News HOME 2022-3

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Summer term 2023

16th May

Contributions for trips and visits

Thank you to all families who have indicated that they will pay for both the bed and board and voluntary contribution for activities at Conway and Pettypool residentials. Voluntary contributions from families who can afford them are vital if school trips and visits are to remain part of children's education. ...

The reason was ask for voluntary is because it would be unlawful for us to make contributions compulsory. If we didn't ask for and receive so many voluntary contributions, there would be no school trips or residentials. At Kingsmead, trips and visits have been inclusive for every family because of decisions taken by leaders and governors when the school opened in 2004. Firstly, we only offer trips and visits that most families can afford to support. We do not inflate the voluntary contribution to cover any costs other than your own children. We do not plan foreign or other overly expensive visits; if families can't (or won't) pay voluntary contributions, we pick up the deficit from school. We provide bursaries from school fund not only to families in receipt of free school meals but to many others who are in more challenging economic circumstances. Keeping residential visits to two over children's seven years in primary school, reduces what we ask for from families. 

We consider other ways to help families with school trips and visits. When we take the wind and string band up to the Cheshire Show, the transport is funded from school, a way of us saying thank you to children for their contribution to music and to their parents for supporting by paying for lessons and encouraging practice. The KFA have supported some visits to keep costs down, such as the Lower Key Stage 2 Arts trip which was heavily subsidised. We have planned Pettypool to avoid the cost of a coach. Parents and carers support with getting children to and from sporting competitions.

Almost all families indicate on the forms for visits that they will either pay the voluntary contribution or apply for a bursary. Thank you; whether a bursary or voluntary contribution, these are recorded as funding when we report to governors on any losses incurred from a trip. However, where families make the choice to not pay a voluntary contribution and do not apply for a bursary, this is recorded as a loss, is reported to Governors and will be used in future decision making as to the viability of some trips. 

Bursaries are provided by school from the funds we have coming in to benefit all our children. Our funding comes mainly from taxpayers and also from families' contributions to find raising in school. If people choose to neither apply for a bursary or make a voluntary contribution they are in effect asking other parents, carers or taxpayers, many who could be on lower incomes than they are, to subsidise their children.

Trips and visits are more than a bolt-on to make learning 'fun.' They are key to enriching learning, making it deeper, more memorable and taking learning out of the classroom and into the world. Residential visits are always cited by children as real highlights of their primary school experience. On residential visits children learn so many skills that will not only enrich their lives and give new opportunities but learn about working together to achieve a goal, develop the respect for others and cooperation that we all need if we are to thrive in our work lives and our community.

I hope this information is helpful to families in understanding why we ask for voluntary contributions and why trips just can't go ahead without them. 

12th May

School Meal contract

From 1st June 2023 the price per meal will increase by 27p to £2.68. We apologise for the short notice. Edsential have communicated with schools their reasons for this which are included below. 

From school's point of view, Mrs Rutter-Brown and Mrs Taylor our business manager, supported by governors, will continue to consider every contract for both quality of service and cost. In comparison to many school meal providers Edsential provide a very good standard of food and we will bear all factors in mind when making future decisions to award contracts. Click below to see the message from Edsential.

Dear schools,

Following our recent communication regarding our 23/24 prices, we wanted to take the time to explain our new meal price increase in more detail and provide further context and transparency to the circumstances our industry is currently facing. Whilst we appreciate the increase is significant, particularly when your budgets are being squeezed from every angle, please be assured that we have worked incredibly hard to keep the increase significantly below the average rate of inflation.

UK food prices are rising at the fastest rate in over 45 years (ONS - Office for National Statistics), with the annual rate of food inflation sat at 19%, though Which? has reported supermarket inflation at levels of up to 24%. The 10% National Living Wage increase from 1 April has also increased our own labour costs as well as throughout our supply chain.

Regrettably this doesn’t show signs of going away. Whilst it is anticipated that food inflation will start to ease slowly throughout 2023, it is expected to remain at double-digit levels, and energy and labour costs are set to remain a significant challenge. The Low Pay Commission, which advises the government, has said that the national living wage is on course to rise as much as £11.43 next year – a potential 10% increase.

