St Joseph's Catholic Primary School

Head's Diary


Friday, February 9, 2018


Dear Parents


i would like to inform parents that I will be leaving St. Joseph's at the end of the Summer term 2018. I will be taking up a new post in a school in Rotherham, as head teacher of a Catholic Primary School.


 Can I say what a wonderful place St Joseph's is, and what wonderful children we have here. They are, of course, so wonderful because of the support and nurture they receive from their families at home. Thank you for all you do to make your child the person he or she is!


Can I thank all parents, staff and children for all the support  you have offered me and the school  in my time as head teacher. I know the school will continue to thrive in the future and this is because of the strength within the whole community of St Joseph’s.


 Thank you


 Mr  Redfern


Parent Governor- We have had one application for parent governor. This was from Mrs Lee-Wilby, who has a son in year 2 and a son in nursery. This means that Mrs Lee-Wilby is officially welcomed to our governing body as Parent Governor.


What is the role of a governor in a school?


School governors provide strategic leadership and accountability in schools. Governors appoint the head teacher and deputy head teacher. ... It is governors who hold the main responsibility for finance in schools, and it is governors who work with the head teacher to make the decisions about balancing resources.


What is the role of a parent governor?


As a parent governor you hold the unique position of having a parental viewpoint. ... Parent governors are elected by other parents and it is important to establish a relationship with the parental body that elected them, whilst continuing to maintain a strategic approach to school governance.


February 2018

Attendance! And Punctuality!


Encouraging regular school attendance is one of the most powerful ways you can prepare your child for success—both in school and in life. When you make school attendance a priority, you help your child improve academically, develop healthy life habits, make strong friendship groups, develop good social skills and have a better chance of making the very best of their talents.

When pupils are absent for fewer days, their academic performance will often improve. Pupils who attend school regularly also feel more connected to their community and are significantly more likely to be confident in themselves, setting them up for a strong future.


But when pupils are absent for an average of just two days of school per month—even when the absences are excused– it can have a negative impact. These absences can affect pupils as early as Nursery.

For example, young foundation age children who miss an average of just two school days per month often have difficulty keeping up with their peers academically and can fall behind, especially in reading.


As a parent, you can prepare your child for a lifetime of success by making regular school attendance and punctuality a priority. By working with school to secure excellent, even 100%, attendance you can help set your child on the path to success.


Current attendance-September 5th 2017-31 January 2018

End of year target- 96%

Upper foundation-93.16%

Year 1-96.65%

Year 2-95.44%

Year 3-97.39%

Year 4-96.30%

Year 5-97.84%

Year 6-97.06%

Whole school-96.28%

Well done to those classes near or above 96%



We have very recently conducted a review of attendance with our new Education Welfare Officer. Our ‘EWO’ comes in regularly to check all registers. He is looking for instances where children have attendance records that are not acceptable. By ‘not acceptable’ we mean a record of attendance below 90 %, though we expect much higher anyway. When a child has an attendance record below 90% for any one year, and there isn’t a justification for the poor attendance (i.e.medical grounds) the EWO will send a letter to parents, explaining that their child’s attendance is not acceptable and that their attendance will be monitored.


If you  receive a letter from the EWO very soon we would sincerely ask you to try to your utmost, as parents, to ensure that your child improves their attendance to a more acceptable level. If the EWO sees improvement he will usually leave the situation, just checking in future visits that the progress has continued. However, if a child’s attendance fails to improve after this letter, there may well be a need for parents and staff to meet with the EWO to discuss reasons.


 We would ask that every parent makes it their absolute priority to ensure that their child attends school every single day. We thank parents sincerely for their efforts in instilling excellent attendance routines so early in their child’s lives.


Half Term- we have been working with families of children who have siblings who attend St Wilfrid’s regarding the differing holidays in February. As you know, we break up on Friday 9th February, while St Wilfrid’s break up on Friday 16th February.


 Any parents in this situation that need to take their child out of St Joseph’s for the week beginning Monday 16th February just need to send a letter into school explaining this. This will ensure that there will be no fines incurred and the absence will be coded fairly.


We will also ensure that any such absences will be considered when we count up the number of children with 100% attendance at the end of the year.



The school and the governing body place great emphasis on pupils being punctual in school and in lessons.  Lack of punctuality affects learning and behaviour not only of the pupil who is late, but it has an impact on all other learners as the teacher is required to recap on missing learning for those who arrive late.  This reduces learning time for the rest of the class.

Punctuality is also a key workplace skill which must be learnt at school and adhered to.  Employees who are regularly late to work lose their jobs. In the work place you cannot arrive at the start time; you must be in the work place prior to the start time and ready at your desk or work station for the official start time.  This principle holds true in school.

We keep a record of children who are regularly late for school. Being late means that a child may well miss the start of a lesson, often the most important part, or may miss some important administrative exercise such as registration, dinner booking etc. This then means that disruption occurs when the child eventually does come in.


We have noticed that our key stage 1 classes, especially year 1, are late very regularly. We would ask that all parents make it their priority to ensure that children are at the door ready for the teacher opening it. Please allow extra time for unforeseen elements such as bad traffic etc.


 We have sent out letters to parents of children who have an unacceptable lateness record for this academic year.


Did you know? Ruby in year 5 has not missed a single day of school since her very first day in Nursery? Isn’t that amazing? And her brother, Oliver is not far behind her! What a great example to set! Well done you two (and thank you, of course, to their family for instilling such a positive attitude in their children!)


January 2018

Head Lice-It is expected that parents/carers and families of children attending this school ensure that:


Children’s hair will be checked for head lice at home, using the recommended conditioner/combing detection method; 

  • Your child does not attend school with untreated head lice;
  • Regularly inspect all household members and then treat them if necessary;
  • Parents/Carers will notify the school if their child is found to have live lice and advise when appropriate treatment was commenced;
  • Use only safe and recommended practices to treat head lice;
  • Maintain a sympathetic attitude and avoid stigmatising/blaming families who are experiencing difficulty with control measures;
  • Act responsibly and respectfully when dealing with members of the school and broader community especially around issues of head lice.
  • To support parents/carers and the broader school community to achieve a consistent, collaborative approach to head lice management the school will undertake to:

Distribute up to date and accurate information on the detection, treatment and control of head lice to parents and staff;

  • Include information and updates in school newsletters;
  • Provide practical advice and maintain a sympathetic attitude and avoid stigmatising/blaming families who are experiencing difficulty with control measures;
  • Access community educational resources and support, such as primary school nurses, community health centres and local government;
  • Accept the advice of parents that appropriate treatment has commenced;
  • Encourage children to learn about head lice so as to help remove any stigma or ‘bullying’ associated with the issue;
  • Be aware of real difficulties some parents may encounter and seek extra support if required;
  • Act responsibly and respectfully when dealing with members of the school and broader community especially around issues of Head Lice;
  • Continue to seek opportunities to increase our collective understanding of and response to managing head lice.
  • There is no requirement for any school to undertake ‘head-lice inspection’ programs.

October 2017-Incidents at School-If your child comes out of school telling you of something that has happened in school that has upset them in some way, please talk to them about it. School will have dealt with issues that they know about accordingly and in an unbiased way. In order to do this, we ask that; ·

Children tell staff if they have been upset by another child in any way, whether physically, name calling, social exclusion etc.

· Children never take a matter into their own hands. We tell our children that retaliation in any way is not allowed at all. We would ask that parents echo this important message at home

· Parents trust the school to deal with all issues sensitively and fairly, based on consideration of the view-point of all parties · Parents do not confront other parents about an incident that has happened in school

· Parents do not confront children about an incident that has happened in school

This last point is very important. On no account must any parent confront a child directly about any issues that have been reported by their own child, or that they have themselves. Please ensure that you adhere to this rule. If you have an issue regarding any child other than your own the ONLY way to deal with the issue correctly is to contact school, usually through your child’s teacher. There is a policy on our website, called the ‘PARTNERSHIP WITH PARENTS POLICY’ which explores the relationship between home and school.

Reading-Thank you so much to parents, particularly of our children who are still yet to reach a level where they can independently read with confidence and full understanding, for supporting their children with their reading at home by listening to them read and signing their diary. This will have very noticeable benefits in the long run for our children as they strive for a fluent and secure reading style.

When we assess children at school against previous levels and challenging targets it is noticeable that those who have not yet gained full reading independence but who are listened to regularly at home generally make best progress. We would urge parents of children not yet independent to share in the joys of reading with their child as much as possible and every day.

This can be done in many ways; sitting next to your child and hearing them read , reading a story at bedtime and discuss the book, asking your child to identify letters/ words/ sounds while out and about (road signs, notices in supermarkets etc.) and so on.

All adults at school and home share a responsibility for encouraging and nurturing children through the early stages of reading. We know that parents cannot sign their child’s home school diary every time they engage in a reading experience with them, but if you could make sure that your child has a signature in their book AT LEAST once a week that would really help.


