Week 39 - Friday 19th July 2019

Welcome to our weekly newsletter. Well that is the end of the academic year at Oldcastle Primary School. It has been another busy year in our school and we would like to parents for all their support over the past year. We hope you enjoy the summer break and we look forward to welcoming children back to school on Monday 2nd September. Remember school starts at 8.55am.

Review of the year

Below is a snapshot of the past year to remind ourselves of the great many achievements, events and activities that have happened throughout the last academic year.

In September 2018 we launched Google for Education and we have been amazed how well the change has been accepted by both pupils and staff. Google for Education is an amazingly effective way of collaborating and communicating between teachers and pupils. We are proud to announce that pupils in years 3 to 6 now have 1 to 1 chromebooks. Children are becoming more proficient using the chromebooks and completing their daily tasks in class. We look forward to developing our use of Google further throughout the school in the next academic year.

In October we held a Parents Focus Group where we talked about the new proposed format for our school reports. The feedback we received from parents was invaluable and we used this and teacher feedback to prepare our new report template. All parents in the school have received an end of term report in the new style report.

November is all about STEM for us at Oldcastle. Children in all year groups took part in the immersive week and focused on all science, technology, engineering and maths subjects. Feedback from pupils is always lovely but particularly so when it comes to STEM week - 'its the best week ever'! Throughout STEM week children are treated to guest visitors, external trips, hands on learning experiences, and many stimulating sessions to bring STEM to life. Our school council, eco, newspaper and digital leaders also took part in a very special session and created a radio show that highlighted the best bits of STEM week. We are always grateful for volunteer and parental support we receive for our STEM week. If you think you can help in 2019 please let us know!

We also held a Meet the Governors event in November where parents were invited to understand the role of a school governor.

Another first for Oldcastle in December - we produced our very own Christmas CD! Christmas is the most magical time of year, a chance to dream and not just imagining the impossible but to make it happen! At Oldcastle we wanted to capture the spirit of Christmas and create life long memories. We hope the making of the Christmas CD inspired children to start a journey into music. The results of the performances and recording far outweighed our expectation and we hope that parents and grandparents enjoyed listening to the CD over the Christmas period.

Our school savings scheme went from strength to strength this year and we saw a peak in savings in January with children savings their Christmas present money! We are delighted with the success of the savings scheme - at the end of the summer term we had 253 savers. The school savings scheme will continue from September and is free to join at any time. More information is available on our website.

In February we held our first Money Skills session with the aid of Nat West and the Credit Union. The money sessions were designed to raise awareness about the choices to make regarding what to do with money and understanding how money can be spent, saved or donated and also the differences between needs and wants. Thank you so much to the Nat West team and Damian Faulkner for coming into school and talking to the children.

Our annual Eisteddfod was held on 1st March The children love the excitement and build up to find out which ‘house’ has won with the most points. This year we were delighted to let you know that GREEN house won. All children play a role in creating fantastic work as part of our Eisteddfod celebrations. One of the celebrations of the Eisteddfod is the Chairing of the Bard which is a pupil from year 6 who has won the poetry competition. This year the Bard is William. Da Iawn William.

March and April also saw the installation of the solar panels on the canteen roof. The weather wasn't too kind to us during the installation period but thanks to some fantastic teamwork we kept disruption to a minimum for our pupils and parents. We are pleased with the installation of the solar system and have generated over 4.5 mwh to date. We have saved over 1600 kg of co2 emissions, the equivalent of 5 and a half trees have been planted.

In April we invited parents to attend a parents evening meeting with their child's class teacher. We launched a new booking system to make the process easier for parents.

We assisted with the launch of the Schools Mental Health Award in May working in partnership with the Carnegie Centre of Excellence in Leeds Beckett University. As a school we will be working towards achieving the School Mental Health Award in the next academic year to demonstrate a deep commitment to working towards excellent practice by making mental health and well being a part of our core business.

The summer term is always a busy period in the school diary - but then again so is every term! In June our year 6 children embarked on their residential trip. The children had a jam packed week with a visit to Harry Potter world, skiing, caving, white water rafting, and climbing! Children who did not attend the residential trip were also been busy with activities and also helped develop some ideas for a new mural in one of our year 6 classrooms. All of year 6 also visited Bridgend College hospitality department and created some amazing picnic food. We are very grateful to Bridgend College for allowing us to visit their catering department on a number of occasions this year - we look forward to working with them again next year.

Our PTA also arranged a successful summer fete in June and we were definitely blessed with the weather on this occasion. The event was very well attended and helped the PTA to raise over £700. The school would like to thank the PTA and parent helpers for supporting the school throughout the year. The PTA are currently raising money towards a refurbishment of our canteen building and we hope to provide more information to parents in the autumn term. We also held a sponsorship event in June to add to the funds for our canteen refurbishment and we were delighted to raise over £1900 - thank you for all your support.

During the past month we have had some fantastic events. Earlier in the month we held our sports day for children in years 1 to 6 in the athletics track in Newbridge Fields. The day was a great success with children participating in a range of sports after the official warm up taken by Mrs Evans and Mrs Brotherton. The house colours tug of war is always fantastic to get every in the spirit. We were lucky to have the support of Permission Homes for our sports day, who arranged for Olympic cyclist Dani Rowe to come along with her gold medal from the 2012 Olympic Games. Sports day was won by GREEN House!

