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Alexandra Smith

My name is Alexandra Smith and I have a 5 year old son, Pip (Philip). He has been attending Village Primary School since Nursery and absolutely loves to go to school every day. I chose the Village Primary School, as both my husband and I agreed with the schools values and ethos. Once we had visited the Village Primary School and saw how attentive the teachers were and how happy the students were in this wonderful environment, we were sure it would be the perfect fit for our values as a family.

I am passionate about education for people of all ages and feel everyone deserves access to a stimulating and enjoyable way of learning, in a way that is suited to their individual needs so they can reach their full potential.

I currently work part time and for the past year I have been lucky enough to be part of FOVP. I enjoy crafting, baking, reading and singing. I have found all of these hobbies are very handy with my interactions with the school and being part of FOVP.


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Proud to be part of Prince Regent Street Trust

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Camilla Banthorpe – Co-opted governor

My name is Camilla Banthorpe and I was elected as a co-opted school governor at the Village Primary School in December 2021. I am a mother of two boys and live in the local area of Stockton on Tees. I have been working within financial services since 2009 and have experience on working closely with our social purpose projects and links with financial education programmes with an aim to help raise standards and aspirations. My current role is a ‘Strategic excellence partner’ within our IT & Transformation department working on our people strategy projects and our apprenticeship programmes.


I am a huge believer in that ‘its never too late’ and even now as an adult I am learning new things every day – education and learning is life long. As a member of the governing body it has been a pleasure working alongside a school that provides the best possible start to their children with education through their school ethos and values which are lived and breathed in daily school life. The Village Primary has worked extremely hard on their community presence and this is evident by the increase in support from families, community members and staff at the school. I am very proud to be on the board of governors at the Village primary working with a team of committed, supportive and passionate individuals that want to move forward in positively raising the standards for their children in learning.


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Proud to be part of Prince Regent Street Trust

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April’s Topic – Supporting your child around upsetting events /content

Supporting your child around upsetting events /content

Talking, and reassuring your child around real-life topics such as COVID-19, the war in Ukraine, or something more personal happening in your own family is very difficult. These topics can be hard for us, as adults to get our heads around.

Children can encounter news stories, images, opinions, and ideas on a daily basis via online platforms such as facebook, Instagram and tiktok, on the TV, or in person.

Below is some ideas on how you can reassure your child when there seems to be difficult and upsetting events happening around them.

1) Find out what they know

What do they already know about the news they have heard?  Listen to what they have to say, and this will help you understand how much what they have heard has affected them already.

2) Time and a place

Think about when is most appropriate to start these kinds of conversations with your children. Try to find a time when they are relaxed, and have your full attention. Not when they might be stressed about something else such as a test, or if they are about to go to sleep. Also, think about the location, somewhere where your child feels comfortable, and feels safe, as they might get emotional.

3) Keep it age appropriate.

Keep the conversation general, and try not to go into too much detail, especially with younger children.

4) Emphasise hope.

Try to find stories of hope, generosity and strength related to the event you are discussing. Talk to your child about what they can do to help or support.

5) Monitor their reaction.

Be aware of their reactions and body language. Allow them to express their own emotions in a safe, non-judgemental space.

6) Consider your own emotions.

We, as adults can also find the events of the world around us upsetting. Children develop coping skills by mirroring people around them, so if you are able to regulate, and manage your own emotions, it will help support them through worrying times.

7) Set limits.

It is hard to manage screen time and content at the best of times, but even harder when there is an event going on (such as the start of the pandemic). It becomes virtually impossible to keep your child away from content around this, but at least we can limit their exposure by using parental controls, talking about the dangers of harmful content, and enforcing screen times.

8) Take things slow.

Try not to overwhelm your child with information. Explain things one-step at a time. The first conversation should just be a simple introduction to what is going on, and then maybe wait until your child is ready, or wants to talk about it again

9) Encourage Questions.

Allow your child to be able to discuss with you openly about what they saw, rather than being angry with them for watching it. Children are still learning that everything they hear in the real world, and online is not always accurate. We want our children to be able to come to us for information, without them relying on their devices.

10) Find a balance.

Remind your child that it is healthy to take a break from their phones, and sometimes from what is happening in the world, and focus on doing something more positive. This will prevent them becoming overwhelmed by negative news.

11) Build resilience.

While our instinct may be to shield a child from upsetting content, it’s important they develop the tools to be able to cope with this, as they get older. Make sure your child knows they can always talk to you, especially if they are upset, or have seen something upsetting.

12) Identify help.

Encourage them to open up to a trusted adult, and make sure they know whom these are. It’s important a child does not feel like they are alone, and that there is always help available if and when they need it.

