Fed Focus Autumn 1 2018

Dear Readers 

 I hope you enjoy reading our new look Newsletter! Feedback would be very much  appreciated as we continue to make developments. 

 I would like to say a very big thankyou to everyone who supported the Summer Holiday Play Scheme, this along with the excellent Family Activity Days the Family Team organised, there was an  exciting and varied menu of activities to support our families. The Holiday scheme was very well attended and the staff team were excellent. We are looking forward to planning the next, thank you to all those families who have provided  feedback, we will be using this to    ensure we continue to improve. 

 We have had a very busy half term and so I thought I would share some of our highlights. Firstly, I wanted to say a huge thank you to the NCS team including our    dedicated staff as they have just returned from Exmoor where they spent a few nights at Pinkery with Selworthy School. Students and staff had a great time, exploring and trying out new activities. I am so very proud of everyone who took part and continue the NCS programme over the next 2 weeks.

 Students are enjoying their hydro sessions at the Compass Wellbeing Centre in Taunton and swimming at 1610. We continue to work closely with our local partners for work related learning activities and thank local businesses for your ongoing support. It is really important to us that our students have the opportunities to learn how to work in local industries as they prepare for their own working lives. 

 We have just started a new exciting music project, Open Up Orchestra where students are learning to play new instruments and will come together to play together.

 It was lovely to see so many parents and carers on Friday as we held the first stay and play session at Penrose School this year. It is always a great opportunity to see your child in school and have the opportunity to play and learn alongside them in a different    environment. 

 We are already starting to plan for the end of year festivities including our Christmas Fayre at the start of December. 

I would like to ask Parents and Carers to look out for the letter about Parents evening which should be coming home soon, meeting your child's teacher is a really important part of our work, so we can celebrate together the progress and development and also look at how we can work in partnership. The intervention teams will also be available for you to speak to.

 Our new school design continues to develop, thank you to those of you who could attend the consultation evening, your thoughts and ideas have been taken back by the design team and incorporated into the next phase of developments. We have now started to talk about the outside spaces and the different activities our students need. 

 A very exciting development, I wanted to share with you all, we will be starting a Stay and Play session soon for parents and carers of children 0-4 years who have additional needs. These sessions are going to be jointly run by the Portage team within Sedgemoor and will take place at Penrose School. We are looking for a couple of parent volunteers who would be willing to have DBS clearance to support us to run these sessions, meet and greet parents and offer advice and support. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact me at Penrose School. 

 It I always a very exciting time as we lead up to Christmas and we have lots of festivals and activities we are going to be involved in, we will let you know dates and events for you to come into school and share these opportunities with our young people. 

 Best wishes

Helen Farnell 

Executive Head Teacher 

Upcoming Events

  • 5th November—Return to School
  • 12th November—Parents Evening Key Stage 3 & 4
  • 12th November—Alcohol Awareness Week
  • 16th Nov—Children in Need including a special visitor.
  • 19th Nov—Road Safety Week
  • 26th Nov—Parents Evening –  Key Stage 1, 2 & 5 
  • 5th Dec -Intra school sports—Elmwood
  • 6th Dec – Intra school sports—Penrose
  • 7th Dec—Christmas Fayre at Elmwood from 2pm-4pm
  • 14th Dec—Christmas Jumper Day
  • 18th Dec—Penrose Christmas Production
  • 19th Dec—Elmwood’s Got Talent
  • 21st  Dec—Medals Ceremony across the Federation
  • 21st  - Last Day of Term—2pm finish for all pupils

My World in Dragonfly Class

In Dragonfly Class this term we have been settling in to our new class and making new friends. As part of our topic ‘My World’ we have been using mirrors to explore our faces and personal features as well as creating our homes and families using materials such as playdoh, sand and construction sets.

Our story this term has been Dear Zoo, during which we have been thinking about the sounds and descriptions of animals. We have had lots of fun opening the packages from the Zoo to discover what animals they have sent us!

Swimming for Bumblebee & Caterpillar Class

Bumblebee and Caterpillar students have started swimming sessions at 1610 each week.  This is a great way to improve physical skills learn important life skills and is great fun for all involved.


We would like to remind parents/carers of the attendance guidelines as outlined in our Attendance Policy:

  • To keep requests for their child to be absent to a minimum
  • To offer a valid reason for any period of absence, before the absence or on the first day of absence
  • To ensure that their child arrives at school on time ready for a prompt start to the school day. At all our sites this is at  08:55. Students can arrive from 08:45, were there will be staff supervising.
  • A reason should be offered for any lateness. Persistent lateness will be addressed by the school and maybe escalated to the EWO.
  • To work closely with the school and Education Welfare Officers (EWO) to resolve any problems that may impede a child’s attendance
  • To take family holidays during school holiday periods and be aware that requests for holidays during term time will be unauthorised except where in exceptional  circumstances relating to that application.  Where a family chooses to take a family holiday during term time, the absence will be coded as unauthorised and a Penalty Notice may be issued to each parent  for each child.
  • To be aware of curriculum requirements and to do their utmost to demonstrate respect for the learning that occurs at the Elmwood & Penrose Federation
  • To support their child and recognise their successes and achievements however small.

