Last week, I wrote to congratulate our wonderful pupils, as they started the school year with smiles on their faces. This week, I’d like to highlight the work of our wonderful staff.
As you all know, school budgets have been cut to the bone, over the last few years, and the result has seen an inevitable reduction in staffing levels. In order to maintain the quality of educational provision, this has meant that the reduced staff must work harder and smarter. Every minute, of every day, for every member of staff, must be maximised for the benefit of our pupils.
All staff have risen to this challenge. They have carefully considered our existing routines, developed new, innovative approaches and, most importantly of all, remained flexible to meet changing pressures and demands. It is not always easy, but everyone has rolled up their sleeves, pulled together and worked with a smile on their face and a spring in their step.
Despite the cuts, our children are learning, growing in love and smiling. As headteacher, I am deeply grateful for, and appreciative of, the dedication shown by each and every member of staff. Thank you for everything you do to make our school a special place.
Mr J Wilkinson
It has been a wonderful start to the new school year. For two weeks, school has been full of smiling faces - both staff and pupils.
On Thursday, we held our first whole school mass of new year. The singing was wonderful, with the highlight being a small group of Year 6 girls, singing beautifully after communion. After mass, I was approached by a lady who taught in Catholic schools during the 1970s and 80s and she said that the ethos she had witnessed, during mass, was wonderful. She praised the respect and engagement of our pupils and their wonderful singing.
On Friday, we had a superb Sharing Assembly, where the children delighted in showing their friends their work. It was the perfect end to a lovely week.
Thank you to all our wonderful children. I told them, last week, that when school is this good, I’d happily skip the weekend and go straight to Monday.
Mr J Wilkinson
Our latest Section 50 Inspection Report has just been published. Below is their summary and recommendations. (The full report can be viewed/downloaded from the ‘Home’ page)
Summary of Inspection Findings
This is a good Catholic school.
The school is good overall in providing and promoting Catholic Education. The school’s Mission Statement “Grow in Love” clearly permeates all aspects of school life, and is well understood by the pupils. The behaviour and attitude of the pupils are good, and pupils engage well in their learning. They say that they enjoy their lessons in Religious Education.
Links with the parish are strong, and the school makes a considerable contribution to the life of the parish and the wider community. The school’s work for local, national and international charities is particularly impressive.
Since the last inspection the school has generally implemented Diocesan recommendations.
Self-evaluation systems are in place and are accurate. Provision for Religious Education and Collective Worship are good. Assessment procedures are consistent, and in line with Diocesan policy.
Given the dedication and commitment shown by the leadership of the school, there is a very good capacity for sustained improvement. The Head Teacher has a clear vision for the school, and he is ably assisted by new Religious Education Coordinator who is already having a significant impact on the Catholic Life of the school, Religious Education and Collective Worship.
Prospects for improvement are very good.
1. Develop pupil led Collective Worship at an age appropriate level
2. Challenge pupils further, through feedback, next steps marking and questioning which prompt pupils to deepen their understanding and reflect on how their faith impacts on their daily lives
3. Continue to develop the role of link Governors in monitoring and evaluating the outcomes and provision in Religious Education and the Catholic Life of the School, by engaging in the planned monitoring and evaluation activities, and reporting back to the full Governing Body any implications for the future e.g. the provision of resources, or CPD for staff.
Congratulations to all pupils, staff, parents and members of the parish. We are all very proud of our school and the parish of St Joseph’s.
Our Annual Summer Fair was a fantastic community event, despite a rather damp start. In total we made almost £3800, half of which will go to PTA funds, with the other half to the church.
Thank you so much to everyone who attended. Thank you to our sponsors and stall holders. But, most of all, thank you to the small PTA ‘Planning and Delivery Team’. Your tireless efforts are greatly appreciated.
People often talk about what a vibrant community St Joseph's was, in the past. Our Christmas and Summer Fairs prove we remain a vibrant community. Thank you.
You may or may not be aware that our school library is run by a group of School Librarians, under the close supervision of Mrs Linda Beagan. Mrs Beagan kindly volunteers to come in every Friday to keep the team (and the library) in good working order. She also organises a range of reading related activities for pupils, teaches children how to search for books and listens to groups of readers. Her enthusiasm and dedication help to foster a lifelong love of reading in our young people.
Several years ago, another significant impact of her involvement was the purchase of the Junior Librarian computer system. The system allows us to catalogue all the books and carry out issues and returns, digitally. The only drawback with this clever system is that it requires an annual licence fee! As you know, money is very tight and this year we were considering not renewing our licence.
Mrs Beagan doesn’t just foster a love of reading in our school, as she (alongside her husband) runs Colwyn Books on Abergele Road. When she heard that we were struggling to renew the licence, she kindly offered, on behalf of Colwyn Books, to pay for it herself. For this kindness, we cannot thank her enough!
So, if you are passing Colwyn Books, please pop in, say thank you and maybe buy a second hand book or two.
On Sunday, our parish celebrated Pentecost Sunday with our annual, shared lunch. This is one of the highlights of our parish calendar - an event which demonstrates our diversity and the cohesive nature of our community.
In a special mass, we heard many different languages and the church was bright with traditional costume and flags from around the world.
After mass, in the school hall (which was also wonderfully decorated) there was a Pentecost slideshow and our meal began with a prayer from Fr Frank. Young and old helped themselves to food from all around the world, provided by the families in our parish. It was all delicious. It’s not often you find yourself eating West African rice, with Malaysian Curry and Greek and Polish Side Salads.
As is usual, with any successful event, there was an awful lot of hard work going on behind the scenes. On behalf of St Joseph’s school, thank you to all those who thought so carefully about this event and worked so hard to make it such a wonderful celebration of our church community. As Margaret rightly said, just before our meal, ‘St Joseph’s is a special place!’
In a week, where many teachers have attended preliminary training sessions regarding the new Curriculum for Wales, it is fitting that we have been reminded of the joy of music and singing. It is great news that the new curriculum will emphasise the importance of the Creative Arts, alongside other areas of learning.
On Thursday, Foundation Phase pupils sang a beautiful new song, with actions, in their mass on the theme of Pentecost. The church was filled with light, colour, smiling faces and angelic voices. It was genuinely a privilege to be there.
Meanwhile, in Year 6, pupils are auditioning for lead roles in this year’s Summer Play. Acting and singing (solo) in front of a panel of three teachers is a daunting prospect and yet half the class put their names forward. Whilst all were fantastic, some were REALLY special. It must be an odd experience for a 10/11 year old child to look up at the end of a singing audition and see three of your teachers in tears! We can’t wait for the show!
Mr J Wilkinson
Da iawn, pawb!
Today, we celebrated our school Eisteddfod. Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 put on a fantastic show in the morning and Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 performed equally well in the afternoon. This included an excellent variety of singing, acting and poetry. Special praise must go to the brave children in Years 2-6 who learnt and performed poetry recitals, solo, on stage, in front of a big audience.
We also presented certificates for handwriting and Art competitions.Thank you to everyone who contributed to a wonderful day, especially the staff who prepared for the event and served as judges and the PTA for refreshments.
(More photos will follow next week)
I am delighted to announce the final totals for our school/parish efforts to raise funds to support Play Therapy in our school. This has been a massive collective effort involving pupils, parents, family, friends, parishioners and the wider community. (The figures below do not include further sums raised by Garth Butcher’s Crosswalk Snowdon)
On behalf of each child and family, who will receive vital support as a result of your generosity, thank you.
Mr J Wilkinson