CBBC Newsround is an excellent and trusted resource for news stories, and explaining them at a child friendly level.  It also has links to several good mental health support resources.


For any more support / advice around these, or any of the previous month’s topics. please speak to Mr Dixon, Parent Support Advisor, either on the yard,  ring on 01642 676768, or email at enquires@thevillageprimary.org.uk


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Proud to be part of Prince Regent Street Trust

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March’s Topic – Punctuality Pointers

Punctuality Pointers.

Be on time for quarter to 9! School opens at this time, and all children are expected to be in class and ready to learn at nine.

Get children their own alarm clock! Work out with your child how long it takes them on a morning, so they know what time to set it. Also, think about what time they are going to bed the night before. Recommended sleep time for Primary school aged children is between 9 to 12 hours, so 10pm would be too late, but 7pm might be too early.

Get everything ready the night before – uniform, packed lunch, PE Kit, etc…

Join us even earlier? We have a Breakfast Club provision that works out to be 40p a day. For this, your child will receive breakfast, and be able to socialise with their peers before class. Ring 01642 676768 for more details.

Set the alarm clock five minutes fast. This could be a good tip if you find yourself always arriving just after the gate closed.

Do not allow TV, electronics or Computer games on a morning before everyone is ready – if at all.

Children who arrive late can be unsettled, miss time to catch up with their peers, and will most importantly miss learning that takes place on a morning. It also disrupts staff duties, and can affect if your child is able to pick what they want for lunch.

All children are different, and we can understand that morning times can be very hectic. The above are some tips that do work, however look for what works for your child, it could be an incentive/reward chart, or your child might need a visual aid to help them on a morning, so they know in what order things need to happen. If you would like any further support around these, or any other issues effecting your child’s punctuality or attendance please contact Mr. Dixon, Parent Support Advisor, on 01642 676768.


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Proud to be part of Prince Regent Street Trust

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February’s Topic – supporting your child in school

Topic of the Month – supporting your child in school

“To parents, we can’t tell our kids to do well in school and then fail them when they get home. You cannot just contract out parenting. For our kids to excel, we have to accept our responsibility to help them learn.

That means putting away the Xbox and putting our kids to bed at a reasonable hour. It means attending those parent-teacher conferences and reading to our children and helping them with their homework”.

  • President Barack Obama, July 17, 2009

Supporting your child at home will have a massive impact on their educational progress. However, we appreciate this is not always easy. Sometimes the last thing your child wants to do after a full day in school is to sit and complete their homework, or practice their spellings. However, children who carry on their learning at home via homework, reading, practising their spellings, and use the world around them to learn massively increase their educational prospects.

This month’s topic of the month is around home learning, and will hopefully give you some useful tips on how to best support your child with this.


Homework at the Village is handed out on a Friday, and is expected to be returned on a Wednesday. (This might differ slightly in Nursery).

Homework should be set to support what your child is learning in school, and should be something the child can complete by itself, it should complement the work they are completing in school. If you have any questions around the homework that has been set, please speak to your child’s class teacher, and they will be happy to answer any questions you have.

Below are some top tips for setting up a homework routine

  • If space allows, set up a designated homework friendly area. Make sure it is well lit, and children have access to any supplies they might need – pens, pencils, scissors, etc. If space is an issue, think about having a homework box to keep everything your child need in.


  • Try to schedule a regular time. Think what works for you are for child and your family, and does not clash with meal times, after school activities etc. When would your child work best? Thursday evening might suit one child, where Sunday morning might suit another. Also some children might prefer to do half an hour or so on one night, or work till its completed, and some children might prefer 10-15 minutes per night until its done. Go with what works for your child.


  • Allow breaks. 10-15 minutes of dedicated homework time can be productive, especially if the child knows they are allowed 10 minutes of tablet time as a break, before returning to their homework.


  • Try to keep distractions to a minimum. Look to remove TV, music, tablets/mobile phones etc. until your child is done.


  • Don’t do it for them!!! The homework should be complementing what the child is doing in class, therefore they should understand it. If they are genuinely finding it too difficult, please discuss this with their class teacher.


  • Support them, and help to focus them. If possible, be available to check their homework for them, and answer any questions they might have.


  • Praise their work and efforts, both in school, and at home. Make a point of mentioning their school achievements to family and friends.


  • If there are continuing problems with homework, get help.Talk about it with your child’s teacher. Some kids have trouble seeing the board and may need glasses; others might need an evaluation for a learning problem or attention disorder.



Spellings at the Village are given out on a Thurs/Fri, and children are tested on them a week later. (This may be different in Early Years).