Thank you



September 2017- Spelling News- The governing body has agreed that spellings should feature on this year’s School Development Plan. As part of this we would like our parents to help us by supporting a drive to improve the spelling confidence of their child. The following information may help parents:

-In your child’s diary there are lists of words that children are expected to know. There is a list for Year 2 (300 high frequency words), a’national Curriculum Word List for year 3-4’ and one for year 5 and 6.

  • Teachers in Key Stage 2 have agreed that they will test your child every week on these words. Teachers will have different ways of doing this but, in order for your child to do well, it would be great if they could learn these words regularly at home. By regularly, we mean at least three times a week for about ten minutes a time. It can, but doesn’t have to involve parents
  • -Just two ideas:
  •  1-Children choose ten words, look at them for ten seconds, cover them, try to spell them, check them (Look Cover Spell Check.) Children are tested on ten words each time by an adult.
  • 2-Words that the child can spell should be ticked off so the child doesn’t waste time practising words they already know. 
  • -Children do not have to stick to the word lists that relate to their age group. For example, If a child is in year 4 and they clearly know all the year 3/4 words, they may as well begin on the year 5/6 lists. Alternatively, if a child is in year 4 and they find these words difficult, they could practise the year 2 words and some of the easier Year 3/4 words.
  • -I test year 5 and 6 myself every week. It is clear that the children who take the time to practise their words each week are getting better and better and the gap between them and the children who do not practise their words is widening. For example, there are some children in year 6 who already know every word in their diary, with a full year to go! We want EVERY child to practise their words and to get better and better at spelling. We would ask that parents support us in this by helping their child to develop a regular routine at home.
  • -We have noticed that many of our children are not confident when spelling many homophones. For this reason, we have put lists of homophones in your child’s diary as well. These lists should be used by each child in exactly the same way as the other spelling lists.
  • -Children in Key Stage 2 are given spelling lists each week by their teacher and these are written into the child’s diary.They relate to the spelling pattern they are learning that week in class. Children should learn these words carefully, ready for their tests. All children should know when they get their new list each week and when their tests are. In theory, children should do really well in these tests because they have all week to learn the words! We ask parents to help us by developing a routine for their child to learn these words.
  • -Key Stage 1- Parents can use any list in the diaries to help their child improve. The quicker a child learns their words the better. There is no reason, for example, why a child who is in year 2 and who is very able at spellings can’t start to practise the year 3 words! We would ask that parents support school by helping their child with any spelling/ phonics that their child brings home. Please help us to foster confident, accurate spellers!
  • Correction.We have noticed that the word ‘Mussel’ is spelt incorrectly on the year 5/6 homophone list in the diaries, despite going through about seven different checks! I apologise for this, and ask that you or your child crosses out one of the ‘L’ s ! Thank you!

July 27th 2017- We say good bye to our amazing year 6 children today. We are immensely proud of every one of them, for the young people they are as they leave us to embark on the next stage of their school life and faith journey.


They have brilliant this week in all of their acting, singing, dancing, reading and performing and we have enjoyed their last few days with us hugely.


Thank you also to all parents, grandparents, family members and friends who have nurtured our children to become the incredible children they are today. Thank you also for your support over the years.


 Well done to all of you and all the very best for the future. Please make sure you come back and tell us how you are getting on!


July 2017-


We say goodbye this Summer to the following staff members:

-Mrs Broszko, our teaching assistant, leaves us today for a new challenge in another school.

-Mrs Mayes, our teaching assistant, left last week, again for a new challenge in another school.

-Mrs Lyons, our learning support assistant, leaves us today to put her feet up!

-Mrs Jones , our nursery nurse, left us last week. Mrs Jones was covering maternity leave for Miss Cunningham.

-Miss Miles, our year 1 teacher, leaves us today.


We are immensely proud of all of our staff and it is very sad when anyone moves on for any reason. The staff who are leaving this year go with our greatest blessing and huge thanks for all they have done in the time they have been at St Joseph’s. They all leave a great legacy for all they have done for the children of St Joseph’s in their special capacities.


 Remember- you will always be welcome to come back and let us know how you are getting on!

July 2017- Key Stage 2 Performance-Our key stage 2 children put on ‘Ocean Commotion’ for a very appreciative audience this week. We were entertained by very confident acting, singing and dancing and some fabulous costumes! Thank you to all in key stage 2 for their efforts.


Special thanks to; All parents for supporting their children through both performances by encouraging, calming nerves, making costumes etc. etc., our staff for their contributions to two superb performances, Mrs Wilson and Mrs Beetham for quite brilliant scenery and Mr Birch for the super music.


Thank you to our ‘Friends’ for raising money to be able to buy our new lights and thank you to all parents for supporting the various fund raising initiatives. It has made such a difference!


July 2017-Summer Reading Challenge At Pontefract Library



The Challenge begins on Sunday 9th July

The Challenge ends on Saturday 9th September

  • Head to your library this summer to join the Challenge – IT’S FREE! You just need your library card
  • Sign up to receive your special agent collector folder
  • Read 6 library books over the holidays
  • Collect prizes and stickers along the way
  • The stickers will help you crack the case and catch the crook!


It’s fun!  It’s free!  It’s local!


At St Joseph’s we fully support the Summer Reading Challenge at Pontefract library and we would encourage as many children, of all ages, to get involved. Please find time to go down to the library and get going!


 June 2017-Cricket Success-Well done to our amazing cricket team, who represented the St Wilfrid’s pyramid at the ‘5 Towns’ cricket tournament last week. The children played amazingly well, winning all their group games before getting through a tricky semi-final. The final was close but our team overcome the opposition to be crowned champions. Well done to all! We are very proud of you.

Catholic Foundation Stones is a course of 12 sessions that enables participants to deepen their understanding of the Catholic faith. Staff members from the Catholic schools in the Wakefield and surrounding district have been attending Foundation Stones for several years now, and it is very much a key aspect of our collaborative working. Structured around the four sections of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the twelve sessions of Catholic Foundation Stones are useful for both Catholics and non-Catholics who wish to learn more about the faith that underpins where they work.
There was a special mass on Wednesday this week during which all staff from each participating school came together to celebrate the collaborative working that is very much a feature of the schools within the Wakefield and district area and to congratulate the course participants for 2016-2017. From our schools we congratulated Mrs Krasauskas and Mrs Kendrick.

May 2017-Parish Party!!!!!- On Sunday the Parish of St Joseph’s will be having a party, during which we will be celebrating the first Holy Communion of many of our year 3 children. All children and families are welcome to come along and join in the fun!
Our communion children will form a procession at 1.30 in church. They should come in their communion clothes.
All are welcome to this very popular event. There will be a bouncy castle, stalls, ice cream van, a barbecue etc. etc. and it will be a great day!


May 2017- Well done to Year 5, who had a wonderful day at ‘Countryside Live’ this week. The children were so receptive to the activities they were offered and were delightful to be around all day. It was ‘nice weather for ducks’ as they say, but this did not deter the children from enjoying the nature all around them. The children spent a day simply emerging themselves in nature! Well done to all.


Finances- In anticipation of ‘tougher roads ahead’ in financial terms, the governors have asked us to look at services provided in or by school that incur a cost that we have kept the same in terms of cost to parents for many years. One of these services is, as you know, peripatetic music. We have not altered the cost of termly fees to children for many years, despite the school having to pay far more to Wakefield Music services than we ever receive. This is because we want as many children as possible to benefit from music lessons. However, the governors feel that we can no longer sustain the losses we are incurring.


We apologise for the significant ‘hike’ in prices for next year; we would prefer to increase fees at a shallower gradient but, even at the increased price, the school is still paying much more than it receives.


I would strongly reiterate what we have said before- if ANY parent wants to discuss, confidentially with the headteacher, a personal financial arrangement for this or any service, please book an appointment at the office and the head will be only too pleased to discuss a plan with you.


Our ONLY goal is to give our pupils the chances they and their parents want them to have.


Thank you also in anticipation of those parents who choose to send money in as part of our ‘VCS’ scheme, namely to help pay towards the revarnish and making good of the hall floor. This project will be completed in the Spring Bank holidays, but we still need to raise money to help pay for it. Please see the letter that went out this week.


Year 4 Residential- Every year we try to book our Robinwood residential with two  factors in mind:

  • we want the children and staff to be able to have at least a weekend after returning home to recharge batteries, as it is a very tiring three days;
  • we want the price to be as competititve as possible for our parents


Unfortunately, we have not been able to secure a date at Robinwood for next year that fits these two criteria. We have, however, managed to secure a date at a brand new PGL site in West Yorkshire. The venue, Newby Wiske Hall, is yet to open for school residential visits but, after researching and discussing what they can offer, we are excited about what is in store and confident that the children will have  a brilliant time at a very competitive price.

The date we have secured is Friday 25th May to Sunday 27th May. This means that the children will come home and then have the two weeks at Spring Bank to recover!

A detailed letter, along with payment plan advice and deposit requests, will go out soon after the Spring Back break to all parents of children currently in year 3.We have given you the date as early as possible though, so you can get it in your 2018 diaries.

Here is some information from the PGL website:


Introducing PGL Newby Wiske Hall


‘We are delighted to unveil our brand new PGL activity centre – Newby Wiske Hall in North Yorkshire. Most recently the headquarters and training centre for North Yorkshire Police, the impressive Grade II listed house was originally built in 1684.


