Friday June 23rd

I’m going to start at the end of the week today with a picture of our amazing year 6 pupils at the first of their Leavers Services. This one was the Diocesan service held in St Woolos’ Cathedral and hosted by Bishop Richard and Dr Annette Daly. All the church schools in the Diocese were represented but with over 600 children the service was conducted in two parts just so we could all fit in! As always our children were very well behaved and a credit to the school. Thanks as well must go to Mr Oram and Mr Rees for all their hard work in learning songs, readings and prayers. 

Year 6 also gave a brilliant performance as part of the transition concert which was a culmination of transition events taking place in King Henry this week. Gwent Music had worked with all the cluster schools to learn a series of songs and some percussion parts that all came together in one brilliant performance on Thursday afternoon. Well done to all involved. 
Mrs Balkwill, Miss Toombs, one of our Governors Mr Ralph Herron and myself had the pleasure of welcoming 5 very talented and dedicated professionals for interview on Wednesday for the teaching post vacancy. We were hugely impressed with the professionalism of the candidates and I’m pleased to say we have appointed an absolutely outstanding candidate who I’m sure will be an asset to Llantilio. Mr Geraint Langdon will be joining us in September and will be teaching Year 6. Letters will be sent out tomorrow confirming all arrangements for September – it would have been Friday but we simply ran out of time!! 

4 weeks left and no let up I’m afraid! Still some class assemblies, PACT sessions and end of term trips to look forward to. I am in the middle of reading and writing a comment on every child’s report at the moment as well as analysing data from end of year assessments and setting targets for next year, making arrangements for our new intake for Reception and making sure everything is in place ready for September! 

Mrs Joanne Bayton 

Friday 16th JuneĀ 

What a fantastic weekend of weather we’ve had for Father’s Day! We were especially lucky that on Tuesday we were able to hold Sports Day on the day it was planned – this is certainly a first for me! I would like to say a big thank you to the children who, as always, were fantastically behaved and also a big thank you to the parents who all came along to support their sons and daughters. Well done as well to all the dads who took part, I’m just very grateful no one was injured!! 

We held a meeting for the parents of the Year 6 children who are due to go to London towards the end of the term to discuss arrangements and some concerns regarding safety. We have decided to follow advice from Monmouthshire County Council who have informed us that there is no increased risk to travel, although we have made some minor adjustments to our itinerary and will of course be taking every possible precaution to ensure that everyone is safe. 

I understand that this has been a very difficult decision for our parents to take and appreciate the attendance at the meeting and the support that I have received. If anyone has any concerns regarding anything in school please come in to see me and the staff and we will do everything possible to address concerns. Although Social Media is a wonderfully useful tool in keeping people in touch and informed it can also be quite devisive and can mis inform too. My door is always open and I am at the end of the phone, always happy to discuss anything that is worrying you or your child. 

At the end of the week I was out of school attending the Annual Conference of the Monmouthshire Association of Primary Schools (MAPS). Our training for this year was delivered by Roy Leighton who challenged us to continue to improve our leadership skills. As always, the networking opportunities and conversation/discussions with my colleague headteachers was interesting and informative. The time away from school is useful to allow time for reflection and planning too – this is not always easy in the busy hustle and bustle of school! 

We will be interviewing this week for our new member of staff and I am hoping to be able to inform you of your child’s new class teacher by the end of the week. Apologies this process takes so long! 

We also have our Diocesan Leavers’ service in the Cathedral on Friday, I’m looking forward to that as we were unable to take part last year. 

I will be sending out our annual questionnaire this week too. I would be very grateful if you could return them as soon as possible. 

Enjoy the sunshine! 
Mrs Joanne Bayton 

Friday June 9th

It only seems like a matter of weeks ago that we were preparing for Christmas and yet somehow we are about to start the final half term of the year!! Traditionally this was always the ‘best’ half term with trips, sports, good weather and the long summer holidays to look forward to. However we seem to cram more and more into this half term – assemblies, residential trips, target setting, performance management reviews, welcome meetings, moving up day and Leavers’ Services to name but a few! And all this in the 30 days we have left! 

This week Jayne Arthur our challenge advisor visited to carry out a book scrutiny, this time looking at our maths books. We are concentrating all our efforts on making improvements in maths and hoping to have the same positive impact we have had on our standards of writing. We are looking at all aspects of maths from the way we plan and differentiate skills to meet the needs of all learners to the way we set out and record a maths lesson in our books. We will carry out a review at the end of the month,  with the support of EAS, to see how much progress we have made and also to put in place plans to continue improvements in September. 

We have also welcomed the 5 candidates we have shortlisted for the vacancy for September to school this week. We have watched them all teach (one candidate to teach on Monday) and their performance will help us make the right appointment. Formal interviews will take place on 21st June and I will inform you all as soon as possible after this date of which year groups the staff will be teaching from September. 

Sports day is planned to go ahead on Tuesday afternoon providing the weather is kind to us! Keep your fingers crossed! I am out of school at the Monmouthshire Heads conference on Thursday and Friday next week. 

Mrs Joanne Bayton

Friday May 26th

How do we measure success? 

This week we have finalised the data for the children in year 2 and year 6 – the end of key stage data. The results feed into our overall categorisation and we are benchmarked or ranked against other schools in our cluster, in our ‘family’ of schools (schools judged to have the same or similar challenges as us) and those schools with similar numbers of children claiming free school meals. We are then placed into a quartile position -quarter 1 being the top 25% of schools and quarter 4 the bottom 25% in a number of categories. – English, maths, science for KS2 and PSD for foundation phase. 

