A Final Thought

Tick! Another term completed and in the interest of maintaining my regular update, 61½ school days to go until the end of the academic year. No one panic!

It has been a shorter term, but nevertheless an exceptionally busy and more importantly, successful term with achievements in the classroom, on the sports pitches, on the catwalk and in the rehearsal rooms. Our Achievers’ Assemblies seem to get longer and longer. I have no doubt next term will be equally as enjoyable with so much to look forward to. The diary entry catching my eye is the London Mini Marathon in which we have 30 pupils taking part. The numbers arrived this week and it all looks so exciting.

An exciting new opportunity for some of our pupils

My assembly on Monday turned into a mini-achievers’ assembly in the absence of one on Friday. We celebrated the footballers who did not lose a game at last weekend’s rally. We recognised Thomas’s (Year 4) achievements in a sponsored walk. We said well done to Sam J and Logan (Year 3) who took part in a rugby festival and we also congratulated Milly (Year 6) who we found out came runner-up in the Affinity Water poster competition, winning £500 of equipment for the school.

Well done Thomas (Year 4) for your charity work

The big question for Monday, as we approached lunchtime was whether or not the pupils would be allowed on the field. Would I deem it dry enough to allow the pupils to play on it after they had eaten their lunch? The power I felt as Joseph, Arthur and their Year 6 friends hovered for that acknowledgement, as I looked to test it one more time. I looked up, gave them the slightest of nods and that was enough for the cheer and charge to the football pitch which has greeted generations of teachers. Once on, of course, goal claimed as theirs, there is the pause and the realisation that they did not have a football! It wasn’t long before that was rectified and Alex (Year 6) was reflecting upon his ‘best ever lunchtime’ as they got to use the new goal.

Lovely to be back on the field

There was less drama on Tuesday as this ‘first day on the field’ routine only ever happens once a year. The weather was lovely again and so we progressed from football and running around to gymnastics and daisy chains. We are very lucky to have so much space to use.

It was lovely to see so many of you able to make our open afternoon on Monday. I appreciate the time isn’t convenient for everyone and alternative arrangements to look at books for some have already been made. That being said, thanks to our trendy QR code signing in sheet, I could see just how many of you did attend. The Year 3 classrooms were particularly full.

Year 4s had an architectural workshop on Tuesday, each class having half a day to look at ‘strong shapes’ and then use this knowledge to construct increasingly more complex towers. Both Miss Payne and Mrs Davies were exceptionally proud of how hard the pupils worked.

Productivity in Year 4

Mrs Bradshaw, Mrs Wells, Miss Gooderham and Miss King spent the majority of Tuesday at Blueharts Hockey Club. In the morning, three teams took part in a festival organised by our school sports partnership. Although scores weren’t officially kept, ask any player (as I did) and they will tell you we only lost one game all morning.

In the afternoon, it was the turn of the competition team to have a go. They were undefeated across their nine games meaning they won the competition outright. Albie’s mum sent me over a video of the announcement which was lovely. Staff and pupils have been working so hard this year and thoroughly deserved the win. Looking at the photos, I am not sure who was more excited, the staff or the pupils! Huge thank you to Blueharts for allowing us to have some squad sessions on the astro in preparation.

Teachers have reported that the two evenings of consultations were positive. The technology played ball for most of the time and as such, appointments ran on time and to time. I do miss the opportunity to chat with parents which I had during when appointments were face to face but the benefits of the online platform far outweigh what we’ve lost. Mrs Bailey sticking to time being one of the key ones!

Edie (Year 3) at the gymnastics trials this week

On Thursday morning, we held the Upper School Interhouse football competition. A separate set of fixture for the boys and girls, with final results being combined to get the overall winner. I popped out and watched some of the matches including Chloe’s (Year 5) winner for Air House against Fire. That result, plus others for the boys’ team, resulted in an overall win for Air House.

Well done, Air House

For the second year running, the weather got the better of the Lower School event, which has been rescheduled for the first Tuesday after the Easter break.

We received the final league standings for the girls’ football competition this week. It was all very close at the top with Whitehill finishing in second place overall due to superior goal difference. Well done to everyone who represented the team this year, in particular the Year 5s, who will get the opportunity to go one better next year.

In the absence of an Achievers’ Assembly, there are no updates on our usual class awards which will remain in their current locations until 19th April.

Our winning hockey team

We return to school on Monday 15th April, hopefully fighting fit again. Fingers crossed that these niggling illnesses will have gone and we can have everyone back in school.

I have already mentioned that the Lower School Interhouse football will take place on the afternoon of Tuesday 16th and that will be followed after school by a Year 4 rally. We are hosting the ‘A’ Team netball rally on the afternoon of Wednesday 17th April before parents of pupils in Year 6 are invited to attend a meeting covering the residential to the Isle of Wight.

There is one more football match for Year 5s in the diary when they travel to St Chris on Thursday 18th.

The final event and perhaps the most exciting, as it is something new for Whitehill, is, as I have already mentioned, the London Mini Marathon on Saturday 20th. I am determined to get into London to watch this and who knows, perhaps grab a ticket for a show later in the day!

The end of the season… but these three will be back for more next year!

A final thought: I am always impressed when I visit the classes and see the work they are doing. The progress the pupils make and the outcomes at the end of each term, year and Key Stage are incredible. Moreover, it is all done through a creative and interesting curriculum. I hear of too many schools who, even now, still narrow the curriculum opportunities for their pupils for fear of missing a maths or reading target. Get your curriculum right, and progress will be great across all areas. After all, it’s about ‘Profound Individual Growth’ isn’t it?

Have a great break!

Best wishes,

Steve Mills

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