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Wellbeing | Character | Professional Development | Enrichment | Partnership


Issue 2, Dec 2020

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


Thanks to all schools for the way in which Christmas has been celebrated this year, and the extraordinary additional efforts this has involved at times to be safe.

It is a reminder that Christmas has evolved and changed shape many times over the years, and will do again.  

Visits to Jamie's Farm, the Explorer Dome, short films made this term, online assemblies, author visits and many more events have helped to vary the pace of learning and inject joy and diversity into our weeks.  

I hope you get a sense of this from this newsletter.  

Can I wish you a happy and relaxed winter break this year, and express the hope that as we start into 2021, we will have light and optimism in our trust community?  As the days lengthen, and we anticipate, the vaccine sends the graphs downwards, we will begin to have more good news to celebrate, and more normal activity in schools. Fingers crossed. 

I would like to comment to parents and carers that in holding risk assessment visits with headteachers, governors, and Jo Marsh (Chief Operating Officer), certain things have been striking: primarily the incredible efforts that have been made to maintain learning amidst a sea of unique challenges. The usual business of working in schools hasn't gone away, of course, but been thus complicated.

Take care as we approach the festive period, and best wishes for 2021.

Tim Withers
Chief Executive Officer


Below is a snapshot of what's been happening this term in our school communities.

Please visit the individual school websites to see more. The links to each can be found at the bottom of the page.

In our schools

You have probably heard the good news that free school meals will be funded during the holidays until March 2021.

At Ralph Allen School, we have also been thinking about how we as a school can support our local foodbanks during this national crisis. We are aware of the widening demographic of foodbank users over the last few months as Food Aid Charities have identified the emergence of the UK's "newly hungry"- a growing cohort of people previously in good jobs who have been forced to use food banks for the first time during the pandemic.

We have been in contact with Bath Foodbank who will collect food/toiletries and distribute them across the city where needed.

Thank you to staff who have made donations via the collection point in our staffroom. We regularly deliver these to Foodbank headquarters in Bath.

Jos Platt is also using the profits from her beautiful face mask sales to buy items needed in our community. 

Poetry Slam 2020 

The incredible performance poet Michael Rosen battled Covid-19 earlier this year and we have taken inspiration from his fight to make sure that the world famous Ralph Allen Poetry Slam goes ahead. In normal years we would gather in the hall as a year group to listen to the amazing individual and group poems - this year we've gone virtual!

Each Year 7 class have had an individual and group slam in class. The winners then went up against other classes via the magic of Zoom in order to decide which poets would clinch victory. The array of topics as always was phenomenal, unsurprisingly Covid and lockdown featured heavily, but we also experienced poems about friendship and food fights.
Well done to all of Year 7 on another sterling effort!

Winter concert

A huge thank you to the students in years 7-12 involved in the virtual winter concert and Mrs Randall and Mr Williams for organising. If you missed the concert, you can view it here. 

Congratulations to all the students involved in making the concert so brilliant!  We hope you enjoy sharing it with your family and friends.  

At Widcombe CofE Junior School, we have continued to use the outdoor environment to inspire our learning. We enjoyed wearing odd socks to school, as part of Anti-Bullying week and are making plans for Christmas. Whilst it will be a quieter festive season, we have put together a 'WJS Advent'. A video link will be shared every day with our school community - there are lots of lovely surprises in store. Year 3 have been making Christmas cards to send to our friends at Age UK. Now is the perfect time of year, to demonstrate this term's school value of kindness. We are enjoying getting to grips with Microsoft Teams and a recent parent webinar attracted over 90 parents. Merry Christmas from everyone at Widcombe Church of England Junior School, here's to 2021!

As part of our drive to keep fit or get fitter after lockdown at Oldfield Park Junior School, Mr Newman used some of our PE and Sports Premium to purchase a skipping rope for every child and member of staff. We welcomed Mr Rouse (SSCo) who taught us all how to skip as well as how to have some fun and games.

A number of our children spent some time at Jamie’s Farm recently. As you can see, they got stuck in and were cracking farmers! Well done to all and thank you to Miss Butler for organising, the staff at Jamie’s Farm and our staff who made the week possible!

