.
Doesn’t look good does it?
Fortunately MCC came to the rescue with a JCB and cleared the site sufficiently so by Wednesday it was safe to open. Unfortunately the knock on effects meant postponing the FP concert – this will now be on the 19th December.
Key Stage 2 held their concert ‘Bethlehem the Musical’ on Thursday and, despite 2 less days of practice, they were superb! It is such a joy to see the ‘new’ year 6 pupils shine in their starting roles and each and every pupil being a part of the production. A huge thank you to all involved.
Mr Oram has been exceptionally busy in the last few weeks preparing for the performances but has also given up his own time to lead the School choir in some Carol Singing in The Market Hall on Saturday for the PTFA. The singing was superb as always and the PTFA raised over £200!!
The school choir also performed in the Carol service in St Teilo’s on Sunday evening, some of the children also delivered some very confident reading in front of a packed church too! Again well done to all involved and a huge thank you to Mr Oram for all the extra time he has given over the last few weeks especially.
One more week to go – a busy one with concerts, parties, pantomime and a visit from Santa to fit in!
Mrs Joanne Bayton
Firstly apologies for the lack of blog last week, especially to loyal reader Steph Hall! My mind is elsewhere at the moment and I simply forgot!! We had an email 2 weeks ago from Estyn asking for a report on the impact we have made working on the 6 recommendations from our inspection in September 2016. It sounds like an easy task as we have done so much and made really strong progress in literacy, maths, Welsh, ICT, assessment, marking and feedback and developing leadership over last year or so. The problem is they want a report in 4 sides of A4 and it’s really hard to condense all our achievements into such a short list!!
It was really pleasing to attend a meeting on Monday with our challenge advisor, MCC personnel Will McClean and Sharon Randall Smith and the cabinet member for education Richard John and to hear that strong progress has been made, especially this last few weeks where all our efforts and hard work have really started to come together.
I did manage to escape from the computer screen for long enough to visit Thornwell Primary in Chepstow this week, pop to Magor to pick up some application forms for our vacancy and attend a MAPS meeting on Tuesday!
Mrs Hall has sent me this picture this morning (Sunday). Doesn’t the school look lovely?
The decision to close school is never an easy one to make. I will be in full consultation with the caretaker, staff and chair of Governors tomorrow morning to assess the site and safety for the children and will make that decision by 7 30am. We will be publishing on our website, Twitter and via School Comms. We have to ensure there are enough staff able to get to school safely to be able to supervise the children, a Child Protection officer needs to be on site and above all we need to be sure that it is safe for the children. I apologise for any inconvenience caused.
If anyone has a spare hour and a shovel and would like to help ensure School can open safely as soon as possible your help in the morning would be greatly appreciated!
Please watch our website and Twitter feeds for the most up to date information.
Mrs Joanne Bayton
Sorry it’s late – forgot to tap the publish button!!
I spent some time in different classes this week seeing our maths developments in action. The children have responded so well to the mental / oral strategies we have put in over the last couple of years and it’s great to see how quick their mental recall of number facts is getting. All children participate with such enthusiasm too. I have to say a huge thank you too to all our Teaching Assistants who support teachers and children alike, not just in maths but in all areas of the curriculum. We’ve roped in several parent volunteers too so a huge thank you to those who’ve come along to hear readers, and help with resources. Mrs Griffiths has been amazing this week and I know Mrs Jones is looking for volunteers for maths resources next week if you are available?
I also attended a moderation session for Welsh in year 6 this week. Mr Langdon taught in England before joining us in Llantilio so is not familiar with the Welsh language element of the curriculum. Mrs Pugh ‘volunteered’ to teach the Welsh in year 6 and we are also receiving support from the EAS to support year 6.
In the moderation sessions we work with our cluster colleagues, and our KHS colleagues to establish a shared understanding of end of year levels. At the end of the year we have a portfolio to show our Level 4 and Level 5 work.
We were pleased to welcome back Lorraine Jenkins to assembly on Friday and even more pleased to present her with a cheque for £161 for the children’s centre, raised at the non uniform day.
Nicky Evans from Persimmon homes also attended assembly on Tuesday to present Erin in year 4 with her prize for naming a Street in the new Deri Farm estate.
Practice starts in earnest for our Christmas concerts next week too – more details to follow!
Mrs Joanne Bayton
We held our second training session on written mathematical calculations on Monday night. Alison Jones from the EAS followed up the training she gave last week on addition and subtraction with further training on multiplication and division strategies. Mr Langdon and I then spent a Tuesday afternoon looking at maths books and talking to learners about their maths. I am really pleased with the progress being made in all aspects of maths teaching and learning. Children are benefiting from rich experiences and the opportunities to apply problem solving and reasoning skills in context. We are hoping that our Creative Schools’ project will further enhance this. – more details on this to follow!
I spent Thursday with my colleagues from all over South East Wales at an Education conference held in the Swalec Stadium in Cardiff. We were taking a look at the progress made towards planning a new curriculum for Wales. It is an exciting time for all involved as we have the opportunity to shape and develop a curriculum that is fit for 21st century learning. It is encouraging to see how much research and thought is going it to this, particularly the consultation with teachers who are in the best place to decide what and how children need to learn. There are lots of Pioneer schools trialling projects and themed approaches and they are now getting all other schools involved. The Abergavenny cluster of schools will be getting involved in one of these projects very soon!
Well done to everyone who took part in the cake competition or came to school with silly hair on Friday! You helped to raise over £350 for Children in Need. You’re all brilliant, thank you!
Mrs Joanne Bayton
I absolutely love this!! The most important people in Llantilio are immortalised on a tea towel!! These are being sold to raise funds for various projects throughout the school. Love it! And a huge thank you to Sally Wood for all her hard work in organising this. – if you haven’t had a chance to order one make sure you get in touch with us as soon as possible.
This week we saw Year 5’s brilliant class assembly where the class travelled back to the 1960’s courtesy of Dr Who’s Tardis! I was amazed at how much they had learned about this iconic period in history, both here in the UK and in America. They learned so much and I was hugely impressed with how much additional work and research had gone on at home too. The children were clearly inspired by the topic and it showed in their confident and entertaining performance – a big well done to all.
A bit of advertising now! I know a lot of our children (and staff) have taken part in many productions in the Borough Theatre and have been superb too! This is something we have in common as I have a love of the theatre too. I have been a member of the Abertillery Amateur Dramatic and Musical Society for over 20 years and this year we are putting on Cinderella in the Metropole Theatre in Abertillery at the end of November. Somehow I have been cast as one of the ugly sisters – don’t know how that happened!! It would be great to see you there!
Looking forward to another busy week next week!
Mrs Joanne Bayton