An Official Opening

We are certainly full steam ahead now and the fact that the letter came home at the beginning of the week inviting you to book a consultation evening appointment, we are heading ridiculously quickly towards half term. How did that happen? If you do have any issues with booking your appointment, please do get in touch with the school office and we can get you sorted.

Seb (Year 6) received a Headteacher’s Award for this wonderful piece of Henry Moore inspired artwork.

Wet play and wet lunch are a nightmare for any school. I was grateful therefore, that on Monday, the rain did stay away until much later in the day. It was touch and go for our first netball match of the year but the decision was made that we could get the matches underway. As promised in last week’s blog, I did get out and was impressed with the way both teams played. Aidan and Jacob (Year 6s) scored a bucket load of goals (their words) in their match and Arthur (Year 6) and Albie (Year 5) were in fine form too. I can see why we have asked for a couple of boys’ matches this year as well as the usual mixed teams.

Unfortunately, just as we were about to start the fourth quarters (winning both games), there was lightning in the area and so Mrs Bryan made the correct decision and called a halt to the matches.

Given the very sad news I read later that evening about the pupil in Hertford who was struck by lightning whilst representing his school, it was disappointing that some parents from the school we were playing felt the need to question Mrs Bryan’s decision to stop when she did. I don’t usually reference this type of incident in my blogs, preferring to keep them upbeat and a celebration. That being said, I am hearing more and more of teachers’ decisions being challenged or referees at school sport events being questioned, that I think it is worth reflecting upon here.

Thank you to all of our parents who were supporting our two teams on Monday without question and who regularly give up their time, as our teachers do, for an afternoon of fun school sport.

It goes without saying that we all wish the Hertfordshire pupil all the very best after this awful incident.

Just before I met with the Junior Leadership Team on Tuesday morning, we had our first bit of ‘official business’ to attend to. We decided that we would treat Mr Waluk to an official opening of his bench and the little area he has been working on at the front of the school. In the warm autumn weather, it was the perfect spot for a cup of coffee in between meetings for me.

The JLT witness the official opening of the bench!

There was a large convoy of parents helping to transport pupils to an upper school rugby festival on Tuesday morning. Again, thank you for your support. I wasn’t able to attend any of this festival and so kept up to speed through text messages with Miss Gooderham. All three teams played very well indeed by all accounts, although the actual scores were not kept given the fact that it was a festival. Miss Gooderham was also keen to praise the sports leaders from Knights Templar School who refereed the fixtures. We were also extremely lucky to have the President of Herts Rugby Union (and grandfather of Lottie (Year 4)), Mr Bonnett looking after one of our teams.

Joseph about to score!

We were back at Letchworth Rugby Club on Thursday with our lower school teams. Mr Bonnett was back too, as Lottie was in one of the teams. It was another very successful event and Miss Gooderham was full of praise for the way the pupils played and also progressed throughout the day. I am especially pleased that we had some Year 3s representing the school, despite only being at Whitehill for 24 days. I think Seb had been looking forward to this moment since Year 1 at Highbury!

Great fun at the lower school festival

I was able to escape from my office after school on Wednesday to watch some of the football fixture against St Ippolyts. I arrived at half time with the score at 0-0 and enjoyed the entire second half even though certain Cookie Club attendees were doing their best to distract me! Evie (Year 6) scored a great goal and Whitehill certainly had the lion’s share of possession. Abigail (Year 6) almost scored what would have been a contender for goal of the season to win the game after St Ippolyts equalised but it flew just over the bar. The final score remained 1-1.

Half time team talk from Miss G

On Thursday, I took a day away from my ‘to do’ list and welcomed David Maddison to Whitehill. David is a headteacher from Nottinghamshire and someone I have known for many years. Initially he was a fellow PE teacher who I would meet at the national lacrosse finals where our two schools would regularly compete. More recently, he is someone who I try to meet annually to talk through all things ‘headship’.

Covid put pay to regular meetings but we have stayed in touch. I was delighted, therefore, that we were able to find a date in both our diaries where we could meet in person again. Like Whitehill, David’s schools would start with ‘why’ and have a very similar ethos.

It was lovely to be able to catch up on the current educational challenges as well as ‘walk and talk’ and visit some of our classrooms. It was the first real opportunity for some of our pupils to act as class reps and talk with a visitor about their work and their class. All of the reps did very well with their first visitor of the year but David was particularly impressed with Violet (Year3) who he commented, ‘was simply incredible’. I mentioned our mutual love of sport and so it was great to find some time to see some of the rugby in the afternoon.

Edie won a sports award in assembly for her performance at the festival

I was back leading our achievers’ assembly this week and took great delight in presenting our usual awards. Mayan won Class of the Week; Air won the House Cup and Orville took delivery of the Wombles.

A lovely way to start our assembly

The music this week was provided by Stephanie, Nandi and Libby (Year 6). Stephanie sang at the start of the assembly and then Nandi sang, accompanied by Libby on the clarinet at the end. They all did so well.

A beautiful duet

Break time was insightful again as six more Year 3s came and ate biscuits, drank some hot chocolate and tell me about their start to life at Whitehill. These little informal meetings really are enjoyable and actually can have an impact upon school policy decisions. I made quite a few notes this week as Freya gave me some ideas for school improvement.

After school today, I am hoping to pop outside and watch some more football as one of our teams play against Ickleford. I will let you know how they get on in next week’s blog.

Looking at the diary for next week, Miss Gooderham and Miss King are going to be busy. There are fixtures after school on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Next week’s celebration assembly could be quite long. Phase are in to work with Year 6 on Monday afternoon at the same time that a local artist is visiting to spend some time working with Year 5.

It looks like a busy and exciting week for Year 3. On Tuesday, they have their first opportunity to look at the Christmas production (apologies for mentioning the ‘C’ word in October). Then on Wednesday, they are out of school again, this time visiting Hitchin Library and museum.

Not quite sure what was happening here… but it looks like great fun!

I am out of school on Thursday afternoon visiting Hitchin Girls’ School and spending some time in the music department in my role as link trustee. I wonder which former pupils I will spot this time.

That is it for another week. Hope you all enjoy the weekend, especially as the weather looks like it is going to be very kind.

Best wishes,

Steve Mills

Sitting, enjoying a coffee, reflecting on the week.



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