School Newsletter : 01 December 2023

| Issue 11 | Autumn 2 | Week 11 |

Friends of Burdett-Coutts Christmas Fair

Speech Writing Competition

This December we’ll be holding a speech writing competition. We’d like you to write a speech about something that you are passionate about. For example, it could be a hobby that you have enjoyed, or it could be about an issue that you feel strongly about.

Everyone from Nursery to Year 6 are invited to take part and you’ll present your speech to your class on Friday 15th December.

Your class will then choose the two best speeches and those selected will present their speech in an assembly in the final week of the term. There will be prizes awarded for the best speech in each class.

New Year Holiday Camp

Science Projects

The theme for this half term’s Science home learning task is Connections. Below are some of the activities which you can chose from, or you may wish to come up with an idea of your own.

  • Model Neuron: Make a model neuron, to learn about connections between nerve cells.
  • Chain Reactions: Set up a chain reaction with outdoor items or small indoor items like dominoes, thinking carefully about the connections between each part of the chain.
  • Life cycle: Create an edible life cycle to discover how each stage is connected.
  • Polar habitat: Make a model of a Polar habitat, this is a great way to learn about how animals adapt to their surroundings.
  • Ice caps: Another easy investigation for younger children is to model melting polar ice caps.

Entries will be shared in a celebration assembly at the end of this half term. Good luck everyone!

PE Lessons

Please ensure that your child is wearing the correct PE kit to school each week.

Pupils who are not wearing their full PE kit will not be able to participate in lessons, and a note will be sent home indicating why they were not able to participate.

The full PE kit for the Autumn/Winter term is as follows:

  • Plain navy blue leggings or tracksuit bottoms
  • School navy blue PE t-shirt
  • School navy blue sweatshirt (all year groups).
  • Pupils in KS2 (Years 3 – 6) must wear a school navy sweatshirt for PE and NOT their school jumper.
  • Plain black trainers (velcro if your child struggles with shoe laces)
  • Please ensure all items of uniform are clearly labelled (with a permanent pen or label)

PE lessons are on:

  • Monday: Year 1
  • Tuesday: Year 5
  • Wednesday: Early Years & Year 3
  • Thursday: Year 6
  • Friday: Year 4 & Year 2
  • Please note change of day for Year 1 & Year 6

School Communication

We have now moved to email updates and notifications, and only using text messaging when reminders are urgently needed.

Please check your Spam folders and if you haven’t seen any emails from us, please contact the school office so that we can check that we have the correct email address for you.

School Meals

If you would like your child to move from bringing a packed lunch to having a school meal, you must inform the office at least a week in advance of this change being made. Kindly note pupils are not allowed to alternate between having packed lunches and/or school meals on a daily or weekly basis. If you have any questions, please see a member of the school admin staff at the school office.

You can find the current school lunch menu here >

If you require a printed copy, please ask at the school office. Should you have any questions about the menu, kindly make an appointment to speak with Miss Barnett.

Are you getting to school on time?

Why good school attendance matters: Missing a few days of school here and there may not seem a big deal, but research shows that it can have a significant impact on children’s learning.

Children who miss a substantial amount of school fall behind their peers, and struggle to catch up. Most of the work they miss is never made up, which can lead to big gaps in their learning.

  • Poor attendance often starts at primary school and children who fall into this pattern are likely to under-achieve at secondary school.
  • Pupils who miss between 10 and 20% of school (that’s 19 – 38 days per year) stand only a 35% chance of achieving five or more good GCSEs, compared to 73% of those who miss fewer than 5% of school days.
  • An attendance rate of 95% is generally considered good; this allows for children to miss 9.5 days across the school year.
  • Persistent absence (PA) is defined as an attendance rate of 90% or below.
  • All pupils are expected to have an attendance rate of 95% or higher.

Attendance class of the week: Each week we will be celebrating the class with the highest attendance levels.

Did you know?!

  • 10 minutes late every day = 33 hours lost learning each year!
  • Lateness and absence has a significant impact not only on your child’s learning, but also others, as teachers may have to re-teach late arrivals to ensure they can participate in the lesson.
  • Remember pupils need to be in school by 08:55.
  • The pupil entrance gates open at 08:40.

Upcoming Events


  • Tuesday 5th:  Reception Early Reading Information Session 09:00 -09:30 in the ground floor school hall.
  • Wednesday 6th: 9 Lessons Christmas Service @ St. John Smith Square 09:30 – 10:15. All parents and carers are welcome to attend this special annual servers in a beautiful concert hall. Please be seated by 09:25 and ensure that your mobile phones are on silent or turned off.
  • Thursday 7th: Christmas Jumper Day
  • Thursday 7th from 3.30pm: Friends of Burdett-Coutts Christmas Fair
  • Friday 8th @ 14:00: EYFS & KS1 Nativity @ St. Stephens Church. Doors from 13:45
  • Friday 15th: End of Extended School Day Clubs (15:30 – 16:30)
  • Friday 15th @ 14:15: KS2 Nativity @ St. Stephens Church. Doors from 14:00

December (cont):

  • Thursday 21st:  Childrens Christmas Lunch in school
  • Friday 22nd @ 10:30: Christingle Service @ St.Stephens Church. Parents & carers invited. Details to follow.
  • Friday 22nd December: School finishes at 13:30 for the Christmas Holidays.

