These are exciting times for us at St Michael’s. At last our dream of being an all-through primary school has become a reality. In September 2018 we will take in our first Year 3s and begin the transformation of this wonderful school. The future looks bright for both the school and for Aylsham parents and children who deserve real educational choice.
Just to remind you, the proposal was
To change the age range to admit pupils from 4 up to the age of 11 years, to begin transition from 1st September 2018, to become an all through primary school, with a Published Admission Number of 20.
And today we hear:
The Executive Director of Children’s Services in her capacity as Decision-maker, has approved the proposal on 12th December 2017.
We are simply delighted and would like to extend our huge thanks to all who helped make this possible.
As you know, we are awaiting final confirmation from the local authority that we will become a Primary school. The governors and I have prepared for this decision and a plan is in place to manage the transition.
An ambitious programme of building works will soon transform our old prefab dining hall and kitchen into a new purpose-built Nursery, modern kitchen and multipurpose hall. We expect this work to begin early in the New Year and be completed during the first term of the new school year September 2018. However quickly or slowly the building work proceeds the extra classroom we need will be accommodated from September 2018 in a new mobile classroom and we will be advertising as soon as we can for a new, experienced Key Stage 2 teacher. The changes will work through the school, adding a year group in each of the next three years until September 2020.
To clarify the situation regarding admissions, we would like you all to know that when we become a Primary and Nursery School our Nursery admissions will remain unchanged, with just as many places available in future as there are currently. In the main school our planned admission number (to Reception Class) will reduce in 2018 from 36 places to 20 places. However, during the three year transition phase there will be enough space for all pupils currently with a place at St Michael’s main school to stay with us into year 3 if they choose to.
Further information for parents of Year 2 children ONLY
It is important that you should be aware that all parents of this year’s Year 2s who choose to keep their child at St Michael’s will be able to do so, despite the fact that our pupil admission number is reducing. A Year 3 place is guaranteed for those children who are already here.
According to the Local Authority published admissions arrangements, our Year 2 children are deemed “due to transfer to junior school” in September 2018 and will enter the junior schools’ admission round which begins on the 8th November 2017 and ends on 15th January 2018. All parents of Year 2 children will need to apply to the Local Authority[i] for a year 3 place and applications must be received by the closing date of 15th January 2018. However, please note that places are not allocated on a first come, first served basis so you can make your choice as late or early as you like.
There will be an open session next Tuesday morning, 7th November, from 9 to 10. Do come along to find out more about what the new St Michael’s Primary School intends to offer you and your children.
[i]On-line at www.admissionsonline.norfolk.gov.uk or complete a paper application available from www.norfolk.gov.uk/admissions or by requesting a copy from their Customer Services on 0344 800 8020.
From Catherine McMahon
It is hard to believe that the term is nearly over. We will soon be wishing our current year 2s a very fond farewell and celebrating some of the wonderful times we have had with them here at St Michael’s. You are all very welcome to come along and join us at the Leavers’ Service in Church next Friday at 9.15.
It was great to see so many of you at the Open Day and I know our governors were particularly pleased for a chance to talk about our plans for the future. I would like to assure you that we are making every effort to receive formal confirmation that we will be able to start growing into a primary school in September 2018. (See Progress to Primary, below, for an update.)
We all find waiting for confirmation frustrating, but let me assure parents of children going into year 3 in 2018 that you do not need to make an application for a place here or anywhere before the middle of January 2018. Applying earlier gives no advantage. (Schools are not allowed to give preference to early applicants.)
In the meantime, plans are well underway for our new build. If you come in to the hall you can see drawings of what they could look like. This project will give this School all the facilities it needs and will even provide us with a little bit more precious outside space!
The School has to contribute towards the build. So we have just set up a group dedicated to fund raising for the £40,000 we need. If you would like to be part of this in any way, please let me know. One of our first activities will be to have a stand at the Aylsham Show on 28th August. Do visit. There will be games for children and a display of photos of St Michael’s in days gone by. (If you have any to share, please do!). You might also like to sign up to being a Friend of St Michael’s, or know someone else in your family who would like to.
My vision for the future
We have made lots of statements about why we want to be a primary school and the process we have to go through to make this happen. But perhaps less has been said about what St Michael’s will offer you and your children, especially those who become the pioneer year 3s.
The St Michael’s we are building will have a breakfast club, maybe also a tea club. There will be afterschool clubs, every day of the week if possible, not just sporty ones, but also music, IT, art, etc. There will be excellent IT provision for all, growing along with the children. There will continue to be a strong emphasis on Forest School, and on learning outside and adventurous activities. There will be a ‘house’ system and lots of interaction between the older and younger children. The library, with help from SMASH, will grow into the hall space and become the hub of the school. Reading will be a passion, and achievement in EVERY subject (especially music) will be celebrated.
Our link with the Church will develop and change as children’s needs change, as will our links with the community. We will be able to engage more and more with other local people and institutions. Our children will get together with other primary children for sports events, cultural outings and entertainment. They will learn more about social responsibility by visiting and listening to others. The provision for PE in the form of dance and gymnastics will be first class and they will be able to use local green spaces for athletics and games.
This is just the start. There isn’t room to write more now!
Progress to Primary – UPDATE
In January 2017 informal consultations were over and we were ready for the formal consultation to take place. This needs a clear 4 week slot within normal term time with no bank holidays.
- Then the Local Authority told us that this stage could not be entered until the start of the new financial year.
- Then the County Council, which is the ‘decision maker’, effectively shut down for local elections and the resulting changes in personnel.
- Then Mrs May decided to hold a general election, and everything shut down again.
By this time there were no more 4 week slots left this term. Governors’ patience is wearing thin now. They are currently waiting for news from the LA that the formal stage will start as soon as we return in September and be over by October half term.
Can you help in any way? If you have desire, energy, ideas, influence please let me know.
Have a wonderful summer, whatever else you do. I look forward to welcoming you all back in September.
It was with great sadness that we heard that Margaret Seville had passed away last Sunday. Mrs Seville taught at St Michael’s for many years until her stroke in 1994 and was much loved and respected. Our thoughts and prayers are with Julie Barrett, one of her daughters, and the rest of the family.
You may have spotted the new ‘children crossing’ sign on Blickling Road. Enormous thanks go to the Town Council in the person of Sue Lake, and to St Michael’s School governors (especially Mark Boyd) for making this happen.
The original artwork comes from Eben and Eloise (clever children!) and is designed not only to be a reminder to motorists but also to brighten their day a little.
We were delighted to receive photos of the new water tower in Pongro. It is making such a big difference to their lives. Mrs McMahon also received a heartfelt letter of thanks from Mr Saly the headteacher of Pongro school.
Teddies are hoisted to the top of the tower ready to be sent down the zip wire.
Brave teddies arrive safely, much to everyone’s relief.