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Pulteneytown Academy Index  Schools & Education

Pulteneytown Academy
Newsletters 16 & 23 August  2006

Dear Parent

Newsletter – 16.08.06

Welcome back to another academic year after having such glorious weather over the summer break.

Now is the time to take out the School Handbook, which you should have a copy of, and have a read through to refresh your memory on general information and administration for the coming year.  If you cannot find your School Handbook please complete the tear-off slip at the end of this letter and you will be given one. 

Staffing – I am delighted to welcome new teachers, Miss Ruth Mackay to P1, Miss Emma Miller to P5 and a welcome back to Miss Falconer in P4.

Attendance/Absence Notification – Last year the procedures we set up for this seemed to be a bit confusing and parents were not sure when or if to telephone and then they were not sure whether they had to write a note as well or not. In order to simplify the whole procedure and make things easier for everyone, I would be obliged if parents could telephone the school from 8.15 - 9.10 a.m. if their child is going to be absent from school for any reason - Tel No 602649 and this will mean no notes have to be written on their return to school.

Changes to the Building

  • Rms 13 and 16 have been redecorated and P6&7 are delighted with their ‘new look’ classrooms. 
  • Rm 7 has had a total refurbishment with painting, new carpet, shelving and furniture and is looking wonderful for P2.
  • Senior Girls’ Toilets – windows have been replaced but the floor covering has not yet been looked at.  The toilets need complete refurbishment and I am reluctant to spend money on replacement floor covering which would then be wasted during refurbishment of cubicles etc.  Their condition is ‘fair’ and as long as girls wear shoes of some kind on their feet these toilets are acceptable for use. 
  • Senior Boys’ Toilets – again windows have been replaced but urinals, cubicles, walls and floor remain in a dreadful condition but only for a short time as complete refurbishment will be taking place during the October break.  In the meantime I have taken steps to ensure there are no dangerous areas, e.g. broken tiles on the walls which are sharp have been covered by Fablon.  As with the girls as long as the boys wear shoes there is no health & safety risk.
  • Nursery fence – This has been severely vandalised over the summer and will have to be replaced.  Police have been involved and if anyone knows anything about this the police would be delighted to hear from you.
  • Scrap Wood – As we have been ripping out old cupboards we have a pile of scrap wood which is really on fit for burning but there may be bits which some talented person could use for shelving etc perhaps in a garage.  If anyone would like to take this away please contact the office and Carole will make the necessary arrangements with you.

School Lunches – Thursday’s choice will be beef casserole or macaroni cheese and Friday has chicken curry and fish cakes on the menu.  A full 6 week menu will be distributed to you by the end of this week.  PLEASE KEEP THIS SAFELY FOR REFERENCE (why not stick it on the fridge door so both you and your child can see whether or not they need to open the door for packed lunch items).   Prices and arrangements, etc please see Handbook.

Tuck Shop – Crisps 30p, Alpen Bars 30p, Fruit 20p, sportscap bottles of water 40p. P1 and P2 have free fruit on Tues, Weds and Thurs and will probably not require other tuck on these days as there is only 75 minutes between break and their lunchtime. Remember children are encouraged to have a bottle of water with them in class each day as drinking regularly is very important for their health.

Family Update Information – If you have changed address, telephone number, emergency contact, etc or if your child has developed a new medical problem which we should know about, please contact the school office.  Update forms will be coming your way on a class by class basis over the next few weeks.  I would be obliged if you could check and return these promptly so that Carole can finish with one class before starting on the next and have our records up to date for the September Census.

Curriculum News – As there are so many administrative items to pass on to you at this time of year I will wait until the beginning of September before bombarding you with details of the School Development Plan and the changes to the way we are teaching reading in P4-7.  This year I intend to keep you more closely updated with curricular news and hopefully will see all of you on a number of occasions for curriculum information evenings. 

Cake Days – Once a month, as a treat, we sell sugared doughrings and cream cookies for 35p each as well as the crisps, fruit etc.  This is usually sold on the first Tuesday of the month but see the Dates for your Diary section for specific dates.

Head Lice – Just a reminder to ask you to check your child’s head on a regular basis to ensure they have not contracted head lice.  If found please treat as necessary.  If you require information on how to do this, the school has leaflets which we can give you or speak to your Pharmacist or Health Visitor.  Children are NOT excluded from school if they are found to have head lice, but parents are requested to take prompt action to minimise the risk of spreading.

Dogs – May I just mention that at no time can you bring your dog into the playground. 