Over the next 12 months, we plan to totally refurbish and develop the site to create brand new ensuite accommodation for guests. Visiting groups will also be able to enjoy the use of classrooms, a sports hall, teacher lounges and a shop.


The house is set in 35 acres of grounds which include a lake for watersports. And of course we plan to build all our guests’ favourite activities including zip wires, giant swings, challenge courses and many others.


Less than 2 hours from Leeds and Newcastle and just 15 minutes from the A1(M) close to Northallerton, the site is located in the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside between the North Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors National Parks. 


Newby Wiske Hall will welcome its first guests from spring 2018 and schools and groups can reserve their preferred dates from today.


Music- I have requested to meet with the head of Wakefield Music services to discuss the service they provide to us regarding peripatetic music, ‘Year 4 ‘Wider Opportunities’ and other associated services. This is in the light of feedback since the letter last week, stating that prices will have to increase significantly next year for peripatetic music. The meeting will centre around the notion that the provision we receive from the music services must be consistent, high in quality and inspirational to our children, as well as very good value for money. I will get back to you as soon as I have had that meeting and discussed findings with governors.


 April 28th-

‘Separated Parents’ Policy-The governors have approved a policy which sets out guidelines for protocol related to parents who have separated. This policy is on our website under ‘Key Documentation’. The policy begins with the following rationale:


‘Research and experience have shown that separated parents can become particularly estranged, especially during the initial stages of the split. This is very often traumatic for any children concerned and unfortunately these personal family problems can have an impact on the schools the children attend.

 This policy is primarily an attempt to minimise any impact on the welfare and learning of a pupil. It also aims to clarify to all parties what is expected from separated parents and what can be expected from the school and its staff.‘


Section 48 Inspection


Our section 48 R.E inspection took place just before the Easter holidays.  A copy of the inspection report has been given alongside every newsletter today. It is also on our school website under ‘Key Documentation’. Here is a letter sent to us by the diocesan RE Co-ordinator:


Dear Fr. Simon & Mr Redfern,


Congratulations on your ‘Outstanding’ judgement ; you, and the community of St. Joseph’s Pontefract are a credit to Catholic education. As the Report makes clear:


Leaders, governors and managers lead by example. They clearly demonstrate their firm commitment to the Church’s mission in education. They have developed a learning environment where everyone - child or adult - is valued, respected and supported to be the very best person they can be… Parents speak highly of the school and feel privileged to be part of the ‘joyful community’ where pupils ‘enjoy coming to school and friendships are very strong’… The pupils’ contribution to the Catholic Life of St. Joseph’s is outstanding. They are proud of their school and understand that the ethos helps them to understand how to respect and care for others. Leadership of RE and Catholic Life is purposeful, analytical and enthusiastic. The RE Co-ordinator ensures that RE and CW are central and effective in the life of the school, and she is ambitious to continue giving all the pupils, and all the school community, every opportunity to access high quality and meaningful opportunities.


On behalf of the Bishop, I wish to express my gratitude for the service you continue to give to Catholic education and wish everyone involved at St. Joseph’s continued success in the future.


Christopher Devanny

Diocesan RE Co-ordinator

March 17th-

World Down Syndrome Day is on Tuesday 21st March

Every year World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated on March 21st.  Not only does the global community celebrate Down syndrome, the day allows focus on a particular issue.

This year, the global theme is ‘MyVoiceMyCommunity’ – enabling people with Down syndrome to speak up, be heard and influence policy. 

Facts about Down Syndrome

  1. People with Down Syndrome have 47 chromosomes instead of the typical 46. There is an extra copy of the 21st
  2. Down Syndrome is not an illness or a disease. It is a genetic condition determined by your genetic makeup. What else is determined by your genetic makeup? The colour of your hair, the colour of your eyes and how tall you are.
  3. Down syndrome is just a part of the person, it does not define who they are. They are people first and foremost e.g. ‘Isaac has Down Syndrome’ not ‘Isaac is Down Syndrome.’
  4. Contrary to popular belief, people with Down Syndrome are not always happy. They experience every emotion you and I do. Trust me!
  5. Children with Down Syndrome go through the same stages of development as typical children do. The difference? Compared to their peers, it can take children with Down Syndrome longer to learn things like rolling over, sitting, crawling, walking, talking etc.
  6. People with Down Syndrome don’t all look the same while there are certain characteristics. They resemble their families more than they resemble one another.
  7. Children with Down Syndrome do best in an inclusive learning environment, and typical children do best when they learn about diversity, kindness and friendship at an early age. Inclusiveness teaches and benefits all children.

There is a family fun day on Saturday 25th March at Pontefract Park- 1pm-4pm. We are celebrating World Down's Syndrome Day in style with the fantastic Family Fun Day! The event is open to everyone, with free entry and most activities are free! This year Dave Benson Phillips is  hosting the  event and performing, and there will be loads of fun things to do - including giant inflatables and rides, an inflatable gladiator arena, singing with Jo Jingles and fun in the entertainment arena, loads of games and things to do and of course the Marvellous Mascot Race! There's the tea tents and food vans to keep you warm too!

March 10th-New Youth Choir for Pontefract!

There is a brilliant opportunity for any child in KS2 to be part of a prestigious youth choir in the area. All are warmly invited to join the Bishop Konstant Pontefract Junior Choir, rehearsing Mondays 4-5pm at St. Joseph’s Church, Pontefract. The choir is free to join, all that is needed is a love of singing. Four of  our very own children are already in this choir!

   We will hold very friendly , informal auditions in school  next Wednesday morning. Miss Kitson, our diocesan music leader, will be in to hear any children who want to audition for the choir.

Boys in Y5/6 are also welcome to join the Senior Boys Choir ,Wednesdays 5.15-6.15 at St. Austin’s Church, Wakefield. Any boys interested should see Miss Kitson on Wednesday.


So now what do you need to do? I will write names down on Monday morning of children who want to audition, and will organise an audition timetable . When it is your time, simply go to Miss Kitson on Wednesday and sing! Either come with a song in your mind, or Miss Kitson will give you one to sing!

For more details of these choirs, visit:, 

or call the Diocese of Leeds Music Department on 0113 244 8634.

March 3rd- The Importance of Reading-This week we celebrated World Book Day. The children looked wonderful in their costumes!


What’s the most important trait you’d like to develop in your child? If you’re like most parents, intelligence is probably high on your list. We all want bright, clever children. But remember: as a parent, you have the power to boost your children's learning potential simply by making books an integral part of their lives.


9 Reasons Why Reading is good for You!


  1. To Develop Your Verbal Abilities-Although it doesn’t always make you a better communicator, those who read tend to have a more varied range of words to express how they feel and to get their point across. This increases with the more books you read, giving you a higher level of vocabulary to use in everyday life.


  1. Improves Your Focus and Concentration-Unlike texts, blog posts and news articles, sitting down with a book takes long periods of focus and concentration, which at first is hard to do. Being fully engaged in a book involves closing off the outside world and immersing yourself into the text, which over time will strengthen your attention span.


  1. Readers Enjoy The Arts and Improve The World-A recent study explains that people who read for pleasure are many times more likely than those who do not to visit museums and attend concerts, and almost three times as likely to perform volunteer and charity work. Readers are active participants in the world around them.


  1. It Improves Your Imagination-You are only limited by what you can imagine, and the worlds described in books, as well as other people’s views and opinions, will help you expand your understanding of what is possible. By reading a written description of an event or a place, your mind is responsible for creating that image in your head, instead of having the image placed in front of you when you watch television.


  1. Reading Makes You Smarter-Books offer an outstanding wealth of learning and at a much cheaper price than taking a course. Reading gives you a chance to consume huge amounts of research in a relatively short amount of time. Keen readers tend to display greater knowledge of how things work and who or what people were.


  1. It Makes You Interesting -This goes hand in hand with reading to become smarter. Having a library of information that you have picked up from non-fiction reading will come in handy in conversation. You will be able to hold your own and add to the conversation.


  1. It Reduces Stress-A recent study showed that reading reduces stress. Subjects only needed to read, silently, for six minutes to slow down the heart rate and ease tension in the muscles. In fact it got subjects to stress levels lower than before they started.


  1. It Improves Your Memory- Typically, when you read, you have more time to think. Reading gives you a unique pause button for comprehension, but when you watch a film or listen to a tape, you don’t press pause.


  1. For Entertainment- All the benefits mentioned so far are a bonus result of the most important element of reading, which is its entertainment value. Much more enthralling than watching a movie or a TV show (although they have their many benefits as well), a good book can keep us amused while developing our life skills!

February 3rd-

Spelling- Please have a look in your child’s planner, where you will find lists of spellings for years 3-6. These are the words that children of each age are ‘expected’ to know.

In school the focus is on age related spelling patterns. Key stage 2 also have spelling tests taken from the ‘National curriculum Word Lists’ in their diary, as it is now an expectation that children learn these. As you can see from the difficulty of the lists, this is not an easy task!

