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Wellbeing  |  Character  |  Professional Development  |  Enrichment  |  Partnership


Issue 4, April 2020

Dear parents, carers and friends,
Welcome to our newsletter - keeping you up to date with developments and events in the Palladian Academy Trust. 


All schools now talk to children about the importance of being resilient, so much more important than notions of being ‘bright’, though we scarcely thought we would be facing challenges like this. I really hope that you found some peace and respite during the Easter break, though all of us have been affected deeply by the effects of the virus. 

I want to say thank you for all of your understanding and team-spiritness which have made it so much easier to be running schools in ‘lockdown’ mode. By now I am sure routines are established which make the day pass more purposefully at home, and balance achieved in terms of what different kinds of activity are involved. 

Some truly inspiring examples of our learning and sense of fun are seen here; thanks to all the schools which provided them. I hope that you find them as inspiring and uplifting as I did. 

Although it doesn’t always photograph well, a lifetime’s experience makes me say that there is nothing that could be more helpful to your children’s progress than developing or feeding a strong reading habit

That won’t surprise you, but moving a little further, as someone who has spent thousands of hours supporting children’s reading, it is critical that the right books and reading material are available, chiming with innate interest, and not beyond reach in terms of challenge. I really believe that all children can enjoy reading with the right book in hand, but also know that a book pulled more or less at random from the shelf is unlikely to be that book.

All our schools will be more than willing to help with the quest for the right reading, but unconvinced readers will not always have the patience to make good choices and do often need help with this. 

I won’t speculate about the date of return, but I can tell you that we are all as keen for that to be named as you will be. From my reading of the situation, I think this might be the tail end of this academic year, rather than the start of the new one. I was reassured by the five tests which will be applied before schools can be allowed to reopen, as this has a scientific and objective basis. 

Most parents will probably remember the Billy Ocean song -

When the going gets tough, the tough get going…’

We have all, indeed, got going and need now to honour those routines, pending announcements about the return, or in fact partial return, we are anticipating.

I think we will all in future value education in new, and profound ways, just as our notion of a key worker might be very different from, say, 10 weeks ago.

Do get in touch with any queries, either with myself or the school your child attends.

Tim Withers
Chief Executive Officer


We'd like to share a few lovely and inspiring examples of how the staff and children in our school communities are sharing the love and keeping everyone's spirits up. 

There is a wealth of activity and community action going on so do visit the individual school websites to see more. The links to each can be found at the bottom of the page.

Staff and governors

Covid-19 PPE equipment

Miss Cowen at Ralph Allen School has been busy in the workshop trying and testing several mask designs which have now been approved by the hospital. They have chosen the design pictured here.

Miss Cowen produced just over 100 masks in one day (in RAS green of course!) Great work.
Staff at OPI are keeping their children smiling.
Tim Quick, Chair of Governors at Winsley CofE Primary School and his daughter Emilie, have set up a Youtube channel called Tinker Productions where they are recording daily sessions of them reading from The Magic Faraway Tree. At weekends, they read picture books. 
Staff at Combe Down Primary School sharing the CDP love with their community.
Reverend Tessa is filming a weekly worship from her home which is shared with the school community at Winsley CofE Primary School. We all watch it at the same time on a Wednesday. She also recorded a special one for Easter Sunday. 
The animals of Ralph Allen School's farm know nothing of what is happening; for them I am still the strange biped that brings in the food. A challenger for the ‘alpha’ status against the big Alpine goat and the strange mother-hen to our now not so little chickens. The pygmy goats have settled in well, although they haven’t yet ventured onto the top of their home – unlike the chickens who see no wall too high, no fence too wide, and no to the basic rules of farm governance! Mr Winchcombe
At St Martin's Garden Primary School we have been proactive in supporting our local community during this unprecedented time. We continue to be open to Key workers' children and support all our families in numerous ways with our home learning platform and learning packs. We are also supporting the Children Centre and other local community organisations by turning areas of our school into a Hub for collecting donations of clothes, baby products, nappies, toiletries and food. Any donations are gratefully received. Thank you, Mrs Parfitt.

Please email the school office if you would like to support: 


Some lovely examples of the banners/art work from the children at Fitzmaurice Primary School which is festooned along their boundary fence and very visual to everyone who walks past.

The local Sainsbury’s donated agreed to donate some Easter eggs to accompany food boxes.  Wiltshire LA also arranged for the children in schools in Wiltshire to receive Easter eggs last week from local companies.  Our children were delighted!  

Dexter, Y2 at Oldfield Park Infant School, had a ‘sort out’ of his toys and decided that he would put them in a box and leave them outside his front door so other children could take them and play with them.

Louisa in Y1, OPI, lost her tooth and donated the money she received from the Tooth Fairy to the NHS to help those in need.

Well done from Mrs McMurtry!
Rainbow artwork from the pupils of Widcombe Infant School in the local Co-op (left) and for the local care home they visit at Christmas to entertain the residents (right).

The mufti day held on the day before schools closed raised £588.99 for the NSPCC. Well done everyone! 
STEM workshops at St Martin's Garden Primary School during Science week.

The school hosted Explorer Dome ‘Digestive’ workshops for their children and the children of St Philip's CofE Primary School, which everyone enjoyed.