What an exciting term at St Martin’s Garden Primary School, with visitors and exciting new resources to support our learning enquiry curriculum ‘A Tale of Two Cities’. 

Duncan Beedie, author and illustrator, zoomed into classes across the school to share his love of writing and drawing with the children. From ‘Molly's Moon Mission’ to ‘The Lumberjack’s Beard’, the children thoroughly enjoyed listening to each of his stories and creating their own fantastic illustrations with Duncan’s amazing guidance. 

As part of our ‘Tale of Two Cities’ learning enquiry, Jim Parkyn, senior model maker with Aardman Animations zoomed into the classrooms to help the children create their own Aardman characters with model making workshops. Jim also talked about his life as a model maker and the exciting projects and films he has been involved in. Everyone had an amazing day!

This Advent, Winsley CofE Primary School pupils are living out one of their key values of kindness, by making cards and Christmas gifts for residents and staff at Avon Park nursing and care home. Every Christmas the school choir enjoys singing Christmas carols at Avon Park. 

Sadly this year that has not been possible, so instead the pupils have made gift bags containing a hand-made card, a Christmas decoration and a chocolate. Videos of the class nativity plays will also be shown to residents.

The pupils were challenged to think about ways they could shine Advent light into the lives of other people. This simple project has been great fun and hopefully will help to build a long lasting friendship between the school and Avon Park and shine some much needed light into the lives of residents and care staff. 

Combe Down CofE Primary School has been getting in to the festive spirit with the children, staff and parents challenging themselves to get to Lapland, 2,115km as the crow flies, before the end of term! We are currently somewhere over Norway, but hope to make it to Lapland in the next few days! It has been a great way to get out and about and keep active during lockdown, and we have also managed to raise some valuable funds through our Just Giving page to invigorate the Forest School area and library. We have been inundated with very generous donations of food from our families in response to our plea for food parcels, to be distributed to those who are struggling in our school community during the current pandemic. 

We were extremely lucky to have Justin Adams, the rock guitarist, in our school recently! He would normally be touring and performing around the world, but because he can’t right now, he brought some of his own brand of rock vibe into school! He gave some inspiring live performances to the Year 1s and the Year 3s – lucky children! He then led (with Jeni Reid, the organiser,) instrumental workshops, which got all the Year 3 children playing and jamming with him. They also performed for the school on Teams at the end of the day, so that the whole school got in on the act. Not only is he a brilliant musician, but he’s also a great communicator, and brought a bit of his own musical story in to share with the children, who clearly loved the whole experience. We thank the parents for generously supporting this venture, and hope to re-book him in the
New Year, while we can!

At St Philip's CofE Primary School we have been tree planting. Children planted 30 trees in the corner of the school field as part of our initiative to address the climate emergency. Although small saplings at the moment, we hope these will grow to be lovely mature trees we can enjoy – a legacy for generations to come.

We collected 68 shoe boxes filled with gifts and carefully wrapped them to send off to disadvantaged children around the world this Christmas for Operation Christmas Child.

Global citizenship is a very important aspect to children’s development at Widcombe Infant School as we emphasise that even at a young age children can make a difference. Each term the children focus on a different aspect of global citizenship and explore it in a way which is relevant to their age or particular interests.

The school participated in the Youth Climate Summit Week the 9-13 November. The children were inspired by a variety of videos and activities provided by different charities, people and companies e.g. Greenpeace. Following in depth and passionate discussions about how to protect our planet, Class 4 created a poster sharing their ideas. Class 4 also created posters to encourage people to save our oceans and these were sent off to Boris Johnson. They were delighted to receive a reply from the Prime Minister’s office congratulating them on their environmental awareness and detailing ways in which they could further save our planet. To find out more you could look up the Tide Turners Plastic Challenge Badge.

This year the school has joined Energy Sparks to help save energy in the school. The children were given a thermal imaging camera to explore the heat of different areas in the school and their classrooms. They found out that the radiators, pipes and even the laptop gave off heat and their bodies were quite hot too!

We have a parents Green Team who are happy to be contacted via Widcombe Infant School if any other PAT schools would like support to join Energy Sparks.

Christmas is coming at Widcombe Infant School. All children have been involved in festive activities including decorating the school Christmas tree and baking Christmas cookies.

