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Abbots Cross Primary School, Newtownabbey

Welcome back - January 2021

9th Jan 2021

Welcome back to school whether you are learning online or in class.

First of all, I want to say a huge well done to all parents who are taking on Home Learning once again. Remember we are here to help and support. Teachers are online from 9am until 2.30pm every day to answer your questions and give extra explanations about schoolwork and online tasks. We are very glad to be able to support pupils whose parents are key workers and our classrooms are still busy places. We will share some photographs of both our in-school and online learners with you all on Facebook. This helps us all to feel connected while we are apart.

Online enrolment for Primary One in September 2021 is now open. If you experience any difficulties with the online system, please phone the school office. We are happy to help. Although we cannot welcome visitors into school just now, our online tour is available to watch on Facebook and on this website. We are also available to chat on the phone or send out a Prospectus to anyone wanting more information about our fabulous school.

I am glad to say that we have lots of good news about new developments in Abbots Cross Primary. We have been granted a fully funded Nurture Unit by the Department of Education. This means we will have a full time Nurture teacher and a full time Nurture assistant. They will work in a specially resourced classroom. This facility will be available to all the pupils in Abbots Cross Primary when they need it. The focus of the work here is to build confidence and self-esteem and to reduce anxiety especially related to attachment issues and independence. All pupils attending our Nurture Room will also follow the usual curriculum for their class.

We are also delighted at the progress our pupils have made since returning to school in September. Reading ages are improving rapidly. For example, one pupil returned to school reading at Level 3 and by October half term had moved to Level 9. Our P7 pupils are still being supported through Zoom as they keep working steadily in spite of the confusing situation surrounding AQE this year.

The Department of Education have also provided funding at Abbots Cross PS for the Engage Project. This project aims to direct extra teaching support to help pupils catch up with work missed during lockdown. Mrs Smyth and Mrs Stewart are working with individual and small groups in P3 and P4 to boost confidence and wellbeing alongside literacy and numeracy skills. They will continue to contact pupils who need extra support during lockdown.

We are looking forward to the installation of our Trim Trail in the safe surface area at the back of the school. This will be an important addition for our younger children and is specially designed to give opportunity for the development of motor skills, such as climbing, hopping, balancing and stretching.

You may have noticed our play stage at the front of the school. This was designed and built by Mr Tom Armstrong, one of our school governors. Our Key Stage 2 children are already enjoying imaginative play using the stage and I know hundreds of you enjoyed watching the P4/5 Nativity performed outdoors before Christmas.

This is a challenging and anxious time for us all, but I am reminded often by parents, pupils and school staff that we have a fabulous team and I have no doubt that we can get through this together. Remember that your child’s schoolwork does not have to be perfect – we will just do our best together.

All children need is a little help, a little hope, and someone who believes in them.

J Griffith