Dates for your Diary

Tues 29 Aug – P4/5 Rugby Tournament - details to follow

Wed 30 Aug – P6/7 Rugby Tournament - details to follow

Tues 5 Sept – P7 Safe Highlanders – class will be given details

Tues 5 Sep – Cake Day – 35p

Sun 10 Sept – P4-7 Triathlon – classes will be given specific information

Tues 3 Oct – Cake Day – 35p

Holiday Dates for Pupils

School closes Fri 6 Oct 06            School opens Mon 23 Oct 06

School closes Thurs 21 Dec 06            School opens Mon 8 Jan 07

School closes Fri 30 Mar 07            School opens Tues 17 Ap 07

School closes Thurs 28 June 07            School opens Tues 14 Aug 07

School closes Fri 5 Oct 07            School opens Mon 22 Oct 07

School closes Thurs 20 Dec 07            School opens Mon 7 Jan 08

Yours sincerely


Head Teacher


I wish a copy of the School Handbook

Child’s Name …………………………………...................................... Class ………

Yours sincerely
Head Teacher

Dear Parent

Newsletter – 23.08.06

Class Newsletters – These have been distributed to all P1-7 pupils today using the new format as requested by the majority of parents in last year’s questionnaire. 

Permission Slips – New regulations on Out of School Activities which were introduced on a trial basis in March have now come into force.  All activities are ‘Risk Assessed’ before children leave school and all eventualities are attempted to be covered to ensure your child’s safety.  I had stopped sending out permission slips for all activities but I am afraid this will have to start again.  However, for things such as swimming, one letter should suffice.  I will try and make these as small as possible in an effort to save paper. 

Class Timetables – In an effort to keep things simple so that children remember to bring the appropriate kit I have blocked all activities such as keep fit and swimming which will be as follows




Keep Fit


Term 1



Term 1

P1, P2, P3

Term 2



Term 2

P4, P5

Term 3

P3 (P4 from 28.02.07)


Term 3

P6, P7

Term 4



Term 4

P1,P2, P3/P5

Music will continue on a weekly basis for all classes but there will be no input from specialist Art or PE teachers this year but we are delighted Fiona Harper will continue with Keep Fit which is being funded through our own School Fund.

In an effort to reduce costs older pupils will walk to and from the swimming pool as the costs of buses have increased.  This activity also counts towards the increase in physical exercise which we are trying to provide for all pupils as part of a healthy lifestyle.   However, as we are walking, classes must be accompanied by 2 adults and P7 has no class assistant on a Friday.  If any P7 parent would like to volunteer their services this term to walk from the school to the pool and back please ‘phone Carole to check on times.

Dentist – All children were issued with an NHS Highland Dental Service Form for completion and return to school.  Please note that Mr Nicol will no longer be seeing your child as this job is now being carried out by M G B O’Boyle.  The dental caravan is now with us and checks will begin very shortly.

PSA – As you can see from the total of £2341.00 raised at our recent BBQ we had a great night.  My thanks to everyone who contributed in any way to make it such a success. The Annual General Meeting has been arranged for Mon 11 September at 7 p.m. in the school.  All parents are most welcome.  Please do not feel that you have to take a position on the committee but do come along and take part.

Menu – All P2-P7 families were given a copy of the 6 weekly Menu last Friday.  Please check to see if you have this and if not search your child’s schoolbag. 

School Handbook – This has been distributed to those who requested an updated copy.  There are plenty left, just complete the slip from last weeks newsletter or call in to collect one.

Health & Hygiene – Last session children were absent from school every week from February onwards with ‘sickness’ and I know we had a number who still seemed to have the bug when we were in Edinburgh.  Already, this term, children have been off with sickness bugs and it really is very unpleasant for them and disruptive to their education.   When large numbers of people spend a lot of time in a small space, as we do in school, it is easy to transmit germs either directly from pupil to pupil or via their jotters, textbooks etc.  Children should all have a handkerchief with them in school every day, either a cloth one which is renewed every day, or a small pack of paper ones which can be disposed of after use and staff will be proactive in making sure children cover their faces if they have coughs or sneezes.  This should hopefully reduce the transmission of airborne germs.  In school we try to encourage children to wash their hands every time they go to the toilet and especially before eating.  However, being realistic with 6 sinks in the senior boys’ toilets and upwards of 50 boys trying to wash their hands before they come for their lunch, lunch time would be over before the last ones even made it to the hall if they were going to wash their hands properly as I believe the recommendation is to scrub with soap for at least 20 seconds and then rinse for a further 10 under running water.  I have, therefore, purchased a supply of antibacterial gel which can be applied and rubbed into the hands in a few seconds without the need for water or towel and, as it is alcohol based, it just evaporates after killing virtually all known germs.  This has been purchased via Highland Health Board in pump dispenser containers and is used widely in hospitals and cruise ships (having experienced the latter personally!)  I would like to start using this with all children as they come into the lunch hall each day.  If you would like to try it out for yourself please feel free to come into school and Carole will give you a squirt to apply to your hands!  Anyone who feels this may be a problem for their child should contact me before the end of this week, otherwise I will assume that if they are staying for a school or packed lunch you have no objection to its use.  This should, hopefully, reduce the transmission of skin contact germs. 

