In Sunday’s Gospel, Matthew 22:15- 21, the Pharisees tried to trick Jesus by asking him if it was right to pay taxes to the Roman Emperor. The Romans ruled the area where Jesus lived; the people did not like them and did not want to have to pay money to them. But the Pharisees knew that if Jesus said this out loud, he would get into trouble with the authorities and arrested. Jesus told the Pharisees to look at a coin. It had Caesar’s face on it, so he said “Pay Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and God what belongs to God.”
Jesus is telling us that the most important responsibility we have is to God; our lives belong to God. God created us and we are all an important part of His Kingdom. So we should, spend our lives carrying out God’s will.
What will you do this week to show that you love God and are trying to live your life the way God wants? In school, our Harvest Festival, St Swithun’s Stars and Mission Heroes help us focus on how well we are following God’s Word.
Closing prayer: God of all, you call us to love you and follow your Word. Be with us as we try to care for one another, help one another, share with one another and work together to make the world a fairer place for everyone to live. Amen.
Thank you to all those people who completed the parent survey during the recent parents’ evenings. On Tuesday, we used an electronic version in the classrooms, but it was a little clumsy so we changed to an old-fashioned paper version on Wednesday with a much better response!
The headlines are:
1. Curriculum Evenings / working alongside your child
There was a healthy enthusiasm for most of the suggestions on the survey. The three most popular choices were:
- Expectations in reading, writing and mathematics – introduction, followed by a separate workshop for Y1/2, Y3/4 and Y5/6
- Improving mathematics, with a focus on mental maths
- Developing your own and you child’s Growth Mindset. Dates for these workshops will follow.
The most popular choice for parents of children in Ladybirds and Bumblebees was to know how to support children improve their reading, so EY staff will organise that session.
2. Communication with parents
Firstly, 90% of respondents said they read the newsletter!! Overwhelmingly, parents were happy with the content.
The preferred methods of communication from school were very clear –
There were helpful comments; for example
- include more about homework, photos from class assemblies.
- A few parents would like a printed version
- Note: they are available in school but if you would like one sent home via your child’s book bag, please let the office know.
- There was very limited interest in using Facebook or Twitter –
- although we are looking to try a pilot by using Instagram and Twitter to communicate with Year 6 parents while the children are on their residential.
3. Volunteers for after school clubs
Thank you to the 16 people who volunteered to help run a club on Wednesday. Others who attended parents’ evening on Tuesday also offered to help but used the anonymous electronic survey, and did not leave their names. Please let the office know if you were one of these people. Many of those offered cooking, which will be great. We had some good suggestions for other clubs too. Mrs Verhiest will coordinate these clubs and be in touch will volunteers – probably not straight away so don’t be disappointed if you’re not contacted next week!
Volunteering at St Swithun’s
We had many people who were kind enough to volunteer in school last year and helped in all sorts of ways; e.g. listening to readers, helping in a classroom, helping with school trips and one-off curriculum events. If you are interested in volunteering, please let us know by email, correspondence@st- swithuns.portsmouth.sch.uk or a note to your child’s class teacher or school office. A short induction will be given to all volunteers by Mrs. Verhiest or Mr. Olive.
STAR OF THE WEEK
Our school star this week is ‘Putting Others First’. This is because if we follow this respective rule then we are showing others compassionate love as well as setting a great example.
CAFOD / Harvest Festival
Thank you for the tremendous response to our ‘Brighten Up Harvest’. We raised £314.42 for CAFOD and their work in El Salvador. And thank you to all of our families for your generous contributions of food for Harvest Festival. We collected an amazing amount of food for Portsmouth Food Bank. They have passed on their thanks to all the children and families and would like you to know what a difference your donations will make. If you would like to continue to help Portsmouth Food Bank, we will have a box under the table in the reception area for donations. Mrs Wilding will collect all donations each month and deliver them to Portsmouth Food Bank.
Christmas Shoe Box Appeal
We will be supporting the Christmas Shoe Box appeal this year. Please save your shoe boxes! If you are unable to fill a shoe box but want to contribute, please bring your donations into school and we will make up the boxes. Please include items such as:
Toys that children will immediately embrace such as dolls or stuffed toys (with CE label), toy trucks, harmonica, yo-yo, skipping rope, ball, small puzzles etc.
School Supplies such as pens, pencils & sharpeners, crayons or felt pens, stamps & ink pad sets, writing pads or notebooks & paper, solar calculators, colouring & picture books etc.
Hygiene Items such as toothbrush and toothpaste, bars of wrapped soap, comb or hairbrush, flannel.
Other Items such as a hat, cap, gloves or scarf, sunglasses, hair accessories, jewellery set, wind up torch, wrapped sweets (best before-date must be at least March of the following year).
Please do not include used or damaged items, war related items such as toy guns, play soldiers or knives; chocolate or other food items; liquids or lotions of any type including bubbles; medicines; hand-made or knitted stuffed toys; anything of a political, racial or religious nature; sharp objects; glass containers, mirrors or fragile items; playing cards of the 4-suit variety; clothing other than as listed above.
Last week, doctors for children came to teach us how to do CPR. We practised doing CPR on resuscitation dolls. The lady told us first we had to check if they are breathing or talking. The lady told us to lock our hands on the chest. You call 999 for the ambulance. The ambulance will tell you where the nearest defibrillator is and what you need to do with it. It was fun and now we know how to do CPR.
