Welcome back after over a week off. The beard is off, the hair is trimmed and it has been great to see all the children back in school, looking refreshed and ready for the busy term ahead.
The run-up to Christmas is always a hive of activity and there are many exciting extra-curricular events taking place. This term we have the Key Stage 1 Nativity to look forward to, the Key Stage 2 Christingle Service in church, the FPTA Christmas Fayre, a school disco, a Christmas bingo, Grandparents’ Lunch, Classic Book Week, Primary Dodgeball & Primary Gymnastic competitions, in addition to getting started on the Key Stage 2 summer production and preparing for Young Voices. All of these events are really important in offering our children the rounded educational experience for which they are entitled. Many of our staff team always look forward to this term (as do I) and enjoy the opportunity to informally mingle with parents and do lots of the ‘fun stuff’. After all, this is the ‘awe and wonder’ that our children love and it brings our school community together.
At the same time, the challenge for all of us, is to make sure that our school continues to grow and develop for the good of the children’s attainment and academic progress and that our school improvement journey doesn’t stall. We have made such a great start to the new school year, it is important that we build on our achievements from last term and keep up the momentum.
I’d like to start this week by saying a big well done to a few children who have started the new term, in the same way that they ended the last. I was immensely pleased when Ms Challinor sent Aroura (Brilliant Badgers) to me on Thursday morning with some amazing writing. When I was at Primary school, English was my favourite subject and this love has only grown stronger throughout my days as a teacher. It was wonderful to see some beautifully joined handwriting and not only that, but a page of perfectly formed sentences. I’d also like to give Tamsin (Brilliant Badgers) a ‘thumbs up’ for her Viking work in computing too. On the subject of politeness and manners, I’d like to thank the children in Wise Owls for coming into Collective Worship superbly this week. Setting an example is a big part of what is expected from a Year 6 learner. They have had it in spades this week.
I had a great meeting with School Parliament on Monday last week, where we discussed how we could improve Privilege Time. All of the MPs decided that they would like Privilege Time to have a weekly theme from now on. Some of the suggestions included: the setting up of a treasure hunt, cooking, cinema, or a physical circuit being set up in the hall with the PE equipment. I am really looking forward to taking their ideas on board – Mrs Cresswell has been busy making me a laminated poster to display around school, where I can write what the Privilege Time theme is for each week. Keep your eyes peeled so you can decide whether or not to cash-in your Privilege Pass.
It was lovely to see so many parents attend our phonics workshop this week. Mrs Smith had a great time teaching a demo-lesson, with the help of our Year 1 children. I know that there were lots of technical words used such as: grapheme, diagraph, pure sounds, alien words etc. Please don’t worry, we will be issuing an information sheet shortly. Next week, we will be developing our phonics teaching further when we welcome Eva Cerioni (Derby University) into school to give us some more useful pointers. As I have mentioned before, phonics is a big part of our school improvement plan this year; we want to make sure that these vital learning foundations are firmly in place for every child before they begin Key Stage 2.
I was very busy on Thursday and Friday last week, paying close attention to the attendance and lateness figures from last term. I was really pleased to give out a total of 42 certificates on Friday, to all of those children who came to school every day of last term. Even though there were lots of germs and bugs going around, and many bouts of sickness (which cannot be helped) we still managed to get over a third of our school population here 100% of the time. However, it is lateness that still continues to be an issue for our school. I just wanted to share the following interesting facts with you from last term’s figures:
- 58 incidents of lateness were recorded after the register had closed
- In total, there were 606 minutes of learning time lost due to pupils arriving late
- 606 minutes is the same as 15.1 hours or 2 and ½ school days.
I think we are all late at some point in our working life but please remember that the register closes at 9am and being regularly late has a detrimental impact on rates of progress. Giving your child the chance to socialise on the yard before the start of the school is vitally important to them. Starting the day in calm fashion, without having to rush to get out of bed, sets your child up for the day ahead. Also, many of our interventions and basic skill lessons take place between 9 and 9:15. It is really tricky for your child if they miss the chance to work on these pre-requisite skills that are so important to access other aspects of the curriculum. Mr Evans (our Chair of Governors) and myself will be keeping a close eye on this as the term progresses.
Mrs Christie had a great time last Tuesday, when she visited Moira Primary School to look at how we could develop our use of Numicon in Key Stage 1. For those of you who are not aware, Numicon is a special resource which makes the concept of number much less abstract. It really helps the children to make visual connections when adding, subtracting, learning about fractions and comparing numbers. Your child will be using lots of Numicon resources over the next year so we can secure their mathematical understanding.
I am really looking forward to this week’s Grandparents’ Lunch. It is always such a joyous occasion and great to see the look on a child’s face when they have a special guest with them. Last year we had 86 special visitors joining us and I know we are expecting many more this time around. Mrs Farmer and the team in the kitchen do an amazing job to feed so many people in such a short space of time. The event takes place this Wednesday from 11:30 am –starting with those children in Happy Hedgehogs. At 11:50 am, it is the time of the Super Squirrels, and then the other 3 classes will have their turn from 12:15 pm.
Also this week, we have the first parent consultation evening of the new school year. Your child should have taken their appointment time home with them on Friday, in the form of a paper slip. These were delivered to classes on Friday morning. Please make sure that you check your child’s bag if you haven’t received it. This parents’ evening is all about giving you information on how your child has settled into the new school year. We will be talking to you about a range of generic areas including: attitude, effort, presentation and home-learning as well as giving you a general indication as to whether they are on track to achieve the expected standard by the end of the year in Reading, Writing and Maths. Please be advised that teachers can only give an indication at this stage in the year, based on the child’s class work to date. However, we will be honest with you and shed some light on the areas that your child is finding more difficult, in addition to celebrating individual successes. I am pleased to announce that we have a number of special visitors attending too, in the form of Mrs Sharples (Headteacher from The Pingle Academy), a representative from The William Allitt school and, for those parents with children in Brilliant Badgers, the newly appointed class teacher to take over from Miss Popple – Miss Bains.
In the school hall, we have our usual book fair event taking place too. This runs until Thursday next week. Please have a good look at the cases on display – we are working really hard to encourage all children to read regularly at home. Not a lot of people know but our school gets commission on every book sold at the book fair and we can then reinvest this back into school. Please click on the following link to see how the book fair helps our school: http://coton-in-the-elms.derbyshire.sch.uk/wp-admin/post.php?post=9144&action=edit
Before I leave you for another week, I’d just like to draw your attention to an important safety notice that was sent out last week. We currently have a child in school, who has been diagnosed with an aggressive nut allergy. All of our staff are epi-pen trained but we must make sure that our school environment is safe for everyone who attends it. From now on, we’d kindly ask that snack products which list nuts in their ingredients list, are not brought into school under any circumstances. This includes in lunchboxes or for after school events. Having an allergic reaction of any kind can have very serious consequences and can be fatal. Remember, reactions can not only be caused by physical contact but also airborne allergens too! We’d really appreciate your support in this matter so we can ensure that our school remains a safe place for everyone.
Have a good week and I hope to see lots of brilliant English work when I look at your Literacy books with Mrs Weston and Mrs Smith on Monday!
This week’s blog question is: How many minutes were lost due to lateness last half-term?