We hope you agree that these increases are unprecedented and have not been seen since the mid-1970s. Though our new pricing is significantly below inflation, we would like to reiterate that we do not take an 11% meal price increase lightly and do understand that you too are facing a funding crisis. We have been actively lobbying the DfE on our schools’ behalf for the past year, alongside the APPG on School Food and LACA, to urge the government to increase school meal funding. To provide context, an IFS (Institute of Fiscal Studies) report on school meals has identified that ‘the funding rate currently stands at £2.41 per meal; if it had increased in line with inflation as measured by the Consumer Prices Index, it would now be £2.87’.

We have absorbed costs for our schools due to this underfunding for a number of years, but we can no longer continue to do this. As a social enterprise, we use our commercial skills to always be a high quality, low price supplier to schools whilst investing every penny we make back into the school system.

We hope this goes some way to explaining our latest pricing. 

Kind regards,

Tracy Moore, Head of Catering

11th May

key stage 2 sats

Parents of children in year 6 will know children have been working hard with a proportionate revision programme that respects the broad curriculum while preparing children for SATS tests. I have written to the Minister of State for Education, Gillian Keegan, with some feedback on this year's experience so far. I have also written a very similar letter to the Shadow Minister, Bridget Phillipson. Below I am sharing our mid-week thinking...

Teachers tell me that tests this year have been more difficult. 

To be clear, difficulty is not the problem. We embrace difficulty and believe high challenge will nurture children's intellect and fuel their passion for learning. What we don't believe in is high challenge alongside high threat. The end of a child's primary school experience should be a joyful time. One where they, at the peak of their powers and leadership here, can be made ready in mind, body and spirit for the next phase of their education.

The SATS tests and their results will be what they will be. There is nothing we can do to change them this year (though I have written to the Secretary of State and Shadow SoS in the hope of a brighter future). What we can do is to treat them with all the respect they warrant. And no more. We have asked our children to do their very best; if we're asked to do something that is the law and not (wholly) unreasonable we should give it our best shot. What we can do is remember ourselves and remind our children that the tests are a measure of how they answered those questions on that day. Nothing more. Adults can help by telling their child 'well done' when the results come in but not making too much of them - remember they are one small measure, not The Measure. Parents and carers can help by avoiding comparing their child with other people's children and encouraging children not to compare or even ask. Sadly, the system within which we work does enough ranking and league tabling on narrow measures of what children learn in school and don't need any help from us. 

2023_05_11 Y6SATS_GK.pdf

10th May


This letter is in response to a small number of parents concerned about material children brought home from school. This material was distributed at playtime and was not authorised by the school. 

2023_05_09 ReligiousMaterial.pdf

9th May

Welcome to our new parent governor

This letter is to inform you that following the announcement of a vacancy for a parent governor we received one nomination and Ms Zoe Hau is duly appointed as a parent governor. 

2023_05_09 ParentGovernor.pdf

8th May

letter for year 6

Please see letter for year 6 children attached. I have shared it with them on Google classroom too. 

I would like to thank our Upper Key Stage 2 teaching team for their careful preparation of the children, giving the practise children need to do their best while avoiding stressing children by making the tests more important than they need to be. 

Ms S :-)

2023_05_08 forYear6

4th May

Consultation Meeting for parents and carers on PHSE and RSE

Thank you to everyone who turned out for a really interesting meeting and to Mrs Hammond (our PHSE/RSE lead in school) for leading the session. Thanks too are due to governor Louise Heywood (responsibility for wellbeing) and Louisa Jones (who takes responsibility for Safeguarding). Thanks too to all the parents and carers who attended. Comments were intelligent and respectful, showing that even when we're not in total agreement we can work in partnership to chart a useful and kind path for all our children. 

Curriculum intent documents which include content for PHSE/RSE

2nd May

Deputy Head Recruitment

Please see letter attached. 

Deputy Head.pdf

28th April


Class organisation will be no different from last year but it may be helpful to have a reminder of how classes are organised and why. 


25th April

antisocial behaviour

We have been dealing with some young people of High School age who are increasing their presence on the school grounds. This letter is for parents and carers of children who play out or live on Kingsmead. 


20th April

industrial action

Please see latest information attached. If anything changes we'll let you know. 

