Welcome back after the summer break – I hope you all had an amazing break and you got some time to recharge the batteries! I’d also like to echo the comments from my newsletter this week in giving a special ‘shout-out’ to our new families who have just joined us. Welcome to your first Headteacher Blog! I really look forward to working with you all in the coming months and the years to come, so we can best meet the individual needs of your child(ren). I’d also like to officially welcome Mrs Jones (formally Miss Forrest) back into school and warmly introduce Mrs Abbott to the Coton family. An exciting year lies in wait.
It is always a testing time of the year to be a Headteacher, and I am not talking about the time I spend devising policies or writing newsletters, or the time I spend shaping the school vision and facilitating improvements! I am of course referring to challenging task of learning many new names. This year we are blessed with two wonderful new Lily’s and a Liliah in the Learning Ladybirds, plus a Harry and a Max who look remarkably similar. We have a Kayden in Dragonflies, who has a nickname that he prefers to use and a girl in Year 5 who now wishes to be known by her first name. I am sure that I will get there in time! However, despite what a person calls themselves, the most important thing is the personality behind the name! Not one child is the same, not one child learns in the same way and not one child needs the same support. Every child has its own unique nature and this is what makes being a member of staff at Coton School so rich and fulfilling. So for today’s blog, I ask you the question: What’s in a name?
I am sure that we can all remember our own school days. Some may recall being incredibly shy and lacking the confidence to answer questions in class when they were younger. Others may say that they were really strong-willed and stubborn, and some, if they are honest enough to admit it, may even describe themselves as a bit of a handful in their youth. However, one thing that I am utterly convinced about is how all of us will have developed and changed over time. And I am sure all teachers will agree: no two children, irrespective of whether they are both called Lily, are the same. And the Harry that starts school will be a totally different Harry to the one who finishes it. That’s what our school is all about – an educational journey to prepare every individual for their own future.
Even behind our school name lies a unique character that sets us apart from another (like every school.) You may have heard me mention this on many occasions over the last few years but we want children to enjoy their school days first and foremost. We want them to have amazing experiences that will stay with them and that they will talk about for years to come. Aside from this, we want all of the children to be kind and thoughtful of others in need and to have a sense of drive and determination where they don’t give up when things get difficult. We want them to be confident and hold a level of resilience to cope in the wider world on their own, outside of the ‘Coton bubble.’ Finally, we have high expectations of them all because we know that when we believe in a child, and show them our faith, they achieve well.
Many of our Year 6 children from last year performed incredibly well in their time here and made huge academic strides forward because of the belief that was shown in them. Some of these children really came out of their shell and blossomed over the years at our school and this is what we want for every child that steps through our door. The same can be said of last year’s Reception pupils, who moved confidently into Year 1 this week.
Just as people change and blossom, a school should do also, particularly if it is to be continually effective in meeting the needs of our children and keeping up with the national agenda. We believe that ‘change’ is a process by which we can improve things. We believe that ‘change’ keeps us focused on what is right for the children at a given time and in a given situation. Finally, we believe that ‘change’ stops us from becoming complacent and inch by inch gets us closer to the ‘excellence’ for which we strive. Many of our established parents will have noticed a few changes that we have made for the new academic year.
Firstly, we have adjusted the way that we reward children in assembly each week. After many years, our staff team felt that our Friday Awards Assembly needed an urgent refresh as the occasion was getting too routine and it was losing its significance. This was particularly true for children further up the school, who have been part of the same routine for a number of years. We know parents love coming into school and we want to continue in this regard, believing it to be essential to a child’s best interest. However, it was felt that because the curriculum expectations have risen sharply over the last few years and children have to work much more intensely in order to achieve a higher national standard, our rewards should be reflective of this. Rewards should be much more prestigious and sought-after, best befitting the extra work that all children are putting in and our set of higher expectations. So I announced in my newsletter this past week that we will now be holding a half-termly celebration assembly to which all parents and family members are informally welcome to attend as before and to which families of children who are receiving an award are invited in advance. This should ensure that working parents can try and get the time off work to attend. Our invited ‘guests of honour’ will also be provided with refreshments and a bit of ‘VIP treatment.’ At the new celebration assembly, we will also be giving out rewards of a different kind, best befitting the significance of a child’s achievements over a whole term. More will be revealed in due course.