Obviously quarter 1 is our aim but if we get as little as 2 pupils who don’t reach the expected level then this can push us into quarter 4 – the margins are pretty tight! We set targets at the beginning of the year and work towards these over the year, providing extra support to those children who are in danger of not meeting their targets. So if we meet our targets and get placed in quarter 1, does that make us a successful school? 

Yes, but there are also many other measures. Mrs Bawler summed this up in a recent post on social media. 

I really couldn’t have put this any better – I also feel proud to work in a school where all staff give over and above every single day; where parents volunteer to help with trips, listening to readers, PTFA events, sponsored events; where visitors to the school comment on the positive vibes and the busy, purposeful atmosphere and are excited by the prospect of working here; and where children – regardless of their academic ability and ‘level’ are valued, respected and encouraged to be the best person they can be. They make me smile every day with their amazingly fresh outlook on life, their love of learning and their never ending ability to amaze me with their achievements in all things they do. And that is how you should measure success, if it was then Llantilio Pertholey would definitely be the top of Quarter 1! 

Have a restful half term, an exciting and packed half term to come.

Mrs Joanne Bayton 

Friday May 19th

Well done to everyone for completing the 5 mile challenge this week! I don’t think we could have had a wetter start but the children walked/ran/jogged with enthusiasm and determination. As I was out of school for most of the week I only managed to complete one day but I’m determined to do better than that in future weeks! I’m not sure of the amount we have raised through sponsorship but will let you know as soon as possible. Hopefully we will be a few steps closer to our goal and thank you very much for supporting your children in this event. 

The children and staff have all given really positive feedback about this initiative and I’m sure we will reap long term benefits from the children completing their daily mile. 

I spent 2 days with Mr Rees and all the year 6 teachers and head teachers in the cluster this week moderating end of Key Stage levels. It’s a very thorough process that ensures all schools in Abergavenny are sure about the end of year results the pupils are awarded. King Henry are also involved to verify their levels too. 

Mrs Clarke and I met with Simon Linton who is the Business Manager for Gwent Music on Monday. We want to arrange all payments for Music tuition directly through them from September – a similar system to our parent pay for dinner money. We aim to let you have full information for this as soon as possible. We are also planning to introduce some class Music projects next term  – this may be whole class drumming, strings or even beat boxing! Watch this space for more information. 

Finally we were all sad to hear of Mr Rees’ decision to leave Llantilio at the end of this academic year. It’s always very difficult to lose one of our ‘family’ but I’m sure you’ll join with me in wishing Mr Rees well in the next chapter of his career. Hopefully he will be a frequent visitor. We have started the recruitment process which will take a few weeks but as soon as we make an appointment I wil let you know what the staffing structure for next year will be. 

Hope to see you at the parents forum this week – 2pm Friday 26th May in the AV room.

Mrs Joanne Bayton

Friday May 12th

All tests completed! Over the next few weeks we will be looking closely at the results of our tests to see what areas the results are weakest in. We can also see what we need to teach again and tweak our plans for teaching for the rest of this term and from September. The results of the tests will be with you later in the term, along with teachers assessments and annual school reports. 

 Emma Taylor met with Mrs Balkwill on Friday afternoon to look at our action plans for further developing our Healthy School status. As part of this we are introducing the Daily mile starting with our Challenge week next week. Hopefully the children will have collected lots of sponsors over the last few weeks too so we should be one step closer to our goal of putting some gates across the yard to allow children to play football safely! 
Mrs Balkwill and I attended some training on sharing safeguarding information on Monday afternoon and then on Thursday morning we attended training in developing middle leaders. Next week I’m out more than I’m in! Monday and Tuesday morning in school, Tuesday afternoon at MAPS, 2 days on moderation and a Church Heads meeting on Friday! 

I’ve pencilled in our next Parents Forum for  2pm on Friday 26th May, hope you can make it. 

Mrs Joanne Bayton

Friday May 5th

I’m writing my blog from London today as have spent the weekend here celebrating my daughter’s 17th and son’s 13th birthdays. Now the fun begins with 2 teenagers in the house! I’m sure school will be a peaceful haven in comparison! 

The view is from the cable car at Greenwich – very high but great views over London! 

Back in school this week Jayne Arthur our challenge advisor and Nicola Allen EAS principal challenge advisor were in on Tuesday morning looking at our levelled and moderated samples of work to corroborate our end of year levels. As you know we are doing national tests at the moment but children’s work is assessed continually through the year and children are given levels at the end of each year, though we only report on years 2 and 6. The end of year levels are used to set targets for the following year too.

I had the pleasure of showing one of my Church in Wales Headteacher colleagues around on Friday afternoon. Mark Durbin headteacher of Henllys church in Wales school in Cwmbran visited to chat about some school to school working and support. It was great to see how busy our years 5 and 6 pupils have been in the grounds this week – a big thank you to Mrs Price who helped dig over the allotments too! 

Darren Hickey delivered an assembly to years 4,5 and 6 about youth club provision after school, Sali Marsden and her colleagues delivered the second session of Kerbcraft for year1, year 2 sessions should be starting shortly, Chris Mills carried out a health and safety check and Andrew from iteach our support for our i pads also attended to update our support plan. 

More tests next week and Mrs Balkwill and I are out on training this week, on Monday for ‘Plant’ part of Monmouthshire’s safeguarding development and on Thursday for developing our middle leaders. Hopefully the glorious weather this afternoon is set to last! 

Mrs Joanne Bayton