As a proud homemaker, I love to look out of my kitchen window and see a good green lawn every now and then. A lawn that is free from dandelion weeds and sparse patches. A lawn that feels comfortable to walk over and soft to sit on and which smells fresh all year round. Children too, enjoy a lush green lawn. I don’t know about you but I can get quite protective about my lawn! The truth is; a lawn can be as green as we make it and we all play our part in this. Where is it looked after by everyone, where it is fed and watered and nicely shaped with care on a regular basis – it can be the envy of every Aunt Bessie, Uncle Tom Cobley and Joe Public! However, to make this a reality, it requires constant hard work, dedication and a will to succeed. It also needs constant improvement and regular checking. At home, I personally find it easy to mow the lawn when my wife is in the garden with me; it is easy to share the load and support each other as we have quite a hefty lawn to look after! Forgive the analogy to start this week’s blog; but this is the time of year where all Headteachers take a look at their ‘lawns’ and consider what new exciting things they are going to introduce from September, to keep the grass looking green.
Our school vision is about constantly moving forward and I have had some great discussions with parents this week about how we can make things even better, moving into September. No school is 100% perfect all of the time and you will all know by the now, that I am approachable and I am really passionate about making things as ‘green’ as they can possibly be! Our school is here to serve the children well and also to support families, by placing them at the heart of everything. We all know that if you rest on your laurels and let the grass grow under your feet; you end up with hardly any grass at all! So I welcome this time of year to extend what we already offer to parents and make the necessary improvements.
Firstly, full wrap-around care before and after school and also in the school holidays. Thank you to those parents who have returned the questionnaires which were sent out a few weeks ago. We have had quite a few of them returned and they will be used to put together a plan which suits the needs of our families. Mrs Mailer and Mrs Billings have done such an amazing job to get phase one of this up and running over the last 3 years; we now look to take this a step further. I will be in touch soon with more information.
Secondly, the empty building at the other end of the school playground! We are currently in discussions about if (and how) we may be able to acquire the usage of the old Sure Start Centre. Discussions have been ongoing for a number of years now, even before I arrived as Headteacher 4 years ago. This has long been a strategic aim for our school and we really look forward to the day when we can use this modern facility. Obviously, there are no promises but rest assured – if remains part of our strategic planning.
Let’s not forget our growing school population. Did you know that this year we had a total of 36, 2019 Reception applications to join our school? Applications from families who live in Linton, Castle Gresley, Church Gresley, Netherseal, Overseal, Winshill, Branston, Lullington, Rosliston, Walton, as well as Coton in the Elms. This is the largest in my time here and it is a testament to the work that we do to keep our lawn as green as it possibly can be. Our staff team continue to work tirelessly to keep the grass green.
This week I had a useful chat with Mrs Abbott about the sporting provision that we will be putting in place for this term. We have signed up to lots and lots of sporting competitions, against other local schools. We’ve signed up for: Tri-Golf (Y5/6), KS1 All-stars Cricket, Primary Orienteering, Dance in the Forest, KS1 Football, Primary Rounders, KS1 Mini Olympics and the Early Years’ Change 4 Life Festival. So many opportunities for our children to embrace, remember – the grass is as green as one makes it. Mrs Mailer continues to support the sporting provision also, a keen sports enthusiast who fully understands the impact that sport has on the body and on instilling values such as team work, discipline and a healthy drive and ambition.
It was a pleasure to see so many parents and family relatives come into school to join the children for their Learning Lens this past week. We’ve had some useful feedback and once again, we will use this to ‘water the lawn!’ Miss Newton structured her session around some of the general enquiries that she had had regarding the use of flash cards which are sent home and many parents enjoyed the activities linked to phonics. I know that Mrs Weston gave the home adults a chance to see how they could support the children for their forthcoming KS2 SATS, to go with the information that was presented at the KS2 SATS parent meeting in January. Mrs Jones and Mrs Abbott had an amazing turnout and the children had a ball! Please see below for some of the feedback that we received:
“It was lovely to see all the children so happy and confident, learning in a fun way!” EYFS parent
“It’s lovely to see how the class is structured and helpful to learn new things to help at home” Y1 parent
“Thank you for making the effort to make parents part of their child’s education. I really enjoyed it!”Y5/6 parent.
Ms Bains was ill at the start of last week, so we have rescheduled the Y3/4 Learning Lens for Monday 18th March from 9am. We hope to see you there!
Mrs Jones led a Shrove Tuesday themed Collective Worship this week, as part our education about the meaning of Lent. You may have seen from our Facebook posts that we have a new learning wall in the school hall. This is where we encourage the children to reflect and express their views. Take a look when you are in school as it is quite interesting; our children really do come up with some astute thoughts!
It was wonderful to welcome Coton’s new Minister, Reverend Charles Jefferson into school last Wednesday afternoon. Rev Charles got to meet some of our children and he was taken by just how polite and well-mannered they were. He was full of praise for the way how they welcomed him and I am looking forward to him coming into school a bit more often in the future.
