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Wellbeing | Character | Professional Development | Enrichment | Partnership


Issue 1, Oct 2020

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


In the week that the government has announced new measures to combat rising levels of Covid-19, there is fresh anxiety about the ability of schools to continue as normal. As you know, Year 7 students in Ralph Allen School as well as Osprey class in St Philip's have had an early experience of home-based learning this year. I have already written to you explaining that we do not have deep staffing reserves.

Paul Jacobs and myself hold regular Progress Meetings with headteachers and governors throughout the year. Clearly these meetings have been somewhat different in 2020-21, though it has been heartening to talk through how schools are finding new ways to connect pupils and maintain a strong sense of the community in these times of fragmentation.

I do want to thank parents and carers for the strong support felt within all our schools; it has often been commented upon, and is very heartening. I think there is a deep understanding of our less-than-perfect circumstances, and a desire to make the best of it. At the same time, we have heard a number of times that new practices, such as those around arrival and departure, are better than what was previously in use, and will be retained! 

They say necessity is the mother of invention.

As we approach the end of a very long term (no question that my colleagues are
extremely tired from managing new challenges as well as all the usual ones), I hope
you will draw strength and energy from some up-to-date news from schools.  

Children are very resilient and sometimes more flexible than older heads, I would say. All the same, our value of wellbeing looks every week to be a well-chosen one, and a real pre-requisite of effective learning.

I hope you are able to enjoy some fine weather, walks and autumn leaves next week.

Take care, and thank you -

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

At Oldfield Park Junior School we recently welcomed Max from ITV West Country as they interviewed our three amazing amigos regarding the Clean Air Zone proposed by BaNES. It is fair to say that Flo, Poppy and Cara did our school and, in fact Greta, proud! It was a super report and they were excellent putting across both points of view! Well done to them and here’s to supporting and saving our environment!
Well she did it! A BIG well done to Mrs Jenner for her sterling effort as she completed this year’s Virgin Virtual London Marathon! A fantastic feat given the challenges of this year and, moreover, an amazing achievement as she raised money for the Ben Saunders Foundation. If you would like to donate and recognise Mrs Jenner’s Herculean effort, then don’t hesitate to log onto the BSF’s website on:  

Covid is not beating the children at Fitzmaurice Primary School! Whilst we can’t bubble burst and all meet together for hot chocolate, children are enjoying their ‘hot chocolate at home packs’ with very elaborate creations. 

Our new reception children have settled into school well and are loving their outside area whilst the rest of the school is enjoying using the new play equipment that was installed just prior to lockdown.

For harvest, each class at Winsley CofE Primary School made a large plate of prayers and poems on fruit shapes to be displayed at St Nicholas Church for the week.  As a school, we made a harvest video incorporating wisdom from the Worship Team, a prayer with our Children and Family worker filmed at the church with our harvest plates, harvesting seeds at school, our KS1 signing a harvest song in Makaton, the EYFS class reciting our lunchtime grace and photos set to harvest music.

Children and staff enjoyed celebrating Wellbeing Week at Combe Down CofE Primary School recently. The week was peppered with lots of engaging, fun and purposeful activities to help support wellbeing. Lucy Stone, owner of The Hive, Yogadoo and Meditation Rocks, came to launch her new and exciting online meditation programme called School of Meditation Rocks. We were the first school to sign up! The children thoroughly enjoyed learning about how to meditate through the medium of art. Hannah Lees, owner of Hannah the Runner, also visited every KS2 class. The children discussed how having a mantra is key to a positive mindset. Some examples include, "Believe in yourself. I'll get back up again!" and "I can do this if I keep on trying!" 

At Ralph Allen School, The Katherine Johnson building is complete!

The new building is our new mathematics block and is named after Katherine Johnson. You may have seen Katherine in the film ‘Hidden Figures’ and know of her mathematical contribution to the landing on the moon mission. She is an inspirational figure and perfect to inspire the mathematicians of the future. Just being in this area lifts your spirit and we are lucky to have such a wonderful structure on our site.

Talented Year 12 magic machinists are volunteering with Ms Platt to make fabric masks for younger students. The polycotton/cotton fabric has been funded by sales of prototypes to staff with Sixth Formers putting in the love and care after school. Ironing and cornstarch packaging completes the deal. 
Open events

here for details of Ralph Allen School's upcoming sixth form virtual open evening at 5.30pm on Thurs 12 Nov.

The Year 7 virtual open evening event on 24 Sept was a huge success. Click here if you would like to view the film.

At Widcombe Junior CofE School, we've enjoyed getting back into the swing of things in our year group bubbles. As well as our wonderful school curriculum, we've been inspired by Black History month, celebrated European Day of Languages, been getting to grips on gym equipment following staff gymnastics training and worked in year groups to create these life size farmers, in celebration of Harvest. The idea was inspired by the game 'Consequences' We're all excited and motivated about Sport Week to end term 1 - a brilliant way to finish off the term.

At St Philip's CofE Primary School our infant playground looks like a building site currently, but we’re looking forward to having new artificial grass installed by the end of the week!
Congratulations to Nikki Abreu who has been a Teaching Assistant at Widcombe Infant School since 2014. She has always been passionate about the education of children and in 2017 she decided to study for her Early Years Teacher Training Qualification which she successfully achieved in 2018. Following this, as she wished to teach across the primary years, she has been studying through Bath Spa University using the Assessment Only Route. We are delighted to announce that she has just become a fully qualified teacher across the whole primary range. This is a well deserved achievement and we wish her every success in her teaching career. This inspirational story shows the high focus on professional development within the Palladian Academy Trust.
The children at Widcombe Infant School have returned to a full curriculum and we were delighted to be able to take Year 2 out on a local history trip to see the Half Penny Bridge in Widcombe. They have found out about when the bridge collapsed. Next time you walk across the bridge have a look to see if you can discover when this disaster occurred…
Explorer Dome visited St Martin's Garden Primary School this term with their amazing Space show. We learnt all about our solar system, planets and black holes.
Buddy, our school dog, visited and enjoyed a story with Mrs Parfitt. He visited all the classes and said ‘hello’, socially distanced, of course. Buddy will be joining our staff team in the coming weeks.

At Oldfield Park Infant School, a parent shared this picture and message,

"Dear Mrs McMurtry,

I was lucky enough to catch this rainbow over school this afternoon. It looks like a beautiful protective bubble, which is just how you all make school feel."

It sums up everything we've been trying to achieve this term!

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


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Head Office
Ralph Allen School,
Claverton Down Road,

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

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

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