If you’d to know what the new Curriculum for Wales looks like, in a Catholic school, take a look at the photos above.
Guided by Miss Copp, we have transformed our curriculum planning, with Religious Education at the core to meet our mission - to ‘Grow in Love’. In the past we focussed on scripture and read stories of people doing good things guided by that scripture. Our revised curriculum is far less passive - in Religious Education it is all about ‘Faith in Action’. So, what better way to show we understand Jesus’ message to serve others, than by playing games with, and reading to, residents of our nearest care home, Merton Place? The residents enjoyed it, the children enjoyed it and the staff from both settings felt very proud.
This is faith in action.
This is the new curriculum.
This is ‘grow in love’ in 2023.
These are difficult times - for our school, our country and the world. The news bombards us with problems and we know so many people in our community are battling with their own difficulties. In school, there are also many challenges. What can we do?
On Wednesday we held our Governors Annual Report to Parents, which was attended by a small number of parents. The meeting is an opportunity to reflect on the previous school year and consider what is going well and what needs improving. Thank you to those who were able to attend and for the points raised. One of the key issues debated was how we can better engage the whole community. We hope to find ways to make more people feel like they belong to St Joseph’s and that they can contribute to its success and improvement.
Following this meeting, the Governors met to discuss school development planning. In the current climate of budget and staffing reductions, combined with increased pupil needs, the word ‘development’ can sound a little over ambitious. We really need to consider how to keep providing what we do, with ever decreasing resources. Thank you to our Governing Body who continue to commit their time and energy to this cause.
Today, it was Polling Day. Every class voted for their representatives on Cyngor Ysgol (School Council) and Eco-Council.
Those elected onto Cyngor Ysgol will consider how the school can improve, in the same way as the Governors. This is a big responsibility. Congratulations to all who were elected - your classmates have put their trust in you.
Our Eco-Council will try to ensure that we do our bit to meet the demands of Pope Francis’ recent publication ‘Laudate Deum’. As we announced those who had been elected in Assembly, you only had to look out the window to see the urgency of the climate crisis - Brackley Avenue had been turned into a river.
So, with many challenges ahead (both big and small) thank you to the people (both big and small) who step forward to contribute to change. It may be difficult, and at times seem impossible, but working together we are strong.
Mr J Wilkinson
We held the Annual General Meeting for our PTA today which marked the end of an era and the beginning of something new. Below is my Chairperson’s report, which was presented at the meeting.
In 2023, the PTA was able to return to normal functioning, following several years of Covid impact.
In the year 2018-19, over £18,000 was paid into the PTA account and over £8,000 paid out. In 2021-22 just under £2,000 was paid in and just over £2,000 paid out. This year over £16,000 was paid in and over £13,000 paid out.
As most people are aware, budgets across education are being severely squeezed and the work of the PTA has provided valuable funds to support activities and purchase resources that would otherwise not be available.
We have paid over £1000 towards transport for trips which provide a vital (expensive) part of our curriculum provision. We have also paid over a £1000 to transform our library with a mural by local artist Gary Drew. Reading was a big focus on our school development plan and post-Covid recovery. We also funded hoodies for our Year 6 leavers.
The main fundraisers during the year have been school discos (split into Foundation Phase and Key Stage 2) plus the Christmas and Summer Fairs. We have benefitted from over £500 in parent donations and a grant from Gwynt y Mor for £750.
We have also raised over £600 for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.
It has been fantastic to see the PTA able to resume ‘normal activities’ but the year has not been without its difficulties. Despite the best intentions of everybody involved, relationships in our school/parish community have been strained and our sense of community tested.
I have served on St Joseph’s PTA for over 20 years - in that period there have been many highs and lows but the last few years, in particular, have seen a very strong committee work hard to support a school challenged by funding cuts and Covid.
As Chair, I would like to thank each and every individual who has given their time and effort to make this so effective.
It is now time for someone else to take over and ensure the continued success of our PTA. I have no doubt that the pressures on our community and the funding difficulties will continue - the school will continue to need every bit of support that the school/parish community can provide. It will also be vital that we continue to strengthen relationships with the parish.
I wish the newly elected Chair and committee all the best and will ensure that school fully supports their activities.
The following people have been elected to form the new committee. Good luck and congratulations.
Chair - James Brownsell
Secretary - Alpa Bisarya
Treasurer - John Cooper
Committee Members - Pauline Jesudason, Nyssa Richardson and Alison Laing
Mr J Wilkinson
I guess, like most workplaces, school is very busy. You don’t get much time to stop, look and think. We are all reminded, for our own wellbeing, that we should take time to explore and notice the beauty of our natural world. (And, of course, we couldn’t live in a better place to do this) In school, sadly sometimes buried under the planning, teaching, learning, assessment and busyness are moments of beauty - things that stop us in our tracks and demand we take notice. This week, there have been many of these moments. For example, a child in Reception who loves and identifies numbers up to 100 or the care shown by children in our CAFOD club. How about the big(ger) brother, leading the little brother to the happy routines of the school day or the Year 4 child suddenly declaring ‘I get it. I love Maths’. Or a final example, the Year 2 child who wrote the fantastic poem below. We do a lot of moaning, as teachers, but we know we are so lucky to be always just a moment away from another beautiful discovery. We could have listed hundreds more examples, but thank you to every child, this week, who has made an adult stop, smile and take notice - you keep us all going.