A really good tip for parents and a MASSIVE help for school would be for all children in key stage 2 to practise some of these words several times each week. Ten minutes here, ten minutes there and the words will soon start to stick.


What about:

  • Testing your child on 10 words a day, or perhaps two or three times a week? Ask them to spell the ten words, mark them and then ask your child to put a dot next to a word when they have got it right three times?
  • Look, cover, write, check ten words. (The child looks at ten consecutive words, then, after a minute or so, covers them up and tries to spell them as they are read out by someone). They then check!
  • Or any other way you can think of to help your child learn these words!

There is no reason why year 3/4 children can’t ‘have a go’ at year 5/6 words and vice-versa! Any help in this is greatly appreciated.

Key stage 1 have a list of 300 ‘High frequency Words’ in their diary. It will help enormously if parents use these words to work with their child. There is, of course, no reason why key stage 1 children cannot have a go at the older lists. If you wish to have a copy of the key stage 2 lists and your child is in key stage 1, just ask your class teacher and we would be happy to oblige! Or look in an older sibling’s diary.


January 2017- Well done… to our athletics team, who took part in the ‘5 Towns’ indoor athletics events at Minsthorpe College this week. The children competed in a variety of track and field events against their counterparts from ten other schools. It was a great event, with our boys and girls doing themselves proud with their efforts, attitude and behaviour!


Collective Worship and Assemblies  Through the Week


 In a normal week the following multi-class collective worships/assemblies  take place:

  • Monday- ‘Gospel Worship’. In this assembly Mr Redfern shares the gospel for the following Sunday. This gospel is then detailed on the ‘Wednesday Word’ sheet given out each week. This means that, by Sunday, the children will have had two opportunities to have a think about the message of the gospel in church. Parents do not come to these events.
  • Thursday- We have individual class led collective worship on Thursdays. The dates for these events are listed on the school website (‘more’ then ‘diary dates’). All parents are welcome to attend these events.
  • Friday- Whole school assembly/collective worship. During this assembly, which usually takes place at 2.45, Mr Redfern introduces a theme that has arisen in the week or some information that we may need to know. For example, in this week’s assembly we looked at reminding ourselves about the ‘British Values’. All parents are welcome to attend these events. We also celebrate the achievements of our children both in and out of school.

*Collective worship and prayer takes place every day on an individual class basis so that children take part in collective worship every day.


Some notes about our ‘Friday assembly’:


*The only time this assembly is cancelled is if both Mr Redfern and Mrs Brown, the deputy head teacher, are unavailable.


**The assembly usually takes place at 2.45. However, due to other events that require the hall, staff availability or events that involve whole groups of children, it very occasionally takes place in the morning. We let parents know if this is to happen.


** We try to let parents know by lunch time on Friday if their child has won a ‘Star Award’ to give parents a chance to get in if they are free. We can’t inform parents any earlier than Friday because then children would potentially find out that they are to receive the award, and we like it to be a surprise!

*** If a child wins a ‘Star Award’ and, because of a cancelled assembly, they do not get to stand up in front of everyone, we get them to stand up the following week.

January 6th- Welcome back to one and all! 

Holy Family and St Michael’s Catholic Primary School and St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Pontefract Term Dates 2017/18
Calendar Dates- 2017-2018
1-Inset Day-Monday 4th September 2017
2-Terms starts Tuesday 5th September 2017
3-Term ends Thursday 19th October 2017 for half term
4-Inset Day-Friday 20th October-School closed
5-Term starts Tuesday 31st October 2017
6-Term ends Friday 22nd December 2017 for Christmas
7-Term starts Monday 8th January 2018
8-Term ends Friday 9th February 2018 for half term
9-Term starts Monday 19th February 2018
10-Term ends Friday 23rd March 2018 for Easter
11-Terms starts Monday 9th April 2018
12-Bank Holiday Monday 7th May 2018
13-Term ends Friday 25th May 2018 for half term
14-Terms starts Monday 11th June 2018
15-Term ends Thursday 26th July 2018
16-Inset Day-Friday 27th July 2018- School closed
Notes about some of the dates listed above
*1-In the morning, staff from Holy Family and St Michael’s and St Joseph’s will meet up with Father Simon to reflect spiritually, as the parish schools of St Joseph, on the year ahead. In the afternoon, staff from St Joseph’s will meet up to discuss the year ahead and prepare for the first week.
*3- We finish for half term on Thursday October 19th 2017 at 3.35.
*4- All the teaching staff from the BKCAT schools meet together to share in a day of spiritual reflection and refreshment.
*6- We finish later next year- in fact, we break up much nearer to Christmas day than usual. This is because Christmas day is on a Monday.
*7- We come back much later in January than usual.
*10- St Joseph’s has, for many years, finished the week before the Easter week. This allows us to get back to school a little earlier for the Summer term so we can fit more in to what is always our busiest term. This also gives our year 2 and 6 children a little extra time to prepare for their Sats tests.
*13- St Joseph’s has, for many years, kept two weeks holiday at Spring bank. One reason is to give parents the chance to have a week where holiday prices can be classed as ‘off peak’. Another reason is to give teachers a little more time to get through some of their end of year report writing, as this is a substantial task.
*15- Because we have an extra week at Spring bank we need to make up the time by adding to the end of term. We usually use this extra time to celebrate our year 6 leavers and to cram in more end of year events!

December 9th--Thank you to Father Funnel, who came in this week to talk to our key stage 2 children about St. Nicholas. The children always look forward to father coming in and sharing his stories with them, and they also enjoy the chocolate coins he so generously offers each one of them!
- Our school choir entertained a very appreciative crowd in the town centre this week, when they sang a range of carols to get everyone into the Christmas spirit. The children excelled themselves and sang with a smile on their faces. Roll on Young Voices!
-Thank you so much to all who made our two Christmas performances for key stage 1 and for foundation unit so memorable and successful. Thanks to parents for calming nerves, practising lines and coming to support children on the day, to all staff and volunteers for any role they played in the performances, to Mr Birch for his inspirational music and leadership… but most of all a huge thanks to our wonderful children, who have inspired, delighted and warmed us all with their seasonal performances. You are so talented!
-We all enjoyed our wonderful Christmas Coffee Morning today. The children had a great time sifting through the goodies and having a go at the stalls, and our parents turned out in force to have a warm drink and to savour the atmosphere of this very special St Joseph’s tradition. Many thanks yet again to all of our dedicated ‘Friends’ who worked tirelessly to plan, prepare and man the various stalls; without them such events would simply not happen. Thank you to all parents and carers who supported the event by sending in toys, books, raffle prizes, baking etc. and to those who supported the event on the day.
-Bauble Workshop- A group of children form year 4 travelled to Holy Family and St Michael’s School to make baubles alongside children from other BKCAT schools. The children had a great time and their baubles were very professional looking!
-Year 2 travelled to Carleton Community High School this week for the launch of the book ‘Meet the Cones’. The children enjoyed listening to the book, seeing one of the Pontefract secondary schools in person and getting a very nice goodie bag!


December 5th-

Gianna Project

We were visited today in assembly by representatives from ‘The Gianna Project’.

Over the Advent season we at St Joseph’s would like to support this project, which was named after an Italian lady doctor, who experienced some health issues with her fourth pregnancy. Sadly she passed away in April 1962, seven days after the birth of her fourth child, Gianna Emanuela. The Gianna Project was set up in 2011 to support pregnant girls and women across the Diocese of Leeds. These women are often on a very low budget and need our help to prepare them for the birth of their baby.


The project this year is called ‘When a child is Born’. All we are being asked to do is to fill a Moses Basket with lots of baby items which you think families would like.

Have a think about what kind of things Baby Jesus would need if he was born in 2016…

Hopefully, all of our children have been inspired by our visit in assembly today, and will start to bring in items from next Monday 5th December. Together, we want to fill the basket!

-We will be holding our usual ‘Coffee Morning’ on Friday 9th December. Please give your child a few pennies to spend at the event. So parents can arrange to be at the event when their children are there the times when each class will be taken down to the fayre are approximately:


-Lower foundation- 9.00-9.20- Lower foundation children who are not in school on Thursday mornings are more than welcome to come along with their parents.

-Upper foundation-9.20-9.40

-Years 1 and 2-9.40-10.20

-Years 3 and 4-10.20-10.50

-Years 5 and 6-10.50-11.20-



1-We need toys and books! Please have a root through your attics, cupboards etc. for any items that can be sold at the event. (We would ask that all items are in good working condition.) Any items can be brought into school anytime this week  and left in the office.


2- Cakes/buns/crafts- We need bakery /craft items for our event! Please bring items from Thursday onwards.


3- We URGENTLY need helpers! If any parent/ carer/ friend can spare a few hours on Friday morning to help in some way, please fill in the slip below and send it to school as early as possible, or speak to one of the ‘Friends’ directly. One of the ‘Friends’ will be delighted to get in touch with you!


4- Raffle prizes. If anyone wants to donate a prize for the raffle/ tombola etc. we would be very grateful.


We want this to be the best Christmas Coffee Morning ever!