2023_04_20_Strike Days April_MayTuesday 27th April.pdf

19th April

Parent Governor vacancy

An email (letter in folder here) was sent today to inform parents and carers of a vacancy on the Governing Body. The letter gives some information about the role of a school governor and where you can find out more, on the Governors' page of this website or by dropping in for one of the Q&A sessions on 26th April.

We welcome all applications and once received all are considered equally. We would particularly welcome interest from people from groups or communities less represented on the Governing Body. You can find out more about the Governing Body and who is on it at 

Spring term 2023

9th March

Strikes next week

Some information has changed for the last two days of strike action so please do read the letter. For Upper Key Stage 2 Mrs McHugh will share details for parents and children in Year 6 before the end of the week. 

2023_03_09 Strike days March.pdf

8th March

INSET AND ELECTION DAY - Thursday 4th may

To clarify why we changed our INSET day from June to 4th May.

By law, schools are required to be available to the public, if called on. for elections. For some elections, ones where there is only a small turnout expected, we use the staffroom and keep the school open (the staffroom is accessible without the public coming into contact with children). This is why we close for some elections and not others and it means that the school has to close for all children on Election Day in May. The decision of which area of the school to use is not ours to make, but is the responsibility of CW&C Democratic Services. 

Just before taking the decision to move the INSET day, we were informed that the hall will be needed. This is because the expected turnout is this May could leave voters in long queues if they are confined to a smaller space. 

Given that children and families have already been impacted by industrial action this term, I asked teaching staff about moving the arranged INSET day to the Election Day. While this isn't the best time for the work we have planned for the INSET day, it was decided to go ahead for the benefit to children and families. 

In short, we would have to close on 4th May and by moving the INSET day we close for one rather than two days.

Ms S :-)

15th February


Since we took over before and after school care, reading has been part of our improving the provision on offer. We hope this helps busy working parents. 

While reading in school is beneficial, it will never replace the value of reading up close and personal with someone at home, someone who loves and knows you best. Children value what their parents and carers value. Parents and carers who show their children they value reading are more likely to have children who value reading and read for pleasure, bringing lasting benefits to their enjoyment and success in life.

Night Owls is a busy place; it can’t be as cosy or loving as sharing a book at home. With more children attending, particularly in the younger classes, there are too many children for adults to hear each child in a meaningful way, the way parents and carers can do at home. Therefore, from Monday, I am asking Night Owls colleagues to do two things:

1. Continue to expect all children to start the session with quiet reading. 

2. Not write ‘read at Night Owls’ in their reading diary.

Back home, you can enjoy reading with their child as usual and write in their reading diary. If it’s been a long, hectic day you might have a shorter reading time than on the days you pick them up earlier and write in their reading diary. You can enjoy reading your child a bedtime story, write the story you shared and ‘read at Night Owls’ in the reading diary. And if it’s been an unusually hectic day, just write ‘Night Owls’ in their reading diary.

I am hopeful that together, we can achieve a culture of reading for everybody. A partnership between home and school where every child can learn that reading really is for pleasure and really is something that happens, is interesting and enjoyed beyond the school gates.

Kind regards,

Catriona Stewart - headteacher

13th February

Industrial Action

As promised, an update as of where we are today in terms of the NEU strike action. 

Please note the request that EVERYBODY complete a form re school lunches for the three remaining days. This will help the catering team and also ensure that everybody can access a packed lunch whether at home or in school. 

Many thanks

Ms S :-)

2023_02 _3 StrikeDaysFebruary&March.pdf

13th February

World book day

This year we are not doing a dress up for world book day which will delight and displease folk in equal measure! We dress up on alternate years to try and please everybody and enable World Book Day to be less routine. Books and reading will be celebrated in every class and this year we are inviting all our parents and carers to come along at drop-off and join in the fun. 


26th January

Micro scooters

We are delighted to be working with Micro Scooters who have donated 3 wheeled scooters and scooter helmets for our children to use. The company also run a ScooterAid scheme whereby they revamp old/unwanted Micro Scooters and send them to good causes across the country – giving thousands of children who may otherwise miss out the chance to play. If you have a scooter you would like to donate the scheme please get in touch with Micro Scooters.