Can we please also remind parents/carers that should your child miss the school transport in a morning then it is your responsibility to get your child into school otherwise it will be recorded as unauthorised absence.

Remembering Alfie

A brave and fearless warrior

With eyes sparkling like the night

Drawing you into mischief

Making any room feel bright

A grin so wide and beaming

You couldn’t help but smile

When he’d capture all attention

Shouting out in ‘Alfie style’

No matter what the trouble

He never let it show

Always pleased to get stuck in

And going with the flow

A brave and brilliant soldier

He’ll go down in history

Rest in peace little one

Our one and only Alfie.

For Alfie, remembering you always with the fondest of memories

Parent Pay

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all parents/carers for your co-operation whilst the new online payment system has been introduced.

All parents/carers should have by now received a letter with details explaining how to log on to the system including a unique logon code.

The system has been introduced in order to make things easier for parents/carers to manage their payments into school including dinner money, swimming, uniform and trips. 

We hope that everyone is finding the system useful and beneficial, however if anyone is encountering any problems you can contact the Admin Office on each site who will be only too happy to help.

Minibus Donation

On Thursday 6th September  a special ceremony as held where keys were handed over to Elmwood deputy Head Andrew Laurence. The new minibus is a Variety Sunshine Coach donated by developer Crest Nicholson in conjunction with its charity partner Variety.

The coach will be used regularly to transport pupils and staff to a wide variety of off-site activities including    hydrotherapy, horse riding, trips to the zoo and theatre.

Mr Dancey, Crest Nicholson South West’s Managing Director, said “We are so pleased that our donation will help to ensure off-site activities are accessible to all students and look forward to seeing how our support will enrich the daily life of pupils at Elmwood”.

Helen Farnell said ”We are very excited about the new coach being presented, it is great to see the fantastic work Variety do for local organisations including special schools, and  we are incredibly appreciative to both Variety Club and Crest Nicholson for their generosity”.

“It is lovely to meet the staff and pupils of Elmwood School who will enjoy using their new Sunshine Coach as they enter a brand new school year” - Darren Dancey, Crest Nicholson South West - Managing Director

Inset Days

  • Monday 7th January 2019                         
  • Friday 5th April 2019      
  • Monday 3rd June 2019                   
  • Monday 22nd July
  • Tuesday 23rd July 2019                   

Inset days give our staff opportunities to access high quality training which supports and improves teaching and learning for all learners

Learning Support Centre

Dear Members

Please do come along to visit us at Elmwood Learning Support Centre we have many

new resources to share with you.

Please call Jeanette to make an appointment 01278 411211 

Monday - CLOSED

Tuesday - 09.00 - 17.00

Wednesday - 09.00 - 12.00

Thursday - By appointment only

Friday - 10.00 - 14.00

Opening Times are Term Time Only

Stay & Play Success

It was our first Stay and Play afternoon at Penrose on Friday 5th October and we were very happy to see so many parent/carers join us for the session and see what happens in our classrooms.  Thank you to all who attended.

Hoodies Available

We now have hoodies available for all Key Stage 4 students.

If you would like one then they can be purchased via the Parent Pay website. A photo of the hoody is shown for reference.

Raising Money for iPads

We currently have a link to a Crowd Fund Raising Page which we are signed up to to get new ipads for Communication for our students.

We are very keen to help more students with communication and provide them with an ipad with their own communication software: we will purchase the Proloquo2go software for pupils to support them to have their own voice in making choices, commenting and communicating with their peers, staff and families.

We currently have a target of £1,474 which will enable us to purchase 5 ipads and 5 bumper  cases. If you or anyone that you know would like to make a donation then the link is below.

Every little helps.

Thank you.



Thank you to all parents/carers who have recently returned their Data Collection Forms that were recently sent out.  We do still have a few outstanding so could we please ask that all forms are returned to the Admin Office on each site before the end of half term.

Also a reminder to parents to return their letters for parents evening. that have recently been sent out to all pupils. The Family Team will also be there at the parents evening to answer any questions you may have or to provide support. Thank you.

Ladybird Explore "My World"

Ladybird class have been visiting Bridgwater Library as part of our community engagement for this term’s topic ‘My World’. We have enjoyed the walk and talking about the town’s landmarks as we see them such as St Mary’s Church and the statue of Robert Blake. Pupils have selected books to read and we look forward to our visit every week.

Staff Changes

Here is a list of staff changes at the Federation:


JRC—New Staff

Danielle Parish (new)

Elmwood—New Staff

Sasha Millar (new)

Teri Loader (new)

Mandy Carpenter (new)

Penrose—New Staff

Sarah Kerrigan (new teacher)

Bethan Thorne (new)

Roxanne Cox (new)

Chloe Comer (new)


Ian Barke

Leah White

Katie Owens

Janet Elkins

Steph Hicks

Liz Western

We would like to welcome all our

new staff onto our team and say

a fond farewell and good luck to

our leavers.

Busy busy busy at The Jean Rees Centre

It has been a very busy start to the academic year at the Jean Rees Centre. The students have settled extremely well and with the addition of 6 new students the place is going from strength to strength.