Different methods of learning work for different children. Getting your child to copy them out, and then test them is a tried and trusted method. Be inventive, leave post it notes with the spelling words all around the house. Quiz them at different times, i.e. ask them to spell a different word each time they enter the room.

Again, if spellings are a continuing problem, please seek out support and advice from your child’s class teacher.


Learning Apps

We encourage children’s learning to be fun by using apps such as the ones mentioned below.

For more information/ advice around these, please speak to the named teacher next to them

Reading Eggs (Early Years) – Mrs Ball

Times Table Rockstars  – Mr Mansell

Reading Plus – Mr Davies/Mrs Nixon

These are our main apps we use. Ask your Class Teacher for others that might support your child learning.

Home Learning resources


We encourage all pupils to read with their parent/carer for 10 minutes a day, and for parents/carers to record this in their reading book.   They can read either a book from school, or a book of their choosing.

Children who have more than three comments in a week in their reading record earn a sweet treat! We understand that some of our older pupils may prefer to read independently, and that is fine. This can be recorded. Maybe ask your child questions about what they have read?    This will help clarify that they have understood what they have read.


Village Primary recently set up its own Youtube channel. This has allowed us to add content on to help with your child’s learning, with videos starring the Class Teachers and Teaching Assistants. For example if your Key Stage 1 child is struggling to count in 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s, we have a video starring Mr Mansell explaining how to do this. This is also useful, as it will teach you the methods taught in school.

Village YouTube

Ways to help learn at home

Think of ways you can help and improve your child’s learning while they are at home.

  • A trip to the shops can become on the spot maths learning! Ask your child to add up certain items, and work out how much they will cost, and how much change will be given?
  • Maps and Globes can be a great home learning tool. Talk to your child about different countries, and if possible research facts about countries they have not heard of before, or have interested them!
  • A simple game of eye spy in the car, or seeing how many items of a certain colour you can spot!
  • Cooking and baking with your child at home can involve so much fun home learning! From reading the recipe, to understanding and weighing out different amounts!
  • Encourage your child to ask questions about the world around them, and where possible research the answers with them! Why is the sky blue? Or where does snow come from? Can lead to some great scientific research and investigations!

These are just a few! I am sure you can come up with even more!

Questions to ask your child!

Do you ever ask your child about their school day, just to hear “yeah it was fine” or ask them what they learned, for them to answer “not much”?

If so, you are not alone! Some children don’t like to talk about school once it’s over,!

Here are some open questions you can ask your child to find out more about their day!!

  • Tell me about the best part of your day
  • What was the hardest thing you had to do today?
  • Did anyone in your class say or do anything funny?
  • What book are you reading in class?
  • Whom did you play with today at lunch?
  • Did you need help with anything today?
  • What made you laugh today?
  • Did you do or learn anything new today?
  • Tell me one thing your teacher said to you today
  • How would you rate your day out of 10?

This is not an exhaustive list, and you might still not get much more information out of your child! But asking a few of these each day, or coming up with your own might just get your child to open up about their school day a little more!

Who do I speak to?

First port of call should always be your child’s Class teacher or Teaching Assistant, as they understand your child’s learning better than anyone else.

Mr Dixon, Parent Support Advisor, and Mr Birtwhistle, Head Teacher are on the yard most mornings, joined by Mr Mansell, Assistant Head Teacher on an afternoon. They are always on hand to answer questions or point you in the right direction.

If you are unable to attend the school, you can contact us on 01642 676768, and request a call from your Class Teacher, or email us at enquires@thevillageprimary.org.uk


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Proud to be part of Prince Regent Street Trust

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January’s Topic – Alcohol

January’s topic of the month is Alcohol.

December is a busy and hectic time for a lot of us. It is also hopefully a time of fun and cheer, and opportunity to make memories with the people closest to us.  Many people do over indulge at this time of year, and then look to slow down / get healthier in the New Year.

Dry January is popular for many people wanting to kick-start their new year in a healthy way, and it’s a chance to detox after a lively Christmas period.  There is some information in the below link to the benefits of this.


To read more information regarding facts around Alcohol, its health effects, the law, drinking habits, behaviours, and how it can affect our relationships, please click on the link below.


If you would like support to help you track and monitor your alcohol use, click on the following link for information and advice around thedrinkaware app.


