An Excellent Extravaganza

I have had another very enjoyable and exceptionally full week which has involved classroom visits; visits to different schools; online meetings; in person meetings and another collection of pupil reports to read. The pupils have been equally as busy with two year groups venturing out and about.

Monday was reasonably quiet and it enabled me to spend the afternoon working with Year 4 and seeing what the pupils of Orville Class were getting up to in their design and technology lessons. They were finishing off their designs for their pop-up toys before they start making them next week. I had some very technical conversations about cams and followers, with Theo’s design catching my eye. He had really thought about his idea. I must try and find time to revisit and see how they toys end up.

Theo had some great ideas for his moving toy

I was presented with a wonderful book to look at this week by Mrs Vernon. I have mentioned in these blogs, and you may have seen on social media, the wonderful poetry project Mrs Vernon ran and how many of the recipients sent letters back in. She has now collated the poems and the letters into a book for others to enjoy. The final entry was a hand-written card (pictured below) with a poem. It also contained some money for us to buy another poetry book for our library. It really has been an inspirational project.

A lovely card to receive in the post

Having received the news at 5.00pm on Monday that Mrs McConnell Smith had been ‘released’ from her jury service, it was all systems go for the SLT away-day to Nottingham on Tuesday.

It was an early start with tickets purchased for the 6.36am train to Newark North Gate (Nottinghamshire). We were all on time and as the advance party, I handed out the coffee as Mrs McConnell Smith and Mrs Burniston arrived. The train was on time as we also spied the Whitehill parent as he got on a different carriage.

An early morning caffeine fix

The day was really productive. We used the time on the train to work through an agenda we had devised and then whilst in Nottingham, we visited three schools. Each school belonged to the same MAT and therefore had the same core values. The schools were of course picked because their values were very similar to ours. It was fascinating to see how they delivered the curriculum; how they coped with the challenges that all schools face at the moment and also what the pupils got up to.

A popular mode of transport in the coming weeks

Some of the best INSET you can have is getting out to other schools and seeing what other professionals do. We hope to be able to reciprocate and have the heads of school we chatted to come to Hitchin in the new year.

We have had two cricket matches this week (definitely two-sweater games) and results have been shared. A loss against Ickleford on Tuesday and a win on Wednesday against Weston.

Having enjoyed the comfort of a train journey on Tuesday, it was the turn of the Year 3s to use this mode of transport for their trip to Shepreth on Wednesday. Altered timetables did impact the return journey but that didn’t spoil the day and only meant a 10-minute delay returning back at school. The feedback from the staff was exceptionally positive and there were some great photos on our social media page of the pupils having a lovely time. That being said, as can be seen below, I think Bailey was a little dubious as to the ‘friendly’ rabbit’s intentions! Perhaps he had carrots in his packed lunch.

Carrots for lunch?

The main event of Thursday was our Junior Leadership Team’s ‘Extravaganza’. Over the past few weeks, pupils have put themselves forward in their year groups and ‘performed’ for their peers. 19 acts were then chosen to perform in front of the whole school and their parents.

It was a fun afternoon with Jemma, Milly, Libby and George (the JLT) acting as hosts and presenting certificates and rosettes to each performer. We had gymnasts, musicians, singers, comedians and even a ‘flag-tastic’ knowledge display with Zofia (Year 4) identifying over 100 countries from their flags.

Our opening act of the afternoon

As well as providing an afternoon’s entertainment, the combined non-uniform day also raised £200 to put towards this year’s charity pot. We will combine this with the Year 3 and Year 6 production collections and make a donation at the end of the year.

Our ‘Extravaganza’ performers

The Year 6s were all out on Friday at an Olympic Legacy Day at Knights Templar School. The pupils are split into teams and allocated a sport to take part in and compete against other Sports Partnership schools. At the time of this blog going live, I am not aware of the results but as long as they have had a fun day, that is all that matters.

Year 6s being out meant that it was a slightly smaller crowd for our Achievers’ Assembly. That being said, we still had things to celebrate including Apollo Class who ‘did the double’, winning Class of the Week and the Wombles. Earth won the House Cup.

Although he didn’t get a mention in Achievers’ Assembly today (we will save that), I would like to say a huge congratulation to Leo (Year 5) who has been selected to represent the Herts Schools’ Swim Team in a gala next weekend. We wish him all the very best and look forward to hearing how he gets on.

Year 3s had a lovely time

Thinking ahead to next week, I have been invited on the Year 5 trip to Tate Modern on Monday which should be good fun. Given its proximity to Blackfriars, we shall be getting the train, rather than sitting on a coach for several hours, to make the most of our day.

On Tuesday we have our Upper School interhouse hockey competition before a cricket fixture after school at home to Ickleford.

We have another cricket fixture away at Purwell on Wednesday afternoon and then a golf event for some Lower School pupils on Thursday.

Our Year 6 pupils are on a geography fieldtrip on Thursday and will be joined by Mr Lord as they carry out a river study. Once again, train will be the chosen method of transport to take us to our starting point.

I am away from school on Thursday and Friday next week as I head up to Liverpool for two days of NAHT work. With the general election not too far away now, the various manifestos are bound to feature in the two days of meetings. Fortunately, that is the last ‘away-day’ of the academic year, allowing me to focus fully on what is happening in school.

The weather is still awful but I am led to believe that we might actually get some more summer-like weather towards the end of next week. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Have a good weekend.

Best wishes,

Steve Mills

Ellis entertained us on his baritone at the extravaganza and also in Achievers





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