Weekly Newsletter 8th September 2023

Welcome back to DSJ Weekly!

It’s only been three days with the children in school, but what a three days it’s been. I was delighted to be back on Wednesday, and seeing the children again was just great. I’d forgotten how polite, friendly and lovely they are. I’d like to thank them for making the place a joy this week. They’re a credit to you as parents and families and it’s a privilege to be their Head.

We started off the week with two INSET days, which were so valuable. The first was spent at Darton Primary School where we had some very important training on getting the very best out of children from all backgrounds. On Tuesday, we had a great day discussing our vision and aims for the coming year. Of course, the children and you as families are at the very centre of this.

This week has been a fantastic settling in week. It's been so happy and calm in school! Staff have prioritised getting to know the children and have been brilliant. A big thank you to them for their dedication to the school and to the profession. It’s not always an easy job, but it is incredibly rewarding.

On Wednesday morning I had the pleasure of meeting representatives from the Jerry Clay English Hub, who are going to be supporting us in the long term to provide a robust Systematic Synthetic Phonics programme in school. Their support is much appreciated and will benefit the children in school hugely.

Next week is our first full week of the academic year and when the learning gets into full swing. As a parent myself, I know how nice it is to see what children are going to be learning in their subjects, so we have created a short 'Term On a Page' document for each year group so you can see the subject matter that children will be learning this term. These will be updated in time for the next term, so that you have a good overview of what your children are learning about.

Next week, we have some Year 6s who are going swimming, and some of our Year 5s are going on their first Junior Wardens trip. In short, it looks to be another busy week and we wouldn't have it any other way!

Have a wonderful weekend and we'll see you on Monday.

Jon Smith (Incoming Head of School)


Thank you to everyone who has signed up for ClassDojo so far. Again, this is the primary method we will be using for communicating to you what’s going on in and around school, and I would heavily encourage anybody who hasn’t signed up to it yet to do so. As useful as a text service is, we would like to reserve texting for communicating matters that require your more immediate attention, such as closure in the event of snow. While there may have been some doubling up this week, we are hoping to use texts far less frequently.

ClassDojo will be used to update you on less pressing (but still important) information on what’s happening in class, information on clubs, and other events in school. It has the advantage of coming directly from the class teacher or me, has no character limit, and we can attach pictures! So please spread the word if you can. To sign up to updates from your child’s class, please follow the relevant link(s) below:

Mrs Taylor’s Class – EYFS

Mrs Jones’ Class – Year 1

Mrs Sumner’s Class – Year 2

Mrs Barber’s Class – Year 3/4

Mrs Wood’s Class – Year 4/5

Mrs Whiteley’s Class – Year 6

On the subject of ClassDojo, I understand that there is a misconception out there that this is a service that you as a parent have to pay for. This is not the case. While there is a paid service available, there is absolutely no requirement to sign up for it, and I’d encourage you to save your pennies by just using the free version!

Once again I'll direct you to the introduction to this platform sent out last year, along with an explanation of how this will fit in with the rest of our communication systems, at the following address: https://dodworthstjohns.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/ClassDojo-introduction.pdf

And our communications guide that has come in to effect from September 2023.

Term on a Page

Here's a quick overview of each year group and what they're going to be learning about this term. This will also be available to view on our school website.


Thank you also for your patience and understanding as we move some services across to Arbor.

Understandably, we have had some questions about why we are asking parents to sign up for both ClassDojo and Arbor. To explain this, Arbor is our management information system where we store the details of our school’s pupils and academic data, among much else. We use a different system for sending out text messages where we need to, and yet another system for ordering school dinners and trips. Of course, this is a lot of different services and systems to juggle on our side, so we are currently in the process of moving all services across to one place – Arbor – to make our internal systems more streamlined and our service to you more efficient.


A quick reminder that we have had to change one of our INSET days for this year to facilitate an important staff development opportunity regarding Phonics. The resulting benefits to children will be significant, but I do apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

The new INSET day will be held on the Monday 23rd October 2023. This means that school will be open as usual on the 22nd December.

We are delighted to be working with the Jerry Clay English Hub to improve our provision of this important aspect of education and thank you for your understanding.


Before school resumed this week, I sent out a letter explaining that we are having a lot of work going on in school to improve the facilities in the building. This work will be ongoing throughout the autumn term.

Since the letter was sent out, we have received a revised timetable of works, which means that work in the building will now resume on the 25th September. This is why there are only a small number of cars on site at this moment. However, to ensure that we have a smooth transition on to the playground at the rear of school, we decided to move playtimes and dinner times to that playground upon resuming school this week.

This has been a great move. The children have enjoyed having the space at the back of school, and it is a much calmer and quieter atmosphere due to the reduced traffic noise. We even managed to take the much coveted football net up there, so I'm glad to say that our footballers are happy with this.


Bruce Dyer

Please see link to Bruce Dyer’s Friday Morning Multi Sports Club / 8am - 8:45am below

Book Now: https://brucedyerlovelifesports.classforkids.io/info/141


Karate Club starts up again next week on Friday 15th September. The details of this are below:

3.30pm-4.30pm every Friday

7 weeks in this block


Available for any children from years 1-6

Please speak to the office or call Adam on 07859 903237

Diary Dates

Monday 11th September

PTA Meeting - 2:30pm

Representatives from Horizon Secondary School visiting Year 6

Tuesday 12th September

Junior Wardens Trip - selected Y5s

Thursday 14th September

Swimming - selected Y6s

Y5 trip to Murton Park

Friday 22nd September

Year 5/6 Handball at Darton Primary School - details to be sent out soon!

INSET DAYS 2022-23

Our INSET days for 2023-2024 are:

Monday 4th September

Tuesday 5th September

Monday 23rd October - NEW

Monday 19th February

Monday 22nd July


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