End of term… or is it?

So, I would usually start this blog with some reference to ‘having made it to the end of another term’ but school timing seems to be irrelevant at the moment. That being said, I still wanted to write a blog to try and maintain some normality and, as with last week, draw together some of the great things going on at home.

This week, I have added a second tab on the homepage of the school website to begin to collate resources which might be of use for your home-learning opportunities. There is an eclectic mix which covers a range of areas from specific subjects to wellbeing. Over time, and I suspect we might have quite a bit of this, class teachers will also add specific resources or links relevant to their pupils. I will try and highlight when there is something new. I have also added a few updates under the initial COVID-19 page and will continue to do so, so you have a one-stop shop for key school information. If there is something specific you would like to know or see, or have any other feedback, please do comment in the box at the bottom of this blog or email us at consult@whitehill.herts.sch.uk.

Week two in school has been manned by Team B. Mrs Beresford took over from me and Mr Lord, Mrs Bowers and Mrs Draper were the teaching staff on duty. Numbers of pupils were down slightly on last week but I have made a commitment that regardless of numbers, if there is a key worker who needs childcare provision during this lockdown, then we will do our best to support. This includes over the next two weeks when officially we would be on our Easter break. I am pleased that Herts Catering have also made the commitment to support pupils and staff in school over these two weeks.

One development over the last couple of days which we are now working on, is the provision of free school meal vouchers to those families who need them. It has taken a while for the government to sort this but we are almost there and we hope to be able to email out supermarket vouchers to our eligible families in time for the start of the summer term (week commencing 20th April).

So, let’s reflect upon week two of our home-learning experiences and opportunities. I have once again been impressed with the posts on twitter and have also enjoyed (and been impressed with) the feedback the class teachers have been giving me about the responses you have been posting on the class learning platforms in relation to the tasks which have been set. Speaking to teachers, they are clearly missing their classes and therefore don’t be surprised if they give you a call in the coming days to make sure you are all OK.

As I mentioned last week, these first few weeks should be used to find our feet and get to grips with this new way of working. Many have engaged with the home-learning packs but this has not been a priority. Many have also been showing off a complete new set of skills they have been learning and I have enjoyed following the learning taking place.

Cookery lessons have continued over the course of the week, with banana loaf being a popular option. I was interested in the decision-making processes around baking tin shapes which basically ended up being, ‘it’s all we had!’ The ‘chicken whisperer’, Monty (Year 5) was one to get involved, no doubt using home farmed eggs. James (Year 5) was also busy in the kitchen making cookies and lemon drizzle cake. We were so inspired by the latter that my daughter and I will spend some time in the kitchen in the coming days to see what we can knock up. I’ll post our results.

Mya (Year 4) produced an amazing ‘hamburger’ cake based on a very detailed plan which would not have looked out of place on Great British Bake-off. Other pupils who have been showing off their new-found skills include Charlie (Yr3), Freddie B (Yr3), Sophie (Yr3), Eoin (Yr3), Archie (Yr4), Leo (Yr5), Adam (Yr5), Freddie B (Yr6), Archie (Yr6) and Freya (Yr6). (Please accept my apologies if I have missed anyone – your tweets come through thick and fast!)

Mya’s Burger Cake

 Ethan (Year 3) with the support of his sister, Lottie, has not only been practising his new-found cookery skills but has been joining the social media trend of posting videos to support others. This week, his focus has been on supporting Year 13s from Hitchin Girls’ School who may be off to university in September and might need to fend for themselves!

Freddie B (Year 4) has been focussing on savoury rather than sweet and has had impressive results with chilli, toad in the hole and pesto bread.

Freddie’s savoury treats

In terms of life-skills, Lewis (Year 4) needs a special mention this week. Not only has he joined in with the baking of a banana loaf (I made some banana soufflés!), but he has learned some hairdressing skills and become a make-up artist… with varying levels of success! Well done, Lewis. Chantelle (Year 4) has also tried her hand at make-up and her dad looked lovely!

On the music front this week, we have had some particularly pleasing exam success news. Livvy (Year 6), who posted a film of herself playing the flute, found out she has passed her grade 2 with merit. Lena (Year 5) also passed grade 2 flute with merit. Jonathan (Year 6) has passed his grade 1 saxophone with distinction. Well done to all three.

For our families in Year 5, Mr Brunton, who teaches our woodwind lessons, has posted two videos online in the absence of this year’s woodwind assembly. They are great fun and highlight all the work the pupils in Voyager and Apollo have been doing. Even if you are not connected with these classes, I would urge you to have a look:

Virtual Woodwind Assembly

On the sporting front, we saw twins, Megan and Lyla (Year 5), perfecting their three-legged race technique just in case we do get to return before sports day. I do have a theory that twins always do the best in this event although they did concede that fellow Year 5s, Stanley and Fred, would still probably win! Many have been joining in with Joe Wicks again this week, just as our key worker pupils did in school with Mrs Beresford and Mr Lord. Isla (Year 3) has set a separate challenge and I am yet to find anyone, including Mr Mills Junior, who can do it. Take a look on twitter – it’s impossible!

All of the above are worthy of a Headteacher’s Award and without the ability to present individual ones, here is one for you to print yourselves:

Awarded virtually to all mentioned above!

I also have been contacted by staff who would like the following to receive acknowledgment and a Headteacher’s Award for the work they are doing or for their engagement in their class groups.

Aidan (Year 5), Thomas H (Year 5), Ruby-Shea (Year 3), Charlotte A (Year 5), Harry P (Year 6), Ava (Year 6), Arran (Year 4), Alicia (Year 4), Jessica (Year 3), Sarah (Year 3) and Mrs Lanni (Year… your guess is as good as mine) who has taught Year 4 fractions to her daughter!

Class of the Week awarded to #TeamHawke this week

Last week, I presented the Class of the Week trophy to a family for their creativity and engagement and would like to do the same again this week. The decision was another tough one but I would like to award it to #TeamHawke (Leo and Izzy) for all they have done, which, I am sure many of you saw last night on twitter, included a swimming lesson! You get to keep the award until after Easter when I will award it again.

Swimming lessons must go on for Leo!

We are coming to the end of this week’s blog now and the end of the Spring Term. If we had been in school this morning, we would have had the opportunity to say ‘goodbye’ and ‘good luck’ to Mrs Little who is leaving the school after over 16 years. I would like to thank her for all her work over her time as a Whitehill teacher and hope that when we return to normality, she will come and visit so we can say ‘best wishes’ in person.

That’s it! It is important that we do try and make the next two weeks a little different and where possible take a break. I am sure many will still engage with the school in some way and I look forward to seeing your posts. When we return for the start of our ‘virtual Summer Term’, class teachers will be setting out their expectations for their classes and making sure they are all engaged.

Thank you for your ongoing support and please do keep in touch via the comment section below or email, consult@whitehill.herts.sch.uk.

Best wishes,

Steve Mills

All comments (1)

    Hi Steve and Whitehall. I do hope everyone is keeping safe and well. I am home schooling Jess presently and would just like to say thank you for all the work sheets and communication. Miss McGurk always responds to any questions or posts even when she is obviously on her day off. This makes Jess very happy so a big thank you to Miss McGurk.

    Some of her classmates are using zoom to keep in touch which they all seem to enjoy immensely, even if it does seem like chaos with them all trying to talk at once.

    Hope we get back to some kind or normal soon.


    Les Jones

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