Happy Feast Day of St John Henry Newman! We hope all of you will be able to have a little treat or celebrate as a family this evening – we certainly have in school today! During the day, the children have been learning more about our patron St John Henry Newman. We have considered the words of St John Henry Newman – “God has created me to do Him some definite service.” – and thought about what that service might be for each one of us. The children have also had the opportunity to complete an outdoor “pilgrimage” travelling between different points in our orienteering course and reflecting at each stopping point. This year our feast day celebrations have been relatively low key, but we are looking forward to celebrating together more fully as a community again next year!
Thank you to our Year 4 children for leading our whole school St John Henry Newman feast day Mass and to Fr Bill for supporting us with this – it was really lovely to have all our children who have made their First Holy Communion finally able to all come together to the Table of the Lord in school. We look forward to our Year 3 children (as well as some of our Year 4 children) being able to join them after they complete their preparation this year. May all of our children be inspired by the words of Blessed Carlo Acutis - soon to be Saint Carlo Acutis after his canonisation in Rome tomorrow when he will become a modern day teenage saint. He was an Italian computer scientist born in England who died from Leukaemia aged 15, but before his death catalogued many of the Eucharistic miracles on a website. He wrote, “The more Eucharist we receive, the more we will become like Jesus, so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of heaven.” What a wonderful thing for our First Holy Communion children - and all of us - to reflect upon. There is more info on him here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_tzhVXCpCs
Next week, we will be focussing as a school on “Black History Week” and we are looking forward to exploring with the children many perhaps less-recognised figures in history. This theme ties in well with our Mission Statement where we say that each of us is “uniquely created and loved by God.” Our whole community will be stronger for recognising and celebrating our diversity – we are teaching the children specifically about the importance of us all being different (unique) and the need for every member of our community to feel equally valued and respected. It would be great if you could also discuss this message of respect and love with your children at home so that we can ensure that everyone feels they belong to the family of Learners, Believers and Friends at Cardinal Newman.
We have been aware over recent weeks of an increase in the use of social media – Facebook, Twitter, Classlist and others – to comment negatively about the school community, both inside and outside school. It is really important that we present a positive face on social media and avoid the temptation to say things which we wouldn’t say to someone face to face. As a school community, we seek to work together to set an example of love, respect and service for our children. Please do maintain that example, even online.
Welcome Assembly - This week we have welcomed our new Reception children into our community of Learners, Believers and Friends. Y6 were representatives of the whole school and sang for them the traditional welcome song, “Welcome to the family, we’re glad that you could come.” We were joined by many Reception families watching at home and we are thrilled to have all of you as part of our school community. We look forward to working with your children over the coming years.
Coffee and Conversation – This opportunity for Parent Q and A took place via Zoom on Thursday morning and we had a great turnout with up to 35 families attending at one point. Please see the minutes of that meeting for more information about the new Relationships, Sex and Health Education policy. Also, if you have a school DBS and are interested in volunteering to provide last minute cover and potentially supporting to keep the school open in case of staffing shortages, please do see the minutes here and send an email into the office! Thank you!
Parent consultations are looming and you may well be wondering how this will work. Unfortunately, the prevailing advice locally is that face to face consultations are not advisable at present. We have therefore invested in a bespoke Parent Consultation system which enables video consultations back to back. We are running a test session with staff next week to ensure that we have sufficient band width in school to cope with several simultaneous video calls and once the technical trial proves successful, we will then send out the link at the end of next week to enable parents to login and book a slot. We hope the calls will be able to take place in the usual week before half-term as planned, but we will unfortunately have to spread the dates over more days – the proposed days (pending successful technical trial!) are:
Monday 19th October and Wednesday 21st October: Y1, Y2 and Y3 (4pm – 6:30pm)
Tuesday 20th October and Thursday 22nd October: Y4, Y5 and Y6 (4pm – 6:30pm)
New Reception children will have their parent consultation after half-term on Tuesday 10th and Thursday 12th November (4pm – 6:30pm).