25th January

industrial action 

This letter (also sent by email and on Google classroom) sets out the possible impact of strike action over the coming months. 

2023_01_25 IndustrialAction.pdf

17th January

Appointment of new headteacher

My thanks to the governing body, the parents, colleagues and children who have given their views and helped with the process of recruiting Kingsmead's second headteacher. 

Ms S :-)

Mrs Joanne Watkins, Chair of Governors:


Mrs Lisa Rutter-Brown:


17th January

industrial action

Please see attached a letter re yesterday’s announcements from teaching unions on strike action. Staff have this on our agenda for tonight’s meeting and I will keep people informed.

As headteacher I will pay attention to guidance from the Local Authority, my own union and those unions representing colleagues. I will do my best to chart a path that respects children, families and our workforce. For when the current dispute is over, we must all continue to work together, whatever our personal feelings have been.

Please use for any comments relating to this matter. We do read these and respect the opinions and your right to share them. However the in-box gets very full and I can’t respond to individual comments on what I do understand is a difficult matter for us all.


autumn term 2022

11th November - Conway residential Y5/6

2022_11_11 Conway.pdf

1st December - staffing in Cuckoos (Y3)

2022_12_01 Y3Cuckoos.docx.pdf

2nd December - Headteacher recruitment

2022_12_02 CoG leetter to parents.docx.pdf

7th November

Appointment of New headteacher

Joanne Watkins - Chair of Governors

Your child will be bringing home a paper survey for parents and carers to gather your views and help us in our job of recruiting a new headteacher for September 2023. 

The Survey is also posted here and if you prefer to complete and respons electronically feel free to do so, returning electronic copies to Paper copies should be posted in the donations box by the uniform and book exchange in the entrance hall. Office staff will collect daily, keep confidential and pass on to myself for use by the Governors' headteacher recruitment panel.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts. 

Joanne Watkins [chair of governors] 

Kingsmead - Parent Survey.docx

3rd November

Attendance - communications from school

We understand that some families were wondering about the communication regarding attendance earlier this week. I have discussed with one family and we both thought some clarification of terms and processes might help us all more work together more productively to promote excellent attendance for everybody. Unlimited ;-)

This week we sent two emails regarding attendance. One was sent to families with one or more children with attendance at 90% or less one regarding persistent absence (classed by the government as 90% or lower). The other to all families, inviting them to view their child’s attendance report on Arbor. 

The term ‘persistent’ is used by the Department of Education, Ofsted and the Local Authority to define school attendance when it falls below 90%. As we are accountable to these bodies in addition to the school’s Governors it is reasonable that we use the same terminology. There was no intention from the school to load any words but for clarity to use the terms understood by all agencies working in education and school attendance. The email regarding persistent absence noted that some children would have been unwell, a small minority had other authorised absence and some was unauthorised. The email noted how the relatively short time in school in Autumn term impacts attendance percentages and so the email was for information only. It then invited any families who wished to contact the school to do so. 

I know that some parents and carers wondered why not raise matters with individual families? Why select everybody with attendance at 90% or less? I would like to assure you that we do so. However, to minimise the impact of lost learning on children who are absent (and their classmates when absentees need additional support to catch up) this individual approach should be a last resort. Our first approach must be to promote good attendance for all so we first work to prevent and minimise any concerning levels of absence by keeping people informed. Thoughtful and non judgemental emails were sent to all families with a child who has attendance at or below 90%, these acknowledged the various reasons for school absence and the impact of the time of year. The intention was bring a statistic they may have been unaware of to families’ attention. Then, to invite those who may need support to contact us, helps us work in a more effective partnership with all our families. Only when this preventative work is ineffective should we be looking at individual cases to make judgements in respect of school attendance. 

We will engage with families to explore poor attendance. These might be for absences that are more regular and/or unauthorised. It is reasonable for these families to expect that we have provided them with information beforehand. The purpose of the emails this week, one to invite all families to view their child’s attendance record and one for those families who (for whatever reason and without judgement) had children whose attendance was at or below 90%, was to provide this information.

