An Amazingly Appropriate Name

A concerted effort will be made today to keep this week’s blog shorter. I used to think it was my dad being naturally grumpy, but when I was greeted on Friday evening upon my return from Brighton by a parent, whose first words were, ‘that was a long blog today’, perhaps I need to cut back slightly. Of course, it would be so much easier if teachers and pupils didn’t do so many exciting things.

I will start with a thank you. One of the committee members of our wonderful Friends’ Association has been working on applying for a sizeable grant to put towards the purchase of some new football goals. Mrs Grant (what an amazingly appropriate name), has been successful and that meant the order could go in on Friday for a set of heavy duty, mobile goals. These retail at around £3000 for the set but with some negotiating on Mrs Granger’s part and some additional match-funding through the Friends, it meant we didn’t have to spend a penny ourselves. Miss Gooderham is VERY excited!

Another grant we were lucky enough to get was a free football kit thanks to the Premier League. Can I point out, that any resemblance to the Manchester City women’s kit is simply a coincidence!

I love the colour of our latest new kit

My assembly on Monday was a little bit like an Achievers’ Assembly in that we wanted to celebrate recent successes. I presented a Headteacher’s Commendation to Leo (Year 5) for his charity work supporting Great Ormond Street Hospital. He loves swimming and used this passion to set up a sponsored event completely off his own back. I believe his current total is just under £500.

We’re proud of you, Leo!

We celebrated George (Year 6) and his dog Jasmine who came first at Crufts last weekend. This also got a mention in Friday’s assembly when his sister Isabella (Year 4) brought in her rosettes from Crufts’ success. It is a thing now that once presented, she will proudly wear them on her jumper in various places throughout the whole day.

In Miss Gooderham’s absence, we also drew the names out of a hat for those pupils who have been successful in gaining a place in this year’s London Marathon, child’s race. It was very popular and we are already planning to ask for more spaces in 2025. All those who expressed an interest but weren’t successful this time are on the reserve list.

Many of you will know that I do have a genuine ‘open door’ policy as much as possible. This was the case on Monday where I had an impromptu visit from a grandparent of a Year 6 pupil. She was dropping something off at the office but also took the opportunity to pop in and say some lovely things about the school. I will always make time for this sort of feedback. A little later, it was the turn of a Year 4 pupil to come and take a seat. Jude wanted to share with me some work he had been doing at home, off his own back, about Julius Caesar. A Headteacher’s Award was definitely deserved.

Jude sharing his work with me

There was a netball match after school which I managed to watch (most of). The team played very well and it was a resounding victory. An important lesson was also learned on the part of our players who were treated to some ‘extra strict’ umpiring and handled it very well indeed. 

A serioulsy great win!

I referenced the weather in this week’s Spring Term Update and on Tuesday morning, it was particularly grim. It was wet, it was cold and rightly so, Miss Gooderham made the decision to postpone the Wix Cup final. There was no way we could have evicted the ducks who were enjoying the puddles in the goalmouths quickly enough.

Once I had dried out after being on the playground, I headed up to Kingshott School (thanks to my chauffeur, Mrs Lanni) to meet with their headteacher, Mr Weston. This meeting was first planned at the beginning of 2020 and for obvious reasons was cancelled. Other barriers have prevented it taking place until this week. It was a lovely couple of hours where we chatted about the challenges of the role in two different settings and also had a tour of the school. Kingshott is one of our closest neighbours and as such, there is definitely more we should look to collaborate on.

Talking of colaboration, there it is to see in Year 3

The first batch of batteries were collected this week. Mr Lord and his able assistants have counted thousands and thousands and these have now gone off to be recycled. We are still collecting and counting but have now been provided with the containers they should go off in. It was quite a challenge – in the rain – to transfer them over from our giant wheelie bin.

15000 and counting

I handed out a few other Headteacher’s Awards this week to Will and Dimitris (Year 5) for their extended writing. Riley (Year 5) also got one for some of his English work. Sophie and Lottie (Year 5s) were sent by Mrs Bailey for their amazing fables. English is flourishing in Year 5!

Wednesday morning saw me meet with Mrs Granger, my Finance Manager, for the first of this year’s budget discussions. Balancing the books has become increasingly more challenging, particularly when we want to continue to provide the same level of support and the range of opportunities for all our pupils. To give you just one example, a colleague of mine has to budget for an increase in his energy bills of 300% this year. That is quite an uplift!

The new displays in our main corridor have been going up all week. They do look good and I can’t wait for you to see them when you are next able to visit. We have an open afternoon on 25th March if you are free. If not, I am sure there will be other times. Please note that date, as there was a slight error in this week’s update when I said the Monday was the 26th. The open afternoon is definitely Monday 25th March.

As I was working late in school on Wednesday, I decided that I could have an hour or so at Hitchin Girls’ School to watch Year 5 and Year 6 work with their sports leaders, as I did last week with lower school. I am always so proud of our pupils when they are offsite, seeing the outstanding way they conduct themselves. I even managed to get another coffee with the whole family, as Mr Mills Jnr was there with Wilde Class.

Mr Mills Jnr checking out his mum’s office at HGS

We had a badminton outing after school with lower school pupils taking part in Badminton England event at Knights Templar School. Again amazing attitude displayed and great fun had by all.

Thursday was an exceptionally busy day, once I had answered the million questions from Year 3s who saw me on the playground not in a suit. I might need to hire a few of them to be my fashion advisers.

Main activity of note was the freeing of a pigeon who had become wedged and scared between the two fences and brambles along the back of the school. Great effort from Mrs Lomas and Mr Waluk in assisting me and I am pleased to report that it lived! Our hands on the other hand, are ripped to shreds!

Those brambles were quite sharp!

Less interesting were the NAHT and governors meetings I had that afternoon and evening. (No offence governors) Throw into the mix a trip into London to escort the ‘blog moaner’ back from UCH. I told you it was busy.

I saw some of the football match against Pirton after school and had the final score confirmed by Miss Gooderham. Well done to the boys for another good performance.

Friday was our Easter egg non-uniform day and so a huge thanks for all your support with this. The actual tombola is next Friday.

Mrs Dorrell, one of our governors joined me for Achievers’ Assembly and then spent some time looking around the school and chatting with some pupils.

The weekly awards were handed out as follows: Aztec won Class of the Week; Air won the House Cup again and Voyager won the Wombles.

We celebrated some Gold scouting awards for Alex, Luna, Roque and Santi (Year 3) as well as a couple of rugby medals for Josh (Year 5) and Luna (Year 3) from a recent Hitchin Hedgehogs festival. The music this week was provided by Kieran (Year 5) on the piano with Cecily and Poppy (Year 4) singing for us.

Friday’s musicians

Looking ahead, we have both the National Trampoline Finals on Saturday as well as the end of season football rally for our girls. Thank you to the staff who will be giving up yet another weekend to provide opportunities for our pupils.

Other events to look forward to next week include Bikeability training for many of our Year 5 pupils. We also have a visit from our Local Authority adviser on Monday.

The artwork in Year 5 is seriously impressive

On the sports front we have the rearranged Wix Cup final on Tuesday after school and then another football rally for one of our boys’ teams on Thursday. Believe it or not, there is a cricket match in the diary at the same time, away at Purwell. There is also a Y4 festival and a netball match on Friday.

The other key event is the school discos organised by our Friends’ Association on Wednesday evening. Tickets available in the usual way.

Having written what I did in the opening paragraph, I have clearly failed but as I stated then, I can’t help it if staff and pupils are amazing!

Have a great weekend.

Best wishes,

Steve Mills

The freed bird, who lived to tell the tale.

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