Continue to Impress

This week’s blog starts last Saturday morning, when I joined Miss Gooderham and one of our football teams at the early season festival hosted at Wilshere Dacre School. I haven’t been able to make the last few due to other commitments and so it was great to be able to get there this year. It also got me out of the Tesco delivery, so I am extra grateful!

I was really impressed with the team’s attitude and performances and the set of results of three wins, two draws and just the one defeat augurs well for the rest of the season. Huge thank you to the parents who came along and supported the team, providing wonderful encouragement throughout.

A great start to the season

Following on from my cricketing compliment from a certain Year 5 pupil last week, I would like to point out to him that I was active again, this time picking up my whistle to referee a game. And yes, I did keep up with play. It was great to referee again as it was something I used to do quite often. Interestingly, I was fourth official at an England Under 18 international a good few years ago, when a parent of one of our new Year 3s was in the England Team. I showed Kai the programme; I think he was impressed.

This week has been another week of ‘start of the year admin’ for me and I have been quite productive. It is important I don’t get stuck in my office however and so I do make a point of going for a wander and seeing what the pupils are getting up to.

Some parachute games in Year 3 this week

On Tuesday morning, I visited Hitchin Girls’ School in my capacity as a trustee. I was carrying out a link visit with the PE department and had a lovely morning chatting with Mrs Gales – Head of PE – whilst getting to see a couple of lessons taking place. Both lessons had former Whitehill pupils participating but it was particularly good to see 7C’s dance lesson with Bella, Isla and Alexia.

Judging by the noise, they were having great fun!

Year 5 have continued to impress and have definitely caught my attention since the start of term. So much so, that Voyager Class were Class of the Week last week and this week, that trophy remained upstairs and went to Apollo Class. I was particularly blown away by the collaborative approach to the start of their Keith Haring artwork project where they produced some wonderful information boards and had a go at using his inspiration to create their own images.

Year 5 have made a dream start to the year

Mr Brunton was also particularly impressed with both Year 5 classes as they started their flute and clarinet lessons. We are doing it slightly differently this year and mixing the two classes to have all the flutes together for one lesson and then the clarinets for the next. When they are not doing music, they are doing PE with Mr Lord. After a morning of targeted teaching, Wednesday has more of a secondary school structure where the pupils are in different rooms with different teachers. They say variety is the spice of life!

Mr Brunton showing the Year 5s how it’s done

You have to look up too when entering Voyager Class to see their whole class Kenning based poem, introducing you to every member of the class.

I handed out a few Headteacher’s Awards to Year 6 this week too, with Solomon, Chloe, Millie F and Tanveer all receiving one for their persuasive letters.

I do love receiving and hearing good news stories or great feedback. For example, one of our teachers came into my office this week after school to tell me that they had had the sort of day which made them say, ‘this is why I came into teaching’. I am so lucky to have such enthusiastic staff at Whitehill and I never take it for granted and to hear that sort of comment, gives me the sort of ‘that’s why I do my job’ feeling too.

I was in a three-hour NAHT briefing on Thursday morning and so made a concerted effort to visit classes on Thursday afternoon, even though this was interrupted by a call from the DfE and a follow up ‘zoom’. I saw some lovely clay work in Kahlo Class, including Mr Wells’s sculpture making wonderful use of negative space. I also thought Ava-Lily’s and Alex’s were particularly effective.

I did pop outside to see some of Year 3 and Year 4’s PE lesson but as the rain came, I decided that I must have had something else more pressing to do!

The maths has started in earnest in Year 3

Unfortunately, circumstances beyond our control meant that my visit to London with Mrs McConnell Smith had to be postponed. The upside of this was that I was then able to lead Achievers’ Assembly.

We started our live music this week and were entertained by Aidan (Year 6) who played his flute. He was so impressive and played a range of pieces from modern film scores to more traditional baroque music. And as they always say, if it’s not baroque, don’t fix it! (I’m here all week!)

As I said earlier, Apollo won Class of the Week and the other two trophies were given to Fire who were House of the Week and Voyager who were awarded the Wombles. I also handed out the first set of running club certificates to a group of pupils who have already completed 5km. Tommy (Year 4) has already told me he wants to beat his total form last year which was well in excess of 70km if my memory serves me correctly.

Straight after Achievers, the change in plans also meant I could attend our local Hitchin Heads consortium meeting. It is quite scary to think that, after four retirements across the town last July, I am now one of the longest serving headteachers in the group. You would think by now I would know what I was doing! (Smile and wave… smile and wave!)

And in Year 4!

After the boys’ football last weekend, tomorrow it is the turn of the girls to get their season underway. If my wife allows me to avoid the shopping again, I will try to pop along to watch.

Looking further ahead into next week, we start quietly with nothing too significant to take us away from our core purpose. We do have our first governors’ meeting of the year on Wednesday evening; one full of procedure to set up the rest of the year.

As per my recent update letter, we have a Local Authority representative in school on Thursday working with me, some other members of staff and some pupils, on a project linked with how schools support families in these increasingly more challenging times.

We have a football match away at Highover on Thursday after school and then on Friday morning, our Friends’ Association are holding their AGM starting at 9.00am at Highbury Infants. It is in my diary and so I plan to be there to share Whitehill’s plans for how we use the money raised. I hope you will be able to join us.

That is it for another week. I hope you all have a great weekend.

Best wishes,

Steve Mills

I was so impressed with the work this week produced by the Year 5s






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