Friday 7th April

And relax….

I have to start with a huge thank you to Mr Rees and the members of the PTFA for our Easter fundraising events on Friday. Mr Rees spent his PPA time supervising children on the bouncy castle and his class had worked really hard to produce some fabulous prizes for the hamper raffle – yet another prize I failed to win!! It was fantastic to see so many parents supporting us and enjoying the sunshine at the end of another very busy term. I’m sorry I had to rush off at the end of the afternoon but I had a very busy weekend planned! 

My friends who were visiting from Dover wanted to walk over the Transporter Bridge in Newport – not the most relaxing start to the holiday! 
Congratulations to year 5 who put on an amazing assembly showing us all they have learned about mini beasts this term. I really enjoy the class assemblies and the children love to perform for their parents. 

We have a busy start to the Summer term with changes to our dinner money system, the National tests to prepare for and continuing are school development plans with a focus on maths for this term. 

Have a great Easter holiday, fingers crossed this gorgeous weather stays with us. Many thanks for your continued support. See you all on 24th April! 

Mrs Joanne Bayton 

Friday March 31st

Two days of the best leadership training I’ve ever had this week. Many thanks to Martin and Elizabeth at Tendevelopment for providing me with strategies and confidence to enhance my leadership skills! It was great to be able to complete the training alongside my Deputy too. Knowing my school is left in good hands with Mr Oram and Miss Toombs in charge makes me realise what a good team Llantilio has!

We welcomed Sian Tinnuche to school on Tuesday. She is from the EAS and us supporting us in our Estyn recommendation to improve the Welsh oracy skills of our pupils. She is working in all classes and with all teachers supporting us in planning and delivering activities to increase confidence and expertise in speaking Welsh outside the classroom. One of our longer term plans is to eventually offer some Welsh language practice sessions for parents too – please let me know if this would be if interest to you. 

We also welcomed pupils and staff from Ysgol Y Fenni on Tuesday. They came to play Netball against Mrs Hall’s after school netball club. It was Avery successful afternoon and although we didn’t win the games it was an excellent experience for all involved and a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon! 
Thanks to everyone who supported our non uniform day on Friday. We asked for donations for the Easter Fayre that the PTFA and year 6 are jointly holding on Friday of this week. I hope to see you all there! 

Mrs Joanne Bayton 

Friday March 24th

On Tuesday this week we welcomed Llanvihangel Crucorney school who joined us for an assembly to raise awareness of recycling and reducing our waste. The show was put on by the Gregory Brothers and was very entertaining and informative. It was lovely to see the 2 schools joining together and our pupils being so welcoming. 

Our Bishop’s Visitor Mrs Anne Sweeting joined myself and Mr Oram on Wednesday morning to look through our RE books. She visits school quite regularly as part of our links with the church. As an ex headteacher herself she has a good idea of the challenges facing schools. Prior to our book scrutiny I had a meeting with the Education Improvement Board where I was able to report all the good progress we have made in literacy and writing this term. Also improvements in ICT and Welsh with the support of EAS officers. 

Our next focus for the Summer term is to look at continuity, progression and differentiation in Maths. We will also be continuing our developments in the other subjects too. 

Years 1 and 2 had a very successful trip to the Countryside Experience on Friday. Extra curricular experiences like this really enhance the children’s learning in school. 

Many thanks to everyone who supported our fundraising for the 21+ Downs Syndrome support group by wearing silly socks this week. It was great to have an excuse to wear my luminous orange leg warmers! The PTFA organised some gifts for Mothering Sunday – the flowers were beautiful again this year (thanks from my mum too!) and also the committee of the after school club organised a successful coffee morning in St Teilos Church. Thanks to all involved in that and Mrs Moreton your carrot cake was delicious! 

On Saturday morning it was so good to see so many of our pupils representing our school at the Eisteddfod. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to see all the competitions but did see Max and Rhian and Amelia and Darcie perform brilliantly in the Musical duet and also our fantastic choir brought a tear to my eye when performing ‘World in Union’ and securing 2nd place. Well done to everyone who took part and a huge thank you to Mr Oram who gives up so much of his own time to support this annual event. 

