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Dear Parents/Carers

It has been a long and busy term but a very successful one for the children of West Leigh. The newsletters this term have detailed the sporting achievements of the children, the amazing musical contributions they make, and the myriad of other activities in which they participate. We thank you for your support for all we do and your constant encouragement for staff and children alike.

We wish you the merriest of Christmasses and a very healthy and happy 2020.

Mrs Woolf and Mr Lear

Year 5 visit danbury

On Wednesday 25th September, 120 Year 5 children arrived at school with a mass of suitcases and were full of excitement ready for their 3 day residential at Danbury. The day started with a few fun activities in their classes before the coaches arrived and were loaded up ready for the short 30 minute journey up to Danbury. Once we arrived, the children were sorted into their tents and then gathered together for lunch before their first of two activities.

Some children found their way around the caving simulator, some conquered the knee-wobbling heights of the aerial trekking and others learnt the art of bush craft ending with some tasty hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows. After they tucked into a very tasty dinner, they had some time to sort out their tents and play on the field. The evening was taken up by a night hike around the site, where the children walked through open fields and into the woods past the large ponds of Danbury Commons Wood. After the 2.5-mile hike, the children and some of the staff were ready for their beds! They all settled ready for the next day’s activities and eventually the camp was quiet.

On Thursday morning the camp woke nice and early! After breakfast, the children were greeted by their instructors with four more thrilling activities. Some learned how to navigate using a map in orienteering whereas others worked on their team work skills on the obstacle course and low ropes. They then refuelled with a hearty lunch before completing two more activities to round up their day. The children zoomed along the zip wire whilst others were tested on the ‘Leap of Faith’ conquering their fears. This was followed by yet another tasty dinner before some free time to play on the field. As the sun was setting, we gathered around the campfire for a sing song and a few stories before settling down for the night. With everyone warn out, the camp fell silent very quickly on Thursday night.

On Friday morning, the camp woke to a wonderful sunrise and after breakfast the children had two more activities: some scrambled up the climbing walls and vertical obstacle course and the others tried to score the highest score at archery. We had one last meal before the children loaded their bags back onto the coaches and headed back to school – rather tired!

Over the three days at Danbury, all 120 children showed great determination, acceptance of adventure and great improvement with team work. All the staff were extremely proud to see the children thrive in the outdoors, tackle their fears and demonstrate resilience and courage as they attempted the activities. It was also encouraging to see the children build friendships amongst their peers ready for the successful year ahead.

year 5 explore local area

On Wednesday 25th September, we walked to Belfairs Woods. Mrs Atkin provided a range of challenges for the children, including finding the ‘best souvenir of the day’. The children all had fun collecting the various items on Mrs Atkin’s list. They enjoyed playing on the wooden play equipment too.

On Thursday 26th September, we all got on the bus to Hadleigh Farm. Despite the rain, the children loved looking at and feeding all the animals. The baby goats were a particular favourite!! We devised an assault course around the play area, which all the children took part in with enthusiasm.

After lunch, we went to Hadleigh Castle to fly kites and play with bats and balls. It was very windy but it did not stop us from enjoying ourselves. We decided to walk all the way back to school.

On Friday 27th, we stayed in school for the morning and cooked in the Year 6 kitchen. The children cooked pizzas, cookies and smoothies. We then enjoyed them as we watched a movie during lunchtime. When our food had gone down, we walked to Leigh Beach where we collected shells, buried each other in the sand, played games and had an ice cream. A very tired group of children and adults walked back to school!

Overall, a good time was had by everyone.

Team Challenge

This term’s team challenge linked to our curriculum driver of responsibility. Team challenge took place during Anti-Bullying Week, and the children thought carefully about how they could work together to make our school an even happier place where children feel safe and secure. Their suggestions were brought together in some amazing pieces of collaborative art work. As always, this team challenge morning was a fantastic opportunity for the children to meet and work with other members of their house team from across the school.

head for the day

This term saw pupils in Year 5 compete for the title of 'Head for the Day'. This election always takes place in school alongside a general election and teaches the children valuable lessons about democracy, British Values and voting. Our four candidates have spent the last few weeks campaigning furiously: creating campaign videos, posters and even taking part in a 'Question Time' in front of the whole school.

