William Penn Newsletter

13th May 2015

Is Your Child Getting Enough Sleep?

In school, we often see indicators that pupils are not getting enough sleep.  It is proven that sleep is crucial to the development of children and effects behaviour as well as growth.  The NHS gives the following recommendations:

  • 4 years : 11 hours, 30 minutes each night
  • 5 years : 11 hours each night
  • 6 years : 10 hours, 45 minutes each night
  • 7 years: 10 hours, 30 minutes each night
  • 8 years: 10 hours, 15 minutes each night
  • 9 years : 10 hours each night
  • 10 years : 9 hours, 45 minutes each night
  • 11 years: 9 hours, 30 minutes each night

The following information details a recent study:

Sleep-deprived children face impaired performance, memory, growth and mental health. A study in Scotland has shown how getting more and better sleep benefits children of every age.

Most of us are aware that sleep matters but may not realise how much. This study shows that a good night’s sleep is fundamental to everything from academic ability and behaviour to memory, concentration, sporting prowess, decision-making, creativity and mental health.  Losing as little as one hour’s sleep a night is enough to reduce a nine to 12-year-old child’s cognitive abilities by almost two years the next day.

Primary age children need around 10 hours of sleep a night on average, while teenagers need around 9 hours. Research for Sleep Scotland suggests that 2/3 of children are not getting enough sleep, some get as little as 5 hours a night.  Even children  going up to their bedrooms at a decent time may stay awake for hours watching television, playing computer games, texting or surfing the internet.

This “media invasion” can make children ratty and inattentive, flash images from the computer, TV or mobile phone screens interfere with the body’s production of melatonin, a chemical which helps trigger drowsiness.  Over-dependence on technology can mean young people are unable to sleep even when they want to. Turning off their machines at least half an hour before going to bed will help. 

If the effects on performance, memory, growth and physical and mental health do not sway pupils, perhaps the impact on their weight will; seven-year-olds who have less than nine hours’ sleep a night are more than three times as likely to be overweight or obese as those who sleep for longer.

Unlike adults, who often feel lethargic when they are tired, young people are more likely to be hyperactive, fidgety and irritable. It is particularly pronounced among boys.

The good news is that sleep is a learned behaviour. Just as sweets and fizzy drinks have been replaced with fruit and water in schools, so good sleep habits can become the norm.  With motivation, consistency and positive reinforcements, we can change the culture surrounding sleep.

Pupils should:

  • Aim for at least nine hours’ sleep a night.
  • Keep to a routine: have a set time for the evening meal, bed and getting up in the morning. All contribute to good sleeping patterns.
  • Avoid homework, exercise and computer games in the hour before bed. Instead, relax and bathe.
  • Switch off the computer, mobile phone and television before having a bath. Listen to music, the radio or read a book.
  • Avoid chocolate, caffeine, additives, alcohol and nicotine before bed- time. Replace with a warm milky drink.
  • Ensure the bedroom is quiet and dark. It should be a “media free” zone.

Governors' Summer BBQ Tickets

We are now taking ticket pre-orders for the Governors' Summer BBQ. The BBQ has been organised to help raise funds towards the school new build. The first phase of building is for a much needed new classroom with an attached breakout room to be used for Group Teaching and Special Educational Needs. The cost to build the classroom is £265,000. Currently we have raised £109,000 and need to start the work this year in order to keep our planning permission. The William Penn Governing Body are working very hard applying to various governmental departments and grant schemes, but as always every little helps! Tickets for the BBQ are only £5 per adult and £2.50 per child and include entrance and one BBQ item. In addition to fundraising, the event will give us all a chance to get together and celebrate another great year at the school whilst enjoying some fantastic live entertainment. A pre-order form for tickets to the Governors' Summer BBQ was sent home with all children last week and is also attached with this newsletter. Please return to the school office with payment and feel free to invite family and friends. Tickets will be handed out after half term. Many thanks for your support.

Multi-Skills at The Weald and Tennis

Well done to all the children in Key Stage 1 who attended the multi skill afternoon at the Weald School. It was a very busy time in the sports hall but the children worked really hard and achieved 6th place.

Thank you to the children who represented William Penn at the tennis tournament held at Billingshurst Tennis Club, last Thursday. It was a very well organised event and many children have come back wanting to join the club. A big thank you to Mrs Carver for supporting the children.

PTA Non-Uniform Day and Fete Update

  • Mufti day: 22 May 2015 - children are very welcome to come in non-uniform clothes in exchange for donation for the summer fete. We are especially in need of filled jam jars donations. We also welcome bottles (preferably alcohol), books, toys, CDs/ DVDs or prizes (all except fresh produce).
  • We would like to ask all parents to try and help towards getting prizes for the tree of fortune and the raffle. This can be done by asking for donations from businesses as well as restaurants
  • Please be reminded that this year's fete fancy dress competition will be Native American in theme
  • Finally, can we ask that parents don’t forget to use the giving machine website when doing online purchases as this helps to raise money for the school at no extra cost. The website address is www.thegivingmachine.co.uk and if any parents are unsure about how to use it or would like more information they can contact Fadoua Amrani at fadoua@smartbizsolutions.co.uk.

Brighton Science Festival in Billingshurst

Brighton Science Festival is coming to Billingshurst on Friday 29th May between 11 - 5pm.  They say it looks like a fairground. It IS a fairground, but each of the stalls has a surprise, something to grapple your mind, to discover, explore and play with. The Incredible Machine, the Amazing Shrinking Puppet Booth, upside-down Goggles, Bat the Rat, Pin the Tail on the Whale, plus many incredible other things, plus incredible talks from Richard Robinson – (“Victor Meldrew meets Basil Fawlty! Fantastically engaging!”). 

Pupil Achievements

If you have any pupil achievements that you would like mentioned in the newsletter, please e-mail the office: office@williampenn.w-sussex.sch.uk




 Saturday 18th July 2015, 5:00PM-9:00PM


William Penn School Governors invite you to attend an end of year Summer BBQ with all proceeds donated towards building a new classroom and school hall.

Entertainment provided by nine piece soul band the 'T-Slammers', and an amazing Auction of Promises with lots including a flight in a Bulldog Aircraft and a personal performance on a 1696 Stratavarius by one of the UK's finest violinists.

Tickets include entrance and one *BBQ food item (burger/sausage/veggie option). There will be more food, snacks and a bar available. Please bring a picnic mat and come and enjoy a celebratory social evening of FUNdraising!

*Please note that the BBQ will be serving food from 5:30PM





____    Adult Tickets £5/per ticket


____    Child Tickets £2.50/ticket



Total Enclosed ______


Child's Name ________________________________________


Child's Class _________________________________________



Cash or cheque only, cheque payable to 'William Penn School'. Please return to the school office with payment. Tickets will be returned via the school after the May half term.