On the subject of family, I was immensely privileged and proud on Saturday last weekend, to attend the Coton village annual light switch on. It was a pretty chilly evening, but it was great to see so many Coton children involved in the festivities. I particularly enjoyed Rosie’s rendition of Starry Night at the start of the evening. This has to be one of my all-time favourite Christmas songs and I think we can all relate to it from our own school days. It was great to chat to everybody in the village, including Mr Brown, who is from the Village in Bloom Committee and also one our governors. I was really pleased to be invited and it was great to see the local community coming together once again.
On Friday last week, I chose two children to come with me to Rosliston Forestry Centre and choose our school Christmas tree. Both were chosen because they have really impressed me this year – growing in confidence around school and being good role models for everybody else. They had very good taste and could spot the one they wanted within seconds. Our tree will be arriving on Monday this week and Mrs Mailer and the Breakfast Club children will be decorating it on Tuesday morning.
Despite all the build up to the festive season, we have still managed to keep up with our school improvement agenda too. On Monday, Years 3 and 4 visited Anglesey Primary Academy. Angelsey is a very large, multicultural school on the outskirts of Burton Town Centre. Anglesey have been on an incredible journey over the last 2 years, being graded as ‘good’ in their most recent Ofsted inspection despite having around 700 children on roll and over 25 different languages spoken in their school. Over half of the children in one of their Year 3 classes weren’t even born in England! Our children behaved impeccably and it was really good to see them making lots of new friends. In January, the children from Anglesey will be coming to see what it is like at our school and learning what life is like in the countryside. I am sure Miss Popple and Mrs Thorne will join me in saying a big well done to the children for being polite, well-mannered and respectful whilst on the visit.
On the subject of manners, I am very pleased to hear that the children in Outstanding Oaks are using good manners in the dinner que at lunchtime. I really hope that they keep this up. We are a really polite school and we want to keep it that way. Manners don’t cost much at all!
Miss Forrest met with our School Parliament on Thursday also. They started working on a termly blog which we are hoping to get published very soon. Our School Parliament is an integral part of our school, giving us ideas on how we can make things better. One of their most recent ideas was moving away from the system of green cards to the idea of having Privilege Time every Friday. Some children are about to embark on their third Privilege time this term. Remember, at the end of term, I will be asking all teachers to check whether every child has achieved at least 25 points at some point. It is important that every child is rewarded for their effort and behaviour around school, so they are well motivated to succeed.
This week we welcomed a grand total of 49 parents or family relatives into school as part of our ‘Back to School Week’. We started ‘Back to School Week’ with the intention of giving all parents a valuable insight into how we teach various subjects in school so they are well placed to support their children at home. This time we had a focus on maths, and ‘reasoning’ in particular. Thank you so much for joining us and filling in the feedback questionnaires. The comments we got back were overwhelmingly positive but there were some great ideas about how we could improve it also. Next term we will be having ‘Back to School week’ once again – with a Reading focus. Last week, Mrs Smith ordered some new reading books so we can ensure that our Guided Reading teaching exposes all of our children to a range of text genres and also the right level of challenge.
Ms Challinor attended training on Thursday morning in Matlock to support us with the teaching of the Computing curriculum. She came back with lots of ideas about how we can develop the subject further in school. Don’t forget that Ms Challinor recently delivered ‘Back to School’ sessions on online safety too. In January, we have an informal social evening for parents to learn more about the dangers of the internet and to share approaches to online safety in the home. I am really pleased by the way in which we have developed our computing curriculum in such a short space of time. We have invested in Purple Mash software and some new laptops also – this has made a big difference to how we teach our children in school.
This next week in school is equally as busy as the one before! On Monday, I will be talking to your teachers about the progress children are making in reading, writing and maths. We will be looking at the childrens’ books and chatting about how we can improve our classroom practice and our whole school provision to ensure that all children reach their potential. This includes how we can challenge some children to reach ‘greater depth’. As Headteacher I am determined to make sure that every child fulfils their potential and we give every child the best possible chance of success. This has to remain one of our overwhelming priorities.
On Tuesday, I will be chatting to Mrs Sue Potter. Mrs Potter is our Senior School Improvement Partner and she is coming into school to see how we are getting on with our school improvement work this year. It is almost a year since the last visit and I am so proud of what we have achieved over the last twelve months – I am sure that she will be pleased with what she sees.
On Thursday evening it’s the FPTA Annual General Meeting at 7pm. We have rescheduled this so that people have plenty of notice to attend. We have a great group of volunteers but we really welcome new faces, who may wish to join the group to get involved. Our FPTA works tirelessly over the school year to raise vital funds and put quite simply – the more hands we have, the more we can do! This may be of interest to some of our new parents in Early Years. I hope that you will be able to join us.
On Friday, we have our Christmas Fayre between 6pm and 8pm. This is always a very festive occasion and we welcome anybody from the local community to come into our school and join us. Equally, if you are able to help in any way then please contact our current chair, Aisha Mack. I am sure she’ll appreciate your support. Organising our fayre is a big task every year so if you can spare some time, we’d be most grateful. I will be assuming my usual role on the school PA system. Rest assured, we purchased a new PA system a few weeks ago after our problems with the existing one at the summer fayre in July.
Okay, that’s just about it for another week. I’m off to put my Christmas tree up at home. Before I leave you here is the blog box question:
What time does our Christmas Fayre start this coming Friday?