Last week in school, I was very much on a mission! It is that point in the school year where school improvement work is well underway and we are looking at the early signs of impact on the things we have put in place since September. However, it is also a very curious time of year! In the run-up to Christmas things can get quite fragmented if we let them, this can happen when we’ve had a busy few days also! However busy we are, it is important that we don’t lose our focus and that everybody continues to rise to the high expectations that our school has of them. And I am talking about everybody connected with our school.
Firstly, I have been keeping a close eye on how our systems at lunchtime are going. On Thursday this week, I appointed some Year 6 dinner monitors to support some of our younger pupils in the school hall with the carrying of their trays and the cutting up of food. It is always a pleasure to see our older pupils supporting the children in Key Stage 1 and this is a central part of our school ethos. Having older pupils leading by example gives them a sense of responsibility – our younger children look up to you! Thank you to Kiera, Robert, Frazer and Norma (Turtles) for showing the compassion aligned to our school vision.
Also during lunchtimes, I have been keeping a close eye on how much dinner you have all been eating. It is no secret that you love the time outside with Rosie, our sports coach, but you must make sure that you get a good helping of lunch before you leave the hall. I have asked Mrs Bonsor to check this carefully – don’t forget to put up your hand when you wish to leave the table. We can see how you have got on with eating your dinner – you may be asked to have a bit more.
I had a chat with Mrs Farmer on Friday too. We discussed which was the best class lined up for their dinner over the week and she said it was too close to call! This is encouraging, I am glad to hear that you are using your manners! Again – this is the very least that I expect from you all. Starting this week, Mrs Farmer is going to be picking out a ‘golden individual’ who has stood out. This person will win the opportunity for their class to pick the dessert on the following Monday.
I hope you all enjoyed your pre-teaching and post-teaching last week. As I mentioned in last Sunday’s blog, this is something that your teachers are doing to ensure more of you grasp what you are learning in maths and, crucially, more of you can develop an deeper understanding during lesson time. As we roll a mastery approach to maths across the school, using Power Maths, it is important that all of you are keeping up and staying together. Having a bit of extra time to ‘tune in’ beforehand or to have a sneak preview before the lesson can mean that you have more confidence in the actual lesson when it arrives! Mrs Weston is going to be getting your thoughts on Pre and Post Teach this week, as well as your thoughts on Power Maths and TT Rockstars.
For those of you who have been using TT Rockstars, to help you develop a quicker recall of your times table facts, I had a quick look at how you were getting on this week. Did you know, we can actually see just how much progress you have been making with the click of a simple button in school! I’d like to say a massive well done to Holly, Jayney, Felicity (In Turtles) and also to some of our children in Super Seahorses. How many of you have been practising this at home? How often do you do this? The more practice you make, then the more progress you will make! Both Miss Bains and Mrs Weston have been chatting about how the TT Rockstars program actually measures your progress – we are going to be keeping a keen eye on the difference that this program is making. Don’t forget that you can come to Home Learning Club on Friday, should you wish to do your weekly practice in school. Mrs Thorne will be there to help.
Your teachers have been working very hard to enhance their learning environments over the last fortnight. At the staff meeting a few weeks ago, we made a list of all the non-negotiable items that we expect to see on your learning walls – to help you become independent learners. Miss Walton has worked hard to transform the former computer suite into a maths classroom and Miss Bains has had some new boards put up in her room also. On the subject of our learning environment, please help your teachers to keep it tidy. It is everybody’s responsibility to do this! Dillan and Norma worked really hard to tidy the school library last week and then by the end of the day it needed a tidy once again!!! Please be careful that you take all your belongings with you at the end of Breakfast Club and at the end of After-School clubs too – there were a number of random items left at the front and side of the hall. Please check that the missing glove doesn’t belong to you! Finally, our ‘Mary Poppins Area’ has been re-organised so that we can get chairs, tables and PE mats out more efficiently – if you are a Y6 Collective Worship monitor, please remember to leave the area as you find it. Keeping school is tidy is everybody’s responsibility!
On the subject of collective worship, it is nice to see the working wall in the hall slowly accumulating slips containing your thoughts. Remember that you can fill in these slips after collective worship, at any time during the school day. Some of your teachers may request that you write down your wonderful contributions during our actual collective worship sessions should it be appropriate.
Continuing my thoughts on Collective Worship, it is so much better now that we have a Y6 monitor ringing the bell for you to come and join us in the hall at 10:05. It is a little bit like what happens up and down the country on a Sunday morning, with the church bells ringing out to call people to worship. Having a bell means that we can start our worship on time also. Listen out for the bell this week; we want to maximise the time we have to come together as a whole school and reflect.
Mrs Cresswell was busy last week, doing some posters on the colours of the Christian calendar. You will have noticed that we recently changed the colour of our altar cloth to red, after it had been green for a number of weeks. Reverend Bill has given us a list of the Christian colours and the times of the year when the altar cloth colour should change. Next up is purple! Keep an eye out for when we change it – we’ll be talking to you about it over the next few weeks. On the subject of the alter, please make sure that this continues to be a neatly presented focal point in our school hall. Again, this is the responsibility of everybody who uses it and everybody who walks passed it!
