Despite two days of closure last week, children in EYFS, Year 1 and Year 2 all shone brightly during their nativities on Thursday and Friday. The children were amazing! Those with speaking parts said their lines loudly and clearly, everyone sang with enthusiasm and all remembered their dances, but most importantly, they had fun! Thank you to parents for your positive feedback following the performances. The whole EYFS and KS1 team did a fantastic job of bringing the shows together and their feedback means a lot.
Last night, it was the turn of KS2 and time for their Christmas Carol Service. Despite the lower than usual turnout, the children sang loudly and certainly made up for those that were missing. It was a lovely evening of singing and readings, with some crazy dance moves thrown in at the end! Well done to the KS2 team and their classes for bringing the term to a close on a high!
For pictures of all events, please follow our Facebook page here.
It is with huge regret that I have to inform you that Mr Mitchell has made the difficult decision not to continue working at Horsmonden Primary Academy. I am as shocked as you are, as is the staff team.
As communicated with Year 6 parents previously, Mr Mitchell was due to step back from teaching in January and take on more of a supportive role due to health reasons. However, he has since made the difficult decision to leave teaching completely. None of us knew before the end of last week that Mr Mitchell wouldn’t be able to return after the Christmas break and we are all going to miss him hugely.
Due to Mr Mitchell previously deciding to step back from teaching, a replacement teacher was recruited in November, Mrs Stockbridge. Luckily, she has already been in for three days and knows the children and the school ready for her start in January. Mrs Stockbridge is a very experienced teacher who has worked across the primary age range including leading teaching and learning in Year 6 in a previous role. I am delighted to be welcoming her to Horsmonden in January and I have no doubt she will continue the excellent work in Year 6 started by Mr Mitchell.
Other Staffing News
I am pleased to announce that two new Teaching Assistants will be joining our team after Christmas. Mrs Parker, parent of two children at Horsmonden, and Miss Fisk, will be starting in Year 2 and Year 4 respectively. They both have experience of working with children as TAs and are looking to broaden their experience.
Having two extra Teaching Assistants will add to the capacity of our staff team and ensure the children of Horsmonden are fully supported and their individual needs are met.
Coffee Morning – 2 Stars and a Wish
Thank you to those parents who attended our Christmas Coffee Morning. It is always useful to hear your thoughts on what we are doing well and what we could do better. Communication is always a tricky area to get right and I am pleased that feedback from some parents recognised that we are getting better with this. However, there is still more to do. Thank you for your suggestions on how to improve the class newsletters. I will be discussing this with the teaching team in the new year.
One of the key strengths identified by many parents is our ethos. Parents commented on the welcoming, family, nurturing feel of the school as a whole. This is something every visitor also comments on, so our ethos is clearly a selling point of the school and is evident in everything we do here. In addition to this, relationships between staff and children were highlighted as a strength.
Clubs were also mentioned as a strength, as was our inquiry based curriculum, the standard of teaching, high expectations of behaviour, dress and presentation, school facilities and Mrs Janes!
I am thrilled that our strengths are shining through, but as always we will not stand still and will continue to improve in other areas such as communication, including the class newsletters.
There are two main projects that are next on the horizon: the polytunnel and the playground.
The polytunnel covers the old swimming pool, which is now dilapidated and out of commission. It is not viable to revive the pool, despite many years of trying by FoHPS. The new plan for the area is an allotment.
The Trust Projects Team have agreed to clear it out, remove the swimming pool and create raised beds for an allotment. The frame will be assessed, and if sound, will be recovered. I am hopeful that this project will begin before the end of this academic year.
The Horsmonden Huddle identified the need for more climbing equipment at playtimes and lunchtimes. As a result I have begun the search for a new climbing frame/play structure to add to our existing equipment. FoHPS have very kindly agreed to sponsor the new frame and more details about this will be revealed in due course.
Congratulations to those children who have achieved 100% attendance this term, the most difficult term to achieve it! The lucky children all received their certificates in school today.
Thank you to all the parents who promote good attendance and arrive at school on time. These are both important qualities for their future working lives and help children develop resilience.
Christmas Reading Challenge
Developing a love of reading is key to a child’s development and learning. Not only do they need to learn the skills of reading, but they also need to enjoy reading a variety of books and literature. When a child loves reading, their writing benefits and this is evident at Horsmonden where the most passionate readers achieve the best outcomes in writing.
To promote a love of reading across the school, we will be inviting the children to take part in a range of activities. The first of which, Mrs Mcleish has created the Christmas Reading Challenge.
All children have been given a competition sheet to take home and complete over the Christmas break. Children wishing to take part should complete each reading challenge, get their entries signed by a parent and return the sheet by Friday 6th January. All completed challenge sheets will be entered into a prize draw.
New Families Joining Horsmonden
Thank you to everyone who is speaking so positively about their child’s experience at Horsmonden Primary Academy to prospective parents. During the two open mornings, and subsequent individual tours, it became clear to me that the reputation of the school has grown hugely among the parent body and wider community. I am so pleased that our nurturing ethos is being noticed and celebrated. That, along with our mission statement of ‘encouraging lifelong learning and developing inquiring, knowledgeable individuals’ is what makes Horsmonden special.
This has resulted in a further 10 children joining Horsmonden in January!
As we end this year and look forward to Christmas with our families, I would like to wish you all a happy, healthy Christmas and a prosperous new year.
See you all back on Thursday 5th January 2023.
2022/23 Diary Dates
- Tuesday 20th December – Christmas Jumper Day, End of Term 2
- Wednesday 4th January – INSET Day for staff
- Thursday 5th January – Start of Term 3 for children
- Wednesday 11th January – Swimming Lessons start for Year 4 (further details to follow)
- Wednesday 11th January, 3pm – FoHPS Meeting
- Wednesday 8th February – FoHPS Valentines Disco, 3:20 to 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 from 1:30 to 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, 12 to 4pm
- Friday 16th June – Marvellous Males Afternoon, drop in from 1:30 to 3:00pm
- Monday 19th to 23rd June – Year 6 Residential (PGL)
- Wednesday 12th July – FoHPS End of Year Disco, 3:30 to 5:00pm
- Friday 21st July – End of Term 6