First week back at school

Dear Parents and Carers

Following the first week of school, I am delighted to welcome you back formally to Filton Avenue Primary School as Head of School at Lockleaze road. I have very much enjoyed my first week in school meeting your children and beginning my work with the staff at Lockleaze but also building my partnership with Mrs Rutherford, the Executive Head, and Mr Rodeck, the Head of School at the Orchard Campus.

As a primary Head teacher in South Gloucestershire for the last 3 three years, I also bring 24 years of teaching experience and have taught all year groups from age 4-11 during my career. There is always more to learn and the challenge of leading a larger organisation alongside others is exciting. At the core of my work is the teaching and learning in our classrooms and ensuring that children achieve high standards and have the skills and knowledge to be the best they can be. I know you will support me in this.

The relationship we have with you as parents in supporting your children is hugely important to us; I have felt very welcomed by you and appreciated you introducing yourselves and talking to me on the playground. I am keen that you continue to do this and should you need to talk to me confidentially I am happy for you to come and make an appointment. I am sure that for most issues, the class teacher will be your first port of call and they will be able to resolve any of your concerns.

School starts at 8.45am and finishes at 3.15pm. We encourage you to get your children into school at 8.45am as learning will begin as soon as they enter the classroom. The electronic registers will close at 8.55am so an arrival after that time will unfortunately be regarded as late and your child will need to come to the main entrance to be registered. I fully understand that this may have been different last year if your children were at Filton Avenue Juniors however, our start and finish times are all the same now. In a school this size it has been impressive to observe that nearly all children were in on time and only a handful of pupils are arriving late. Thank you very much for working with us as the week has progressed.

School playground
The playground situation is a challenge at present! Thank for bearing with us and showing patience in those difficult areas where bottle necks can occur. We have tried to staff those areas to support you as your children come into school. We hope that by the end of next week there will be a second access point provided that the weather conditions stay favourable. We will keep you posted if there are any changes.

Please do not drop your children off on the zebra crossing or on the zigzag lines. This is a safety hazard and is dangerous.

I will be sending out a list of diary dates shortly to inform you of events that are planned for the first term. Please remember that the school website is also a great place to find out what is happening in school. Once again, thank you for your warn welcome and I wish you a relaxing weekend.

Yours faithfully
Mrs Joanna Barr

Hello and Welcome

Dear Parents and Carers,

I hope you have had a very relaxing and enjoyable summer break and that you and your children are refreshed and ready for the new school year. This year promises to be an exciting one as we enter a new era as Filton Avenue Primary School with many new staff joining the School as well as myself as Head of School.

I would like to welcome all our new pupils and their families to the school and of course welcome back our returning pupils and their families too. For those new families we look forward to learning and building a strong relationship with you and your children and to those already with us,   strengthening our connections to continue ‘Together on our Journey Towards Success’.

I would also like to take this opportunity to introduce myself personally. I come to Filton Avenue Primary School from the headship of a primary school in South Gloucestershire. With an academic background in Psychology, I bring 24 years of experience in Bristol and South Gloucestershire schools and have taught all year groups across the primary range as well as undertaking consultancy roles in the local authority. I am committed and passionate about teaching and your child’s learning and will endeavour, with the whole school team, to ensure that your children achieve the standards that they deserve.

I am a parent of two teenagers now; I do recognise the joy and challenges that parenting can sometimes bring and I am keen that you feel able to come and talk to any of my staff if you need to.

As Head of School at Lockleaze Road. I will be writing a regular blog which will appear here on this page of the website. The blog will be used to celebrate the achievement of our pupils, share successes and to look back on recent school events. Keep an eye out for new blog entries over the coming weeks and months.

I hope you enjoy the entries and look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Mrs Joanna Barr

A packed full couple of weeks!

What a busy few weeks… and we’ve not even reached the Christmas mania yet! I’ve been meaning to write my latest instalment for at least the last two weeks, but clearly haven’t succeeded. Anyway, I’ll get on with it now…

I’d like to begin by saying a huge thank you to all our parents/carers for the fantastic turn-out at the Parent Consultation evenings; 89% of you met with the teachers, which is brilliant – next time, we’re hoping for 90% plus! The teachers find spending that formal time with you, discussing the learning and achievements of your child/children, very rewarding; we hope you find it as informative as we do. Do remember that you can make an appointment to see your class teacher at anytime; if you wish to discuss anything at all about school – you don’t have to wait for Parent Consultation evenings.

Two weeks ago – where did they go? – the school supported the Children in Need campaign, with pupils and staff dressing up as their childhood heroes to raise money for the appeal.

As you can see from the photos there were some amazing costumes! We raised a total of £202.60 (£45 – dressing up donations; £157.60 – cake sale and splat-the-teacher), with a good £30 coming from the very popular target – I have no idea why?! – of Mr Rodeck in the stocks.