Full instructions will be sent out with the link, but for more information in the meantime, please do take a look at the video guide for parents here. Password: easyevenings
Pick Up Arrangements
Despite everyone’s best efforts, there are still concerns around social distancing at pick up, especially on the Key Stage Two playground at the end of the day. With COVID cases in Elmbridge slightly increasing, we are keen to do our bit to make the pick-up system fully compliant and limit the risk to our school community. A few reminders for both playgrounds below:
Please do arrive at the right time for your pick up slot, as we are keen to minimise congregating on the playground! If you have 15 minutes in between slots, do consider going to the Rec for 10 minutes rather than waiting on the playground to minimise parent numbers.
Please enter one by one at a two-metre distance where possible
Please make an effort to stay 2m away from each other at all times and leave the school premises as soon as you have collected your child.
Please also remind your children that the adventure playground equipment is out of bounds at the beginning and end of the school day.
Please do use the suggested one way system on Arch Road by crossing over to the opposite side of the road when walking towards Molesey Road - we don’t have staff numbers to remind people about this, but it would be great if parents could remind each other! We know it is tricky and a bit slower, but thank you for trying to help everyone in our community feel comfortable and stay safe in the environs of our school.
Once again, if driving to school, please do park considerately. There have been more complaints – this time from the residents of Kenilworth Drive who have sent photos of the offending vehicles blocking emergency vehicle access and also pavements. There is definitely a move towards involving traffic wardens and / or police and from a school perspective, we would certainly encourage you to go the extra mile to show that parents in our Catholic community are considerate and courteous. If it is necessary to drive (and we are very aware that many families have no choice) please do use the public parking at the Rec or get a permit for the station car park, to avoid upsetting the local community. Thank you for continuing to avoid Arch Road – this enables the social distancing which is so important at the present time.
Huge thanks once again to the Parent Association for all their unstinting hard work – even while COVID has meant reinventing the schedule of events many times! I met with heads last week who were saying that their Parent Associations have temporarily disbanded as they can’t see what they can do at the moment. By contrast, at Cardinal Newman, our innovative and enthusiastic PA team have gone from strength to strength, inventing new events (Pumpkin Trail; Virtual Balloon Race) and resurrecting old favourites (Tea Towels and Christmas Cards). We know there have been teething troubles with the new cake sale replacement arrangements and the PA are working hard to rectify the issues raised. The PA raise important funds for the school, enabling not only our regular events (pantomime, Book Week drama, online safety workshops) but also one-off purchases to support the children’s education (playground markings, minibus, computer equipment and most recently support with purchases relating to our new COVID-Safe arrangements). We are immensely grateful for their support at this time and thank the whole school community for working together to support our common goal.
Thank you all for your continued support. The children are working hard and especially our little ones are flagging after a few very busy weeks back at school, so give them a good rest over the weekend, ready for the new week ahead! Wishing you a lovely feast day evening and a very happy weekend.
St John Henry Newman, pray for us.
Lead kindly light, Lord Jesus lead me on.
Absences email address
To report any absences for sick leave, appointments and holidays, please only email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can easily keep track of it. Thank you for your co-operation with this.
The school photographer will visit on 3rd November, 2020. Due to Covid restrictions, there will be no sibling photographs this year.
Alley Catz will be closed for stock-taking Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 14th October 2020
Thank you for your support during the recent weeks and months since the pandemic changed our daily lives- we really appreciate it! We have welcomed many wonderful families excited at the new term start- and you have all been amazing at following our ‘in store’ Covid 19 protocols. We also really appreciate your understanding on any supply chain issues and we have been working extremely hard to minimise these at all levels. We are currently planning our annual stocktake and would like to inform you that we will be closed for two days- Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 14th October 2020. We look forward to seeing you again soon. With best wishes, AlleyCatz School and Sportswear.