P.E.A.C.E be with you!

School has been a very compassionate place this week with children looking out for each other and all staff ‘rallying round’ to support one another, in what has been a busy week. Being compassionate is one of the things that make our school so unbelievably special and it is also part of our new P.E.A.C.E agenda.  Sometimes, showing you care can be achieved without uttering any words at all.  This week, I have seen many examples of compassion across our school.  The sight of Arlo in Wonderful Willows putting an arm around ‘his neighbour’s’ shoulder in collective worship on Monday without any prompting, to comfort them when they were upset, was an immensely powerful thing to witness.  Hearing about Jenson from the Eager Elms gallantly offering to swap his lunchtime duties around, so a child who needed to change into their PE kit wouldn’t get cold outside, made me feel proud and Daisy showing her ‘helping hands’ over lunchtime on Thursday was pretty special too. It was a lovely assembly on Friday and it was great to hear about lots of examples of compassion.

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A big part of showing compassion is ‘looking out for others’ and doing what is right to keep them safe. On Thursday evening last week, we had a great response to our Online Safety Forum.  We really wanted to ensure that as many of you could attend as possible, which is why we timetabled this for later in the evening.  It is vitally important, in an ever-changing electronic age, that we educate our children about safe online activity.  There are so many things which we have to consider when children are online.  Even when playing console games on devices such as X-Box Live, people who are unknown, are able to communicate with our children.  The session itself was very informal and was an around the table discussion – thank you to all who attended.  We had a long chat about the ‘Coton bubble’ and how we can best prepare our children for when they leave us for Secondary School.  We will be following up this session with more Online Safety lessons in school as part of the Computing Curriculum.

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Showing compassion is modelled at all times in our school and last Thursday was no different. Our staff team worked hard to support each other through our long-awaited OFSTED visit.  The purpose of our OFSTED visit was to check on the progress we were making as a school. This visit had been in the pipeline for a long time as it has been over 5 years since we were last visited.   We’ve had to make some very important changes over the last 18 months due to heightened expectations and it was really useful to get some feedback on the changes we have been making.  Once again, our children were a real credit to us and I’d like to thank them for being polite and welcoming our inspector in the best way they know.  At this stage, we are unable to share the outcome of the inspection with you, until the report is published. Our report should be published within the next 2-3 weeks.

In Collective Worship this week we have been focusing on the art of making choices and also the consequences of decision making. Sometimes no one decision is 100% perfect and we have to work through the consequences if it means achieving our long term goals. This was quite a mature concept for our children to grasp but they all responded brilliantly and gave some super contributions.  One child expressed that the role of a leader was important when making choices and on Thursday the children were asked to name a number of leaders from Teresa May (our Prime Minister), Pope Francis and outgoing President of the United States, Barack Obama.

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I really enjoyed Privilege Time last Friday – it was a positive experience for me personally. We had a grand total of 43 children who cashed in their Privilege Pass and joined in the fun.  Some of these children were attending for the fourth time but we also had some children who were there for the very first time.  Don’t forget – once 25 Privilege Points have been collected children can ‘cash in’ their pass and join in the fun.  Over the next few weeks, I will be working with Miss Forrest and School Parliament to create a wish-list of new games and equipment which the children want us to purchase to make it even better.

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This week our P.E.A.C.E focus will be ‘excellence’ and there are a number of ways that our children will be able to stand out and impress their teacher for a reward in Friday’s assembly. Not only do we want ‘excellence’ in terms of pupils’ work, we also want ‘excellence’ as regards how well the children behave to one another outside.  Our Ministers of Anti-Bullying and Playtime are going to be doing a learning walk on Wednesday lunchtime with Miss Forrest and I hope they’ll be able to spot lots of children being kind and respectful.

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Also next week, we are hoping for sporting excellence too. Miss Popple is taking a group of children to a 6-a-side football tournament on Thursday at Derby County.  I know that as part of our lunchtime sports league, Jacob Wright has been training the children in preparation. We wish the children all the best for the competition, I am sure that they will represent our school impeccably as always.

Don’t forget, Young Voices is edging ever closer. I happened to catch Miss Popple and Miss Forrest going through the songs this afternoon with their classes.  Remember, you can access the songs at home by following the link which was posted in the ‘General Announcements’ section on our website.  We really want to give a good account of ourselves once again so get practising!

Before I leave you once again – here is this week’s blog box question:

How many children attended privilege time last week?

Have a great week everybody!

 

 

Lest we forget!

I’d like to start this week’s blog by paying my respects to all of our armed forces and war veterans who work so hard to keep our country safe and enforce the rule of law across the world. Yesterday, our whole school came together to observe a 2 minute silence as a mark of respect to all who risk their life and also those men and women who are no longer with us as a result of serving for our country.  I visited the National Memorial Arboretum last Sunday and I was taken aback by how many people were there to pay their respects – I purchased a poppy cloth for our alter in school.  We will leave this on for a few weeks so that we can all continue to keep our service men and women in our thoughts.  We will also continue to sell poppies into next week so that we can raise money for the Royal British Legion.  On before of our whole school, I just want to say, thank you!

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It has been a very busy week in school, with lots of exciting things happening. I was  truly amazed on Wednesday this week – we had 86 adults who attended our Grandparents lunch!  This is a remarkable response and it was a real pleasure to welcome so many family members into our school.  I must thank Mrs Farmer and the kitchen team for their hard work – the food was delicious and the ladies were here bright and early on Wednesday morning in preparation.  Don’t forget that we have a Mother’s Day Lunch and a Father’s Day lunch coming up later in the year too.

