School Newsletter : 08 December 2023

| Issue 12 | Autumn 2 | Week 12 |

EYFS & KS1 Nativity

It was an appreciative audience who gathered to witness our talented EYFS and KS1 pupils performing an outstanding and heartwarming nativity today. They demonstrated amazing confidence, considering this was the first performance they had done in front of the school and their parents and carers.

The children worked very hard to remember their speaking lines, songs and all of the actions. All the children did brilliantly to stay in character throughout their scenes. The singing was amazing, and they dazzled us with their performance.

Congratulations to everyone and thanks also to all parents and carers who attended today’s performance, it was wonderful to have you all there and for joining in with the shared carols at the end of the service.

A huge thank you to school staff who have worked tirelessly with their classes over the past half term, and to our talented and much loved music teacher, Mr Derek Carden. As they say, the proof is in the pudding, and that was certainly the case today, with an amazing performance delivered.

Christmas Jumper Day

The children and staff at Burdett-Coutts matched the Christmas-sy decor of the school on Thursday, with everyone wearing their bright and festive Christmas jumpers! As well as getting us all in a jolly mood, this special day raises awareness and funds for Save the Children, a charity supporting children facing serious issues such as hunger, poverty and war.

While many of us are busy celebrating Christmas with family, thousands of children around the country and across the world are facing hardship and we value the opportunity to stop and reflect on how we can do something small to help. Even if it means wearing a silly jumper for a day!

Huge thanks to our families who have donated Christmas jumpers so that those who cannot buy one at this time can still get involved.

9 Lessons Carol Service at St John’s Smith Square

We are well and truly celebrating this Christmas season, kicking off with our annual 9 Lessons Carol Service at St John’s Smith Square. This beautiful concert hall is in fact a church, and is linked to our school church, St Stephen’s. We are incredibly grateful to the team at St John’s for allowing us to use it once again, and it was also so lovely to see so many parents in the audience.

We must extend more thanks to Graham for joining us at St John’s and leading the worship, and to Mr Carden for putting the service together, rehearsing the choirs and soloists, organising the readings and playing the piano and organ so beautifully.

The soloists from Year 6 and Choir Club did themselves proud, and the readers took us through the 9 poems and Bible verses admirably. It’s quite nerve-racking standing on that big stage in front of a large audience so well done everyone!

It was wonderful to be able to come together as a whole school (including the youngest members of the nursery) so well done and thank you to all the staff and older children for helping to escort the 2 and 3 year olds to and from the venue. And the little ones did so well, even dancing in the front row!

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


  • Wednesday 13th: Y6 and Choir performing Christmas Carol Concert at the Abby Community Centre (13:30 – 15:00).
  • 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
  • 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

This week, Year 6 met visual artist Anne Grebby, whose art work is currently displayed at St Stephens Church. They spent their session asking her questions related to the piece titled, ‘Enfleshed Word‘ which explores the narrative of Christ’s Baptism.

It was interesting how there were so many different interpretations of the piece. Anne was very pleased to answer these questions, she felt that this is what good art should do: spark curiosity and wonder.

Services at St Stephen’s

The flyer below lists all the St Stephen’s services taking place over Christmas, from their Carol Service on Sunday 17th December through to the Eucharist on Boxing Day. The Family Crib Service at 5pm on Christmas Eve is always worth going to – the children will enjoy it.

Community Questions:

  • What could you do this week to show someone that you care about them?
  • Challenge: show someone you care about them this week in a practical way.


Thank you God for the ways you love and care for me. Thank you for the people in my life who love and care for me too. Help me to love and care for others.



  • 15th December @ 2.15pm: KS2 Carol Concert @ St Stephen’s Church.

Children & Young People’s Newsletter

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 this academic year. 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.


Christmas celebrations have begun in Preschool. We have started learning about the story of the nativity and have made Christmas decorations for our classroom. We have created pictures of the nativity and made Christmas baubles to hang up in our class. We are very excited to continue learning all about Christmas and how and why it is celebrated.


Nursery have been excitedly decorating their class Christmas tree with twinkling lights and ornaments. Engaging in this delightful activity not only sparks creativity but also fosters teamwork, fine motor skills, and a sense of pride in their collaborative efforts. Witnessing the joy on their faces, we’re reminded that these simple moments contribute to a rich tapestry of early childhood development.


Reception has been busy learning all about how and why Christmas is celebrated. We have decorated our class Christmas tree and created a Christmas display board. We have also been working hard every day with singing rehearsals for our Nativity performance this week!

Year 1:

In Maths, we have been learning about number bonds to 10 and have been exploring all of the different ways we add up to 10. We have been using part whole models to help us remember that we can use our adding skills to help with our subtracting too. To consolidate our learning, we made ladybirds showing the different ways to make 10.

Year 2:

Year 2 had a fantastic time during Christmas Display Day. This year, the theme was ‘Christmas through the Ages‘ and Year 2 explored Christmas in Victorian times. We have learnt all about how the Victorians started many of the Christmas traditions we still follow today. Although some of them have changed a bit over time, such as using electrical or battery powered lights on our trees instead of real candles. The Christmas tree was first brought to the UK in the 18th century by Queen Charlotte. However, Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, was the first to use a fir tree for their Christmas tree and made them popular. Their Christmas tree was illustrated in The London News in 1849.

The children had so much fun immersing themselves into the traditional celebrations. Our classroom smelled amazing – our display was decorated with fresh pine, eucalyptus and we baked orange slices studded with cinnamon sticks and cloves. We even made a garland out of popcorn. Children also made their own gilded walnuts, tree candles, Victorian pomanders and nutcrackers. The delightful smells and warm, cosy atmosphere, whilst helping each other and singing Christmas carols together made us feel like we were celebrating Christmas day.

Year 3:

We have been learning about Howard Carter and how he discovered Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922. In our writing lessons we are creating a diary entry from his perspective, and used drama to act out how he must have felt when he first opened the tomb. We practiced describing what he saw and what he might have said to his peers, which helped us to form ideas for our diary entry.

Year 4:

This week we celebrated Christmas Jumper Day to raise money and awareness for the charity Save the Children. We learnt about children around the world who are less fortunate than us and looked at the work that the charity does. We had a fun day listening to Christmas music and making our Christmas baubles. We feel very festive now! Seasons greetings to everyone!

Year 5:

In our guided reading sessions, we have been thinking about different ways to explore the vocabulary used by authors in our class texts. We always answer traditional fact retrieval, or comprehension questions as well as inference questions that require the children to draw their own conclusions by reading between the lines. We regularly practise dictionary skills by looking up new vocabulary from our texts, with an aim to including these words in our weekly writing tasks. Recently, we have started to focus on one or two specific words and explore them in different ways, including finding synonyms, antonyms and finally using them in multi-layered sentences. This is something that could be fun to do at home as an after school challenge, whilst enriching your child’s language skills.

Year 6:

In PSHE we have been continuing to explore our topic of ‘celebrating difference‘. We looked at different scenarios and discussed whether we would classify them as bullying or not. We further discussed what is meant by the term bullying and the reasons why people may bully others. We recognised the importance of talking to a trusted adult if we find ourselves in or can see that our friends might be experiencing difficult times.