I do understand that in many cases all absence this term has been quite legitimate and I know most families take school attendance seriously. Some have supported our policies for minimising infections (such as the 48 hour rule for vomiting and diarrhea) and I thank you for doing so. I hope this letter helps you to understand how we manage and support good attendance for all families in school and why we do not rush to judgement on who needs a more individualised approach to supporting their child’s attendance and consequent achievement in school. 

You can find out more about attendance on the website at which provides clarity on what percentages mean and information regarding the overall attendance in school. This also shows very clearly the impact of unauthorised absence on attendance overall figures. I wrote to families at the end of Summer and again on 8th September explaining how pre-Covid expectations were back for unauthorised holidays.

Our Health and Wellbeing website page [] provides some information about common infections and conditions. We hope this might be helpful in making a decision as to whether your child is well enough to be in school. 

Percentages are worth considering. 80% in an exam and it's happy days and celebration. In school attendance it's equivalent to a day off a week and a cause fo real concern. No child can thrive in their enjoyment of school, learning and achievement with this level of attendance. 90% equates to a day off a fortnight and if we did this at work our employer would soon have something to say (while in an exam we'd be cracking open the Champagne!). 

Kingsmead has a long history of excellent school attendance. This has impacted by Covid but it is true to say we had begun to take a much tougher stance on things like term time holidays due to a decline in data (from excellent to good) before March 2020. Everyone benefits from excellent attendance and learning can progress better, concepts be learned deeper and education enjoyed more when children are only off school when they are too unwell or infectious to be in. I am confident that we all want the same thing: our children and our children's classmates in school every day unless too unwell or infectious to be so. I am hopeful that my next communication about the subject will be to share some really positive news.

Thank you for your support.

Catriona Stewart 

2nd November

School Meals

Edsential are seeking the views of all parents and carers:

You may know that our school meals are provided by our School Catering company, Edsential. As an Edsential catered school we are proud to say that we serve the most sustainable and ethical school meals in the UK.

Whether your child has a meal in school or brings a packed lunch, we are working alongside Edsential to find out more about your child’s lunch preferences and would like to ask all parents to complete the following short survey:

The survey should take no more than 4 minutes to complete, and as a thank you for your time Edsential have four £25 shopping vouchers up for grabs. Simply complete the survey to be entered.

Start the survey here:

Kind regards

Catriona Stewart


Summer Reading Challenge

Thousands of children in Cheshire West and Chester benefitted from taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge. The Library Service were bowled over and say a big thank you here.

30th September

ENRICHMENT - A right for every child

Trips out and visitors to school make memories and improve outcomes. They are a vital part of a good education. 

We know the value of trips and visits to children's learning. When asked what they remember about school, these are invariably what comes to mind. We are blessed with an active KFA who raise money to support some of these. 

The Young Shakespeare Company bring five young actors up from London and share a live, interactive performance of a Shakespeare play, specially adapted for children. To have experienced two Shakespeare plays before High School is priceless but comes at a cost. Thanks to the KFA, this cost is not passed on to families with requests for voluntary contributions. A big thank you KFA, especially all the volunteers who lead events and those who offer a bit of time to support events over the year (we are short of these so please consider contacting if you can give some time to help keep enrichment at the heart of a Kingsmead education. 

We know the challenges the cost of living crisis bring to homes and schools. Therefore we are planning ahead for trips and visits to keep enrichment a big part of our curriculum and financially viable with more time for families to make financial contributions. At parents' suggestions at our meeting earlier this month, provided a School Gateway option for families to make additional donations to support enrichment for families who are unable to make the voluntary contribution. A core value at Kingsmead is the notion of everybody: every child matters. 

We hope that by reducing the number over a year and having fewer excellent quality opportunities more families will feel able and willing to make the voluntary contribution that makes them sustainable and will see them continue into the future. And for families unable, of course we can provide bursaries for some or all of the cost. 

Ms S :-)

29th September


With the sad news from the inquest into the death of Molly Russell I thought I should share some information with you from Parentzone. It’s important when hearing any news of this nature to think What is this was me? What if it was my child? It was only when Mrs R-B and I listened at a conference to one of the Rochdale girls who’d been a victim of grooming, did we realise that this isn’t about good and bad parents. It can happen to anyone. 