Photo 5  Photo 4

Last week was particularly busy. On Tuesday Unique Voice visited the school. They are a Bristol-based social enterprise renowned for using the arts to inform, educate and inspire and we have welcomed them to Filton Avenue on a number of occasions previously. The focus of their KS1 assembly, and the follow-up workshops, supported Anti-Bullying Week and all the activities planned by our PSHE Lead, Micaela Ranes. The children really enjoy the visits from Unique Voice and we hope to welcome them back in the spring to support our learning during E-Safety Week. Miss Ranes also organised a story-telling session for Years 3 and 4; the story they listened to is called Diddakoi, and is about a young, orphaned Romany Traveller girl who’s courage helped an entire community celebrate differences; this session was also an important aspect of our Anti-Bullying Week activities.

We also saw the first Parent Forum meeting to be held in an evening time slot. Many thanks to those who attended – it was good to see some new faces, as well some of our more regular attendees. We will hold another evening meeting later in the school year, so we hope to see even more of you then. The main focus for the meeting was Home Learning, in particular looking at the new system we are about to trial with Year 3. The feedback we received was very positive and has given us further ideas about how it will work best. If it proves to be popular, we will look to replicate it in other year groups. Watch this space…

Last Friday saw two, very well supported, events take place at Orchard Campus. In the morning Matthew Norcott, Assistant Head Teacher – Mathematics, ran a Maths Workshop. Over twenty parents/carers attended, taking part in practical activities and learning for themselves how calculation is taught to pupils at Filton Avenue Primary School. The comments I heard afterwards were hugely positive, such as, ‘It was brilliant’ and ‘I learnt so much’. A number of people asked me if it would be repeated, and I’m very pleased to say that due to popular demand Mr Norcott will be running a repeat edition of the workshop on Thursday 10th December at 9am… more information will be sent out to you shortly.

In the afternoon it was Pear Class’s turn to hold their class assembly. This event saw another fantastic turn out, with parents/carers watching and listening to the pupils presenting their learning; including, verbal storytelling, singing and artwork.

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Yesterday afternoon saw the culmination of Drama Club, with the performance of The Goblins Next Door. The children were brilliant and really enjoyed singing, dancing and acting for their audience. A huge thank you must go to Mrs McNally and Miss Mills for all their hard work in making this happen. We look forward to the next production.

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Thank you again for your on-going support of these events… without you they really wouldn’t happen!


Welcome back after the half-term


The children, and staff, have seamlessly picked up where they left off, and it’s been another exciting week at Orchard Campus.

On Tuesday, Pear Class had their WOW event to introduce their new topic, ‘Do you think he saurus?’ The children and teachers dressed as explorers and went on a Dinosaur Expedition, following clues set by our very own Indiana Jones; the class found dinosaur eggs and skeletons. Our intrepid explorers still found time for a warming hot chocolate and an energy giving cookie at our on-site Forest School area.

On Wednesday, Hazel Class launched their new topic, ‘Sail the Seven Seas’, by turning their classroom into a ship – skippered by Captain Nicholls. The brave shipmates encountered stormy seas as they made their journey across the oceans. The children used this as the inspiration to create Storm Art.

Later this week Hazel Class began exploring the story, ‘The Mousehole Cat’. As you’ll see from the video clip below the children have learnt the story and are able to re-tell it using actions, as well as words. This strategy is a key part of the ‘Talk for Writing’ process as it enables children to imitate the language they will need when they write their own versions of the story.

End of Term 1

I can’t believe I’m already writing about the end of Term 1! It’s been a fantastic term and so much thanks must go to you, the pupils and the parents/carers, along with the staff.

A lot has happened at Orchard Campus since my last entry…

Two Fridays ago we heard from Cherry Class at their assembly. They told us all about their learning this term, presenting some of their writing, geography and artwork, as well as singing to us. It was great to hear such confidence from Year 1 pupils, at such an early stage of the year. It was also great to see so many of you in attendance – thank you.

Last week saw our first Open Week of the school year. It was very well attended and I know, from the wonderful feedback, you really appreciated the opportunity to come into school and see, first-hand, the teaching and learning in your child’s class. Here’s a small selection of some of your comments:


“It was really enjoyable and I particularly noticed how well the children were engaged in the activity.”

“Thank you for inviting us to your classroom – it looks great!”

“What a fantastic lesson – loved the teaching!”

“It was fun and a very interesting subject for the children.”

“I thought the children were very well behaved – impressed how she keeps the attention of 30 children.”

“I found it interesting the way the children engaged through paly and song.”

“”The children all worked together, the problem was great and the kids were constantly engaged.”

“The language used to encourage and support learning was quite complicated, but put into the appropriate context for the children.”