If you do feel like you need some support around alcohol, please click on the following links



If you feel you need support via Alcoholics Anonymous –“ Millions of men and women have heard or read about the unique Fellowship called Alcoholics Anonymous since its founding in 1935. Of these, more than 2 million now call themselves members. People who once drank to excess, they finally acknowledged that they could not handle alcohol, and now live a new way of life without it” – click below for more information


They also offer a National Helpline you can contact free on 0800 9177 650, or email at help@aamail.org

Change Grow Live offer support and advice around understanding your alcohol usage, cutting down, and support for people trying to quit, or prevent relapse


If you would like any more information or advice relating to the contents of this article, or any of the previous ones, please contact Andrew Dixon, Parent support Advisor on 01642 676768, or email at enquiries@thevillageprimary.org.uk


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Proud to be part of Prince Regent Street Trust

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December’s Topic – Financial support

December’s topic of the month is financial support

Citizens Advice

Stockton and District Advice and Information Service is the local Citizens Advice for the borough of Stockton-On-Tees. They offer FREE, CONFIDENTIAL, INDEPENDENT, and IMPARTIAL advice, and provide help and information with a wide range of problems.

Their team of specially trained volunteers and staff offer advice on almost any issue – including –

  • money
  • benefits
  • housing
  • immigration
  • employment
  • consumer issues
  • family problems
  • social care and health services.
They are based at Wellington Road, Stockton, open Monday to Friday 9am til 5pm.  The initial meeting will be a short interview with an adviser, to see what support you need and how they can best help you.  Home visits can be arranged if necessary.  Telephone advice is also available on 01642 633877. This is a call back service, where your details and enquiry are taken and passed onto an adviser who will call you back.  Email and web chat support is also available.  Click on the link for full information  http://www.stockton-cab.co.uk/  Emergency food assistance Emergency food assistance is available to people in Thornaby. The service is based at Thornaby Baptist Church on Thorntree road, and is available every Thursday between 12pm and 1pm.  Referrals may be provided by a number of means if you need support. CAB can be contacted by phoning 01642 633877 and asking for a referral for Thornaby Food Bank. Referral also available from School, and other agencies such as Stockton Welfare, Thirteen or Pathways etc. 

Also, If you think your child might be eligible for free school meals you can apply at www.gov.uk/apply-free-school-meals to or call 01642 526606

COVID-19 Support

There is lots of support available for those who are struggling financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as Test & Trace support, Council Tax support, Support for Council Taxpayers on low income, Welfare Support, and Housing support.

For more information, please click on the following link –


For any more information about any of the above, or any other issue you need support around, please contact our Parent support Advisor, Mr Dixon, on 01642 676768.


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Proud to be part of Prince Regent Street Trust

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November’s Topic – Child Wellbeing/Mindfulness

November’s Topic is Child’s Well Being / Mindfulness

We can all struggle with our feelings, and emotions daily. For a child still developing, this can be quite tricky for them to understand.

There are a whole range of resources available for you to support your Child’s Wellbeing. One of the more well-known is mindfulness.Mindfulness means paying full attention to something. It means slowing down to really notice what you’re doing. Being mindful is the opposite of rushing or multitasking. When you’re mindful, you’re taking your time.

Mindfulness has also been shown to increase a child or teen’s ability to regulate emotions as well as feel compassion and empathy. It also is widely considered an effective treatment for people of all ages that deal with aggression, ADHD, or other mental health problems like anxiety

The following websites have some great mindfulness techniques and exercises




There are some brilliant smartphone apps aimed for children, around emotional well-being, and mindfulness, such as –

  • Smiling Mind
  • Mindful Gnats
  • Breathe (by Sesame Street)
  • Think Ninja


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Proud to be part of Prince Regent Street Trust

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Rachel Wright – Staff Governor

I have worked at the Village for 5 years and I am staff governor. I am passionate about supporting the school and strive to continually improve and provide a great environment for the children.
I have a daughter and I enjoy spending time with her and doing arts and crafts. We also enjoy for going days out together.


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Proud to be part of Prince Regent Street Trust

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Lisa Davies – Chair of Governors

Hi, I’m Lisa Davies. I’m new to being a the Chair of Governor and so have been spending my time listening, observing and talking to staff to help me make a difference to the school community.
My little lady, Isabelle is in year three at Village Primary and that was my motivation to volunteer to become a Governor. I want to support the school in the welfare of the children, staff and for the school to excel in the local area.
Outside of being a Parent Governor and a Mummy, I work full time as an Independent Education Welfare Officer in schools in across Teesside. This gives me some experience and understanding of the challenges schools have. I know the importance of Safeguarding and attendance in schools, and I will bring this into my role of Parent Governor.
In my spare time I like to bake and decorate cakes, this comes in handy with my role with the school PTA. I make yummy cakes for the school fayre and occasions – it is rewarding to help boost funds for the school PTA so the children can enjoy special events.


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Proud to be part of Prince Regent Street Trust


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