Croeso i Blwyddyn Pump – Welcome to Year 5

 

Dear Parents and Carers of Year 5 Pupils,

My name is Alex Smith, and I am really looking forward to working with your extremely friendly and welcoming children this academic year. I will be supported by Mrs Lodwig every morning, and I am sure the children will benefit from her experience and enthusiasm.

I have already been impressed with the creativity and musicality of the class, and I know that the children are going to love the topics that we have planned this year. We will start by learning about Ancient Egypt (and its influence on modern artforms), and look at how the ‘pharaoh’ system compares and contrasts to modern politics in our country. I am sure that your child will entertain you with lots of gruesome facts about mummification, and we will be inviting you to a class assembly about our Egyptian studies in the near future.

Later in the term we will learn about space, followed by Welsh princedoms and the Norman invasion, and finally a topic called ‘Time Traveller’ about the ways that we are changing, both as individuals and society. Our topics have a common thread of  exploration, conquest and sustainability, and we will think a lot about the impact we are having on our planet.

When it comes to home learning, I only set homework tasks that I think will be genuinely helpful to prepare children for upcoming work, or will reinforce what we have recently studied. Therefore, I do expect the children to complete the homework on time. I will be teaching the class how to use a homework planner (as preparation for secondary school) and the children will have to jot down notes about the task as well as record the date by which the homework should brought into school. I will also expect the children to read regularly at home. One of the targets for our whole school this year is to increase learners’ independence, and I think it will be really good for the children to be responsible for maintaining a planner.

There is a section on each week of the planner that you can use to send me a message; the children have been asked to bring them to school every day and to show me if there is a message inside. But of course, if anything is causing you concern, please do telephone me right away, or ask to speak to me at drop off/collection time – I find it is often much easier to just have a real conversation!

If I have something to share with you, then I am most likely to contact you by phone. You know your child better than I do, so I might get in touch if I am trying to understand why they are feeling or behaving in a certain way. I have high expectations regarding behaviour, centring on the children respecting themselves and each other. I cannot tolerate behaviour in which children harm/sabotage themselves or others, and must insist on a learning environment in which everyone feels safe and valued. That being said, part of my job is to teach personal, social and emotional skills, and all learning involves making mistakes. I will try to understand children who have made behavioural mistakes, and help them to put things right, and come up with strategies to modify their behaviour in future. We will all be learning about resilience strategies this year, which will include thinking about how we react to disappointment and annoyances, and whether our reactions benefit ourselves and others. Please keep me informed if there are any issues that I need to be aware of.

We will also be learning about online safety throughout the year, and taking the occasional moment to check that our media usage is beneficial to our general happiness. Please regularly check with your child that they are not using social media sites for which they are below the minimum age-limit, and that they are not allowing electronic devices to stop them from getting a decent night’s sleep. Young brains really need sleep in order to keep learning properly!

I do believe that educational visits really enhance the learning experience, but I am also aware that the current price of fuel makes coach travel expensive, especially when the cost is only being shared between 21 pupils. I will try my best to find some trip venues that we can access by public transport, or join with another class to share the cost of a coach, as we can only realistically go on visits when every pupil pays. In the summer term, there will also be the exciting opportunity of a residential visit for Years 5 and 6!

Please make sure that your child has a PE kit in school each day. It should include shorts, and a T-shirt in their team colour for indoor PE, as well as outdoor clothing and trainers in case our lesson takes place outside. PE lessons will typically be on Mondays or Tuesdays, but things can unexpectedly change, so it is best to just leave the kit in school all week, and take it home over the weekend when it needs to be washed. Children will only be excused from PE lessons or outdoor playtimes if they have a note (or message in their planner) signed by the parent or carer. Please remember to tell me as soon as your child is able to fully participate again! We will have swimming lessons in January and February, but I will write to you again before they begin.

I believe that every child in my class has an equal right to education, however, this does not mean that each child’s learning experiences will be exactly the same. All children have strengths which must be challenged, and all children have areas with which they need support. I teach them that they should not compare themselves to others, but should only compare their current attainment to the past learning, to see their own improvement. I would be very grateful if you could reinforce this message at home.

The school weeks fly by so quickly that every moment of learning seems precious. Please support your child to be on time and to have excellent attendance – it really does make a difference to their academic progress and general sense of well-being. In the mornings, please be mindful of where you are parking, and insist that children walk on the pavements as they approach the school. Please bolt the school gate behind you when you leave as the children’s safety is paramount.

I look forward to getting to know you and your families, and will try to be available whenever you need me. Remember to check the Treuchaf Twitter account, read newsletters on the school website (under the ‘news’ tab) as well as checking event dates (under the ‘calendar’ tab).

Kind regards,

Mr Smith (and on behalf of Mrs Lodwig)