Last Friday we visited Bridgend Show as a whole school. Nursery and reception classes were fortunate enough to hold their sports day in the main arena and it was fabulous to see the children enjoying themselves. We have received some lovely feedback from parents and grandparents regarding the event. Our year 6 children also had a couple of tables to sell their enterprise products - there was some amazing sustainable products on sale and the children had certainly research the items to provide some great unique selling points.

Oldcastle's Got Talent was once again fantastic entertainment. The whole school were able to join in with the event and see what amazing talent children in Oldcastle have. It was a really difficult decision for the judges - the winners are listed below.

Foundation Phase

  • 1st place - Nursery Comedy Act
  • 2nd place - Class 2E singing and sign language
  • 3rd place - Nursery singing Let it Go

Key Stage 2

  • 1st place - Niamh 4J with an amazing poem about Oldcastle
  • 2nd place - Shannon with a lovely rendition of Calon Lan
  • 3rd place - Evan with a great singing and comedy sketch

Now we are at the end of the school year and it is with mixed emotions that we say farewell to our year 6 children. On Thursday we held a leavers assembly for parents where each child in the year group was celebrated and recognised for their contribution to school life at Oldcastle.


We have also said farewell to staff members Mr Parslow, Mr McNally and Miss Minkowski today - we wish them every success in the future. In September we look forward to welcoming back Mrs Burr, Mrs Guy, Miss Lewis and Mrs Phillips who have been on maternity leave.

Oldcastle Stars

As a school we want to say a massive thank you and well done to all members of the School Council, Eco Committee, Newspaper and Digital Teams. You have all worked hard over the last year and we are grateful to you for your commitment. In the autumn term we will hold elections for the next academic year. Please follow this ink to view details of the roles and how to apply.

School Communication

We use a range of communication methods to keep you to date with activities and events at Oldcastle. We use The School App, Parent Pay, Emails, Website, Twitter and our weekly newsletter. More information is available here.

Plastic Pollution

5J have been working hard on creating a book about Plastic Pollution please take a look at their fantastic creation! Plastic Pollution

Past pupil news

Well done to Olivia Thomson, a past pupil of the school, who recently competed in Wales Women's Under 16 Basketball team. The ladies won against Malta in their opening game of the FIBAU 16 Europe Tournament. Olivia scored 15 points in the match! Olivia has very kindly donated one of her match shirts to the school and we look forward to framing the shirt to display for all to see.

Classroom artwork

We have been extremely lucky to have a past pupil, Huw, create some amazing artwork for us in one of our year 6 class room spaces. Huw has worked with a group of year 5 and 6 children to create artwork that embodies the values of Oldcastle. We are delighted with the results and look forward to using the enhanced classroom space next year. Thank you Huw!

P.E. Kit

This term we trialled a new system with P.E. kit where children were able to wear P.E. kit to school on the day their class has P.E. Thank you for parents, pupils and teachers for completing the survey recently. The results were unanimous with the majority of respondents saying that they preferred the current system. We plan to continue with this approach in September and will review at the end of the first term. We will notify you of P.E. days in September.

Thank you

All staff would like to thank parents / carers for the amazing gifts that have been received at the end of the term.

School Photos - Oldcastle Got Talent Winners

School Photos - Year 6 Leavers Assembly

Academic Achievement - Joshua B

To be decided between the top performing pupils in year 6 either as an overall performer or within an individual subject.

Learning Resilience - Lily

Many pupils face different learning challenges this award recognising someone who has either made excellent progress (achievement) or who has overcome adversity (illness or disability) to become a successful learner.

Contribution to school life - Matthew M

It is important to recognise the contribution made by pupils not just to their learning but to the wider aspects of school life such as community engagement, extracurricular clubs or any significant achievement outside of school that has a positive effect in school.

Creative Excellence - Henry

Musician, artist, drama and philosophers all contribute to school life this awards someone with a disposition to the creative arts in school but could also recognise achievement away from school

Collaboration and Friendship - Heidi

Pupil choice award – decided by the pupils and staff someone who has effectively worked within the class but has also demonstrated the characteristic of good friendship and is an exemplar to

Aspiring Athlete - Will

Sports stars of the future contribute to school life this awards someone with a disposition to the physical activity in school but could also recognise achievement away from school

Embodiment of school values - Noah

An award to recognise someone who represents the values and vision of Oldcastle.

Sporting Achievement

Well done to Amy and Dan for doing so well in last weekends school swimming gala. 2 gold medals for Amy and 2 bronze medals for Dan.

Diary Dates

Diary Dates

  • Friday 19th July - School Term Ends
  • Inset Day - Monday 22nd July 2019
  • Monday 2nd September - Back to School - school starts at 8.55am

Inset Days 2019/20

  • Monday 4th November 2019
  • Tuesday 5th November 2019
  • Monday 1st and Tuesday 2nd June 2020
  • Monday 20th July 2020

Bridgend Council term dates can viewed here.