A Hint of Optimism

Welcome back to the first blog of the Summer Term. I say ‘summer’ with a hint of optimism that the weather will also follow suit and be kind to us. I think we are all ‘done with rain’ now and would welcome some warmer and drier weather. The budget would also benefit from me being able to turn the heating off. To be fair, we did benefit from some drier weather and, much to the delight of the pupils, we were able to make use of our extensive field from Tuesday lunchtime.

It is great to be able to use the space we have outside

We return to school with a few more days of voting left for the Beano, ‘Funniest class of the Year’ competition. I know Wilde Class would really appreciate it if you could find time to vote a few more times before next Friday. Unlike last year, to vote more than once, you will need to go into private browsing mode. Let’s see if we can retain the title again; at this stage it would appear to be between us and one other school.

The Year 4s were straight into it on Monday with the Architectural workshop. Both classes got the opportunity to learn about strong shapes and then use this information to construct some even bigger structures. When I popped into the hall, they all seemed to be having great fun and had really understood the concepts.

Great teamwork in Year 4

Mrs Vernon looked at home in Apollo Class when I popped up after lunch. She has kindly put her teacher hat back on for me whilst Miss McGurk goes on maternity leave. Pupils, however, will report that Miss McGurk was in school this week. They are right but we felt it best, just in case, to say ‘bye’ before we broke up. With no sign of the baby, Miss McGurk spent one more week with us (looking even bigger) and left today. I am sure you will join me in wishing her all the very best. I will make sure you know any news as soon as we do!

Pupils in Apollo Class hard at work

On Tuesday, I spent time – with Miss McGurk’s help – getting content updated, ready to add to our virtual tour which went live on Thursday. Some of this content has already been added to the transition tab of the school website which we will also continue to update and add to. The pupils who will be joining us in September now know they have their place and so I am keen to ensure they get access to as much transitional support as possible, as soon as possible. I will be interested in your feedback. If there is anything else you think we should have on these pages, please do let me know.

Year 3s were busy making the most of our outdoor classroom

At the time of writing, I am still to receive our final Ofsted report which is a little frustrating. I have mentioned to those who have asked that we need to be prepared for a rather bland report due to the nature of our inspection. It’s one of the problems with the system I’m afraid which is well-documented in the media at the moment.

The SLT met with the JLT to start to plan for their final pledge. They are going to be holding a charity music ‘festival’ (concert) on Wednesday 5th July starting at around 3.45pm. It sounds very exciting and I hope many of you will be able to join us to see some of our talented musicians, as well as a few ‘guests’, take to the stage to entertain.

I was out of school on Wednesday afternoon and so was unable to watch the Lower School Interhouse Football which was postponed before the break. Well done to Earth House who ran out winners. 

Triumphant Earth House

My absence also meant that I wasn’t able to see any of the ‘A’ Team netball rally which we hosted. This was the first time I have missed this event in over twenty years (when it has run) which was shame but as I was spotted, I will own up to the fact that I had taken my dad to hospital. Apparently, doctors are looking to find a cure for his incessant moaning about the length of these blogs. Doctors are amazing, we know that, but can they work miracles? I doubt it, somehow!

Anyway, the netball team did very well indeed, particularly after such a weather-disrupted season and finished third overall. We celebrated as we always do on Friday morning in our Achievers’ Assembly.

Well done ‘A’ Team netballers

I had quite a few pupil visitors on Thursday who brought me some of the work they had been doing in class and were rightly proud of. The poetry recital by pupils in Aztec Class given in a farmer’s dialect was very clever and I tried to write my feedback in a similar way. I wasn’t as good. I also had a visit from pupils in Kahlo Class who wanted to share their ancient civilisation research. The timing was perfect as we also got to watch the live launch (via the internet) of Elon Musk’s latest space project.

The lovely weather on Thursday meant that I was happy to venture over to St Mary’s in Baldock to watch three of our football teams take part in a mini-festival. Each team played three matches and did very well indeed. Football is coming to an end now for Whitehill but Miss Gooderham has several more games for Stevenage coming up, including the County Cup final on Sunday afternoon at the Herts County Ground. It would be great to have some #TeamWhitehill support for Miss G and her team.

One of the teams which played at St Mary’s on Thursday

Music in this week’s Achievers’ Assembly was provided by Emily and Florence (Year 6) who both played the piano for us. They were both very good and started our term of live music very well indeed.

Florence entertained at the end of our assembly

Our regular awards were also handed out. Water won the House Cup; Apollo won the Wombles and Orville won Class of the Week.

Looking ahead to next week, we have a parent meeting for the Year 6 Residential after school on Monday. We have a few sporting fixtures on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday after school including the ‘B’ Team netball rally at Highover school.

As I mentioned in my communication yesterday, despite planned industrial action across England on Thursday, we will be open to all pupils (at the time of writing).

On Thursday evening we have our Friends’ Association discos. Details have already been distributed but tickets are still available via Classlist in the usual way. I will send home a further reminder next week but I have been asked to draw your attention to the fact that pupils should not bring their phones with them.

Weather permitting, we have our first cricket match on Friday after school – fingers crossed for that!

I am out of school on Friday as I attend the first of three days of NAHT annual conference in Telford. What an action packed weekend I have in store. Actually, it will be interesting as education is making quite a few headlines at the moment in terms of funding and Ofsted.

So that is it for the first week back. A relatively short blog to give the doctors looking after my dad something to work with!

Have a great weekend.

Best wishes,

Steve Mills

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