Don’t forget the clocks!

Last Saturday, we had several teams competing on the sporting front in very contrasting conditions. In the morning, Miss Gooderham took a girls’ football team to take part in the end of season tournament at Wilshere Dacre School. I often make reference to the fact that there is ‘no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing’. On Saturday, I may have been proved wrong. Despite the torrential downpours, it didn’t stop the team have a great morning. A huge thanks to the band of very loyal parents who braved the elements to show their support.

Despite the weather, it was a great morning

Later in the day, Mr Lord was with two of our trampoline teams in Northampton for the National Finals. The team included a couple of the footballers from earlier and I have no doubt the parents appreciated the fact that this is a much drier spectator sport. As always there were some great individual performances which resulted in one of our teams finishing fourth and the other fifth. Mr Lord was really impressed with all of our gymnasts and was keen to highlight the difference in score between the top five schools was so small.

I am very proud of the PE at Whitehill. Recently, the government announced that it was continuing its Sports Premium funding for schools for a further two years. This isn’t a luxury, it is an essential part of our funding each year; it allows us to deliver such a rich and varied program for our pupils. One of the requirements for schools will be the delivery of two hours curriculum PE a week. I am delighted that because of our two-weekly timetable, our offer for all pupils is 2½ hours on average per week. We then add an incredible extra-curricular programme on top of this which sees some pupils at least doubling this provision.

Playing in a team and representing your school is such a great life skill and Miss Gooderham has worked hard to increase the number of pupils who can wear that school kit. As it stands, 62% of pupils have done this at some point this academic year and we still have just over one term to go. This was rightly applauded by the governors at last week’s meeting.

My Monday themed assemblies continued this week when our Mighty Mediators spoke to the school about the work they do at break and lunch and reinforced the idea of ‘getting on’ and ‘being kind’. I will continue with this next week as well to ensure the message gets home.

Huge thanks to Emily’s mum who came in to speak to WIlde Class this week

Year 6 welcomed Phase back into school on Monday afternoon for another one of their workshops and as always, it was very well received.

Although my diary has looked slightly less manic than in previous weeks, I have been involved in some quite lengthy meetings which has meant that I have not been able to get into as many classes as I would have liked; or as I would usually do. The teachers are probably quite grateful.

Captivated by each other’s work

I actually went to a meeting which was held in person on Monday. It is the first time I have ventured over to Farnham House – part of the local authority’s collection of venues – for just over three years and it was quite strange. Firstly, there were actually parking spaces and secondly, they had closed the coffee shop! It took me about 15 minutes to work out how to use the machine and even then I ended up with a completely different drink to the one I had expected.

Talking of drinks, I was extremely grateful for the lovely gift I received at the beginning of the week. I have been presented with a mug which will now keep my morning coffee hot whilst I do playground duty before school. Huge tanks to the Spier family who have recognised my problem and realised I traditionally ended up throwing the majority of it away.

I love my mug!

With various House events happening in the coming days, the pupils split up on Wednesday morning and held House assemblies. There was a great deal of enthusiasm coming from the four bases with certain House songs being practised vociferously. Let’s see if the motivational speeches work.

Huge thank you to Mr Denney who joined photography club in my absence this week. The pupils were doing some photography using the light stick and I really can’t wait to see some of the results. I, on the other hand, was at an NAHT meeting in St Albans – another real life meeting!

I was back in the land of Zoom on Thursday with several online discussions. The first was really exciting and I can’t wait for it to come to fruition. Occasionally, I receive a ‘cold-call’ email which resonates or makes me pause and think. About two weeks ago one such email landed, and after the two follow-up emails (he was certainly persistent) I decided to explore. Today, I signed on the dotted line and by the time we return after Easter there should be a new addition to our website!

Year 5 mathematicians getting ready for the finals of the maths challenge

The weather is still not being kind and we have had another week of disrupted events. Spring wants to make an appearance, I am sure, as when the sun is out, it has certainly warmed up. We just need it to stay out longer. Of course, the downside of the warmer weather are the number of left jumpers we have around the playground. Advance warning for you all – please check they are all named!

I saw some great work on Thursday. Several Year 4s were sent to me from Orville Class with some wonderful English work based on the Iron Man. I had a great discussion with two groups of pupils from Voyager Class who had been looking at contour lines in geography and had recreated several physical features out of Lego. In addition, three pupils from Wilde Class brought their extended writing books to show me the work they had been doing. It’s all very impressive!

Benny was a recipient of a Headteacher’s Award his week

On Friday we had a non-uniform day in support of our Friends’ Association. Thank you for your support of the great work our committee are doing. I’ve mentioned previously a link between the Friends’ Association and a local estate agents and over the last few days the finishing touches are being put towards a competition for pupils at Whitehill and also Highbury. Look out for details in the coming days as the prizes are definitely worth winning.

My diary at 9.00am showed three events. The question was which took priority? I can happily report that it was Achievers’ Assembly as we did some moving around (cancelling) of some of the others.

Our music for Achievers’ Assembly this week was provided by Liam (Year 6) who played the guitar as the pupils came in. I often hear him practise and am always impressed with how well he plays. Lottie (Year 4) played the piano for us at the end of the assembly.

Liam entertaining on the guitar

We presented a few different certificates including some from St Chris’s School after the Recycled Fashion Show a few weeks ago.

The regular awards were given out as follows: Lamarr won Class of the Week; Earth won the House Cup and the Wombles are going to be spending the week in Mayan.

Lottie is a talented pianist

Tomorrow, Leo (Year 6) is competing in the national cross country finals for the second year running. He did very well last year representing Hertfordshire and we have everything crossed he will have another successful trip.

On Monday morning, I have no doubt that Mr Waluk will have me up the ladder changing the school clock as we spring forward into British Summer Time.

That afternoon, we have the school open afternoon. This is an informal opportunity to look around the school and see your child’s work and displays in advance of the consultation evenings. I appreciate the timings are not great for all of you but I hope many of you will be able to pop in at some point.

A viscosity experiment in Year 4

There are several inter-school and inter-house sporting events next week which will hopefully go ahead (one eye on the weather, of course). Lamarr Class have their assembly on Tuesday afternoon and I have quite a few real life and zoom-based meetings to attend.

Looking at how busy the diary looks, we will be ready for 1.30pm on Friday when we finish for Easter. Two thirds of the way through the year!

I think that is it for this week.

Have a great weekend.

Best wishes,

Steve Mills



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