We have also had a Christmas slumber party with a movie and popcorn which our PTA organised. It was great fun!
The children at Oldfield Park Infant School have all thoroughly enjoyed playing on the new play equipment installed last month, thanks to the fundraising exploits of the PTA.
Our Year 2 children have been busy supporting the BANES Compassionate Community Movement. They have been making Christmas cards to be shared with the community to spread a little festive cheer.

We are pleased to welcome two new staff members this term; Jo Spanswick and Sarah Thompson. We know they will be great assets to our team.

Happy Christmas from Fitzmaurice Primary School; our tree has been put up outside this year so that everyone can see it and the brilliant decorations made in our Forest School sessions by children in Years 1&2 and 3&4. The children really enjoyed making their wreaths to go onto the tree along with the oranges.

We are lucky to have our own, huge, Forest School area in school which we use all year round with the mud slide hill, swing and fire pit. One of our favourite activities when we are not playing hide and seek is the fire that we have at the end of each term.

Guidance for staff, students & families: how to keep your personal data safe

Recent Government announcements give us great hope for an end to the Pandemic.

Now our nations attention can naturally turn to how to go about celebrating a Christmas with differences.

We think it is safe to assume that amongst this there will be even more online shopping than normal and equally more attempts to scam.

Cyber crime is relevant to all of us and in the spirit of goodwill, we thought it would be useful to publish some personal guidance for you, your staff & if you wish, your pupils’ parents too.

Wondering just how relevant this is though? Action Fraud think nearly 17 ½ thousand people lost a blistering circa £13.5 million to online shopping fraud last Christmas!

So; there is no doubt – as we move into December fake websites, phishing emails & offers ‘too good to refuse’ are likely to be very prevalent indeed.

That’s potential for a lot of upset people & we want to do our bit to help prevent it happening.

So – what should you watch out for & what can you do?

#1 Be careful where you shop on line.

Firstly, do your research on online retailers to check they're legitimate.

Check out feedback from people or organisations that you know are ok (consumer websites are especially good).

Always look a gift horse in the mouth! – if a deal looks too amazing it may well be fraudulent.

Beware emails or texts you receive about great deals, which may be links to fake websites. If unsure, don't use the link.

#2 Look out for suspicious emails, calls, and text messages.

Many messages come from online stores after 'opting in' to future communications from them. Among these there can be fake ones & these can be hard to identify.

So, if something doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t – don’t use it!

#3 Where you have accounts always use strong passwords.

You are at risk if you always use the same password, it is too simple or can be easily guessed.

Make your passwords complex & vary them.

#4 Use a credit (not debit) card for online payments.

Use a credit card when shopping online because card providers protect online purchases.

Also, unlike debit cards, should your payment details be stolen, nothing to do with your personal bank accounts will be at risk.

Online payment platforms, such as PayPal, Apple Pay or Google Pay are also good because of their dispute resolution services. Also useful; the retailer doesn’t see your payment details.

Always check for a 'closed padlock' icon in the browser's address bar. It means that the connection is secure. If the padlock icon is not there don’t use the site.

#5 Turn on 'Two-Factor Authentication' (2FA).

2FA is a passcode which is randomly generated and usually sent to your phone when logging in to an account. Using this means it is much more difficult for scammers to compromise accounts.

#6 Be a Scrooge with your personal information.

Online stores ask for information e.g. address, and bank information. Only fill in mandatory information, minimising the potential for misuse later.

Look out for warning signs. Stores asking for superfluous information (e.g. where you were schooled) might mean the company is not legitimate.

Also, if possible don't create an account unless you really need to (e.g. you are going to shop again). Checkout as a guest where possible.

#7 React appropriately if things go wrong

If you think your credit or debit card has been used by someone else, let your bank know straight away (using their official website or phone number). This way they can block anyone using it.

If you think you have been a victim of cyber crime, report the incident to Action Fraud via phone (0300 123 2040) or website at

With luck & care hopefully, you won’t be scammed this Christmas – we sincerely hope not.

Best wishes & we hope your Christmas preparations go well.

One West

Our Schools
Click on the links to see what's happening in schools across the Trust:


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Palladian Academy Trust · Ralph Allen School · Bath, Somerset BA2 7AD · United Kingdom

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