Thank you


18 November-Anti-Bullying Week- We will be taking part in activities during the national ‘Anti Bullying Week’ which takes place in the week beginning Monday 14th November. As well as lessons, discussions and assemblies on the subject we will be holding our usual ‘Wear Blue Day’ on Friday 18th November, during which all children can wear blue all day.(Blue is the colour associated with the anti-bullying campaign.) On Friday, therefore, children can come to school in jeans or any other blue clothes on their bottom half. (Normal top half please, as our uniform is already blue!)

 In any school, from a school in the ‘leafiest’ of leafy suburbs to  the most challenging of areas there will be instances where children fall out, where accidents take place in school or where ‘fall outs’ occur, and where the word ’bullying ‘ is often used too quickly.

We at St Joseph’s are very confident that we, as a school, have a very effective anti-bullying policy which helps us deal with any issues and incidents, as few and far between as they are. We are also so lucky to have such wonderful children who, despite fall outs from time to time, are caring, respectful and considerate.

Sometimes, however, children and parents use the word ‘bullying’ when it is clearly not a bullying case. This is always upsetting for all involved and it is a shame that the word is used, at times, far too quickly. For this reason, here are some definitions of bullying;

Common Features of Bullying

INTENT - it is deliberate!

REPEATED - it happens more than once!

HARMFUL - it causes physical or emotional damage!

POWER IMBALANCE - it is difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves

Types of Bullying

Hitting, kicking, spitting, throwing stones or pushing. Getting another person to hit someone.

Verbal insults, name calling, persuading another person to insult someone, spreading bad rumours, obvious whispering.

Threatening and bad gestures, intimidation by staring and 'dirty looks,' removing  and hiding belongings, deliberate exclusion from a group or activity, ignoring.

Cyber bullying (Online Bullying or E-Bullying)
Internet - either by e-mail or 'site victimisation' (when someone sets up an Internet site for the purpose of victimising an individual/ group )

Mobile phones:
Text messages, picture/video clip messages

We are proud of our wonderful children and the relationships they have with others, and we know that much of this is down to the excellent, positive influence and role modelling provided at home by their parents.

However, we still want to talk about bullying, what it is and what effects it can have.


Next week our year 5 and 6 children will spend some time focusing on the national theme of ‘Power for Good’, while our younger children will look at bullying in general.

Friday 20th November- ‘Wear Blue Day’- Blue is the colour of anti-bullying, so on this day all our children are able to wear blue ;they are to keep their usual school uniform on top (which is already blue!), but can wear blue jeans, trousers, jogging bottoms, skirts etc. On this day year 4 will be leading our assembly, which will start at the earlier time of 2.45

The theme this year is 'Power for Good' with the following key aims:

  • To support children and young people to use their Power for Good – by understanding the ways in which they are powerful  and encouraging individual and collective action to stop bullying and create the best world possible.
  • To help parents and carers to use their Power for Good – through supporting children with issues relating to bullying and working together with schools to stop bullying.
  • To encourage all teachers, school support staff and youth workers to use their Power for Good– by valuing the difference they can make in a child’s life, and taking individual and collective action to prevent bullying and create safe environments where children can thrive.

18th November- Why it is Important that Children know their Facts (TimesTables)?


We use our times tables in our everyday life and it makes learning much simpler when you can quickly recall facts rather than having to mentally try and work out each fact. Not learning times tables from one to twelve makes learning more complicated maths more difficult than it needs to be. If a child can automatically recall the answer to a times table question then more difficult maths will be far less challenging.

11 November-Remembrance Sunday-13th November- Remembrance Day or Armistice Day is a day of commemoration observed for the dead of past and current conflicts involving Commonwealth armed forces. A two minutes' silence is observed on November 11 at 11am when the guns finally fell silent during WW1, but the main observance is on the nearest Sunday, Remembrance Sunday. All of our children took part in our observation this week. We all met in the hall at 11.00  to spend two silent minutes thinking and praying for those who have died or have been hurt in wars and those left behind to worry or grieve.


Note for Year 6 Parents- KS2 SATs will provisionally be held in the week beginning 8 May 2017. Please do not book holidays or any time away during this week. Thank you.


Parking-Could we remind parents to think carefully about where they park their car. It is important that local residents can get their cars in and out before and after school, and that the school bus can park near to school safely. As well as this, it is essential that we have clear access to the school car park at all times in the event of an emergency.

14th October 2016-Ripon Pilgrimage /Mass- Well done to all of our children who gave up their Saturday last week to travel to Ripon to mark the end of the ‘Year of Mercy’ with Mass with Bishop Marcus. Schools and parishes from the diocese of Leeds all came together to mark this wonderful occasion. Our children behaved impeccably and were a credit to the school.

 Thank you to the staff from school who gave up their own Saturday to accompany the children on the day. Your efforts are greatly appreciated and valued.

Pokémon Cards/ Collectables- At St Joseph’s we trust our children and allow them to bring in Pokémon cards (the latest ‘craze’!). We feel we can trust our children to be sensible and follow the rules we make clear to them. Unfortunately, there has been a bit of ‘slippage’ in terms of these rules, so, again, I would like to remind all children of the following three rules;

  • Trading or swapping of Pokémon cards or any other collectables is strictly forbidden in school.
  • Children are not allowed to play with collectables inside the school building. This includes the corridors.
  • Children are responsible for their own cards and bring them into school at their own risk.

If we have any instances where a child reports that they have lost their cards or that they feel someone has taken some from them, we will, of course, investigate by asking classes if anyone knows anything, and we will follow up any leads. However, we can’t spend a significant amount of time investigating.

If a class is silly with their collectables, their teacher may take the decision to ban them in that class for a period. If we have to go further, we will ban collectables from school in their entirety.

So, come on children ! Play with your cards sensibly!

Hometime- I would like to clarify our policy for releasing key stage 1 and foundation children at the end of the day;


 Children will only be released to a parent or guardian who is clearly listed on the child’s ‘Contact sheet’ which is kept in the office. If an adult comes to collect a child and is not on the child’s contact list (ie; another parent, a family friend, a relative unknown to school etc), staff will not release them unless the child’s parents have informed school in writing, by phone or in person to expressly give permission that their child is released to this person.


Parents are therefore asked to;

1-Ensure that the contact sheet we keep at school detailing all the people who have permission to collect a child is comprehensive, up to date and correct.

(Parents can call in at any time to amend their sheet.)

2- Never give another adult permission to collect their child from key stage 1 or foundation unless they are on the contact list or unless the parent has contacted school to explain.


Therefore, we will not release any child in key stage 1 or foundation to anyone who is not on the child’s contact list unless a parent contacts us (in person, by phone or by letter) to let us know.


Our policy for the release of key stage 2 children at the end of the day is that they are released without a parent collecting them from the door. However, upper key stage 2 children are released from class and then go out and find the adult who has come for them. Lower key stage 2 children are released from class, but the teacher usually stands by the balcony to check all have been picked up.

Tables-Any work you can do at home in supporting your child in learning their tables more securely is of huge benefit. Some ideas could be;

  • Helping them to practise tables given by the class teacher
  • Devising your own systems of testing and rewarding your child
  • Any books or study guides which focus on tables
  • Computer games which are often very good at putting tables questions in an enjoyable way.

Thank you so much for any help you can offer to your child.

Clean Hands Mean Clean Lunchtimes!-The staff  have been discussing ways of helping our children to develop habits in school that promote cleanliness to support the messages they get from home.

Amongst our discussions, we talked about how important it is that every child washes their hands thoroughly after every toilet visit. This is obviously a good habit to get into and helps prevent the passing on of germs. However, we are aware that not all of our children do wash their hands after visiting the toilet. Sometimes this is because they forget.


We are also aware that sometimes children try to use the hand wash dispensers in the toilets and can’t. We have discussed reasons why this may happen and will put in every measure we can to ensure soap is always available.


We need all of our children to inform their teacher if they go to wash their hands but can’t get any soap, so we can address this, especially in the time during the day when the site manager is not in school.


We have a hand wash dispenser in the hall that is available to use in the school hall before the children go to eat. This hand wash will dispense alcohol free hygienic hand  foam  rub. This does not need to be rinsed off, so the children can ensure that their hands are clean before they eat.


If you do not wish for your child to use the hand foam, we would ask that you talk to them so that they know not to use it.



Do you have a morning or an afternoon to spare once a week? Would you like to come in and listen to readers in school? If so, we would be delighted to hear from you!

If you would like to offer some time once a wee

Sad News

Mrs Lowe, our much loved former dinner lady, has passed away. Children who are now adults will have fond memories of Mrs Lowe down the years, and she will always be remembered with great warmth and affection within the community of St Joseph’s. Our thoughts are with her family at this sad time.

October 9th

Spellings- All of our children are given support to improve their spelling ability in school, whether that is with phonics activities, work on spelling rules and patterns or help to improve self-checking skills to improve accuracy.

The New Curriculum standards are very challenging in all areas, but especially in spelling. There is now a list of words that children are expected to know by the end of year 4 and 6. These words are in your child’s planner and, as you can see, are very tough. Nevertheless, we have to work together to give our children the best chance of reaching the standards expected.

