Message from Mrs O’Neill

News from Mrs O'Neill

The past few weeks in school have been very busy; our open morning was really well attended and so many of our students came along to help.  Last week we held our pastoral and subject awards evening.  Miss Hampshire, a member of our humanities team, was our guest speaker and spoke to us about mindfulness. She shared research conducted by a psychologist Sara Lazar who had used MRI scans to show how people who meditate had more grey matter in their hippocampus (an area of the brain linked to learning and memory) compared to people who do not meditate. There are many ways to practise mindfulness, such as going for a walk, meditating or doing some mindful colouring. Mindfulness is always about acting with purpose and intent. 

On Thursday we will host our sixth form open evening.  As I said at our transition evening in September, results in our sixth form are exceptional.  We have the same expectations and standards in our sixth form that we have in main school, and as a result, our students go on to varied and exciting post 18 destinations. If you are coming along, bring some money/cards as our sixth form café will be open for refreshments. 

Attendance in lessons is crucial if a child is to succeed in school.  The pandemic has shown us that children learn far better when they are taught face to face, in a classroom with their peers.  The routine of coming to school and actively participating in lessons also supports mental well-being.  As part of our push on excellent attendance, we will be issuing monthly certificates to all students who have achieved 100% attendance for that month, in addition to continuing to award termly star badges to those who have attended every session for a full term.  The certificates for September will be given out in form time next week.

A gentle reminder that the deadline to cast your vote for the parent governor post is next Friday.  Ballot papers were sent out via email last week.

It was great to see our Y7 parents and carers this week at the settling in evening and at the workshops on how you can support your child with their learning.   The presentations can be accessed on our website.  Thank you for all of the positive comments.  

This week is dyslexia awareness week.  Please see below for a list of tips and hints on how you can support your child.  These have been put together by Mrs Martinez, our learning support literacy lead.  

Thank you to all parents/carers for sharing out of school successes.  I have met with a number of students this week who have also told me about their achievements in gymnastics, cycling, martial arts and dance.  I am always blown away by the level of commitment that our students have.  Please do continue to get in touch.

Last weekend we had some beautiful autumnal weather.  Let’s hope we can have a repeat this weekend.  Whatever your plans, have a restful weekend, maybe with some meditation thrown in.

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” (Buddha)

Dyslexia Awareness Week

Hints and Tips to Support Your Child:

1. Reading is key to building a child’s vocabulary and growing their ability to articulate their thoughts and feelings. You could simply read to your child or enjoy an audio book together.  If reading isn’t of interest, then you could visit museums, art galleries, the theatre, watch films – in fact anything which will stimulate interest and discussion is perfect. 

Listening books is a fantastic website for audio books – take a look:

https://www.listening-books.org.uk/

Easy Reader is a free app which you can download and makes reading more accessible for readers with Dyslexia:

https://yourdolphin.com/EasyReader-App

2. Create lots of opportunities for your child to be active, whether it be long walks (great if you have got a dog!), running, sport or simply having a kick about in the garden. Being active releases the “feel good” chemicals in our body and also allows us to burn off any frustrations we may have.

3. It’s important for everyone to have something which they can be successful in so help your child discover something they are really good at and encourage them to pursue it – you never know, you may have a footballer or singer in the making!

4. If your child is finding a piece of work really hard, suggest a ‘brain break’. Maybe they could get active to release those ‘feel good’ chemicals! I’ve attached a fun ‘brain breaks’ activity for you to try  – all you need is dice.

For more ideas on how to support your child at home, have a look at the BDA website – link below:

https://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/advice/children/how-can-i-support-my-child

Tom McLaughlin is a Dyslexic author of children’s stories and has written this article offering supportive tips to dyslexic children everywhere. This is certainly one to read to them. 

https://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2015/jan/22/a-dyslexic-authors-writing-tips-for-dyslexic-kids

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