A phrase such as, ‘we’ve made it’ is usually reserved for the end of term but on this occasion, I would say it is appropriate to say ‘we’ve made it’ to the end of lockdown. And, I feel justified in stating, ‘very well indeed’. On Monday, the current set of national restrictions come to an end and we can welcome back all pupils in school to continue with their learning. Today marks the end of eight weeks (minus one day) of home learning and live-streamed lessons which I am sure you would agree, have gone very well indeed. I would like to thank the whole of #teamwhitehill for their commitment and hard work in making this current lockdown such a success for our pupils. That being said, I know they are all looking forward to having their own class back again on Monday. More about these plans later.
On Monday, I opened up the booking system for the upcoming consultation evenings. If you haven’t booked your appointment yet, there is still time and if you are experiencing any problems, please do get in touch with the school office. One improvement on the platform since our Autumn Term video meetings is the ability to add a third person to the appointment. I know some parents would have wanted this functionality last time and it is great that this has now been made available. Once an appointment has been booked, you will have the option to add an additional email address to the call.
Monday was the start of spring and over the weekend, we did get a sense of the weather starting to warm up. Although the colder temperatures did return, the drier weather has meant that the pupils in school have been able to make use of the space on our school field. With all pupils returning next week, this is perfect timing for us and we hope, all being well, we can make use of this space for the remainder of the year. It makes keeping bubbles separated so much easier.
Our Year 6 pupils all received their secondary school allocations on Monday. This day marks the start of a series of events which lead to the pupils making that transition to the next phase of their education. The pupils I have been chatting to certainly all seem happy with their allocated school. With the expansion of the three Hitchin secondary schools in recent years, the regular trauma of pupils not getting their first preference seems to have subsided which is how it should be. I can promise the pupils their remaining time at Whitehill will fly by now but hopefully, not before we have been able to enjoy some of the traditional Year 6 events and celebrations.
Over the course of this week, I have held the final four ‘Biscuits with the Boss’ sessions. I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to chat with pupils, in small groups, about things they have been doing – not necessarily school related – and reassuring them about future plans. Whilst I have not had the time to invite every pupil across the school, all of the pupils in Lower School have been invited at some point. Quite a few Year 5s and a few Year 6s also had this opportunity. Once the future plans for re-opening to all were made clear, I made it my priority to target our younger pupils as they were less likely to have arranged their own small group chats with their friends. I hope the pupils who attended enjoyed the sessions as much as I did.
On Thursday, I shared with you the wonderful news that Mrs Cornell is expecting her first child. I know you will join with me in wishing her and Mr Cornell all the very best. As I stated in my letter to the parents, it is imperative we are as careful as possible around her so that she can continue to work with her class, which is what she is so desperate to do given all the disruption over the last year.
On Wednesday and Thursday evenings I met with governors as part of the termly set of meetings. Both curriculum and resources committees were very positive and gave me an opportunity to share the work we have been doing; talk about the plans moving forward and think about the budgeting implications. It won’t be long before I am setting this coming year’s budget and telling the staff what items on their wish lists they can have. I am not sure we will have enough for Mr Miley’s floodlit Astroturf however!
I have already mentioned how excited everyone is for Monday and seeing all their pupils again. The staff are equally as excited for the creative arts week they have planned as a perfect reintroduction to in-school life again.
Each of the year groups has been planning for a set of activities which will give pupils the opportunity to be creative and collaborative – a key priority which came straight from the pupils. I know the teachers have been in touch with you directly if the pupils need to wear something different or bring in something they have created whilst working from home. If you have any questions, please contact the school office or use our Consult@ email address and I will find the answer for you.
On Thursday, Mr Lord had me on the roof of the school as part of his preparations for next week. Whether that was just to distract me from looking in his room to see how much more tidying he has to do, I am not sure. As I say quite often, they are very creative in Year 3!
It was World Book Day on Thursday and you will have received an email giving information on this year’s book token scheme. We also had a lovely surprise when we were gifted a signed copy of Hannah Gold’s ‘The Last Bear’ by Thomas (Year 3). I will share this with the whole school next week and then it will take pride of place in the library.
One of the things I am looking forward to most is the reintroduction of our Achievers’ Assemblies on a Friday. We will run them as we did in the Autumn Term, with one bubble in the hall with me and the other classes joining through Google Meet. As part of these assemblies we will need musicians again to play at the start and end and therefore please encourage your musical children to sign up. I am already thinking that Joshua (Year 4) and Joey (Year 6) should appear quite early on after I saw their talents during lockdown. We will also have our three weekly awards running gain, namely Class of the Week, the House Cup and the Womble Award.
As a treat for my dad, I will end this week’s blog here. With all that is going on from Monday, next week’s is bound to be much (much) longer!
Have a great weekend!