What can parents do to help? As well as supporting your child with any spelling lists they receive, you could test your child a few times a week on the words in the National Curriculum spelling lists. Your child may not be able to spell a word first time, but, after a few goes, it may well ‘sink in’. You could also talk about meanings of words.

We would ask that parents use these lists to work at home with children; this will really help us to get as near as we can to achieving the very high standards set in spellings demanded of all schools now. There is a list of high frequency words for key stage 1 parents to use, but you may wish to dip into the key stage 2 words if you feel your child can cope.

We are having a spelling week beginning 23rd November, during which all key stage 2 children will be tested on a large sample of their words.

September 25th

Child Protection-Some Points to Know!-We have four staff members who form our ‘Child protection ‘team in school. They are Mr Redfern, Mrs Brown, Mrs Velayudhan and Mrs Clements. Although these four staff members work together on many aspects of child protection and safeguarding, each has some more specific roles;

  • Mr Redfern is the ‘DSL’ or ‘Designated Safeguarding Officer’. This means that he has overall responsibility for the safety of everyone in school. He is lead on Health and Safety and is trained in ‘Safer Recruitment’.
  • Mrs Brown is the ‘Deputy’ DSL. She is trained in ‘Safer Recruitment’.
  • Mrs Velayudhan leads on Pupil Premium and children with English as an Additional Language. She is also lead for ‘Looked After Children’.
  • Mrs Clements is our learning Mentor, and deals with many ‘on the ground’ issues.

We have a staff code of conduct that all staff must sign each September. In order to sign this, they must agree to read and comply with all of our child protection policies and procedures.

You can see several policies related to child protection, including the staff code of conduct, on our website. They were reviewed and agreed by governors on Thursday 24th September 2015 (yesterday!)

We have a new ‘Child Friendly’ version of our child protection policy which is on the website. This policy was agreed with governors on Thursday 24th September. From this date staff will be asked to go through the pages slowly and in a way relevant to the age of the pupils, so that, by Christmas, every class will have been through every part. It would be a really good idea and would really help us in school for parents to access this policy and talk through it with their children. It is a fairly lengthy document but we feel that, apart from making the language child-friendly, all information within it is vital for all children to know. It may well give parents a vehicle to be able to talk to their children about general safety issues out of school.

Sad News

Mr Redfern and Mrs Richardson represented the community of St Joseph’s this week at the funeral of Mrs Beverely Sice, who worked for Leeds diocese for

many years. Bev was a close friend of everyone at St Joseph’s, and helped us on countless occasions offering a wide range of advice particularly around admissions issues. Our thoughts are with Bev’s family at this sad time.

September 5th 2015

Welcome Back!- It was lovely to see all of our pupils ready for school and looking very smart (and in many cases nicely tanned!) on Thursday. It promises to be a busy year, with lots of learning opportunities for each child throughout. Please feel free, at any time, to come and talk to a member of staff about any issues throughout the year; we do have an open door policy.

Just as a reminder, Here are some points which may help you as parents;

  • Children from year 1 onwards should bring in a suitable water bottle every day, filled with fresh water, and then take it home at the end of the day. It is essential that children are well hydrated throughout the day. We have two water fountains in school, one in each key stage, so the children can fill up when they need to.
  • Earrings are not allowed in school. If a child has recently had their ears pierced, they can wear a plain stud until it can be safely removed. After this point studs should not be worn. Parents should put any requests for children to wear studs in writing to the class teacher.
  • Bracelets or anything worn around the wrist (except watches) are not allowed.
  • All children (upper foundation onwards) should have their new home school diaries. It is so useful for us at school when these diaries are used effectively, and are brought in every day. Please record comments about your child’s learning in this diary, and get to know all of the pages within it. Please ensure your child knows how important it is that this diary comes to school every day and goes home every night.
  • Please feel free to let your child play on the Adventure Play Area after school, as long as they are supervised by an adult; school staff do not supervise this area after school. We do not allow children to play on the Adventure Play Area before school, as we can’t guarantee that they will be supervised.
  • P.E kit- Indoor P.E kit is a white t-shirt and blue shorts. For outdoor P.E, we allow the children to wear their indoor kit and tracksuits, especially when it is cold. However, children MUST have a change of footwear for outdoor P.E. They will not be allowed to take part in an outdoor activity in the shoes they come to school in. This is because of health and safety and hygiene.
  • Your child’s teacher will have handed out details this week that will help parents to support their children at home. This includes information about topics, when P.E is timetabled etc.
  • Toast- As you know, children may bring in a healthy snack to eat for morning break. However, some children would prefer something more substantial to give them the energy to keep working hard till lunch time. For this reason, we are continuing to offer a toast service to all children from year 1 onwards. This means that children can buy toast (20p a slice) for their morning snack if they wish. All you need to do is to give your child the money for their toast and we will do the rest (maximum 1/2 slice for key stage 1 and 1 slice for key stage 2.)


Parish Party!!!!!

On Sunday 21st June, from 3.00-5.00 the Parish of St Joseph’s will be having a huge party celebrating the first Holy Communion of many of our year 3 children. All children and families are welcome to come along and join in the fun!

Just a few points:

  • Our communion children will form a procession at 2.00 in church. They should bring in their communion clothes
  • Could parents of year 3 children please bring in desserts on the day for our dessert stall.
  • We will have a non-uniform day in school on Friday 19th Could children please bring in a bottle on the day for our ‘Parish Party Bottle Stall’. Important: Any bottle that is glass and/or that contains alcohol MUST be brought into the classroom or the office by a parent. All bottles should be unopened and in date. Thank you so much.
  • All are welcome to this very popular event. There will be a bouncy castles, stalls, ice cream van, a barbecue etc. etc. and it will be a great day!

Cycling to School

 The governors have approved a change to our health and safety policy so that parents may now allow children to come to school on cycles or scooters. Parents will be able to begin allowing their children to come to school on their bikes or scooters after half term.

However, to do this, we would ask that parents fill in a ‘Cycle/Scooter Consent form’. You can collect a copy of this form from the office, or alternatively go onto the school website and download a copy (under other, policies and cycling to school.

The governors have asked that no child comes to school on a bike or scooter unless the school has received this consent form. Thank you

May 24th 2015



Pentecost Sunday, this Sunday, marks the Church’s birthday. (Not the church building, but the people who are the church!)


Why is Pentecost the Church’s birthday? Because on that day the Holy Spirit first came to the apostles and sent them out to become the Church and to teach the good news about Jesus everywhere in the world.

You can pray that God will send you the Holy Spirit every day. Jesus tells us in the Gospel that God will send the Holy Spirit to whoever asks.


May 17th 2015

 P.E Kit

When your child has P.E they should bring in the correct P.E kit, complete with appropriate footwear if required. If a child doesn’t have correct P.E kit this means that they could possibly miss an important part of their education.

Can I remind parents of our kit for both indoor and outdoor P.E.

Indoor P.E kit- Plain white crew or polo neck T-shirt, dark blue shorts.

Outdoor P.E kit- Outdoor P.E-Children can bring any suitable tracksuit or warm top in to keep them warm, but the rest of their outdoor kit should be their indoor kit. Please do not let your child bring in football tops or designer items.

Footwear- Children must have a change of footwear for when they do outdoor P.E. Children will not be allowed to take part in P.E lessons in the shoes they come to school in (for safety AND hygiene reasons.) Indoor P.E lessons are usually done bare foot. Children will not be allowed to take part in any P.E lesson in inappropriate footwear.

Can all parents ensure that their children have the correct P.E kit for when we come back after half term. Children will not be allowed to take part in lessons without the correct kit.

Thank you


April 24th 2015

Funeral-St Giles’ church was full to bursting on Wednesday this week as friends and family gathered to celebrate the life of ‘legend’ Patrick Langley. The funeral was a beautiful and moving opportunity for all who know this very special person to remember him fondly and to pray that God looks over his family as they grieve their loss. Many words were said that reminded us all of how special ‘Paddy’ was, and, as we listened, we all held precious in our hearts our own personal memories of this wonderful young man, taken from us at such a young age.


We are certain that Patrick will be ‘opening bat’ in Heaven!


Mr Stringwell is currently away from school with illness. Our thoughts and prayers are with him to make a speedy recovery. Mrs Chester and Mrs Greenwood will fulfil caretaking duties in his absence.


April 17th 2015

The year 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta. Because of this there will be a commemoration of national and international significance. Due to its central place in English history and its impact across the world, a wide range of events and activities are being planned.

The Magna Carta is one of the most important documents in history. 800 years ago in medieval England people were very angry with ‘Bad King John’. A number of important barons, including John de Lacy from Pontefract Castle, said the king must agree to fairer rules about money, freedoms, the church and the law. The most famous clause, which is still part of the law today, for the first time gave all ‘free men’ the right to justice and a fair trial. Although most of the Magna Carta’s clauses dealt with medieval rights and customs, it has become a powerful symbol of freedom around the world.

 A group of year 5 children went to New College to work on an art project, along with counterparts from other Pontefract schools, based on the Magna Carta. 


