I apologise for being a little bit late posting my blog this week for I know many of you look forward to my update each week. I am also sorry not to have had chance to catch many of you on the gate over the last week also. The truth is; over the last week we have had a large number of children and staff off due to illness – there appears to be a virus swirling around once again and we are only 2 weeks into the new term! Last week, our average school attendance stood at 89% and it is normally around 97%! I think this just demonstrates how the virus has got hold! However, despite the illness for staff and children, there have been so many positive things occurring in school and lots of hard work going on as usual.
One of the best things about our school is the way how everybody gets ‘stuck in’ and helps in the best interests of our children and school as a whole. Miss Walton was in school for Mrs Weston last week, Miss Wordley came in to teach the Learning Ladybirds and the Curious Caterpillars were treated to a swimming lesson by yours truly. Mrs Billings was also unwell last week and so I had to put on my cleaner’s tabard to clean the toilets and both Mrs Cresswell and I shared lunchtime duty in the hall. I’d like to thank all staff for helping out whilst this virus got hold! Our school vision is all about doing whatever is necessary to ensure that our children have the best deal possible and this includes at difficult times. As we had familiar faces in school, our children were just as amazing as they normally are and there was a level of continuity for them! Please be assured that no learning was disrupted and all the essential elements of the curriculum continued to be delivered, despite the absence.
Another unexpected surprise last week was Mrs Smith’s news. Mrs Smith attended a routine appointment for her forthcoming baby arrival and was advised to start her maternity leave earlier than planned. It is a very exciting time for Mrs Smith and we wish her and the family all the best for their forthcoming arrival. Mrs Smith is doing fine and taking the opportunity to rest before the moment arrives for Baby Smith to enter the world! It does mean that Miss Newton officially starts as a teacher in our school from today – Monday 21st January. Welcome Miss Newton! I am sure that everybody will make you feel welcome.
On Thursday last week it was a real pleasure to see so many parents come into school to officially meet Miss Newton. We had a total of 19 parents who joined us and I know Miss Newton was grateful to meet you all. Please remember why we set up this opportunity – we desperately want to make sure that we manage the transition process carefully for the children and for you as parents too. Also we pride ourselves in the relationships that we forge with parents, this being an essential part of our school vision. Sometimes it is so easy to forget just how many opportunities are provided for parents and carers to come into school. Thursday’s session joined the growing list of workshops and meetings that have either already taken place this year or which are in the pipeline. As with any transition period, it is important to keep talking to us and remain positive, this way our children will remain calm and relaxed also. If you have any concerns or questions, please don’t hesitate to get in contact. For any parents who have a child in Dazzling Dragonflies, whilst Mrs Smith is off on maternity, please see the class teacher first if you have any concerns, and then Mrs Weston or myself.
Mrs Hall was in school last week to help us make some more refinements to our SEND provision. I chatted about this some time ago, about how this was a big part of the school improvement plan for this year. We had planned to send out all of the Pupil Learning Passports last Friday together with notification on the interventions that are running this term. However, given the staff absence, it is quite possible that you haven’t yet received this for your child (those of you who were expecting this). We will aim to send out any remaining intervention slips and Learning Passports by the end of this week.
I really enjoyed listening to a few children read last week. This is something that I am keen to do more often as it gives me a great insight into how our school is doing with reading. Thank you to Logan and Zac (Learning Ladybirds) for reading with me – I am going to try and listen to some more readers this week. Please remember just how important reading is! I know that Mrs Brace had a chat to some Year 5 pupils last week about this; ‘reading’ has to be practised because it is so integral in order for your child to access the wider school curriculum.
On the subject of reading, we have received a few queries about the changing of reading books across the school, especially in light of our most recent investment in a range of new titles. As part of Learning Lens week in March, we’ll be showing you just how we teach reading so you are all aware of what we look for when listening to a particular child. Please remember that decoding is only one part of what makes a good reader, it is really important that a child is able to discuss the story and show that they have completely understand it before they move on. Reading for a purpose is such an important skill!
I’d like to pay tribute to a few children who have really caught my eye over the last fortnight. First of all, Henry in Dazzling Dragonflies. I am really pleased with his attitude towards doing extra home-learning – he is really motivated to improving his maths skills! Thank you Henry! I’d also like to say a big well done to Reece and Saffie (also Dragonflies). I have seen some wonderful arithmetic from you over the past week! Finally, I really enjoyed my time with the Curious Caterpillars on Friday afternoon – we had a times table quiz and I was amazed by how quickly they could recall their facts! I am sure Miss Bains would be very proud to hear that after all the practice they have been doing!
Turning our attention to this week – on Wednesday, 34 children from Key Stage 2 are going to Young Voices at the Genting Arena in Birmingham. I will be going to join in the fun along with Mrs Weston (our Key Stage 2 Leader) – it is always a real highlight on our school calendar! If a child is attending on Wednesday, they’ll be able to come into school later on Thursday morning. This arrangement is also extended to siblings of Young Voices participants too. Also this week, on Thursday our children in Dazzling Dragonflies and Busy Bees will be having a visit from Derbyshire Fire and Rescue – they will be doing fire safety talks. Finally, there will only be one Rise and Shine Y6 Revision session this week and it will take place on Friday morning from 8:20 am.
Have a great week!
This week’s blog box question: How many children are going to Young Voices on Wednesday?