Pupils had to evaluate the campaigns and the various promises made by the candidates. They then had to decide how they wished to cast their vote on December 12th. Every child and adult in the school visited our private voting booths to cast their vote, and the final count took place, revealing the winner as Alex Miller. He will take his role as 'Head for the Day' next term. A huge well done to all of our candidates, who must be commended for their hard work and professionalism.

year 3 visit colchester zoo

On Friday 22nd November, Year 3 enjoyed a fantastic trip to Colchester zoo where they met some new friends. Each class was met by one of Santa’s elves who had lost Santa’s magic flying dust so needed to find an alternative. The elf took us all to the penguins as she thought this could be a solution. Unfortunately, the children learnt how this would not be possible and met some of the penguins to check! After the penguins left, the elf decided to tell Santa and so he visited all the children in Year 3 and gave them a special present. Luckily, after searching high and low, Santa had the magical flying dust in his pocket so Christmas would be saved! Through all of the exciting events above, the children learnt lots of interesting facts about penguins and had time to explore the other animals in the zoo.

year 6 visit duxford

Following many weeks studying their topic of ‘Arrivals and Departures’, the year group had the chance to enrich their learning by visiting the Imperial War Museum, Duxford. To have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of many aspects relating to the Second World War was invaluable, especially as many of the children were able to focus upon their own research independently. They greatly enjoyed seeing and experiencing a wealth of first-hand accounts and seeing many fascinating sources of evidence.

HARVEST FESTIVAL

On Friday 11th October, the children donated a variety of tinned and packet foods to our harvest collection which was gratefully received by Southend Food bank. After learning how food banks operate and how they support the local community, the children were keen to make a difference and gave generously and the representative from our local food bank was overwhelmed by their generosity. Thank you for all your donations.

Inter-generational poppy making afternoon

The School Council were invited to take part in an inter-generational poppy making afternoon at West Leigh Baptist Church on Wednesday 6th November. A large number of people from the local community attended the event, and the children enjoyed meeting new people from different generations and hearing stories about the local area and their school in the past. They worked together to make some beautiful poppies that will be used in the church’s Remembrance Sunday display. Many of the adults at the event commented on the exemplary behaviour and manners of the children who attended.

Science Quiz Semi Finals

The team worked incredibly hard at the regional science quiz semi-finals, competing against 16 teams - all the others from private schools within the region. We got off to a slow start, however we managed to overtake much of the competition getting to 5th place with only the final round left to play. The team used their tactics well and managed to finish in 4th place with a huge score of 1725 points. A fantastic competition at an extremely high level. The team should be incredibly proud of their achievement.

Carol singing at Leigh Station

On December 3rd around 50 children sang carols and Christmas songs at Leigh-on-Sea railway station to entertain the commuters as they completed their journeys following weary days at work and also to raise funds for Southend In Sight, our local sight loss charity. Led by Miss Fisher and Mrs Walker and enthusiastically supported by several members of staff, the children were in fine voice and their singing brought many a smile to the passengers. The joyful atmosphere also encouraged the commuters to dig deep into their pockets and we managed to raise an amazing £802 for the charity. The money will be used to buy resources for local children who are living with sight loss. We are very grateful to all the parents and other relatives that came to support and helped to contribute to a very festive occasion.

Crafts at local care home

This half term, a group of children visited Legra Care Home each week to complete craft activities with the residents. The children have been fantastic ambassadors for the school and the residents look forward to their visit every week. This will continue next term as part of our work with the local community.

Southend Music Festival 2019

Children from West Leigh made a successful return visit to the Southend Music Festival this term. Our recorder players prepared a programme of pieces under the expert supervision of Mrs Gentleman and Miss Fisher. They performed to a professional festival adjudicator who gave each entry individual feedback. The duet class was won by Francesca Probert and Sadie Lester with Isabella Clarke winning the solo class. Our Upper School retained the Eileen Neath Challenge Cup (11 years and under) with the adjudicator commenting: “this was a very successful performance with good playing from all players”.

Our Lower School Recorder Group performed ‘Turkey Point Trot’ and ‘Union Street’ including harmony parts. We were praised on our attention to detail as well as our announcers, Mia and Jacob. Our adjudicator noted: “Lovely playing. This proceeded beautifully.” These children were awarded the trophy for the ‘9 years and under’ category.

Congratulations to all our young players for their commitment and sustained efforts to learn all their pieces. Thank you to all the parents and carers for their support throughout the term and especially on the big day itself. Performing in a competitive festival is a big undertaking and we were really proud of their performances and the professional way that our young musicians represented our school.

Coastal Schools

This term, each of the Year 4 classes has made it to the beach in Old Leigh. The children have explored the environment to find what natural and man-made materials were present on the beach. Looking after the environment and where the materials may have originated was a key teaching point. Groups of pupils used what they had found to create temporary pieces of art which looked stunning.