Thank you so much to our parent volunteers who came to support us on Tuesday last week, when we braved the weather to work on a new nature area. The Conservation Volunteers joined in the fun also, and it was a real pleasure to see a 10-strong team of people getting stuck in. Mrs Butler is incredibly excited about the thought of developing a nature area for our school and also about enhancing our school curriculum with the principles of Forest School Education. Some of you had a Forest School Education before you joined our school, whilst you were in pre-school, however not all of you did. Getting outdoors is a fantastic way to foster a good mental health and it also means that you develop a love and respect for nature. The school is situated in a countryside location but many of you live in more built-up areas. Learning to love and appreciate nature is important – just as developing resilience, independence and problem solving skills.
It was wonderful to see Mrs Smith in school last Wednesday once again and thank you to our Year 1 parents who came to take part in the Prepare Aware Phonics Session that she led. We are keen to give all of our families the information and support they need. It was really good to see a super turnout!
On Thursday last week, I met with our Link Governor for Pupil Premium and Safeguarding. We had a good chat about how we have used the government’s Pupil Premium funding and the impact that this has had. We also did another audit of our safeguarding procedures. We do this on a regular basis. You all know that we are passionate about keeping you safe whilst in school!
Before I move on to what is happening this week – thank you to Freddie and George Thomas (both in Jolly Jellyfish), for showing me some fantastic writing last week. Writing is another area of focus for us in school this year and I was really encouraged to see how hard you had worked with your sentences. You are both wonderful members of our school and you always make me smile! Thank you also to the following children: Thomas (Seahorses), Lochlaan (Turtles) and Georgia Ann (Jellyfish) for asking me how my day was going at various points over the last week. You are all wonderful advocates for those 5 words that we hold dear in school. Compassion being at the forefront last week!
Just as I mentioned earlier, about the need to keep our school environment tidy, and about taking a shared responsibility for this around school, over the next 5 days you will all be busy with Ocean Rescue Week. Keeping the world’s oceans free from pollution is the prime responsibility of everybody on the planet – it is important that we don’t turn a blind eye and leave it to the next generation. We must act now! You may have watched David Attenborough’s Blue Planet programme or seen horrific footage of the ocean pollution that exists around the globe, courtesy of Sky News! This week is a chance for us all to reflect on this and to once again embrace one of our key values – compassion. During this week, some of your lessons will be linked to this cause and you will all be producing some writing on the subject, to display in our library area. In the meantime, to get you in the mood, click on the link below and take part in our pupil voice questionnaire. We are keen to hear what you know already!
Also this week, your School Parliament MPs are going to be talking to your class about two things; what sorts of activities you would like to see introduced over lunchtimes next term, to further develop your fitness levels, and what snack you bring in for Freedom Friday! Parliament had a great discussion on Friday about the type of recycling that we could do in school and also what type of bins we wanted to purchase. I look forward to hearing your thoughts when they report back this Friday! Our Chancellor of the Exchequer, Frazer, was very excited when I announced that he had a budget of £250 to oversee on behalf of our School Parliament. I know that he will be keen for our MPs to spend it wisely.
Some of your teachers are going to have access to some more training this week too! Miss Knowles and I went on an EYFS course only last Wednesday but this week Miss Knowles will be taking part in an Early Maths course from 3 pm on Tuesday. She will also be learning about how we can further develop our EYFS Outdoor Learning Environment – getting those Jolly Jellyfish out in all weathers! Mrs Weston is also out on Friday afternoon, on a Trainee Teacher Mentor course.
Also this week, I am going to be going around school and listening to some of you read! I am keen to listen to your expression and how well you decode unfamiliar words. I am also keen to see if you are using the sounds that you are learning in phonics lessons. I may ask you some questions to check your understanding too! Another focus will be to check that you have the correct book match to your reading level! If I listen to you read, I will stamp your reading record. I love getting around and seeing how you are getting on!
On Wednesday this week Mrs Weston is going to be doing a Maths Learning Walk (a bit of a ‘deep dive’) – checking to see how you are all getting on with your maths. Mrs Weston will be joined by Mrs Hodgson Walker (our School Improvement Partner) and this may mean that you have maths at a slightly different time! I look forward to hearing some positive feedback.
On Thursday afternoon, our Year 1 and 2 parents (from both classes) are welcome into school to watch a Singing Stars concert in the hall. All of the Year 1 and 2 children have been working with Derbyshire Music Partnership over the term, to develop their musical appreciation and join in with singing. The art of performance does wonders for our children’s overall self-esteem and their confidence – this is why we have invested in these music sessions this year! Our intent was also to give our children an alternative way of expressing themselves! Friday morning, we have the grand opening of The Nest. This will take place at 11:30am and our whole school will assemble on the yard to witness the cutting of the ribbon. As the winners of our recent competition, Jeffrey and Evelyn will have their parents in attendance as guests of honour!
Last week’s best attendance went to the Super Seahorses and last week’s Class of the Week, leading by example, were those Terrific Turtles. 5 minutes of extra playtime to both of these classes.
Have a good week! Remember – keep up that focus and work to those high standards!
This week’s blog box question: Who is coming into school this week, to do a Maths Learning Walk with Mrs Weston?