After School Use of Grounds – Due to vandalism and broken windows, I have restricted use of school grounds after 3.30.  From now on, pupils will only be allowed to play at the far end of the old infant field, well away from the school building.  They must not come into the playground area or senior field at any time after 3.30.  The use of the grounds is also banned to all Wick High School pupils and older youths.  Children were told this yesterday and they did play in the correct place last night, but unfortunately there is a lot of litter left in the field this morning. If this continues then all grounds will be put out of bounds after school hours.  Staff will all do some work on litter over the next few days and I would much appreciate it if parents could also speak to their child(ren) about this filthy habit which is not only unsightly, but also a health risk.

Curriculum Development- Please see attached sheet for details.

Yours sincerely


Head Teacher

Curriculum Developments – A full copy of the School Development Plan can be found in Reception for any parent who would like to come in and have a read, but as it is 60 pages long I do not intend to copy it for everyone.  A summary of our development targets follows -

The Highland Promise 2007 –

  • To provide all children with greater access to participation in Arts, Sports, Language, Heritage, Science & Environmental activities.
  • To celebrate the Highland Promise with a culmination of activities reflected in the Caithness Heritage Fair 2007.

Raising Stands of Attainment in Reading throughout the School (Highland Literacy Project Phase 3)

  • To teach Reading using a direct, interactive approach.
  • To develop and promote a whole school approach to the teaching of reading through the use of collaborative learning strategies.
  • To encourage children to make the link between Reading, Writing, Talking and Listening.
  • To promote pupils success through training in self and peer assessment.
  • To provide training for staff to enable them to teach Reading using a wide variety of strategies.
  • To promote parental involvement in supporting their children in reading at home.
  • To identify and provide any additional resources to further support the reading project.

Improving Attainment of the Lowest 20% of Pupils

  • Review all new paperwork on a staged approach to intervention.
  • More focused support targeted to the poorest achievers.
  • Use of ICT to improve attainment of all, especially poorest achievers.

Improve Attainment and Lifelong Learning Skills through Focused use of Homework

  • Review current practice in setting and balancing a variety of homework tasks and the time allowed to complete these tasks.
  • Introduce more interactive practices for homework to raise the standard of this work and learning in general.
  • Encourage parents to be active partners in their child’s learning and so spend time each day interacting with them on homework tasks of a wide variety.
  • Rewrite school policy on homework and ensure parents are on board with the new policy.

Determined to Succeed – Establishing a Programme for Enterprise Education

  • Ensure every pupil fulfils their entitlement to enterprise activities on an annual basis.
  • Provide support for experiential entrepreneurial activities.
  • Begin to develop partnership agreements with local businesses and other appropriate organisations.
  • Provide the opportunity for all teachers to participate in training and development in enterprise in Education.

Nursery Development Projects are

  • To improve children’s experiences in physical development and movement – especially outdoors.
  • To develop the Nursery’s outdoor area to further children’s learning experiences in all of the 5 key areas.
  • To include AifL approaches to teaching & learning.
  • To ensure practice is reflected in written policies.

I will update you every term as to our progress on each of the above projects and expect more information about reading later on this term.

Dear Parent 

Update to Newsletter of 23.08.06

Health and Hygiene – I have further investigated the use of Alcohol based hand sanitizers and spoken to one or two people about the Health and Safety Risks involved in using this and further checks are necessary before I am sure about it’s safe use and storage.  This will therefore not be introduced in school until the Risk Assessment is completed and will only be introduced if I am positive it is safe to do so.  In the meantime I will continue to search for a product which is 100% safe to use and encourage children to wash their hands thoroughly before eating.  Parents may wish to supply their child with a ‘wet wipe’ type of product to allow them to keep their hands as clean as possible if they so wish and I will keep you updated in the next newsletter.

Yours sincerely


Head Teacher