Rochdale Peregrines

Just as I was about to set off to Lowerplace this morning to get a few things ready for next week, a post popped up on my Facebook feed. It was about a webcam recently installed by Rochdale Council which is pointed at a nesting site of a pair of Peregrine Falcons just above the clock on the western face of the Town Hall’s clock tower. I was amazed to find out that they have been nesting there for the past 9 years, consistently raising chicks.

If you’ve never heard of them, Peregrines are amazing birds. They are the fastest animal in the world, reaching speeds of over 200mph when they swoop for prey, which is usually smaller birds such as pigeons. Until recently they have been mostly found in the countryside where they nest on high cliff faces. However, recently they have adapted to urban environments, where they can find similar high perches on buildings. They also have a huge source of food in urban populations of pigeons, gulls and lots of other species. As well as the pair in Rochdale, there are also nesting sites locally in Manchester, Bolton and Burnley.

Intrigued, I decided to pop down to the Town Hall on the way home. I only had about 30 minutes to spare, so I was not confident that I would see anything. Initially, I wasn’t sure where to look, however, if you look high up, just above the clock you will see tell tale signs of nesting birds – white droppings on the side of the building. Having found that, I scanned around the area looking for one of the pair, and luckily one was perching slightly higher up on the north face of the tower. Just as I found it, it took off and swooped towards a group of unsuspecting pigeons. It disappeared from view shortly afterwards, so I’m not sure if its hunt was successful. A few minutes later I saw another bird flying past the clock tower, I don’t know of this was the same one or the other of the pair.

Although populations of Peregrines have recovered in recent years (they were almost wiped out  altogether in the 1950s) there are still only about 1,500 pairs in the UK. This means we are really lucky to have such incredible predators right on our doorstep. If you’re in the town centre, look up at the clock tower and watch out for big, powerful birds swooping quickly from high perches. If you see one, leave a comment to tell me about it. If you can’t see one, look out for other birds flying off quickly, that often means that one is nearby. This is a Peregrine in flight, though it’s not one of the Rochdale birds.

I will be returning to the Town Hall with my camera in the next few weeks. I have seen Peregrines before, most notably at Martin Mere where I saw on catch a Lapwing in mid-air, but I’ve never managed to get a picture of one, so fingers crossed I can get a photo one of the Rochdale birds.

World Book Day – Thursday 2nd March 2017

We’re looking forward to World Book Day on Thursday 2nd March, and are inviting children to come to school dressed as a character from their favourite book. It would also be nice for them to share their favourite books and stories with their class, so if they would like, they can bring a copy of their favourite book into school with them.

We will be doing lots of reading on the day and discussing our favourite stories. We will also be taking part in role-play and other fun actiuvities around stories. Don’t forget to look on our class blogs to see all the fun things we have done!

I can’t wait to see which characters come to school on Thursday 2nd March!

Mrs Pearson, Reading Co-ordinator

P.S. If you’d like a few ideas, check out the list below!

Stuck for ideas? Why not think about:

* one of David Walliams’ characters, like The Boy In The Dress, or Gangsta Granny?
* someone from Roald Dahl’s magical books, such as Matilda, The BFG, or one of The Twits?
* a classic fairy tale character like Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood (or the Wolf!), the Little Mermaid, or the Snow Queen?
* Dennis the Menace or Where’s Wally could be a good choice if you have a stripey jumper on hand?
* any of the crazy characters from Dr Suess’s books – could you be the Lorax? Or perhaps Thing 1 and Thing 2 with your sibling or best friend?
* Tintin, Peter Pan and Angelina Ballerina could be fairly easy to put together from clothes already in your wardrobe!
* what if Lowerplace is really Hogwarts? It would be amazing to see Harry, Ron, Hermione and Hagrid – or maybe even Dolores Umbridge – around school.

Don’t forget, the staff will be taking part too – I wonder who we will all be? And will anyone actually be silly enough to be Captain Underpants?

Lowerplace is now a Lead School for Computing At School

Mr Hall has been working hard to get Lowerplace ready to be a Lead School in the Computing At School (CAS) programme, and he is now a Computing At School Master Teacher!

The CAS website explains that: the CAS Lead Schools are an important part of the development of local communities of practice for computing together with the CAS hubs, the CAS Regional Centres, CAS Master Teachers and university partners.