“Thank you for your dedicated work.”

“Thank you for letting me come in. My son loved showing me around and we had a good ‘stay and play’ with some of his new friends – wonderful!”

“I got a great insight into what my daughter’s day is like and the learning styles used.”

“There is a real buzz of fun in the air. Now I know why my daughter is so tired after school – she’s having lots of fun!”

“It was great to see the children correcting their own learning and being rewarded for their hard work.”

“I think the teacher has an amazing hold of the class – lovely mix of fun, discipline and eyes in the back of her head!”

“It was great to see the different ways the children had to problem solve.”

“It was interesting to see the children working in pairs, which aids learning discussion and compromise.”

“Really impressed with the content and delivery of the lesson. I feel that our children are getting a wonderfully varied education. Thank you!”


Thank you again for your engagement with the school and we look forward to welcoming you back for the next Open Week in Term 3.

The FFA Disco was held last Friday afternoon and was, like last year, a huge success, with children and parents showing some fine moves on the dancefloor! Many thanks to all those involved with the organisation of the event, in particular to Charlie and Kelly, for their unstinting commitment, and to DJ Chris for spinning the tunes on the wheels of steel!

Photo 19

Yesterday saw our Harvest Assembly, followed by our Harvest Sale. The turnout was undoubtedly a record for any Orchard Campus event, to date, with standing room only by the time the children started singing. Each class performed a Harvest related song and the whole school sang twice; it’s clear that we have some very talented singers at Orchard Campus! Particular mention should go to Apple Class who performed at their first whole-school parents’ event and did so with great accomplishment.

Photo 20

The Harvest Sale that followed was a great success with all fruit and veg boxes, and bags and loaves of bread being sold. The ‘Guess the Weight of the Pumpkin’ competition was a (huge?!) success; the winner was Kelly, with an incredibly accurate guess of 15.3kg, only 0.1kg out. Many thanks again for your support of the event and for all your donations of perishable and non-perishable goods, time, effort and money. Many thanks must also go to Joe’s Bakery, Tesco – Golden Hill and Co-op – Gloucester Road for their contributions.

The North Bristol Foodbank picked up the non-perishable donations yesterday afternoon and expressed their gratitude. Whilst, your contributions from the Harvest Sale, Raffle and Guess the Weight of the Pumpkin raised an amazing £207.29 for the Save the Children Syria Crisis Appeal.

Finally, I’d just like to draw your attention to the Year Group Webpages, which were launched on the school’s website, earlier this week. Your class teacher and their year group colleagues, across Filton Avenue Primary School, have collaborated to provide you with an insight into some of the learning they have done this term, and in some cases give you guidance as to how you can support their learning at home. We hope you enjoy these pages, and I’m sure, like me, you are looking forward to seeing how they develop over the coming school year.

I hope you have a good break and we look forward to seeing you back after half-term, on Tuesday 3rd November.

Best wishes
Mr Dan Rodeck

Another action-packed week!

Last Friday afternoon the FFA held a coffee and cake sale in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and their World’s Biggest Coffee Morning campaign – we raised a fantastic £145! Thank you very much for all the cakes you made/donated and, of course, to the FFA for organising the event. Overall, £2,903,563.10 has been raised nationwide, so far…

On Wednesday afternoon Pear Class had a wonderful workshop with a Senegalese drumming band. It was a very interactive and hands-on session, with lots of dancing to rhythms…

and all the children had a chance to play the instruments.

The Kora…

and the Sabar and Djembe drums.

It was a great experience for the children to learn about musical instruments from another culture and one of them told me, ‘It was so exciting playing the instruments – they made an amazing sound!’

Every Friday morning the pupils take part in a Wake and Shake session, led by Miss Nicholls and a group of children. Wake and Shake uses dance to stimulate the body and mind, and really gets the children in the mood for the day ahead. ‘Wake and Shake is amazing – it makes me feel excited and ready to learn!’ a pupil from Pear Class explained. As you can see the teachers and TAs join in too!

Another brilliant week has flown by!

Our Reception pupils – Apple Class – have had their first full week together and it’s gone exceptionally well. The children have settled in so well, with only a few tears at the start of the day! Today they have been learning the ‘Mm’ sound.

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They made marvellous mice to help them remember the sound.

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Year 1s WOW event was a great success, introducing the class’s new story – Hansel and Gretel – to the pupils. They had a visit from a very special guest…

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The children told me that the ‘Old Hag’ had “dusty hair, black dots on her face, a pointy nose and a hump”, and that when they first saw her they “wanted to hide under the table!”

The children also collaborated to create some amazing, colourful collages using sweets.

This week’s Meet the Teacher events were very well attended – thank you for your support; the PowerPoint presentations will be sent out next week.


I hope you all have an enjoyable weekend.

Mr Dan Rodeck

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