Funeral-We were all very saddened to hear that one of our former pupils, Patrick Langley, son of our teaching assistant, Mrs Beetham, has died during the Easter break. Patrick was just nineteen years old. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mrs Beetham, Patrick’s sister Natalie and the whole family at this very sad time.

The funeral will take place at St Giles’ church on Wednesday next week.


March 20th 2015

Thank you and Goodbye to Mrs Lythgoe, who has worked as a teaching assistant in our school for many years and leaves us this week to take retirement.

Mrs Lythgoe is a hugely valued member of our support staff, and is one of many wonderful talented and very dedicated teaching assistants who work so hard to help the teaching staff to move every child on in every way.

Mrs Lythgoe, thank you for all your hard work and efforts over the years; you have contributed hugely, in many ways, to the education and futures of so many children in the family of St Joseph’s. You deserve a well-earned rest, but please make sure you pop in when you can to let us know how you are doing!


March 13th 2015

Reading-Thank you so much to parents, particularly of our children who are still yet to reach a level where they can independently read with confidence and full understanding, for supporting their children with their reading at home by listening to them read and signing their diary. This will have very noticeable benefits in the long run for our children as they strive for a fluent and secure reading style.

When we assess children at school against previous levels and challenging targets it is noticeable that those who have not yet gained full reading independence but who are listened to regularly at home generally make best  progress.

We would urge parents of children not yet independent to share in the joys of reading with their child as much as possible and every day. This can be done in many ways;  sitting next to your child and hearing them read , reading a story at bedtime and discuss the book, asking your child to identify letters/ words/ sounds while out and about (road signs, notices in supermarkets etc.) and so on. All adults at school and home share a responsibility for encouraging and nurturing children through the early stages of reading.

We know that parents cannot sign their child’s home school diary every time they engage in a reading experience with them, but if you could make sure that your child has a signature in their book AT LEAST once a week that would really help. Thank you


March 6th 2015

EclipseThe UK is getting ready to witness a solar eclipse on Friday March 20.While a total eclipse of the sun will be seen only from the Svalbard islands off northern Norway and also on the Faroe Islands, halfway between Norway and Iceland, we are still set to experience an amazing cosmic event.

Space experts say we are in for a treat on the morning of March 20, when the eclipse begins at 8.25am, reaches a maximum at 9.31am and finishes at 10.41am.

The eclipse is an incredibly exciting time. We don’t get a chance to see them often as they require a very precise alignment of the earth, sun and moon. The last major eclipse visible in the UK was in 1999 when a total eclipse was observed in Cornwall If you miss this one you will have to wait until September 2090 before the next UK total eclipse. However, there should be another close to total eclipse occurring in August 2026.

So what should we expect? The eclipse in March should be around 90 per cent total - this should give us a considerable darkening of the daytime. We will also experience a drop in temperatures, especially over the few minutes at the maximum. As well as the sudden cold, you will notice that the birds will stop singing and dogs will start barking and howling. As long as the weather behaves, this eclipse could make for a pretty impressive sight.

The upcoming eclipse should be visible from most places. As it takes place between 8am and 10am the sun may be a little lower in the sky so away from tall buildings may make it slightly easier. It is predicted that the eclipse will be seen in our area at around 9.30am

To observe the eclipse, specialised filters are required to prevent damage to the eyes. These filters can be found inexpensively in the form of disposable solar viewing glasses. St Joseph’s has placed an order for a pair of such glasses for every child and adult. We will give them out on the day (voluntary contribution of 80p to cover costs please!) and children can take them home afterwards.


Year 4 will almost certainly be on the way to Robinwood at the time that the eclipse happens, but they can still have the glasses and observe the event by looking out of the window if necessary.

It is worth noting that even using this specialised equipment it is highly recommended that you don’t look through the glasses at the Sun for longer than two minutes at a time.


 February 27th 2015

A note sent this week! Well done boys and girls!

 Dear Mr Redfern ,

I would like to compliment the school but especially the children yesterday (Tuesday 24th February at afternoon break ...) It was my Mum's funeral. We celebrated her life with a lovely service in St Joseph's church then as we left the whole playground of school children playing stopped, were very respectful and empathetic towards my mother and us as a family. Many of our family and friends were aware of what the children had done and commented to myself or other members of our family. I just wanted to say 'Thank You' it was very much appreciated.

Yours Sincerely

 Nicola Goldspink 


February 27th 2015

Our New Logo!-After several months of discussion and consultation we have come up with our final school logo. We are currently working with design companies to get this onto school clothing and stationery etc so parents have the option of buying ‘logoed’ uniform, for the 2015-2016 year, but for now this design will be used on our correspondence to represent our school.


We asked for ideas from children and parents a while ago, and we got back some brilliant ideas! In the end, we decided to use ideas from three designs given to us, and they were by Eleanor Flood (The idea of tools to represent St Joseph’s the worker), Lucy Kriens (The ‘SJ’ design) and Evie Jarvis (The lily). 

An explanation of the proposed new school badge-From Father Simon

Working from the outside in:

The main feature of the circle symbolises the globe/world.  We are preparing our children for service in the world, not just in this area or country.  They belong to the whole world and are given by God as a gift to that world.

At the heart of the world is the shape of the Cross which, rather than being just a symbol of our religion it is ultimately THE symbol of transformation.  All human beings suffer, in great or small ways.  Letting children go full time to school can break a parents’ heart; children struggle with certain subjects.  As disciples of Jesus we believe that God’s power is greatest when we are weak which is why our schools will always have a care for those who are struggling.  Jesus’ engagement with death heralds a completely new way of life. 

To achieve any of the above we need to know we are not alone.  Our school encourages the joy and love of friendship.  Relationships are forged in school that can last a life time and become more and more important as we get older. These are also the three words on the Bishop Konstant logo, and therefore remind us that we are in a close partnership with many others schools in the area.

The ‘SJ’ clearly stands for St Joseph, but it also stands for ‘Society of Jesus’.  The Jesuit priests were the first to minister in this area after the great trauma of the Reformation.  In 1804, after an earlier attempt in the late 1600’s, the Jesuits founded a school for the education of the poor of this area.  This was done before a church was built.  St Joseph’s is the direct descendant of this great work and we are enormously proud of our history.  We are launching this new badge in the third year of the Pontificate of Pope Francis I, himself a member of the Society of Jesus. 

The colours of white and yellow, as well as being Easter colours, are also the colours of the Papal flag.  We are proud to be ‘in communion with’ our Holy Father, Francis, and the Church throughout the world.

The lily is a symbol of purity and has long been the symbol of St Joseph who has was declared the Universal Patron of the Church by Pope John XXIII.  As he protected (literally) the body of Christ and the blessed Mother, so too he protects the Body of Christ (another way of describing the Church) throughout the world.

The ladder, hammer and nails were a common symbol found in medieval woodcuts or illustrations.  They are symbols of the Passion and Death of Jesus as they were needed to nail him to the cross. They are also symbols of his working life which is traditionally believed to be carpentry.  He would have learnt his trade from his foster-father, Joseph.  Thus, the hard graft of daily labour and the sufferings that often comes with it, eventually become the very things that symbolise the beginning of transformation and redemption.  For this reason, the Catholic Church has always placed great emphasis on the invaluable nature of work and seeks to encourage this in the young and to protect the rights of the working man/woman. We strive to encourage a good work-ethic in our young people.

To go back to the beginning and the backdrop for all this: the colour blue represents Our Blessed Lady who, as a disciple, first made our Faith possible by agreeing to be God’s faithful servant and to co-operate with His will.  All our work is, we believe, under her protection and we pray with her that God’s Kingdom will be seen more clearly through our young people as they blossom and flourish as disciples of Jesus Christ, our Lord.


February 13th

Vatican II Week-This week every school within the Bishop Konstant Catholic Academy Trust has had a special focus on making their children and staff aware of the impact of Vatican II on Catholic education. The children have been working all week to learn more about Vatican II.

What is Vatican II? The Second Vatican Council, or Vatican II, was an ecumenical * council of the Catholic church opened under Pope John XXIII in 1962 and closed under Pope Paul VI in 1965.

The most visible result of the council for most Catholics was the changes in how church sacraments were practised, and the use of vernacular ** languages for the Mass. The council also brought less visible, but important changes in how the Catholic church saw itself and its relationship with other faiths and the world. It has often been said to be the most significant event in Catholicism in the 20th century.

* ecumenical -representing a number of different Christian Churches

**vernacular-the language or dialect spoken by the ordinary people of a country or region


February 10th

Incidents at School-If your child comes out of school telling you of something that has happened in school that has upset them in some way, please talk to them about what happened. School will have dealt with issues that they know about accordingly and in an unbiased way. In order to do this, we ask that;

children tell staff if they have been upset by another child in any way, whether physically, name calling, social exclusion etc.

children never take a matter into their own hands. We tell our children that retaliation in any way is not allowed at all. We would ask that parents echo this important message at home

  • parents trust the school to deal with all issues sensitively and fairly, based on consideration of the view point of the child and other parties
  • parents do not confront other parents about an incident that has happened in school
  • parents do not confront children about an incident that has happened in schoo
  • This last point is very important. On no account must any parent confront a child directly about any issues that have been reported by their own child, or that they have themselves. Please ensure that you adhere to this rule closely; if you have an issue regarding any child other than your own the ONLY way to deal with the issue correctly is to contact school, usually through your child’s teacher.