Mrs Balkwill and I are out for 2 days next week for leadership training but I’m in school Monday, Tuesday and Friday. As always don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any issues or concerns or if you just want a chat! 

Mrs Joanne Bayton 

Friday March 17th

We had a very successful INSET day on Monday. All the teaching staff were welcomed at Risca Primary School where we were able to see the writing toolkit that we have recently started using to improve standards of writing in action. Risca has developed their use of the toolkit over the last 6 or 7 years so it was useful to see how the teachers implement it through the school and the positive impact it has had. We have already seen improvements in our children’s books which we will continue to work on. 

Meanwhile back in school our teaching assistants received some training in Welsh to develop their skills and confidence in using Welsh both inside and outside the classroom and I did some training with our midday supervisors. 

I worked from home for a couple of days catching up with some important paperwork and completing some forms for specific pupil support. 

On Thursday I attended a meeting at Our Lady and St Michael’s school with the Acting Deputy, her Admin Lead and Rod Alcott who is working for the  Welsh Government, looking at the possibility of primary schools using a business manager as a support for head teachers whose time could then be better spent dealing with education and school improvement rather than researching the price of photocopying contracts! We are very lucky in Lantilio to have Mrs Clarke’s expertise as she was a business manager at a school in Kent before relocating. She is already ensuring we get the best possible value for money and has been worth her weight in gold since joining us in September! 

On Friday I met with the heads of Deri View  and Llanvihangel Crucorney to discuss our continuing collaborations. Our year 5 teachers are the focus this year and will be working together over the next few weeks. 

We will all be wearing brightly coloured socks or tights on Tuesday to help raise some money for the 21plus group that supports children with Downs Syndrome and their families, then there’s the Abergavenny Eisteddfod to look forward to on  Saturday. If you can join us there is also a coffee morning in St Teilos on Saturday morning from 10am to 12 to raise funds for the church and for the after school club. 

Mrs Joanne Bayton

Friday March 10th

One of my favourite activities in the school year is carrying out learning observations in the classrooms. I know the teachers don’t always look forward to it as much as I do! These observations give me an opportunity to look at the teaching in the school but more importantly being able to talk to the pupils as they are learning. I can see which strategies we use are most effective and also things that, although the idea of them is good, putting these strategies into practice doesn’t always work in the classroom situation.

This round of observations was looking at progress and standards in maths and how the use of assessments helps to move the learning on. It was great to see the strategies in mental and oral warm ups for keeping all our number skills on the boil are now embedded and form a part of every teachers warm up activities.Pupils handle many aspects of number effectively and confidently in all classes and are increasingly able to apply their number skills to problem solving activities. It was very encouraging to receive such positive feedback from the parents who were able to attend our PACT sessions and also the maths homework sessions. I’m really pleased with the standards we are achieving and the improvements we are making, onwards and upwards! 

Our Eisteddfod concert on Tuesday night was well attended and the children’s performances were amazing as always! Apart from a few ‘senior moments’ on my part it all ran very smoothly. Again a massive thank you to all the staff and particularly Mr Oram for helping make such a success of the event. I’m very much looking forward to supporting all our pupils in the Abergavenny Eisteddfod on March 25th. 

I also met with all staff this week to carry out Performance Management meetings and also Pupil Progress Reviews, discussing children’s progress towards their end of year targets.

I met with the cluster Headteachers at King Henry on Thursday. Topics of conversation here included the transition music project for year 6, supply cover insurance policies and the Cluster MAT project. 

Our INSET day tomorrow is based in Risca Primary for the teachers who will be working with their Year group colleagues to see how the writing toolkit has improved the literacy standards. The Teaching Assistants have training for Welsh and I am providing some training for our midday supervisors. 

Business as usual on Tuesday though I am out of school with meetings in the morning and a MAPS meeting in the afternoon. 

