Do Forgive Me!

Thank you so much for the emails and kind words on the playground in relation to our Ofsted report which I shared with you all last Friday. As I mentioned at the time it is a team effort – our amazing #TeamWhitehill – and reflects a great deal of hard work on all fronts. We must remember, however, that that is now history and we will continue with our school improvement work with confidence.

The events of the weekend in terms of the coronation meant that we have once again been dealt a four-day week. Four days which have seen the Year 6s sit their SATs. The pupils have all done their very best, I am sure, and can now relax and enjoy their last nine weeks at Whitehill.

Some of you may have seen comments and articles relating to this year’s tests online and in the media. There have been suggestions that they were particularly tough and that the reading texts were uninspiring. Only time will tell what impact this will have but it is certainly something that none of our pupils should worry about. Every Year 6 sat the same tests and will be in the same boat.

I’m not going to comment on that myself but I will share my thoughts on one aspect of the week which I wish you could see.

The level of bureaucracy surrounding the administration of these end of Key Stage tests is simply ridiculous. The way the papers need to be handled; the different colour bags the completed scripts get placed in; the form filling; the permission seeking… I could go on. We had a governor join us on Thursday morning to see the processes in action and she couldn’t believe it. One would think that these tests and the outcomes are actually worth ‘millions’ the way they are guarded, not just a progress check at a midpoint in a child’s education.

Anyway, having made sure the clear bags and the clear bag with a green stripe were placed in the white bag with the white and black envelope, all papers were collected (under armed guard – ok, not quite armed guard) and I signed my life away to say that the 50 page administration guide was followed to the letter! Priorities!

My goodness… I’m starting to sound like my dad with all this moaning! Do forgive me!

There’s been far more to the week than these tests. Of course there has; this is Whitehill.


We had a special visitor on Tuesday take a tour of the school and sign a lot of autographs. Ben Wilmot, Stoke City FC’s player of the season came in to say hello. Ben is a local lad who I taught as a Year 5 and Year 6 and whose career I’ve followed with interest. Having been back home after Stoke’s game with Watford on Monday, he had a couple of hours to spare to come and say ‘hello’. He was so generous with his time and I wonder which of our current pupils he’s inspired to go all the way themselves? I wonder if we have a future professional amongst our current cohorts who will return to sign autographs themselves in ten years or so?

Yahya meeting Ben Wilmot

I have had a great time in Year 3 this week as they have been making ocarinas out of clay. I have visited both classes but based myself in Mayan class. As well as helping the pupils with this complex make, I have had a go at making my own and was exceptionally proud and excited (just ask every other class, as I showed anyone who would listen) that it actually made a sound! I made a (one note) musical instrument! A special thanks to Autumn and Zofia whose tables I joined at different times and who gave me guidance and encouragement.

I wasn’t allowed to help unless I wore an apron!

There was a whole class Headteacher’s Award for Orville Class this week for their amazing progress in times tables knowledge. It was presented to them at the same time our new ‘selfie board’ arrived and so of course, we had to try it out! Look out for this appearing at school events and please feel free to use it. Just remember to tag us into any photos you share.

Our new ‘selfie’ frame

We have also been given a special backboard to use as well for more formal photos or videos. It’s just like the ones they use when interviewing footballers after a match. I think it will get used in Achievers’ assembly for sure.

Nevaeh shows off her wonderful work from sewing club (but do look at the background too!)

There was also a class award for Apollo this week for some wonderful extended writing. Solomon brought me his to share and it was certainly creative although the idea of an alarm clock with a taser scares me slightly!

My head is full at the moment with ‘stuff’! It’s that time of the year where lots of decisions have to be made and where plans are formulated for next year. Budgets are set; staffing structures planned and meetings are attended. Getting into the classes is a way of allowing me to park these ‘thoughts’ for a while and share in the fun part of school – pupils learning.

Our only planned sports fixture was cancelled due to the weather and where we often end up regretting the decision as the sun comes out, the thunder, lightning and rain on Tuesday showed it was the right decision this time around.

Clay has been great fun this week

Although we did cancel most of our assemblies this week, we still found time for Achievers.

There were a few awards brought in from home including a new PB for Kieran in his weekly Park Run. The regular awards were also handed out and it goes without saying that Class of the Week had to go to Year 6 as a collective group for ‘smashing’ this week’s tests. The Wombles also headed into Year 6 with Wilde Class and the House Cup went to Water.

For the first time in what feels like ages, we have a five-day week next week.

Freddie (Year 3) celebrated his great report from Luton Town in Achievers’ Assembly. I wonder if he will come back to sign autographs?

On Monday the Year 5s have their K’Nex challenge to enjoy.

Tuesday and Thursday next week will see teams take part in cricket competitions. Also on Thursday our hockey team will take part in the county finals which is very exciting.

On Wednesday, there are a few inter-house events for pupils to enjoy and interspersed between all of these, I seem to have a considerable number meetings. Some of these actually appear to be ‘real’ too.

Right, I need to go and check there are no rogue plastic bags, in whatever colour, which have failed to have been triple sealed, signed in blood and sent away! Fingers crossed.

Have a great weekend.

Best wishes,

Steve Mills

Or perhaps it will be his brother?!

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