As we start to round up our first term of the academic year, I am looking forward to welcoming Mrs Mcleish, Vice Principal, back from maternity leave on 7th November. She has already been in school to keep in touch and work with me and Mr Alabi to ensure a smooth return to work for her.
As pleased as I am to welcome Mrs Mcleish back, I am also very sad to be saying goodbye to Mr Alabi at the end of next week. Mr Alabi has been an excellent addition to our team and has been a superb temporary Vice Principal in Mrs Mcleish’s absence. I am extremely grateful for all his hard work at Horsmonden and he will be missed by us all!
Mr Alabi has secured a permanent position of Assistant Principal at a school near his home. He has been travelling for over an hour to get here every day and is very much looking forward to a small lie in each morning after half term! I have no doubt that Mr Alabi will make a success of his new role and the new school is very lucky to have him. We will all miss Mr Alabi and wish him all the very best for his future in education.
Pets as Therapy Dog – Dudley
I am pleased to announce that Mrs Maynard, our retired SENCo, will be visiting us once a week, starting after half term, with her dog Dudley. Dudley is a 4 year old Shih Tzu who is a certified Pets As Therapy school dog.
Therapy dogs have been a regular addition to many UK schools for at least the last 5 years, and the research to show the benefits of children working with a therapy dog is in abundance. Evidence indicates that benefits include:
- Cognitive – companionship with a dog stimulates memory, problem-solving and game-playing
- Social – a dog provides a positive mutual topic for discussion, encourages responsibility, wellbeing and focused interaction with others.
- Emotional – a school dog improves self-esteem, acceptance from others and lifts mood, often provoking laughter and fun. Dogs can also teach compassion and respect for other living things as well as relieving anxiety.
- Physical – interaction with a furry friend reduces blood pressure, provides tactile stimulation, assists with pain management, gives motivation to move, walk and stimulates the senses.
- Environmental – a dog in a school increases the sense of a family environment, with all of the above benefits continuing long after the school day is over.
- Reading – reading to dogs has been proven to help children develop literacy skills and build confidence, through both the calming effect the dog’s presence has on children as well as the fact that a dog will listen to children read without being judgemental or critical. This comforting environment helps to nurture children’s enthusiasm for reading and provides them with the confidence to read aloud.
Mrs Maynard brought Dudley into school yesterday to familiarise him with the building and classrooms. Some of your children might have mentioned how adorable he is! The reason we have chosen Dudley is because he is child-friendly, well behaved, gentle mannered, affectionate and he has a low shedding coat. We have consulted with Pets As Therapy to ensure that correct safety and hygiene procedures are in place for both children and Dudley.
Starting after half term, Mrs Maynard and Dudley will be working with identified children only. Parental permission will be sought before any work is started, as I am fully aware that contact with dogs could be worrying for some children and parents, particularly if they suffer from allergies.
Please see the diary dates below for details of some of our Christmas celebrations this year.
Breakfast and After School Club
The younger children at Afterschool Club and Breakfast Club love playing mums and dads with the babies. However, the babies are currently naked and are quite cold! I am kindly asking parents to donate any tiny baby clothes or dolls clothes that they no longer need so the children can keep the babies warm!
In addition to tiny baby clothes, we are looking for simple, short 2/3/4 player games that are complete.
Thank you for all the donations received last week, but we could still make use of more.
Children should be in school every day unless they are too ill, attendance is mandatory, as set out by the Department of Education. We have high expectations of behaviour, learning and attendance at Horsmonden and will use the full extent of our Attendance Policy to support this.
Parents should aim for 100% attendance for their children. When children are not in school regularly it not only affects their learning, but also their behaviour, routines and ability to make and retain friends. We often find that those children that have friendship issues are the same children who have poor attendance. There is also a direct correlation between attendance and attainment. Children have missed out on too much education over the last couple of years and I am asking for your support in ensuring your children are in school every day.
Attendance will continue to be monitored daily, which includes the involvement of other agencies and requesting penalty notices where necessary to ensure all children have the best possible chance of being successful at Horsmonden. Already this term, I have had to refer a couple of families for Penalty Notices and completed a home visit due to not being able to reach a family when their child was absent.
As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to find me at the gate in the morning or afternoon, or alternatively, make an appointment via the school office.
2022/23 Diary Dates
- Monday 17th October – Year 4 Trip to Temper Temper
- Wednesday 19th October – FoHPS Bangers and Bingo
- Friday 21st October – End of Term 1
- Monday 7th November – Start of Term 2 for children
- Tuesday 8th November – Open Morning, drop in between 9:30am and 11:30am
- Wednesday 9th November – Year 6 Weekly Swimming Lessons resume
- Tuesday 15th November – Flu Vaccinations
- Tuesday 15th November – Parent Consultations, 3:30pm-5:30pm
- Wednesday 16th November – Parent Consultations, 3:30pm-5:30pm
- Friday 18th November – Children in Need
- Thursday 24th November – Profiles Photography (individual photos)
- Tuesday 29th November – Open Morning, drop in between 9:30am-11:30am
- Friday 9th December – FoHPS Christmas Present Fair
- Tuesday 13th December – Year 6 Wreath Making Workshop
- Wednesday 14th December – Christmas Lunch
- Thursday 15th December, 2pm & 5pm – KS1 Nativity (Years 1 and 2)
- Friday 16th December, 2pm – EYFS Nativity
- Monday 19th December, 5:30pm – (Provisional Date TBC) KS2 Christmas Carol Service at St Margaret’s Church
- Tuesday 20th December – End of Term 2
- Wednesday 4th January – INSET Day for staff
- Thursday 5th January – Start of Term 3 for children
- Wednesday 8th February – FoHPS Valentines Disco, 3:20pm-5pm
- Thursday 9th February – End of Term 3 for children
- Friday 10th February – INSET Day for staff
- Monday 20th February – Start of Term 4
- Friday 10th March – FoHPS Break the Rules Day
- Monday 13th March – Class Photos
- Friday 17th March – Fabulous Females Afternoon, drop in between 1:30pm and 3:00pm
- Friday 31st March – FoHPS Easter Egg Hunt
- Friday 31st March – End of Term 4
- Monday 17th April – INSET Day for staff
- Tuesday 18th April – Start of Term 5 for children
- Monday 1st May – Bank Holiday (school closed)
- Friday 26th May – End of Term 5
- Monday 5th June – Start of Term 6
- Friday 9th to 16th June – Year 6 Bikeability
- Saturday 10th June – FoHPS Summer Fair, 12pm-4pm
- Friday 16th June – Marvellous Males Afternoon, drop in between 1:30pm and 3:00pm
- Monday 19th to 23rd June – Year 6 Residential (PGL)
- Wednesday 12th July – FoHPS End of Year Disco, 3:30pm-5:00pm
- Friday 21st July – End of Term 6