2 May 2021

May the month of Mary

May is the month of Mary and in school, children will come together to say a decade of the rosary as a prayer to Mother Mary. Pope Francis’ message to us all is ‘During the month of May, let us lift our eyes towards the Mother of God, our consolation and hope, and let us pray the Rosary together to face the trials of the moment together and to be even more united as a spiritual family’.

We will be honouring our Lady by holding our usual Marian procession before the end of this half term. It is a beautiful service where children lay flowers at Mary’s statue and it ends with two children crowning our Lady’s statue with a crown of flowers. Details will be sent to you nearer the time. It is a chance for the school to come together and we will of course observe all safety guidelines. Do click on the following link and share it with your child. It helps them to understand the importance of saying the Rosary and the meaning behind each mystery of the Rosary.

Click for the Vatican Rosary Index


The power of pupil voice

At St Joseph’s, our pupil voice continues to be strong. Our children are creative thinkers who are confident their ideas will be heard. This week, year 3 came up with the idea of running lunchtime maths clubs. It began with a challenge to calculate square numbers. The children then decided to try and persuade me to allow them to run the club. They organised children to sign up and met with me to work out a timetable. All very impressive and persuasive, resulting in maths clubs from next week! Excellent work Year 3 and great initiative!

Added to this, Lotti, Hiyabel and Kenaya in Year 4 have asked me to consider a school pet. They did not waste time and asked other children in their year group to write persuasive letters. I have to say it’s a great idea and one I will certainly consider. Do take time to read their letters. They have certainly thought it through and presented a strong case.

Click here for Year 3’s letters for a school pet


Reading for pleasure

“A child who reads is an adult who thinks, today a reader, tomorrow a leader”

The more children read, the more they will know. Good writers are people who read daily and enjoy a range of texts. As part of our drive on reading for pleasure, we have refurbished a new Library area in the Garden Hall. Thank you to Mr and Mrs Kelly (their sons attended the school over twelve years ago) for their generous donations of books and to those of you who sent books in over the past weeks.

We will be setting up a fund-raising page on our website to purchase more books and resources for the library. Our aim is to invite you to come in with your child and share books. We also plan on running reading workshops and adult groups for our school community. I would love to hear from anyone interested in helping with this and any ideas you may have to improve parental engagement. Please email me on [email protected]


Reading in school

It was difficult to change reading books regularly through the pandemic as a result of guidelines and restrictions. However, now that restrictions are easing, we will be able to continue with normal practices. Class teachers will be encouraging children to change their books regularly and choose texts carefully. Infant children follow a reading scheme linked to their phonics, but also choose books to read for pleasure as do the older year groups.

Please do read with your child every day and encourage them to be independent readers who love to read. If you have any questions do email your child’s class teacher on the year group email. Please do take time to look at the following websites with advice on supporting your child with their reading.

Words for life
Reading rockets



Please do ensure your child completes homework set and hands it in on time. ‘Time to Write’ is an important initiative we implemented during lockdown. We are continuing with it as it provides children with an opportunity to write at home and for you to engage with your child’s writing, by commenting on their work.


Learning beyond the classroom

Outdoor learning continues to be a big part of children’s learning and development. We are looking to resume trips and other events, previously on hold owing to the pandemic. Ms Bickmore has arranged for the Young Shakespeare Company to come into school in June to work with Years 5 & 6 and has applied for tickets to the Royal Ballet for junior children in the Autumn term. Our outdoor areas – gardening plots, forest areas and school environment provide the perfect opportunity for children to engage in outdoor projects whilst learning about sustainability and climate change. Moving forward, we would like to resume trips, workshops and bringing in motivational speakers to work with our children.


The National Daily Mile Day – 30th April 2021

Congratulations to all our children and staff for taking part in the daily mile on Friday. This was part of a national initiative promoting the daily mile.

Thanks to Mrs Mangan, the daily mile is embedded in our school life, so the children did not have any problem completing this activity. Excellent work St Joseph’s, I look forward to seeing many of you compete in future marathons and Mrs Mangan without a doubt will continue to inspire and lead us in this challenge.



“There’s no time like the present, and no substitute for being present. Days off school add up to lost learning”

Congratulations to the many children who are always on time and have excellent attendance. Our aim is to have an overall attendance each week of at least 98%. I am confident we can reach this but it does depend on all children maintaining good attendance. If your child is unwell, then, of course, do not send them in but always contact the school office for advice. I will not be able to authorise any absence that is not supported with a medical reason or paperwork where appropriate. We are more than happy to support you if your child is experiencing difficulties coming into school, so please do let us know.

Mrs Gallagher (Deputy Headteacher) will be sending out an Attendance newsletter this week with further information.


Celebrating acts of kindness

We are all role models to our children through our behaviour, attitude and interaction with people around us. We do not spend enough time acknowledging the many positives within our school community, and sometimes these positives can be overshadowed. We have amazing children and a school community to be proud of and now we need to look to the future and all the things we will achieve together.

I think it is important to celebrate acts of kindness whether they happen in or outside of our school community. So, this week I would like to celebrate and thank Caleb, Sebastian and their mum Natalie for helping a neighbour cross a busy road. Our neighbour is partially-sighted and traffic was fast flowing. Both Caleb and Sebastian waited patiently supporting each other while their mum helped our neighbour across the road. Thank you not only for this act of kindness but for always being so positive and cheerful throughout the school day.


Important dates for your diary

School will be closed on the following days:

Monday, 3rd May 2021 – May Bank holiday – Public holiday

Thursday, 6th May 2021 – Polling Day. The Infant school will be used as a Polling Station. Therefore, the Nursery, Infant and Junior Schools will be closed. Teachers will be based in the junior school and participate in training, but school will not be open to children. Work will be uploaded onto Google Classrooms.

Future dates:

Thursday, 5th May 2021 – International Portuguese Language Day
The infant school have been learning Portuguese since September 2020 and continued via zoom to access lessons during lockdown. We are delighted that these sessions now take place in school. To celebrate this new initiative, we will be hosting Portuguese workshops, activities and an assembly for the whole school. We even have accomplished Portuguese author, Isabel Stillwell visiting the school (virtually) and reading to our children! Please see the letter from Miss De Melo with details of activities for the day.

Date TBC – Portuguese School
Moving forward, we are working with the Portuguese Consulate to see if we can offer after-school and/or weekend sessions at St Joseph’s for families who would like to access this provision. Once information is finalised, details will be shared. I understand that many families from our Portuguese community travel great distances after school to attend ‘Portuguese school’. This would not only help our families, but strengthen our links with the wider community.

Monday, 17th May 2021 – School Photographs
Please note that advance warning has been given and the date has been up on our website. A text reminder will be sent shortly before the date, but it will be the parents’ responsibility to remember.

Monday, 31st May 2021 – Friday, 4th June 2021– Half term / School is closed

Friday, 18th June 2021 – Inset day
School will be closed to children, but staff will be in for professional development training sessions

Thursday, 22nd July 2021 – End of the academic year
Please note that this is a day earlier than previously advertised as the school was open to pupils on Friday, 12th February (it was not used as inset day).

All important dates are on the school calendar on our website – click here to view


Mrs L Fernandes