Half term has soon passed and once again it’s time to step back on it! Whatever you did with your break, I hope you had plenty of opportunities to rest and recuperate. The last half term was an incredibly long one and with another 7 weeks ahead, we’ll need lots of energy in the tank and oodles of resilience so that we can make further progress towards our whole school goals. I am enjoying a final spot of recuperation today (aside from writing my blog) after a week treading the boards in a production of Sweeney Todd. However, one thing that really struck me this past week, aside from the blood, guts and gore of the production, were the wise words of Billie Jean King – indelibly printed on my approach towards the stage! “A true champion keeps playing until they get it right!”
For those of you who don’t know, Billie Jean was a world number 1, American tennis player, known for her mental toughness and her get up and go approach towards achieving her goals. At the age of 11, she saved all of her pocket money to buy her own tennis racket and she never looked back from that moment. Billie Jean made several adaptions to her personal game over the years, in the face of much challenge concerning her different playing style. As a result, Billie Jean went on to win 129 singles titles, becoming an inspiration to so many young tennis players with time. The point is, every single one of us is capable of having success in our lifetime, provided that we are prepared to put the work in and adapt to the challenges that we face. In school last term, we had so many children who adapted brilliantly to their new classes and the changing expectations.
To start with, I’d like to say a massive shout-out to Georgia (Busy Bees). Georgia has had a tremendous beginning to life in Year 6 and has shown a great amount of ‘stick-ability’, bravery and courage. I was immensely proud that she was awarded with one of the first Golden Dove awards last term. I’d also like to say well done to Remi (Ladybirds) for her manners, Oban (Dragonflies) for his journey in phonics, Frankie (also Dragonflies) who epitomises our school vision brilliantly, Ava & Archie (Caterpillars) and the dependable Norma-Rose (Busy Bees). There were others who caught my eye too. Most notably: Reuben and Gracie (Busy Bees), Catherine (Caterpillars) and Leonard (Dragonflies). I wonder whether we’ll have our own tennis champion from this bunch of children in the years to come?
On the subject of our Celebration Assembly, I want to say a massive thank you to all who made it. We had a tremendous attendance from parents and relatives and it made the event feel incredibly special for the children. We were running out of red chairs! We were a little unsure as to how much time we’d actually need and with hindsight, we will most likely amend the timings for the one taking place at the end of this next half term. However, thanks for joining us – it was a great end to the term. Can I thank our PTA team, most notably, Dorothy’s Mum and Isabella’s Mum for helping with the refreshments.
So, as ‘we step back on it’ this week, we have lots of interesting things in the offering. Firstly, we’ll be issuing our new Learning Passports to some parents for the first time. The staff have been working really hard over the last few weeks to set targets for some children on our Special Educational Needs register and they have even found precious time to speak to the children themselves, capturing their thoughts about how they learn best and what they want to achieve moving forward. Remember, developing our provision for children with special educational needs is a big focus for us this year. In addition to the learning passport and the child’s comments, they’ll also be a chance for parents to add their views.
On Thursday this week, at 9am, we have a Phonics Workshop for all Year 1 parents. For those of you who are not aware, all children in this year group take part in a National Phonics Screening Check at the end of the year and we want to make sure that every child is best-placed to achieve well. Last year – 94% of our Year 1 children passed the check! This was above the national average and as a result of the hard work of children, parents and staff alike. Mrs Smith and I hope to see you all there!
On Friday this week, all children will be visiting St Mary’s Church in the village once again. They’ll be trying their hand at a spot of bell ringing in commemoration of the World War 1 Centenary taking place next weekend. They’ll also be an opportunity to view the special exhibition of memorabilia on display at the Church with their class.
Keep your eye on the boards in our reception area over the next few weeks. We are not only adding the names and photos of all children who get a special mention, we are also putting up lots of information about the things that we are working on in school. Continuous improvement is a big part of our school vision and we want you all to be informed with the things that we are working hard to develop. The boards also celebrate those 5 words that our school holds dear: Perseverance, Enjoyment, Awe and Wonder, Compassion, Excellence.
As a bit of advanced notice – don’t forget that we have Learning Lens Week coming up this term also. This takes place on the week commencing 19th November and it will be a chance for you to informally come into school and talk to your children about their work so far this year! Check the day/times on the school website – so you get the correct day.
Before I leave you to finish your recuperation, I’d just like to present some useful attendance facts from the last half-term.
- Our average school attendance currently stands at around 96% – this is in line with the national average
- The best attended class for this term was the Dazzling Dragonflies
- One year group (which will remain nameless for now) has 40% of its children with an attendance below 96% and only 5 children who are still on track for a full yearly attendance (after 8 weeks at school)
- There are children in every class who are on track for a 100% attendance award at the end of this Autumn term.
As a compassionate school, we fully understand that taking time off school in the event of illness is unavoidable. However, I am sure you will understand that we are duty bound to inform you that any time away from school can be detrimental to a child’s learning and progress. Aspects of learning are taught in topic-based chunks and children build up their understanding over a series of lessons with regular practice. At the end of a term, attendance in school is equally as important because this is where aspects of learning are brought together and assessed also children can celebrate and reflect on their achievements. Let’s hope that we have lots of 100%ers come the end of this half term!
Buckle up and get ready for the ride! A new term awaits!
This week’s blog box question: How many singles titles did Billie Jean King win?