Term Dates 2023-2024

Please find here the agreed term dates set by our school’s Governing Body for the upcoming academic year, starting September 2023.

Please remember that holidays will not be authorised during the school term, and that all children should be in school (on time) every day.

Please refer to the table below for the term dates, including INSET days and Bank Holidays when the school will be closed to pupils.

Alternatively, you can click on the image thumbnail on the right to view the PDF (please note this will open in a new window) or you can click on the link below:



Start of Term (for Years 1-6)


05 September 2023



20 October 2023

Half Term


23 October 2023



27 October 2023

Return on


30 October 2023

End of Term


22 December 2023



Start of Term


09 January 2024



09 February 2024

Half Term


12 February 2024



16 February 2024

Return on


19 February 2024

End of Term


28 March 2024



Start of Term


15 April 2024



24 May 2024

Half Term


27 May 2024



31 May 2024

Return on


03 June 2024

End of Term


24 July 2024


Teaching & Learning: Curriculum & Safeguarding


04 September 2023

Assessment & Pupil Progress


01 December 2023

Teaching & Learning TBC


08 January 2024

Teaching & Learning: Curriculum Map Autumn/Spring


22 March 2024

Teaching & Learning: Curriculum, Assessment & Pupil Progress


28 June 2024

BANK HOLIDAYS (school closed)
May Bank Holiday


06 May 2024

Community Corner

November has absolutely zoomed by and we suddenly find ourselves in December! We have started thinking about Advent with the children as it is Advent Sunday this weekend.

From next week the children will be part of the lighting of the advent wreath candles each week in church, and learning about what each candle represents.

Advent is an exciting time in the church calendar: it is a time for reflection in darkness, for renewal of hope and for movement towards a new beginning. The season of Advent, as it first emerged in the fourth and fifth centuries, lasted for 40 days – just like Lent. Tradition later developed for Advent to span the four Sundays before Christmas as we know it today.

Advent is a season of expectation and preparation as the church prepares to celebrate the coming of Christ. Church decorations tend to be simple and sparse, and royal purple is the traditional colour used.

Advent falls at the darkest time in the year and the natural symbols of darkness and light are powerfully at work throughout Advent and Christmas.

On Wednesday, we heard the reading from Mark 13:32-37, when Jesus advised his followers to be ready and alert for his return even if they didn’t know when that would be.

Helena explained further, describing Advent as a time of two types of waiting. One kind of waiting is when you know that something is going to happen, such as waiting for a train or bus that you know will come, or counting down to Christmas that is always celebrated on the same day.

The other kind of waiting, the harder kind, is when you don’t know when something will happen, for example Christians waiting with faith and hope for the coming of Jesus.

Artist in Church

Visitors to St Stephen’s Church will have noticed a number of amazing artworks displayed around the church. These are by an artist called Anne Grebby, and the artworks have been on display in Canterbury and Chichester Cathedrals over this year.

Our pupils are lucky enough to have seen these pieces of art every Wednesday for the last few weeks, but our Burdett-Coutts families and community are always welcome to pop into the church, especially when there installations such as these to look at.

The artist herself will also be visiting St Stephen’s on Monday 4th December, and our Year 6 class have been invited to spend time with her during the school day so she can talk about her artwork and answer any questions the children may have.

Community Questions:

  • What are you looking forward to?
  • Why do Christians look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus
  • Challenge: Look for the joy in your life every day this week.

Advent Prayer:

Lord Jesus, Light of light,
you have come among us.
Help us who live by your light
to shine as lights in your world.
Glory to God in the highest.


  • 6th December @ 9:30am: 9 Lessons Carol Service @ St John’s Smith Square.
  • 7th December: Christmas Jumper Day and Christmas Lunch Day (pupils only)
  • 8th December @ 2pm: EYFS & KS1 Nativity @ St Stephen’s Church.
  • 15th December @ 2.15pm: KS2 Carol Concert @ St Stephen’s Church.

Online Safety

Did you know that not all apps are safe for children, with many popular ones having certain age restrictions. For example, WhatsApp, Tik Tok, Instagram and Facebook operate a minimum age of 13+ years, and therefore primary school children should not have their own, nor access to, such apps or accounts.