Good practice in schools can’t alone take on the huge industry of social media and the harm it can do, but it can help. To keep our children safe online we need school, families and children to be in partnership.

Here in school we teach children, through the Computing and PHSE curriculum and in events like Internet Safety week, about opportunities and risks that come with online life. We know the curriculum can be effective because children have reported when they are concerned about a peer’s online activity. When this happens we share information with parents and carers and work together to try to help make life safer and happier for the child. We know our e-safety policy and practice can be effective because parents and carers have come when they are concerned about online content shared with or by their child. 

I think if there’s one thing primary age children need to learn it’s that there isn’t an age appropriate private online life. This is why parents and carers use their child’s Google Classroom log on; it tells children very explicitly that online is a public space.

I have updated the e-safety page on the website I invite you to take a look, perhaps with your child (especially when they are putting up resistance to controls you have in place at home!).  

CS :-)

28th September


Mid-Cheshire Foodbank, like all Foodbanks up and down the country, are facing a crisis. The cost of living crisis is both increasing demand for support with basics like food while reducing the amount of donations coming in. This makes our annual Harvest collection more important than ever before. Please consider making a donation to the Foodbank to help our friends and neighbours over the coming months. 

We will be making a collection in the hall during the last two weeks of this term. The Foodbank tell us they need the items listed below:

Meat spreads/ peanut butter/ sandwich spreads/ marmite (savoury spreads)



UHT Milk

Fruit juice


Pasta sauce

Tinned tomatoes

Tinned soup


Tinned fruit

Store cupboard essentials - Tomato/Brown Sauce, Stock Cubes, Vinegar, Gravy Granules, Tomato Puree, Cooking Oil

Washing Up Liquid

Cleaning Spray

Toilet rolls

Sanitary towels

Shaving foam/ razors

They have large stocks of baked beans, pasta and tinned vegetables, so these aren’t quite so urgently required.

They purchase fresh bread, eggs, fruit and vegetables to meet the 5 a day guidance, all are offered with every food parcel.


21st September

Information about the headteacher and Chair of Governors

Letters went home today from Ms Stewart and Mrs Nelson. You can read the letters here

Letters went home today from Ms Stewart and Mrs Nelson. You can read the letters here. Children in year 1-6 were informed about the information shared in Ms Stewart's letter in an assembly today. The timing of both resignations is coincidental. Mrs Nelson had intended to remain with us for the coming year but events unrelated to school have prevented this.

We welcome Mrs Watkins as our new Chair of Governors.

13th September

ENRICHMENT and financial contributions 

Following the parent/carer meeting last week (which informed the Blog on Friday) I would like to share some information. Some parents wondered if the 'voluntary contribution' was misleading with families thinking the money might not be needed. In law we can only request voluntary contributions. So this year the wording on the form will be changed to 'minimum voluntary contribution required for this trip to be viable.' 

Some activities have been funded by the KFA, such as Young Shakespeare for Year 5/6 and the KFA have also given donations to reduce what we ask for. However, the past two years have seen reduced fund raising and the KFA are also looking at how they can ask less of parents and carers. As with so much in life, we are trying to find a balance that is useful and kind by supporting those who need support and appreciating the contributions of those who can afford to keep enrichment and learning outside the classroom viable. 

Some parents and carers have told us they'd be more than willing to support us in school help children from families on low incomes with costs. Therefore we will be making provision on School Gateway to make a donation for enrichment (trips and visits). Whether for a day trip or residentials this could help us keep enrichment to remain viable and part of every child's school experience. Thank you so much to the kind folk who suggested this. We would ensure that all donations would be used to fund bursaries and keep enrichment as financially viable as it is important and beneficial to children.

We currently ask for a minimum donation of £10 per term for children swimming. This is far less than families would pay for private swimming lessons and swimming has been more heavilly subsidised from the school budget since Sir John Deane's pool closed to primary schools and we had to pay for a coach to Brio. If anyone felt they could afford a larger donation, we would be very grateful.

Can your workplace help? Another suggestion was asking parents and carers whose workplaces like to support the community whether they might help. We have three big trips on the horizon. Year 3 and 4 are going to Liverpool for last year's Covid postponed Arts Trip to the Walker Art Gallery and Liverpool Philharmonic for a concert. Year 2 will be going on a one day residential to Pettypool in July.  In September 2023 Year 5 and 6 (current Year 4/5) are off to Conway for the UKS2 outdoor adventure residential. If anyone is part of a business who could support any of these, please get in touch with myself or Lisa Rutter-Brown.