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On Tuesday this week, Mrs Cresswell was very busy analysing your responses from the latest parent questionnaire, issued at parents’ evening. We were really pleased with the feedback we received but rest assured we won’t be resting on our laurels. We are all committed to the idea of ‘continuous improvement’, we recognise that our school is a pretty special place but there are many things that we can do even better.  In November 2011 our school received a ‘good’ rating by Ofsted and since then, nationally, we have seen standards and expectations rise sharply.  Everything that we do and every decision that we take is solely focused on the two core functions of a successful school.  One being; ensuring that our children are happy, healthy and safe and the second being good rates of pupil progress for all children. This is regardless of their ability, background or social and emotional learning need.  On occasions we have to make tough decisions which are not necessarily popular with everyone but they are the right decisions for the good of the children and our school as a whole, in what is a very different educational landscape to 5 years ago. We’d like to thank you for your feedback, it will be most useful to us moving forward.  I would also like to thank everybody connected with our school for their continued work and drive to make Coton school an amazing place to be.  We are improving all the time and I am proud of what we have achieved this year already.  The results from our survey are summarised below:

We had 92 responses.

98% of responses said their children enjoy coming to our school

100% of responses felt that we worked hard to keep them safe in school

98% of responses felt the behaviour in our school was good

74% of responses felt that we had effective strategies for dealing with ‘bullying’

(21% didn’t feel well placed to comment as they had never had this concern)

92% of responses felt that we responded to any issues, questions or concerns that have been risen (5% of responses didn’t feel well placed to comment as they had never had to raise a concern)

96% of responses felt that the school was well led and managed

95% of responses felt that the website gave them the information they needed

82% of responses knew what the school was working hard to improve this year

85% of responses felt that their child received appropriate homework for their age

100% of responses felt that their child was well taught

96% of responses would recommend this school to another parent.

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Next week is another busy week in school as it will be Anti-Bullying Week. A few weeks ago, the children signed a copy of the school’s Anti-Bullying Charter for their classrooms.  I will be focusing on Anti-Bullying during this week’s collective worship and on Tuesday, Ms Challinor will be focusing on online bullying.  On Tuesday also, don’t forget that I have a Cuppa and Cake session from 9 until 10 – all parents are welcome.  We will be discussing our school’s new vision – our ‘PEACE’ pledge – and how you can best support this moving forward.  On Tuesday afternoon at 2:15, I have a prospective parents’ meeting for any children who wish to start Reception in September 2017.  Year 3 and 4 have an interesting morning planned on Wednesday next week – they will be visiting a huge primary school in the centre of Burton and making some new friends in the process.  Anglesey Primary Academy is a multi-faith school of almost 700 pupils and many of the children speak more than one language – this will be a very enriching experience for all concerned.  On Thursday, both Mrs Smith and Mrs Dyke are visiting Ladycross Infants School to gather some good ideas that can be brought back into our school.  On Friday, we have our rewards assembly as usual and also privilege time for the children too.

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At rewards assembly this coming Friday, please keep a close eye out for our canvass art table! We will be asking all parents who attend to give us a painted finger-print for our PEACE canvass that will be displayed in the hall very shortly.  All classes have done a ‘PEACE canvass’ to promote our new school vision but we wanted to involve everybody in the process.  Remember ‘PEACE’ stands for the 5 key things that we promote through everything that we do in school: perseverance, enjoyment, awe and wonder, compassion and excellence. As with every vision, it should be integral to everything that goes on in school and every stakeholder should play their part.  Leading by example – I have been having a think about what our school already does to match with our ‘PEACE’ pledge.

Perseverance –We encourage all children to have a go, even when things get tough. We reward effort in our Friday assembly, as well as academic success.  Our Privilege Point System ensures that every child’s hard work is recognised to motivate them so they keep going.

Enjoyment – We make school an enjoyable place because teachers have strong relationships with all pupils. Where we can, we make learning interactive so they don’t have to sit listening for long periods.  We offer a wide range of after-school clubs too.

Awe and Wonder – We involve the children in projects and enriching experiences. Last year Class 4 performed at the Brewhouse Theatre, the whole of Key Stage 2 took part in Young Voices as part of a choir of over 9000 children!  Last year also, Years 3 and 4 learned to play a brass musical instrument.

Compassion – We raise money for many charities in school. We take part in Children in Need Day, Comic Relief and some children initiate their own fundraising opportunities for charities like RSPCA, St Giles or Cancer Research.  All of the staff are caring and easy to talk to when things get tough. Through collective worship – we reflect on society and think about people who are less fortunate.  We recently collected food donations for Burton’s food bank.

Excellence – As Headteacher, I dedicate a large portion of time focusing on learning and teaching in our school – regularly visiting classrooms and talking to children about their work and working with subject leaders. I identify professional development opportunities for all staff including visits to other successful schools so we can learn from them. I look at pupils’ work on a regular basis and our school improvement plan has measurable attainment and progress targets. As a staff team, we hold high expectations – encouraging children to correct misconceptions identified in marking and we move learning forward by writing ‘Now’ sentences on their work for them to respond to.  We deploy quality sports coaches and professionals to work with the children at break times and after school. We remain committed to whole school improvement – never standing still.

I am sure there are many more things that we do, it will be interesting to see what you all think on Tuesday at the Cuppa and Cake session.

Before I leave you for another week I’d just like to thank our ‘Ground Force Team’ who gave up their precious time this morning to trim bushes, weed borders and cut back trees on our school site. I was the designated tea and coffee maker to ensure they were kept suitably fuelled.  They all did an amazing job in what were very wet and muddy conditions.  Many of our helpers brought tools and machinery with them too.  It is a real pleasure to be the Headteacher of a school with so many supportive and helpful community members.  On behalf of the children and staff – a big thank you for all that you did!

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This week’s blog box question: How many adults attended our Grandparent lunch?