Enterprise has been the forefront of a lot of our learning and we have been busy making and selling a range of products at Angel Place every Wednesday from 10am to 12.30pm. Our most popular product at the moment is the ‘Spirit in a Bottle’ priced at £4 - £6. So come on down and visit it us! Perfect for Christmas gifts and more!

As well as enterprise the students have been busy developing the site and working in partnership with KS4 to create themed gardens. KS4 have been visiting post 16 a lot this term and the benefits of working together have been huge.

The year 14’s have been busy preparing their next big transition. As it is their final year at JRC they have some very important decisions to make about their future. On Wednesday the 10th October they travelled down to Taunton to attend the annual career’s fair. This gave them all the opportunity to research about courses and other opportunities that are available once they leave JRC. What made it even more memorable was our trip to Pizza Hut!

Rights Respecting Schools

Last academic year both schools were awarded the Bronze Award, Rights Committed, you will see the logo on the bottom of our school letters after half term. As a rights respecting School we have the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child at the heart of what we do. The Convention drives school improvement and the strategic direction of the school. 

This term our six member of our Junior Leadership Team, Katie, Hannah, Kirsty, Thomas, Eleanor and Cameron went to King Alfred School in Highbridge to train to become Anti-Bullying Ambassadors. The Diana Award Anti Bullying Ambassador Training aims to train young people with the skills to act as positive role models, helping children and young people in their school community to reduce bullying.

Our six students across all three phases worked with other passionate young people. They engaged in icebreaker activities which encouraged the young people to say something good about themselves, as well as exchanging ideas and sharing good  practice.  Our Junior Leadership Team had basic training including online safety and  approaches students and staff can take to staying safe online and educating their peers.  The training concluded with the students making a plan for their Anti-Bullying work back at the Federation.  The first thing they have done since the training is to decide on having a Buddy Bench, which is somewhere students can sit, that the Junior Leaders will go and sit with them, offering friendship and support.  The Junior Leaders and School Councils are also designing Anti Bullying Posters to be able to display. The Anti –Bullying Policy is also being reviewed by the Junior Leadership team, which includes their own definition of Bullying.

Cameron and Eleanor from Penrose told Hayley, their School Council Leader " I enjoyed learning about the lovely Princess Diana and how she helped people”, We all need to work together to stamp out bullying.

All our Junior Leaders chair their school Councils back on their sites, and they pass, share and receive feedback from the other members of the school Council. The Anti Bullying Awareness is certainly being embedded and with upcoming projects, priorities and     displays the message that this is a school where we want young people to make a difference and ensure young people stay safe will certainly be a main feature of the work the students and staff do on a daily basis.

 Other feedback from the Junior Leadership Team and School Councils are:

  • Students in KS4 can buy their own hoodies as part of the official school uniform.
  • The Leavers Prom was a huge success and much planning was down to the students, this included a red carpet, a band as well as the food being what the students chose.
  • Elmwood are busy planning a disco for 2018-2019, and Penrose are planning a Halloween dress up day to raise   money in memory of their school friend we sadly lost this term.
  • Last Year Post 16 shared ideas about trips and visits for the Activities Week, which therefore they go to experience.
  • Plans are underway for Children in Need across all sites, so look out for information.

In the next Meeting Molly Maher, a development Officer for Weston-Super-Mare Town Council, is attending the next Junior Leadership Meeting to work with our students on how to improve The Blakehay Theatre to be more inclusive. The meeting will feed into a consultation project to bring about change.

 The Junior Leadership Team would like to thank our Vice Chair of Governors, Gill Watton for attending our first meeting and committing for the rest of the Year. Gill has already secured the money for the Buddy Benches, thank you Gill.

 We will keep you updated every newsletter on the progress of our student voice groups, the Junior Leadership Team as well as the three School Councils, as we work towards ensuring our pupils have a voice and make a difference to always support the school bring about change for the better.


Here’s to the success of the FIRST joint Elmwood/Selworthy NCS Programme!

At the end of September, year 11 students were given the chance to complete a 2-week enrichment course to achieve the nationally recognised National Citizen Service award alongside Selworthy students.

Students and staff left Elmwood on a very Sunny Sunday afternoon for PInkery outdoor education centre on Exmoor, where they spent three days completing various activities and challenges including an orienteering challenge, mountain boarding and axe throwing! Students and staff literally threw themselves into the activities and came back happy but exhausted. But…No time for exhaustion! There were 7 days of activities to complete. Everyone got a bit of a rest on the smoothie challenge day and visiting the Somerset Careers Fair but in between they completed community action projects on the Quantocks: repairing dry stone walls, clearing nightjar glades and removing tree protectors. Every student got stuck in without complaint and helped the local environment through the activities they completed.

After 2 weeks of hard work and determination, the group finally got to their graduation which was held at Elmwood. Students were presented with their certificates signed by the Prime Minister.


We currently have a vacancy for a Parent Governor within the Federation. If you are interested in this very important role then please contact Nicola Almond on 01278 456243.

Posted by Dan Smith on October 18th 2018

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