Thank you so much for sharing these really great ideas. 

Kind regards, 

Catriona Stewart

8th September

Attendance and punctuality

Dear parents and carers, 

I’m confident we would all agree that good attendance by everybody benefits everybody. Children do not miss school and have to catch up meaning everybody’s learning can progress as their teachers have planned. Arriving on time and ready to learn is no less important; the beginning of a day is key learning time. Lessons begin promptly and children arriving late will miss things like lunch choices and settling in calmly with classmates and the beginning of the first lesson of the day. 

Since the school opened in 2004 we have worked together  to sustain an enviable attendance record. However, like every school, this has been badly impacted by the pandemic. No one’s fault, but nevertheless something to consider for this year. 

The purpose of this communication is to share how policy for attendance has tightened up from the beginning of this academic year. While Covid is not over, many restrictions are. We are therefore returning to policy and expectations from before Covid. 

I have thought about whether some families, children and young people, subconsciously, began to think of school as a bit more ‘optional’ than it is. Nationally, emotionally based non school attendance has increased dramatically. It has been minimal here so thank you; our children overwhelmingly come from families where school attendance is considered important and not up for discussion. Even so, I wonder if partial school closures and learning at home for many children means we have all shifted the lean a bit through which we view school attendance. And that it’s perhaps now time to shift the lens back. Policy had to be more rigorous in the past few years but this year we want attendance to be as high as it can possibly be with the only absence being sickness absence. For more information, please visits our website page 

I am asking families to think carefully about school holidays before booking a holiday. To help, we put the dates for the years ahead on the website. 

Many families have missed seeing close family for some years; holidays were cancelled and travel restricted. It was useful and kind to relax our response when schools reopened for everybody, especially in the issuing of FPNs (fixed penalty notices aka fines). Term time absence for holidays was in excess of what we’d expect in normally. However, we have now had opportunities to reconnect with loved ones. As this year is (fingers crossed) a normal school year we expect term time absence to reduce considerably with all holidays booked in term time considered for  a FPN. Of course, we school would much rather not issue any FPNs and have the really excellent attendance the school had sustained before the pandemic. We receive no money from them and it’s a lot of work to process. That said, using my discretion not to fine will be unusual and exceptional. 

Our new information management system, Arbor, means we will be sending home half termly information on attendance. We will continue to send individual letters when any child’s attendance is a cause for concern.

I wondered if the attendance ladder pictured here might help us think about attendance.  80% is a fantastic exam result - we’d all be celebrating such a high achievement! As you can see it is extremely poor school attendance, equivalent to a day off every 5 days (90% being a day off every 10 days). 

As a rule of thumb I think 97% is the level where we can relax; it’s easy to slip from 96% and while I’d say 98% is excellent, a couple of illnesses can make this unachievable. 

To help everybody in our community  please think about the following:

I am hopeful that by working together we can return to the excellent attendance that was the norm at Kingsmead before the pandemic.

Kind regards,

Catriona Stewart


5th September

A very Warm Welcome to everybody

We are delighted to be welcoming back all our children, colleagues and families - old and new! This post shares some (hopefully) useful information for the new term.

I apologise for the length of the post and hopefully the communication plans explained in it will lead to shorter emails in future (though not a guarantee ;-). 

First a very warm welcome to those new staff and children starting in school this year. We hope your time with us will be one where you enjoy learning, working and where you will thrive. Mrs Woods joins us in Butterflies, starting before Mrs Green begins her maternity leave later this term. It is great for teachers and children alike to be able to provide a transition with staff overlapping, something we'd love to be able to afford for every class teacher starting work with us. We also welcome Ms Egerton and Ms Nolan into EYFS (Reception) where they will be supporting the learning for our youngest children.

This is a document that sets out how we in school will work in the hope of effective partnership with every family to enable every child to thrive. We would really appreciate families taking a look especially as it has been revised this year. On taking a place at Kingsmead it is expected that everyone in our school community can commit to the partnership outlined in the document, which was devised with children's interests first and foremost. 