Y5 and 6 children at St Martin's also worked alongside Prof Ventsislav K Valev - Professor of Physics and University Research Fellow of the Royal Society and some of his students from Bath University. His team and their famous Robot called Photon visited each class where they shared numerous experiments about Light (pictured left).

Y2 and 3 representatives from each school took part in a variety of activities led by STEAMSHIP; they measured the distances they travelled to school, either by car or on foot. The children worked in mixed school groups, allowing them to get to know each other. Emma Smith and Mark Edwards of STEAMSHIP, are parents to children in Combe Down CofE Primary and Ralph Allen Secondary Schools (pictured right).
Children currently attending Widcombe CofE Junior School decided to revamp the school sign. Our hand-print rainbow is hopefully raising a smile to all those who pass by our school at this time.
Team Oldham, from Oldfield Park Junior School, built their own version of Stonehenge which, we gather, was built using building techniques of the time!

'Cracking use of wood to roll those heavy stones on boys!' Mr Goucher
Winsley pupils have kept up with their daily Womble (Walk One Mile Before Learning) but have been wombling on bicycles, scooters, dribbling footballs etc... 
The few children of key workers, who attended St Philip's CofE Primary School over the Easter holidays, enjoyed a variety of fun activities. 
Sharing the love at St Martin's Garden Primary School. 

Sports/Outdoor Education  

Outdoor education training 

At the end of February, energetic and fun-spirited teachers threw themselves into a training afternoon focused on providing ideas for outdoor activity programmes for primary and junior school aged students. Activities involved team relays, communication games, a navigation exercise and a trust activity on a slack line! Exercises took place in the lovely grounds at St Martin's Garden Primary School. (pictured below)

Jane Fox, DofE & Outdoor Education Coordinator, Ralph Allen School 

Other news 

School meals provision

Jackie, Stephen and the team at Chartwells, who cater for many of our schools, have done a truly sterling job putting together food parcels for a number of our children. This provision has been well received and has helped immensely during this challenging time.

Chartwells has sent out 1235 meal packs over the past few weeks between all of the schools in the Trust and have provided 135 hot lunches for key workers' students.

Any excess food has been donated to local foodbanks and fairshare charities thus ensuring minimal waste and extra support for our community. 

Eynon Catering in Wiltshire are delivering weekly food boxes to both Bradford on Avon schools, which Winsley CofE and Fitzmaurice Primary Schools then distribute to all families entitled to the Free School Meals (FSM) provision. These have been very well received and we are very grateful to Steve and his team.

Ralph Allen school ensured that parents of our Free School Meal students had vouchers to purchase food at local supermarkets before Easter and accessed the Government’s voucher system over the Easter period. The Government system has been under pressure and over subscribed, but the school accessed the system very early on so its parents benefited first from the scheme. Parents have been hugely grateful for the support they have received; those who don't have access to IT or a smart phone have been able to contact the school, who have downloaded them on their behalf.  Others have been talked through the process when they have asked for help.

Keeping our students safe, fed and healthy during this period has been a priority for the school. We know how much some children will be missing our lovely school meals and want to ensure that students eat and stay well.

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Upcoming events

Science photography competition

Please email any entries to Miss Tytherleigh at Ralph Allen School.



We have been employing a variety of communication methods to keep us all connected and we continue to work across the schools to look at ways we might use ICT to help communicate and work with each other.

School websites

Work on developing school websites has continued. Here are the sites that have gone live; Combe Down Primary School launched theirs towards the end of last term (well done!) We hope you agree that they look fantastic and are easy to navigate to find the information you need.

St Martin's Garden Primary team is in the final stages and will be launching shortly.  Fitzmaurice Primary School and Winsley CofE Primary School, will join the programme over the coming terms. 

Any feedback on the websites you would like to share is very welcome either directly to individual teams via school offices or to Yvonne Miles in the central services team: 

There are lots of tips on the internet to help your family stay safe on line - access resources on Gov.UK or as recommended by your school.

Resources and articles

We know that parents and carers have received lots of examples of resources from their individual schools so we have included these just for reference, should you need them.

Each school is happy to help if you need any assistance in supporting your child/children’s learning and development while they are at home with you. 

Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) Primary Specialist, Tiffnie Harris’s article on ‘home learning’ can be viewed here.


Government WhatsApp service

A GOV.UK WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Service has now been launched. The purpose of this product is to combat the spread of misinformation propagated through WhatsApp on an official Government channel.

To use the service, members of the public simply add +44 7860 064422 to their contacts and send a WhatsApp message saying “Hi”. 

The Bath 3SG (third sector group) which, with support from B&NES and Virgin Care amongst others, brings together charities, community groups and "not for profits" from all over B&NES to work together and support each other and potentially access funding sources.   

For the Covid 18 crisis they have created a compassionate community helpline staffed by various B&NES-based charities and local volunteers who can help B&NES residents .

Our schools

Click on the links below to see what's happening in schools across the Trust:
Copyright © Palladian Academy Trust, rights reserved.

Head Office
Ralph Allen School,
Claverton Down Road,

For general correspondence, please email: Yvonne Miles, PA to Tim Withers:  

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