Mrs Joanne Bayton

Friday March 3rd

A busy first week back, Monday morning saw the arrival of our Eisteddfod models, some with the paint still drying!! Well done to all of you who helped out. 

The Eistedffod was amazing, a great celebration of all things Welsh and of all the talent we have in Llantilio. The concert on Tuesday evening will be well worth seeing and I’m sure you will be able to catch up with videos, pictures etc on the website / SeeSaw etc. 

I have to say a huge thank you to all the staff who helped organise the event, set the competitions and judge the entries but especially to Mrs Wham and Mrs O Connell for working so hard on Tuesday to display all the winning entries and models. Also thank you to Mrs Wood and Mrs Jones for treating us all to Welsh cakes too! 

Some of our models are on display for the town Eisteddfod and I know Llantilio will be well represented as usual – 25th March, keep the date free! 

No uniform needed on Thursday either this week as the children and staff dressed up for World Book Day. Unfortunately I had a budget meeting in Usk on Thursday morning so was unable to take part in all the fun!! The pictures were fabulous and I visited all the classrooms in the afternoon to check out all the great costumes – thanks Joshua for the loan of your wig at lunchtime!! 

It was my turn to host the meeting of the New Heads network in school on Friday. It seems quite odd to say we are ‘new Heads’ as most of us have been in post for some time now! It’s great to have such a supportive group of people, those who are in the same position and face the same challenges on a daily basis. It was great to hear them so complimentary about our school and wanting to pinch some of the good practice they’ve seen for their own schools! 

Other events this week have included a Social Services welfare meeting, a Governors subcommittee meeting, pupil progress meetings with Year 3, Mrs Balkwill attended a Deputy Heads meeting and Mr Oram attended  SACRE meeting on Friday. 

Next week looks equally busy with more pupil progress Reviews, lesson observations and performance management meetings! No rest for the wicked as they say! 

Mrs Joanne Bayton 

Friday 10th February 

One more week until half term! Can’t believe how quickly the time is flying by! 

Our challenge advisor Jayne Arthur was in again on Monday to look at our literacy books. Estyn recommended we continue to improve our writing across the school. We have adopted a new writing ‘toolkit’ that helps children to organise their writing more easily and it is already having a very positive impact on standards in all classes. We have also worked very hard looking at presentation and handwriting so it was pleasing to see the improvements made. 

On Tuesday I attended an Education Improvement Board meeting along with our chair of Governors Helen Arnold-Richardson. As you may know our school is currently in an Amber category which means we get a higher level of support from the EAS. In reality what this means is that advisors visit school and see what our needs are – currently the recommendations from Estyn – and then work with our staff and the children to help and support us to ensure the improvements are made. 

More information about the categorisation of schools can be found on the Welsh Government website (link below).

Also on Tuesday we held our first maths homework workshop. We had some really positive feedback from parents that it helped to understand how we teach certain concepts and how parents can support children at home. I will also take on board other feedback such as the timing wasn’t brilliant – we had already invited parents in for PACT sessions and also parent consultations; and also it was awkward for parents with children in more than one class. As I said it’s the first one so we will try hard to improve things for next time. 

Unfortunately our parents forum clashed this week with the year 6 PACT so I didn’t have to share my biscuits with many parents! Thanks though to those who did come and I will check the diary more carefully next time! 

On Friday I attended a meeting of the Heads of Church schools in the Diocecsan Office in Newport. We discussed common issues and made plans for Church events such as the Leavers’ service in the cathedral (agreed for 23rd June). One of the items we discussed is that from November last year it has been possible for all pupils who have been baptised to receive Holy Communion. Over the next few months I will be working closely with Father Julian to see how we could organise this in school. I will keep you posted on the progress. 

On Friday afternoon I visited Ysgol Y Ffin in Caldicot as part of the new Heads network. It’s the first time I have been to a Welsh medium school and it was really interesting to hear the children conversing in Welsh – even in the Nursery! 
Mrs Joanne Bayton