I was immensely proud to hear about Luke’s (Busy Bees) sporting success this past week. Luke got through to the Quarter Finals of a Gifted and Talented Primary Table Tennis competition, against other schools. I thank Luke for representing our school with such aplomb! We are beginning to see our sporting legacy take shape!
It was great to see our new Golden Time in action, this past Friday. Mrs Brace and Mrs Cresswell have been hard at work, making a few tweaks to the sign-up system and it really paid off. Golden Time is about rewarding children who make the right choices and building a good relationship with all of our pupils. Talk to your child about what they chose for this week’s Golden Time!
I really enjoyed supporting Homework Club this past week. There were a total of 7 pupils who came along for some help and I was pleased to be able to help them complete the tasks outlined in their home-learning diary. Miss Bains, at the request of some children, is going to potentially look into setting up rewarding the best class for completing their home-learning each week, like we did last year. I’ve asked School Parliament to consider this. Please do not forget my green grass analogy – we all have a responsibility to ensure that we have success and doing that extra bit of practice outside of lessons makes such a massive difference!
I have seen some great maths work this week. In EYFS/KS1 – the children have been learning about measuring. Leah (Dragonflies) was full of it when she caught me in the school hall over lunchtime on Thursday! Some measured caterpillars and others decided to measure me! Apparently, I stand at a credible 181 cm tall! I was amazed that some of the Dragonflies could convert this into metres during our Special Mentions Assembly this past Friday!
This week’s Special Mentions were awarded to children who have encapsulated the vision theme of enjoyment:
Riley (Learning Ladybirds) – For having a great time whilst measuring in class, particularly his own feet!
Rose Angela (Learning Ladybirds) – For showing enthusiasm when weighing lots of different objects in class
Laura (Dazzling Dragonflies) – For active participation in English with great story ideas!
Max (Dazzling Dragonflies) – For engaging in all areas of the curriculum – every subject!!!
Arwen (Curious Caterpillars) – For showing enjoyment in Science lessons when learning about the dangers of the sun!
Lochlann (Curious Caterpillars) – For enjoying his learning in PE!
Frazer (Busy Bees) – for asking lots of pertinent questions, showing interest and curiosity when learning about Black Holes!
Luke (Busy Bees) – for showing enthusiasm with his artwork on Stonehenge and using great perspective.
Special thanks to all who supported our school disco last Thursday after school. We were pleased that the new time didn’t deter children from attending, in fact – there were only a handful of children who didn’t attend for one reason or other. Thanks to our new D.J, there was some very interesting dancing going on! I am led to believe that a few of our staff members had an occasional boogie – no names mentioned Mrs Billings and Mrs Weston! Our FPTA are working hard to raise as much money as possible to pump back into school. It is well documented that all schools are facing tighter budgets and cuts in their funding. It can be quite a challenge for schools to maintain what they offer in this current climate. Fundraising such as this goes a long way and entitles our children to have fun – as all children should!
This week, the Curious Caterpillars are having a Roman Wow Day. Some special visitors will be coming into school with lots of interesting costumes and artefacts and this has been part funded by the FPTA monies raised at our Christmas Fayre. Our FTPA part fund trips but also enrichment activities in place of these trips – sometimes it is not possible to go out on a trip for every topic, due to limited suitable locations.
Also next week, we will be continuing to develop our provision for pupils who find learning a little bit tricky. Our staff are going to be receiving some training on how they can make their classroom provision much more inclusive for children who display dyslexic tendencies. Dyslexia is a difficulty that affects many pupils across the country now, although that could also be attributed to an increased awareness and much better recognition of this condition. We want to make our school as dyslexia friendly as possible as we know that many children, whether they have an official diagnosis or not, continue to benefit from these classroom strategies.
Next Wednesday, our children will be celebrating Commonwealth Day in school. This is actually tomorrow but we felt Wednesday was a much more appropriate day in school, for us all to come together. This year, with no royal weddings, we felt it important to look at the values which join many countries together under the watchful eye of our sovereign, Queen Elizabeth 2nd. Values such as diversity, friendship and mutual respect for different cultures and traditions. Keep an eye out on the website and on Facebook for what we get up to! Prince Charles has just been confirmed as the next head of the Commonwealth, So it will be quite topical in the coming years.
Before I leave you this week, please don’t forget to return the slips which have been sent out regarding the following events:
- Parents’ Online Safety session – Monday 25th March
- KS2 ‘Annie’ trip (Nottingham Theatre Royal) – Wednesday 22nd May
- Y6 Beau Manor Residential
Finally, a massive thank you to Olivia (Dazzling Dragonflies) for being only one of two people who entered the Blog Box competition last week. I can always rely on Olivia to put her entry in and it shows a real commitment to our school and everything that we offer – thank you! I hope we have many more entries this next week, 40 is the number to beat from last term!
This week’s Blog Box Question: What is the name of the new minister for the village of Coton-in-the-Elms?