As parents, you can help safeguard your children online by researching these apps and their purposes, as well as their age restrictions, BEFORE agreeing to download them. If you do choose to download them, remember that parental controls such as password protection, can be set up so that in-app downloads or purchases, cannot be completed by the children themselves.

For example, to prevent iTunes, Apple App Store purchases or downloads, all you need to do is:

  1. Go to Settings and tap Screen Time.
  2. Tap Content & App Privacy Restrictions. If asked, enter your passcode.
  3. Tap iTunes & App Store Purchases.
  4. Select a setting and set to Don’t Allow.

Tips on how to install parental controls on other apps and devices (Android or Apple) can easily be found online, or even from the app developers themselves.

Last few places for Preschool, Nursery & Reception

We only have a few places remaining in our early years provision for September 2023. Currently we have:

  • 2 full-time Preschool (2-year olds) places
  • 3 full-time Nursery (3-year olds) place available, and 1 part-time place (afternoon)
  • 4 Reception class places

If you are looking for a Preschool, Nursery or Reception place for your child from January 2024 or September 2024, we’d love to have you join us for a 30-minute bespoke EYFS tour.

Here, you’ll have the chance explore our Early Years setting, speak to key staff and ask any questions regarding admissions and your child starting with us at Burdett-Coutts.

Contact us to register for our tours which take place every Thursday, with times available from 09:30 – 14:30 during term time.

Funding eligibility letter for Pupil Premium, Early Years Funding & Free School Meals

Due to changes in the eligibility criteria for Pupil Premium, Free School Meals and qualifying for 30 hours of funding for Nursery provision, many pupils currently enrolled at our school may now be entitled to one of these funding allocations.

We will be issuing letters to families who are currently not in receipt of the above, asking you to complete the registration for the identified funding option your child/ren maybe eligible for. Thank you so much in advance for your help in completing this.

This funding allows us to increase additional staffing hours to run booster groups, and an exciting range of extended day activities, that benefit our school and your child, and your cooperation is greatly appreciated at this difficult time for school budgets.

  • If you should have any queries with regards to the letter sent to you, please contact Mrs Deary or the school office.


Preschool have had another fun week learning through our current class text, ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear’. We have learnt interesting brown bear facts, designed our own bears and became authors when we created our own brown bear books.


This week, Nursery dove into the world of phonics through an engaging table-top game. By matching letters and sounds, they consolidated their learning and embraced a hands-on approach that enhances retention. Wearing their critical thinking caps, they explored language in a fun and interactive way, fostering a love for literacy from the very start.


This week in our literacy lessons we have been using our ‘Talk for Writing‘ strategies when retelling our current class text. We then created our own story retell using picture cues as support.

Year 1:

In writing, Year 1 have been focusing on re-reading stories and using punctuation to check they make sense. Last week we wrote a character description about a book character called Beegu. We learnt about adjectives and how we can use these when describing something. We worked hard to publish our writing to the best of our ability and created our own Beegu artwork.

Year 2:

As mathematicians, Year 2 children have been exploring both 2D and 3D shapes in Geometry lessons. This week’s focus was on identifying, comparing, and sorting 2D shapes (triangle, square, rectangle, pentagon, hexagon, heptagon, and octagon) based on their properties. The children used precise vocabulary, such as sides and vertices, to describe these shapes. In a practical activity, the children were given sticks and investigated the various shapes they could create. Through this, they discovered that the number of sides can be used to identify a shape.

Year 3:

In Science we have been looking at the nutritional information found on food packaging. We have been learning about how to read (and interpret) the fat, sugar, carbohydrate, protein, fibre and calories information listed in a product. We compared 2 food items: a chocolate muffin and a bliss ball and discovered that the bliss balls were a healthier alternative. We then made the bliss balls together, yum!

Year 4:

On Wednesday, we completed our annual Christmas Display. Each class creates a Christmas display, and our theme this year is linked to our History learning across the Autumn term. One of the topics this term was the Romans, so we were honoured to have the first Christmas as Jesus was born during Roman Times. We made a model of the first Nativity using wooden sticks and felt then used tiles to make Roman Mosaics around the edges. We had a really fun day!

Year 5:

We are very excited to be writing our own additional chapter to our class book, Odysseus. We are thoroughly enjoying reading this book and are thinking hard about the features of mythological writing. We are creating our own characters who Odysseus will encounter and thinking of the dilemma that needs to be solved, so that Odysseus can get home. We are currently planning our work using drama.

Year 6:

This week as writers, Year 6 have been working hard to write diary entries from the perspective of Bruno who is the main character within our class text, ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas‘. As a class, we explored a modelled example and identified the top ticks from this. We tried to include the vocabulary which we had explored within guided reading lessons and apply these words to our writing. We spent a lot of time editing our work as we know that it is important to do this to produce our best writing. We hope that you enjoy reading them.