The CAS Lead Schools recognise that Computing as a subject is important, and it is part of the school development plan; will have developed a broad and balanced computing curriculum that shows clear planned progression, and offer to support other at least one other school in their community through sharing good practice.

Both school-based support for the subject and the offering of support in a local community of schools are important for maintaining the status of a CAS Lead School. At the end of each academic year Lead Schools are required to complete an activity audit in order to maintain their status as a lead School in the NoE.

Lowerplace is OPEN today – Friday 13th January 2017

open sign

Lowerplace Primary School is open today. Please bear in mind, that if school is open your child is expected to be here. Absences will not be authorised due to issues with weather.

If the decision is made not to open school on a particular day, we take multiple steps to let parent know as soon as possible:

* we will text parents and carers – if you have changed your number recently, please check with the school office that we have your correct number. If you have a ParentMail account, please update it with your new number. School staff are unable to update your personal ParentMail account.

* we will post a message here on our News Desk blog page

* we will tweet it from the main school Twitter account @Lowerplace_PS

* it will be listed on the council’s school closures website here: Rochdale Council Snow

* we will let local radio stations know, who will list it on their own websites and may announce it on-air.

Thank you!

Attendance and punctuality

The start of a new year seems like a great time for a quick reminder about the impact of attendance and punctuality on your child’s learning, and our policies surrounding it! Mrs Mulkeen and Mr Moore are visiting classrooms this morning to announce those children who have achieved 100% attendance for the Autumn Term, who will be able to attend a daylight disco in school next week as a reward.

Reporting absences

If your child is absent from school it is your responsibility to inform us of a reason for absence by 10am on each day.
If we do not hear from you we will contact you by phone or text message, and in some cases we will make a home visit. Letters are also sent home asking you why your child has been absent – please ensure these are completed and returned to school.

Absences without a valid reason are recorded as unauthorised.
Absence Line: 01706 648174 option 1. An answering machine is also used on this line.

Running late?

Punctuality at school has a huge impact on your child’s learning. Coming into the classroom after everyone else has settled down to work can be embarrassing and unsettling. They also miss the time when the lesson plan is set out for the class.

Obviously there are times when lateness is unavoidable – a puncture on the way to school? We’ve all been there! But if you are running more than 15 minutes late for school, please call the school office on 01706 648174 so that we are able to let the class teacher know when to expect your child. If your child has a school meal, we will also need to book it with the kitchen before 10am. If you don’t let us know, then we will be unable to provide a meal for your child.

Did you know? If your child is late after registration more than 10 times in a half term, we can refer you for a Fixed Penalty Notice.

Holidays and planned absences during Term Time

Please remember – parents and carers have no legal right to take their child out of school during term time for any form of holiday. This includes, but is not limited to: weddings, visiting sick relatives, and short breaks. This is Unauthorised Term-Time Leave and we will submit Fixed Penalty Notices where applicable.

You must, by law, inform us if you intend to take your child out of school during term time, or else risk being reported to the both the Education Welfare Team and the Children Missing Education Department.

Notification forms (orange forms) can be collected from either school office to inform us of such an absence. Remember, this form is a notification of your intent, not an application for our permission, and must be completed BEFORE the absence.

How do we count absences?

Registers are taken at the start of every session: that means first thing every morning and every afternoon.
If a child misses one day of school, they miss two sessions.

Facts + Figures
* There are 190 Teaching Days in a school year.
* There are 175 non-Teaching Days in a school year.
* 10 days of absence reduces a child’s attendance level to 95%.
* 29 days of absence reduces a child’s attendance level to 85%.
* 47 days of absence reduces a child’s attendance level to 75%.
* Children with over 90% attendance are more likely to achieve five or more A-C grades at GCSE level.
* Children with less than 85% attendance are unlikely to achieve any A-C grades at GCSE level.

A Helping Hand
At Lowerplace School we understand that parenting is the most rewarding job in the world, but it can often be challenging too. We have links with a number of charities and outside agencies who offer support to families experiencing any difficulties in their home lives – debt, risk of homelessness, medical concerns, substance abuse, alcoholism and worklessness to name a few. If you would like any confidential advice, please come and speak to Nichole Mulkeen, Family Outreach Officer.