In the interim weeks, where there is no celebration assembly for parents, we will hold a smaller reward assembly in school and teachers will choose children to receive a ‘Special Mention.’ These children will have their photos displayed in the school reception area and their names will appear on my weekly school blog – so, here goes
This week’s special mentions were awarded to:
- Isabella (Learning Ladybirds) – for being helpful and showing other children the way.
- Maggie (Learning Ladybirds) – for writing some amazing sentences independently.
- Lily H (Learning Ladybirds) – for coping well with coming to school for full days this week.
- Amber (Dazzling Dragonflies) – for a brilliant start to Year 1 learning.
- Oliver (Dazzling Dragonflies) – for continuing where you left off last year – a good Y2 start!
- Seb (Curious Caterpillars) – for listening to advice and taking it on board when doing handwriting.
- Arwen (Curious Caterpillars) – For some excellent home-reading this week.
- Summer (Busy Bees) – for being smart and mature in her attitude this week.
- Georgia (Busy Bees) – for approaching her new Y6 work with a positive mindset.
In addition, any certificates from activities outside of school will be shown every Friday as normal. So if your child has awards for swimming, dancing, kick-boxing etc, we’d love to share their good news with the rest of the school. Please pass these on to the school office every Friday.
In another change for the new academic year, we are going to be issuing a Privilege Point to every child who comes dressed in the correct school uniform each day. Just like behind the ‘Coton School’ name, our uniform is statement of character and uniqueness. Looking our best can fill us all with a sense of confidence and pride, and it reminds us of the excellence that we strive for. Please remember that nail vanish is not to be worn in school and jewellery should be left at home to avoid it getting lost or damaged. There should be no extreme hairstyles and any accessories worn should be sensible. No trainers are to be worn outside of PE lessons and the length of skirts should be knee length. It all sounds a little bit strict to remind everybody of these things but wearing school uniform instills a sense of belonging and prepares the children well for the future world of work. I’d like to say a big well done to everybody this week – the children have complied with our expectations and they all looked incredibly smart as a result! Thank you parents!
Next week promises to another exciting week as our little Learning Learning Ladybirds start full time. This should give me more opportunity to get to know all the names and as a said, their little personalities more importantly. However, Mrs Smith is out at times this week so the class will be taught by Mrs Mailer and Mrs Newton when she is off-site.
Also, our after-school clubs begin in earnest. A letter will be uploaded to the school website in the next 24 hours and you will be able to log on to School Money and book your child’s place. Just as a little heads-up: this year we will be running a lunchtime Home-Learning Club. This club will be for any children to come along to if they need a little bit of help to complete their homework or if they need to ask anything. Please remember that we will issue 5 Privilege Points to a child if they have completed all of the activities in their Home-Learning Log each week, including 5 daily reads at home. There is no need to book your child to attend Homework Club, they can just turn up on the day, where Mrs Christie will be waiting for them.
Also, we are holding a Young Voices Club this year. Young Voices will be open for all children in Key Stage 2 to be part of this year (just like last year) but our lunch club will give our children extra time to practise the songs in preparation. We will be holding a big Young Voices launch in school in the coming days and a letter will be issued with all the arrangements, should your child wish to sign up. I have to say, they have picked some amazing songs this year! My wife is particularly excited about hearing the Moana Mash-up, when her school takes part! There is also a bit of The Greatest Showman and an appearance on the night from Tony Hadley (for those adults who are older enough to remember him).
Also next week, each class will be sending home a class newsletter, detailing the topics that are being studied this term and communicating any useful information pertaining to your child’s class. We are keen to make sure that we keep you in the loop with everything and we’d ask that you do the same, should you have any worries or concerns.
Before I leave you, I’d like to congratulate the Dazzling Dragonflies for being the best attended class this week. I’m sure that the children will enjoy having Derek around in class next week! An extra 5 minutes of playtime will be awarded to you when it is convenient for either Mrs Abbott or Mrs Jones.
In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your weekend.
This week’s Blog Box question: Which celebrity is performing at this year’s Young Voices Arena Concert in Birmingham?