Marie and Isabel, Kangaroos
We are pleased to announce that St Swithun’s has agreed to participate in an NHS public health project called ‘Inspire’, which aims to improve treatment of asthma in children. We need your help though! The project uses a free absence-reporting app called ‘Studybugs’. Whether or not your child suffers from asthma, please could you download the app, or register on the ‘Studybugs’ website, and use it to tell us whenever your child’s ill and unable to attend school. Get the app now.
You can read more about the Inspire project here. As well as helping improve treatment of asthma, Studybugs also helps us track what illnesses are going around and is a convenient, efficient and secure method for reporting absence – so it should make life a little bit easier all around. Thank you for your help.
As we are a Catholic school, the way we are funded for capital projects are funded is different from other schools. Capital projects include improvements to the building or significant IT costs, and the government, through the diocese only funds 90% of the costs. The school needs to fund the other 10%, which it does through the Building Fund. We pay the diocese every year and collect the money through parental contributions. The school has to pay so any short fall in the contributions comes out of the general money spent on running the school. If you are working, contributions you can Gift Aid your contributions so the school can claim 20% tax relief. Please do make sure you are up to date with your payments of £30.00 annually.
At the moment only 39% of parents have contributed.
High Five Netball Tournament
Our Year 6 Netball team took part in the High Five tournament on Thursday 12th October and have been proudly showing off their medals in school. The ‘A’ Team came second overall with fantastic wins in 3 of their matches, with score of 5-1, 5-0 and 4-0. The ‘B’ Team came 4th overall. A huge well done to all who took part.
FOSSS Meetings –
We have a fantastic group of parents who regularly hold events to raise funds for many projects throughout our school.
We want to make sure the FOSSS meetings are available to as many parents and staff as possible, we are therefore trialing a change of time for every 2nd FOSSS meeting. The next meeting be on Friday 3rd Nov, 3:45pm-5:00pm in the school. While we won’t be able to offer any formal crèche facilities there would be an area for children to play games and watch tv. We are hoping the older kids will help look after younger kids to enable parents to participate. This meeting will focus on the actions for the winter disco (16th Nov) and plans for the Christmas Fayre (9th Dec). After half-term look out for details on how and when to order FOSSS Christmas Cards which have your own child’s design.
Magical Maths is coming to St Swithun’s Catholic Primary School
Magical Maths is a super fun after school club designed to boost children’s confidence and better engage them with maths. The club runs for an hour a week after school starting Wednesday 8th November and will run for 6 weeks. Each week has a different theme and includes a dressed up character including Professor Poopenshtinken (maths genius), the Mathemagician, Stately Holmes (the maths detective) and the Olympic Mathletes! For more information and to sign up, visit: www.magicalmathsclub.com or call 02392 983505. Places are limited so sign up quick!
Great South Run
Ting (Year 4) is joining the Great South Junior Run (2.5k) on Saturday 21st October to fundraise for LifeHouse . The LifeHouse is a resource, support centre and kitchen that serves hot food in Albert Road, Southsea. They aim to target immediate needs and issues surrounding homelessness and addiction for those in need in Southsea and Portsmouth. To sponsor Ting, please visit her justgiving page; https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ tingxuanyu
Our SIMS Manager, Mrs Robinson is also taking part in the Great South Run on Sunday 22nd October. And Starfish’s Mrs Kirk is running for her chosen charity; please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ lisa-kirk6. We wish them all the best of luck over the weekend.
These will be held at St Swithun’s Church commencing at 10am. We look forward to welcoming you at your child’s own class mass.
These will be held in the School Hall every Wednesday afternoon. Please join us for your own child’s class assembly, which begins at 3.10pm for which you may arrive at the School Office from 3pm.
Harry Potter – A History of Magic
In partnership with the British Library, Portsmouth Libraries will be capturing the traditions of folklore and magic at the heart of the Harry Potter stories, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Portsmouth Central Library will be hosting an exhibition from 23rd October 2017 to 28th February 2018 of twelve panels of information and images from the British Library’s exhibition in London. There will be a range of related activities in public libraries over half term for Harry Potter fans.
Harriet Muncaster event at Waterstones
Waterstones will be hosting a special story time event with Harriet Muncaster, author of the ‘Isadora Moon’ series. The event is on Saturday 21st October from 1-2pm. The books are aimed at 5-8 year olds and the event will be suitable for ages 3+.
Helping Hands, Portsmouth
Helping Hands is a charity which helps homeless people in Portsmouth. A company owned by one of our parents is supporting the charity this year and are asking for your support with donations. Food, clothing, and toiletries are amongst the items needed this winter. For more information, please contact Sarah Banks on 07891 984933.
Update on the Edith Stein Catholic Schools Multi-Academy Trust (MAT)
Last week, we were informed that the Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth had made a decision to pause its MAT plans. The Diocese had wanted all Catholic schools in the Portsmouth, Havant, Fareham and Gosport area to become part of the Edith Stein MAT. When the decision to form the MAT was made, the government was minded to force all schools to become academies; however, that is no longer the case and the DfE have other priorities. The Diocese recognise that schools are under considerable financial pressures currently and moving into a MAT will add to these.
The Bishop and Trustees will expect local Catholic schools to continue to work together but have, ‘decided to take a prudential pause in the academy conversion programme until the political outlook is more certain.’ A copy of the Diocese statement to schools can be found at:
Please note that the dates on the Portsmouth City Council website DO NOT include our Inset days. These can be found here in our newsletters, or on our website.
Monday 19th February 2018
Monday 23rd July 2018
Tuesday 24th July 2018