Our Easter break is approaching and I cannot believe that we are almost done for the Spring Term. I went tuck shop shopping this afternoon and the shelves were showing no sign of running out of chocolate bunnies, dinosaurs for the sweet-toothed and the usual range of Easter eggs. Easter is an important part of the Christian calendar and there is much to reflect upon and think about, aside from wondering whether you have managed to find a white chocolate Cadbury’s Creme Egg!
Easter is very much about a fresh start, the resurrection of Jesus or perhaps more topical to our every day lives, a fresh start or a rebirth. One of the best things about our school is the way how, with every passing year, we rejuvenate ourselves. We make improvements on the previous year and we continuously improve – learning from the things which haven’t worked so well and building on those things which did work well. Over the last fortnight, we have been making lots of plans to do just this.
On Tuesday this week, I spent the day looking into what we’d like to invest in from this coming September and planning what our school may look like into the future. These things include:
- An online parent app
- A online learning journey app, accessible to parents, for all year groups
- Wrap Around Care
- Home resources to support the children with their times tables
- Even more sports coaching in school
- Musical instrument tuition in Year 3/4
- Y1 & Y2 Singing Tuition as part of the school timetable
- World of Work Week – learning about careers
- Staffing to provide additional interventions and catch-up sessions
Another key component of Easter, is hope. Hope is important and it helps us all to keep things into perspective. Where there is hope, there is belief. One of the things that we always say to the children is how important it is to believe in themselves. Mrs Weston and I have took great encouragement this week, when we looked at the most recent assessment data of the children across the school. There has been some amazing progress since September and in Year 6 specifically. Year 6 are working hard to prepare for their forthcoming SATS and we are working hard to give them the best possible chance of success. Whatever your view about the place of the Y6 SATS, we cannot do anything about the fact that they exist. We are trying to coach the children so they do their best – this is all we can ask of them. We are supporting them to boost their resilience and have a go. That is all we ask of them – give it their best shot.
On Wednesday this week, I was also full of hope. I had some fantastic Pupil Progress Meetings with your teachers and we discussed every child in the school – how they were getting on and what we could do to ensure that their progress is even better next term. We talked about every child as an individual learner- what they are good at and what, if any, support is needed for them to move forward into the summer term. These Pupil Progress Meetings are an integral part of our school calendar – no child gets left behind. Learning and progress matters! On Tuesday this week, we’ll be updating the Learning Passports for those children who have them too. We also be looking at what extra provision we can provide for those children who are not on track.
Another essential element of the Easter story, is the message of keeping faith. It can be really tricky to keep that positive mindset at times, and not to lose faith. Especially in times of challenge. We understand that over recent weeks and months, we’ve had some disruption to staffing, due to illness and other unavoidable circumstances. The fact that our school continues to successfully continue its improvement drive and the behaviour and academic performance of our children remains strong, is a testament to our overt vision, ethos and values. It is also a testament to the resilience and hard work of our team. As your Headteacher, I am steadfast in my commitment to making our school even better than our ‘Outstanding’ Inspection judgement of 2017 suggested.
One area of school improvement which has seen a hefty amount of improvements this year is our SEND provision. Despite these improvements, we still appreciate there is room for further work. However, this week, I had one of my termly meetings with our Link Governor for Special Educational Needs, where I shared the progress we are making in developing the provision for pupils who are on the SEND register. I was really proud to show him the strides that we had taken in measuring academic progress for those children working below national expectations. Not many people may know but, in addition to teacher assessments against the curriculum, we now collect a reading and maths age for every child each term. As well a standardised score for these areas of curriculum. These scores help us to work out how close a child is to the ‘normal range’ for their chronological age. Make no bones about it – we don’t wait until we act. We always have our finger ‘on the pulse’ and we are regularly monitoring and tracking how every child is doing. Rest assured, we want every child to succeed at their own level.
I really enjoyed listening to a few children read last week. It was a real pleasure to dust off my stamper and make a few comments in reading logs which go home. I will be continuing to do this over the next four days – reading is the bedrock to everything. It is a skill that encompasses many aspects and it can be quite tricky. Reading is much more than just being able to correctly decode words – it is about understanding too and also engagement. I look forward to listening to more readers before the end of term.
Speaking of before the end of term, there are lots of things planned for the next few days as we move towards Easter.
First of all, we have our End of Term Easter Service, led by the Curious Caterpillars on Thursday this week. Please note – this takes place at 9:30 am in St Mary’s Church. We are also combining this with our termly Golden Dove Awards and it will be great to give out the awards once again and see which names have been added to the prestigious Golden Book, which lives in Reception. We will reserve seating for parents of Caterpillar children, in addition to recipients of awards too.
Before that, On Wednesday this week, we have a special Science Roadshow Assembly. This takes place at 10:15 am for children only. This assembly will be a fun promotion for a future science club that we’ll be holding in school from next term. I am told that they’ll be lots of fizz-popping involved! Ms Bains is working hard to promote the subject of science more overtly around school – Science is a great subject and lots of fun. Also on Wednesday, members of our school FPTA are going to be setting up an Easter Egg hunt. This should be a bit of fun to get the children in the mood for the next fortnight.
On another note, for parents of children in Ladybirds, this week Miss Wordley will be welcomed back in school to teach the children. This is to cover staff absence. We have worked hard to get somebody familiar to the children and somebody who can do the whole week, except on Tuesday, where Ms Challinor will assume charge of the class as usual.
Finally, our SEND Consultant, Sue Hall is in school tomorrow. She will be carrying out some more detailed diagnostic assessments of children who are not making the amount of progress they should. The parents of children who this applies to, have already been notified about this and we hope to once again, make those vital reasonable adjustments to suit the needs of all learners.
Before I leave you – here are last week’s special mention winners (our theme was perseverance):
- Lily (Learning Ladybirds) – For being a ‘bundle of joy’ around school and trying her best to be a Coton Superstar!
- Shannon (Dazzling Dragonflies) – perseverance in solving maths problems with a partner – not giving up
- Theo (Dazzling Dragonflies) – Great ideas planning a story and completing all purple pen work
- Seb (Curious Caterpilars) – For persevering to learn his number bonds
- Jessica (Curious Caterpilars) – For maths perseverance!
- Gracie (Busy Bees) – For amazing courage and perseverance with Bikeability
- Tamsin (Busy Bees) – For persisting with modal verbs, fronted adverbials and semi-colons. A wonderful persuasive argument on why Easter Eggs should not be banned!
Did you know…last week was the first time in my time at Coton school that 3 classes had a full attendance of 100% for the week! This is amazing and we were so thrilled in rewards assembly when we announced it! Keep this up – more days in school = more progress!
This week’s Blog Box Question is: Which year group is to have musical instrument tuition from September?
Enjoy the last week. Remember – resilience, hope and faith will see us through – Happy Easter!