CHILDREN IN NEED

On Friday 15th November, the children of West Leigh showed great enthusiasm by getting involved in ‘The Big Morning Move’ for Children in Need. The energetic exercise programme which was led by Joe Wicks, took place across the entire country at 9am and West Leigh did not disappoint in their enthusiasm and energy levels! Dressed as their sporting heroes and heroines, they completed their routines whilst also raising over £670 for this worthy charity. Thank you for your continued support with all our charity events.

CHRISTMAS CAROL SERVICE

Over 200 West Leigh pupils presented a fantastic celebration of Christmas at our annual Carol Service. St Margaret’s Church hosted the evening once again. Eliza Waddilove sang the solo verse of ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ and was well supported by the massed ranks of both our choirs. The Year 5 & 6 Recorder Group performed ‘Quem Pastores’ and the children’s favourite, ‘Rocking Carol’. The Girls’ Choir performed ‘Come to the Stable’ and a jazzy version of ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’. The Boys’ Choir presented ‘One Single Light’ and ‘Sing We Now of Christmas’. Three teams of readers told a version of the Christmas story whilst yet more children acted the story out as our Christmas Tableau. Thank you for your generous donations towards our retiring collection for ‘Little Havens’ – we raised an amazing £550.

Congratulations to all our performers and thank you to all the staff, family and friends from the local community for their support.

N'Act performance

With the online world ever growing and the subsequent challenges that it can bring, it was highly beneficial to have been visited by the talented company of ‘N’Act with their performance of ‘Linkd’ – a thought-provoking play that highlights the dangers faced in the virtual world. As ever, the impact that this had upon the children was powerful and certainly causing many of them to re-evaluate their personal choices online. Even though the material was challenging, it was enjoyed by the pupils due to the humour in the play, the performance of the actors and the entertaining audience participation.

Young Shakespeare Company peform for Year 6

Once again this term, Year 6 enjoyed a visit from the highly talented and enthusiastic Young Shakespeare Company, who performed an interactive workshop version of ‘Macbeth’. During their session, the children were swept away into a world of ambition, power and betrayal. With opportunities to become a part of the performance, the children thoroughly enjoyed this event and most certainly were inspired by the phenomenal acting and high drama.

Year 5 learn diving skills

There are already a number of children in the year group that attend diving sessions at Garons, where they are able to use the superb facilities available in our community. The coaches from Southend Diving worked with each year 5 class in order to help them understand some of the training that divers take part in when not in the pool. The children were challenged to improve their response times for jumping as well as focusing upon different balances and gymnastic positions during the session. We are grateful to the coaches who worked with great enthusiasm and made vouchers available for all of the children for a free diving session at Garons.

Santa Netball

On Friday 6th December, the netball team from Year 6 participated in the exciting event ‘Santa Netball’. The team split into two smaller teams and participated in a round robin festival of netball matches using a very festive netball! The girls had a great time participating in this event and thoroughly enjoyed their hot chocolate and cookie!

Christmas Decorations

Our annual Christmas decoration mornings took place across the school this December. Staff and pupils alike always look forward to this event, which marks the start of the Christmas season in school. The decoration mornings are a fantastic opportunity for parents to come and work alongside their child in the classroom environment. It was wonderful to welcome so many members of our school community into the classrooms to make Christmas decorations. The decorations produced were superb and have brightened our corridors, making the school feel extremely festive!

Dinner menu

New dinner menus from September

Week one

  • Monday - Cheese and tomato pizza, Jacket potato with cheese, tuna and tomato pasta bake, sweetcorn, coleslaw and salad bar. Fresh fruit, yoghurt or chocolate and pear sponge.
  • Tuesday - Homemade sausage and root vegetable casserole, butternut squash and chickpea curry, jacket potato with cheese, rice, vegetable selection and salad bar. Fresh fruit, yoghurt or Fruity shortbread biscuit.
  • Wednesday - Mrs Maddin's special chicken and ham pie, winter lentil and vegetable stew, cheese and tomato quiche, roast potatoes, vegetable selection and salad bar. Fresh fruit, yoghurt or carrot cake.
  • Thursday - Homemade 100% beef lasagbem vegetable fajita, jacket potaoe with chicken mayonnaise, garlic bap, vegetable selection and salad bar. Fresh fruit, yoghurt or apple and honey crumble
  • Friday - 100% Fish fingers, jacket potato with baked beans, tricolour pasta with salmon and sweetcorn, smiley faces, baked beans and salad bar. Fresh fruit, yoghurt or fruity jelly.