Meet the Teacher

On the Diary Dates are times this week where parents and carers can meet staff informally after school and look forward to seeing people. Of course, you will also be meeting teachers at the classroom doors every morning and after school. However first thing is a time for focus on meeting and greeting the children and after school it's essential we get the right child to the right adult! We hope that meeting teachers informally early on in the year will make communication more effective and that every family will feel able and confident to come and speak to their child's teacher should they need to.

Mindful that some families prefer face to face communication to written, at 4pm on Wednesday and Thursday next week, after people have met the more important person (their children's teachers) I will be in the hall to speak about a couple of things (for around 20 minutes). First, supporting the very best behaviour for everybody. Good behaviour for learning is the solid foundation on which enjoyment and achievement in school need to be built. So a new school year is the time to share our thinking and also our reflections and response from the parent/carer survey undertaken in the Spring term when we asked for your views. Secondly, I am very mindful that the cost of living crisis is high in almost everyone's list of concerns. It's a increasingly rare and lucky few who aren't having to worry about money these days. I would like to share some of the ways we might work together to help each other navigate the months and year ahead. And if you have ideas I'd be delighted to hear these too!  

Some reminders (and introductions) of routine procedures

Drop off and pick up -  Please note we open the doors at 8.40am and children should be in school ready to learn by 8.50. Therefore it's helpful if the latest they enter class is around 8.45. At the end of the day we expect children in years Reception-Year 4 to be collected from the classroom door.  The oldest (year 5/6) are preparing for greater freedom and responsibility and so teachers release them onto the school grounds. If you would like your older child to walk home with you, please makes sure they need to know to wait. If you think a younger child in KS2 (year 3 and 4) might live close enough to be allowed home on their own, please speak to me or Mrs Rutter-Brown about this first.

Communication - our website page shares information about this very important part of school life. We'd be grateful if you could take a quick look so we all know what to expect.

We are starting this year with a Friday email for all families. This will share some key information including the week ahead. We hope this will keep people better informed and reduce emails to your in-box as we plan to put as much as possible on the Friday Message.

Please do try to visit the website. Thinking about updates, we'd suggest a weekly check in. New policies agreed and information that won't get on the Friday email will continue to be updated and we signpost these from the Homepage. There is also a wealth of information for people interested in the education we offer at Kingsmead.

Uniform and Appearance - Having listened to children's views, we have kept with the leggings and joggers offer for uniform. Please respect the no branding; a big part of why we think uniform is important is that children come to school to develop their inner character, their intellects, social, emotional and physical development. We reserve the right to change our expectations for uniform (where there is plenty of choice) if the no branding is not respected.

Some staff news

We now have over thirty colleagues trained by St Johns Ambulance in basic first aid. 

Mrs Cotton has taken over from Mrs Rutter-Brown as SENDCO (co-ordinator for children with special educational needs and disabilities), meaning that Mrs Peacock will be with Mrs Fielden in the EYFS class Monday and Tuesday. As when Mrs Rutter-Brown took on the role from me, it has again been really beneficial to children and colleagues to have a long transition period for such an important professional role. Mrs Cotton has worked alongside Mrs Rutter-Brown last year and will continue to do so this year, albeit taking on the bulk of the work in co-ordinating provision for our children with additional needs and disabilities.

Well, I think that's enough for the first day back! I look forward to seeing people at the school gate tomorrow and hopefully on Tuesday and Thursday from 4pm.

Ms Catriona Stewart - headteacher

26th July

Before rushing to buy new uniform, consider pre-worn clothes - helpful to family budgets and if you walk to school to get it, zero carbon footprint!

The U+K exchange also has pre-read books meaning that every child can have their own library of books at home. There is even a small section of books of interest to parents and carers.

The exchange is open throughout the school day - just pop in. All we ask is that people choosing uniform and books leave the stock tidy and looking good for the next customer.

You can make a donation in the box on the wall or just take what you need. You can also donate good quality books and clothes (washed please) once your children have grown out of them.

We are hoping to be able to add other items - football boots, shoes, coats and other higher cost items. All we ask is that donations are cleaned and in good condition.