There is a policy on our website, called the ‘PARTNERSHIP WITH PARENTS POLICY -2014-2015’ which explores the relationship between home and school.


What is the difference between our school website and our school VLE?





How do I access the site?

Google ‘St Joseph’s Pontefract’

Use the log on details below (you can also access the VLE by  logging onto our website and following the tab)


It is an open website that anyone can see

Only people with the user name and password above can access the VLE

Why do we have a website AND a VLE?

The website features all the items we must have by law. These must be accessible by anyone and therefore cannot be password protected

The VLE gives us the opportunity to safely share photos and images of what our children do in school. In accordance with our  ‘Use of Images’ policy these photos are not allowed to be used on our publicly available website.

The VLE also features the ‘Mighty Maths’ tests given each week, so you can work on them at home if you wish.

Are there any photographs  available?

Only photographs where children cannot be identified easily, to comply with our policy on ‘Use of Images’

Photos of events in school are posted weekly  and feature children at our school.

Examples of what   we will find?

Between them the website and the VLE include features  such as policies, information about governors and staff, Ofsted reports, school data, details of what the children are studying in school to allow parents the chance to supplement topic work at home, children’s power points, the weekly newsletter, a calendar of events etc. The main difference between the two is that photos of school events are posted on the VLE and these are not available on the website.

And so we would urge you to…

-Access both sites and have a good look around!

-Access the VLE each week to see if there are any photos of your child!

January 16th

 Prayers- Miss Macdonald has volunteered at St Joseph’s for many years, helping children throughout school with their reading, work and all manner of tasks. She is a trusted, respected and much loved friend to us. Our thoughts and prayers are with her this week as she makes preparations for an operation to her spine that will take place next week.Please pray for Miss Macdonald at this time; we look forward to having her back with us soon.


January 7th

We took an opportunity to test each key stage 2 child this week on their tables (number facts.)Why it is Important that Children know their Facts (Times Tables)?


We use our times tables in our everyday life and it makes learning much simpler when you can quickly recall facts rather than having to mentally try and work out each fact. Not learning times tables from one to ten makes learning more complicated maths more difficult than it needs to be. If a child can automatically know the answer to a times table question then more difficult maths will be less challenging.

 If your child did not get full marks try to give them some little exercises that will help them become more confident, so that, next time they may either reach 20/20 or get a little nearer. There are plenty of internet sites with lively; enjoyable ‘times tables’ games and activities that will certainly help!


January 1st 2015

Happy New Year to all at St Joseph's and in the community. I am sure the new year will be very busy but very interesting, and we will soon be back in the swing of things....


 Friday 19th December 2014

Merry Christmas to all!


Friday November 21st

We had a super disco tonight. The little ones went first and the hall was full of tiny bodies leaping and jumping about having a great time. The older children came next, and they got stuck into the dancing with great enthusiasm and spirit. Well done to all! Thank you to the 'Friends' for organising and running the event!


Friday 23rd October 2014

We had a very interesting, informative and colourful day on Tuesday, when we invited a visitor in to talk to us about his Hindu faith. Our visitor, Tribhanga, let the children dress up in wonderful costumes, and Princess from year 4 came in her own Hindu clothes! It was a very enjoyable and colourful day!



Friday November 7th

A very busy first week back! In assembly this week we talked about how we look after ourselves, and the children shared some things they know that are good for them. The main messages of the week were; we are made in God's image, so that gives us a huge responsibility to look after ourselves, and everything is good in moderation, even the odd burger! (We talked about Ashton Kutcher, actor, who became very ill when he became a fruitarian, eating only apples!)


The teaching staff have been at Nostell Priory today, taking Inset on the theme of 'Vatican II'. The teaching staff from all of the partnership primary schools met in the very nice surroundings to find out what Vatican II meant to our faith and our faith schools. There will be follow up out of school, most notably with a special 'Vatican II' week soon!


Prayers- Miss Macdonald has volunteered at St Joseph’s for many years, helping children throughout school with their reading, work and all manner of tasks. She is a trusted, respected and much loved friend to us. Our thoughts and prayers are with her this week as she leaves St Joseph’s today in preparation for an operation to her spine.

Please pray for Miss Macdonald at this time; we look forward to having her back with us soon.


And Finally….. On behalf of the staff and governors I would like to wish all of our families a restful half term break. It has been a very long half term so the break will allow everyone to recharge their batteries ready for what promises to be a very busy second half term.


Sunday 19th October 2014

Well done to our cross country team, who competed in the '5 Towns' cross country championships this week. Out of 20 schools we finished an amazing second! We had one individual winner, with Emily beating over 100 other year 6 girls with some ease and by a distance! However, although Emily contributed 1 point to our overall score (remember, the lower the score the better!)every child who competed also contributed to our score. This means that every child, whether they finished first or 101st was a key part of our success! Well done to all!


Saturday 4th October 2014

Well done to our girls’ football team, who competed in the Wakefield Partnership Catholic Schools’ Football tournament at St Wilfrid’s this week. The team faced several hard matches and showed incredible effort, determination and flair. We were delighted that the girls won all four of  their matches, scoring 12 goals and conceding only one on the way! We now have a shiny new trophy as champions! Well done to all!  

Gate opening times- For safety reasons we have asked Mr Stringwell, from Monday 6th October, to open the key stage 2 main gate at 3.25 in the afternoons. This is largely because there are often lessons or activities taking place up to that time, and we don’t want to cause unnecessary distraction for the children or the staff. Also, for security reasons we don’t want to have the gates open for any longer than we need to. If you arrive before this time we would ask you to wait outside the gate until 3.25.

It was lovely to see Princess, from year 4, coming into our Friday assembly dressed ready for the Hindu festival 'Dussehra' which was held yesterday, Friday 3rd October. She looked beautiful.It was also very special to listen to the adults with her letting us all know about this festival and how important it is in the Hindu calendar. Dussehra,  also known as Vijayadashmi, is a major Indian festival celebrated on the tenth day of Ashvin month according to the Hindu calendar. This day falls in the month of September or October. 


Saturday 27/09/14

We took part in our first sporting event of the year last week, when we sent a football team to compete against the other Catholic schools in Wakefield and the surrounding area in a football tournament at St Wilfrid's. Mr Jones said that our team played really well and , despite not winning the tournament, played with real determination and effort. We  teach our children that competition is healthy and that losing is a part of competition that we must all learn to deal with positively. If you can shake your opponents hand and congratulate them when you have lost, this is just as important as shaking their hand when you have won. So well done to all of our team, and good luck for the next event......


Myself and Mrs Velayudhan, along with our chair of governors, Mr Devlin, spent Saturday 27th  at a conference with the heads, directors and chairs of the other schools in our partnership. During the conference we discussed how we want the Bishop Konstant Catholic Academy Trust to move on in a year and then in the longer term.It was an interesting day.



We received the news last week that a new Bishop of Leeds has been appointed.  We pray for Monsignor Marcus Stock, Bishop-elect, who becomes the tenth Bishop of Leeds.  His ordination will take place on 13th November.  The bishop's motto is ‘Desiderio desideravi’ meaning ‘I have longed and longed to be with you.’ This is taken from St Luke’s Gospel and is a wonderful expression of Our Lord’s desire to share His life and love with each one of us.


Saturday 20/09/14

Yesterday we had an assembly where we took the opportunity to remind our children of some of the basic rules when eating in school. Of course, these rules all translate well to home life, so any reinforcement of these rules at home will be most welcomed. To see the rules, click on  the powerpoint link  below!Well done to Nathan, Grace, Matthew, Mason and Charles who helped me out in assembly!You were all brilliant!

Powerpoint- Lunch time rules

We have had many changes this term already related to food, the main one being that St Joseph's has a cooking kitchen for the very first time in 100 and odd years!  I have been sampling meals most lunch times, and when I am not available Mrs Brown or another staff member has been 'having a meal. I miss out automatically on Fridays as I lead the staff meeting, but Mrs Velayudhan is happy to take my place!

Our first sporting event of the year takes place on Monday, with a year 5  and 6 team going to St Wilfrid's after school to take part in our partnership 7 a side tournament. Mr Jones will lead the team, and I hope he can do better than Alan Pardew, the manager of Mr Jones' team, Newcastle United! I'm sure he will! Good luck to all!


Saturday 13/09/14

We have been serving toast for a week now, and it has grown in popularity to such an extent that poor Mrs Wilson is getting through 5 loaves a day! we have very hungry children in Pontefract! We have noticed that our year 1 and 2 children, who are getting free school meals now, are eating a piece of toast and then leaving lots of dinner. Therefore, we are going to try limiting toast for them to half a slice, so that they have more of an appetite. Like with any new system we have to sort out issues early on, so, after a few weeks we will see if this is enough for them.