Week two

  • Monday - Tri colour pasta with tuna and tomato sauce, homemade vegetatian lasagne, jacket potaot with cheese, garlic bap, coleslaw and salad bar. Fresh fruit, yoghurt or pineapple upside down cake.
  • Tuesday - Turkey meatballs, homemade vegetable and 5 bean bolognese, jacket potaoto with tuna mayonnaise, tomato pasta, vegetable selection and salad bar. Fresh fruit, yoghurt or fruity flapjack
  • Wednesday - Traditional roast pork and gravy, Quorn in vegetable gravy, vegetable pasta in tomato sauce, roast potatoes, vegetable selection and salad bar. Fresh fruit, yoghurt or jam sponge.
  • Thursday - Pork sausage toad in the hole with gravy, vegetarian sausage toad in the hole, jacket potato with baked beans, mashed potato, vegetable selection and salad bar. Fresh fruit, yoghurt or mixed fruit crumble.
  • Friday - Chicken nuggets, veggie fingers, tri colour pasta with salmon and sweetcorn, potato squares, baked beans and salad bar. Fresh fruit, yoghurt or fruit jelly.

Week 3

  • Monday - Cheese, peper and mushroom pizza, creammy cheese and vegetable bake, jacket potaoe with baked beans, sweetcorn, coleslaw and salad bar. Fresh fruit, yoghurt or apple sponge.
  • Tuesday - Pork sausage and vegtable pasta bake, vegetable ravioli, jacket potato with cheese, garlic bap, vegetable selection and salad bar. Fresh fruit, yoghurt or fruity shortbread biscuit.
  • Wednesday - Traditional roast gammon, Quorn in vegetable gravy, tomato and pepper pasta bake, roast potatoes, vegetable selection and salad bar. Fresh fruit, yoghurt or banana cake.
  • Thursday - Chicken and vegetable supreme, homemade vegetable and 5 bean chilli, jacket potato with ham and sweetcorn mayonnaise, rice, vegetable selection and salad bar. Fresh fruit, yoghurt or apple and pear crumble.
  • Friday - 100% Fish fingers, jacket potato with baked beans, tricolour pasta with salmon and sweetcorn, waffles, baked beans and salad bar. Fresh fruit, yoghurt or fruit jelly.

Dates for the diary

  • Thursday 19th December - INSET DAY
  • Friday 20th - Friday 3rd January - Christmas holidays
  • Monday 6th January - Children return to school
  • Thursday 9th January - Year 3 Hook Day - Gods and Mortals
  • Friday 10th January - Father Jeff Assembly
  • Friday 17th January - Portico Cross Country event at Friars
  • Yr 3/4 RSE Talk 2.30pm - Lower School Hall
  • Tuesday 21st January - Southend Hockey Club friendly at Alleyn Court
  • Boys's Football at Our Lady of Lourdes - 3.15pm
  • Wednesday 22nd January - Sports Hall Athletics Yr 3/4 - 9.30-12.30pm - Garons
  • Sports Hall Athletics Yr 5/6 - 12.30pm - 3.30pm - Garons
  • Friday 24th January - Yr 5 RSE talk - 2.30pm - Lower School Hall
  • Tuesday 28th January - Yr 5/6 Father David Assembly - 10.15am
  • Southend Hockey Club friendly at Alleyn Court
  • Thursday 30th January - Yr 3/4 Father David Assembly - 10.15am
  • Premier League Primary Stars girls' U11's football tournament - 12pm-3pm
  • Friday 31st January - School councillor and deputies visiting parliament
  • Yr 6 RSE talk - 2.30pm - Lower School Hall
  • Yr 5 Disco
  • Tuesday 4th February - Yr 5/6 Hockey at Warners Bridge 12.15pm-2.45pm
  • Friday 14th February - INSET Day
  • Yr 3/4 boys' Football competition 10-2.45pm at Len Forge Centre

Medical reminders

We have a working document with information for all staff to access about your children. This is constantly updated with any medical information we need to know from dietary requirements to allergies and broken limbs. If there is anything you think we need to know about your child, new or updated, please let Mrs Atkin know so that our records can be updated. This is to help us keep your child safe and well whilst in school.

Any medications held in school must be prescribed by a doctor and have a prescription label with your child's name on it. Mrs Atkin will let you know when these are close to expiry and will need replacing.

Attendance

We have had a number of leave requests for holidays this term. Please note these will be unauthorised. Any number of unauthorised absences on your child's registration certificate may result in an attendance meeting. Please ensure you notify the school on the first day of your child's absence by leaving a message on the absence line. Any medical appointments or long term absence will need to be evidenced via doctor letters, prescriptions or holiday bookings etc. Failure to provide evidence could result in unauthorised absences.