Have a Wonderful Christmas Break

Was this term three days too long, or was finishing on a Wednesday a lovely treat? There is no correct answer to that but we finish today when some of my colleagues still have two more days to go. Now that would be hard work!

It has been a very successful first term. We welcomed two new members of staff in Miss Smith and Miss Payne who have settled in very well indeed and who have quickly established themselves as part of #TeamWhitehill. We also welcomed back Mrs Jarman and so we will return in January at full strength ready to enjoy whatever 2024 may bring. Who knows, it might be the return of Ofsted!

I started this week with my final advent calendar event. This fun little project of mine was quite random and was inspired by a video I saw of two people in America who do giveaway ‘challenges’ on college campuses. I hope pupils have enjoyed participating and who knows, it might reappear next year. Edie (Year 5) was the final winner, receiving the festive teddy bear when 007 number was called out in assembly. I am aware I still have a few lucky dip prizes to honour and we will do those in the new term.

The final gift from my advent calendar

Monday was bonkers! I started a letter to parents at 6.30am and finally got it sent out at 5.00pm. Although, with some of the weird things happening with SchoolComms, some of you didn’t get it until Tuesday. We also had a practice for Wednesday’s Christmas assembly first thing and checked the links all worked.

After break duty, we took delivery of the new hall projector and so I was sent up the ladder to install it. It also gave me the opportunity to take down the stars and other scenery items from the Year 3 play. The new projector is very smart and will make linking other devices so much easier.

It was lovely to see my predecessor, Mrs Bradshaw, at the end of lunchtime, who popped in to deliver some sweet treats for the staff. It is hard to believe she left over ten years ago now – where does that time go? I have written about this before, but in the 54 years Whitehill has been open, I am only the fourth person to be headteacher. It is quite a privilege.

A little bit of Christmas art in Year 3

On Monday afternoon, Dr Ray, our Chair of Governors was in school to have a wander into the classes, chat to our class reps and generally have a bit of a catch up. Despite it being so close to the end of term and despite pupils being tired, the pupils were, as always, on great form talking about what they were doing or what life was like in their class.

Tuesday was a miserable day weather wise and it did hamper the activity afternoon reward sessions won by Orville and Wilde Classes. Not to be deterred, Miss Gooderham organised an indoor fencing session for both classes which of course I had to have a little go at. I am sure you will have seen the photographs which were posted on our social media stream.

En garde!

I was showing a teacher around who also happened to be a former pupil of mine back in 2010. Abigail now teaches science in a Bognor Regis secondary school but is back home for Christmas and wanted to touch base. I think she was very impressed with the pupils across all four year groups.

Sorry Libby!

It was the JLT and SLT Christmas lunch on Tuesday. An opportunity for me to say thank you to the four Year 6s who form our Junior Leadership Team. We booked a table at the Orange Tree and enjoyed a very nice meal indeed, chatting about school as well as plans for Christmas and the future. I can honestly say they were wonderful company and all knew how to engage in conversation. Particularly impressive for me was the amount of food that George managed to tuck away. Not satisfied with his steak and chips, he also devoured his brownie pudding as well as anything the girls didn’t eat. Where did he put it all?

George was secretly eyeing up the other three puddings!

First thing on Wednesday was spent getting set up for the Christmas assembly. We would usually go to St Mary’s for this final, festive occasion but they were not able to accommodate us this year (fingers crossed we can return next year). Instead, we held a special school assembly planned and led by Mrs Burniston. It was lovely to also welcome over 70 family and friends who joined via our Teams link. Despite not being able to join us in person, I hope they still enjoyed it. It did make me think that we should perhaps look to use some Friends’ Association money to upgrade from a Macbook balanced on two pieces of PE apparatus to something a little more sophisticated. 

Even my dad managed to join… after a phone call from the back of the hall and a few simple directions. He’s not a fan of reading instructions and so he’d clicked everything he shouldn’t have but we got there in the end. 

On behalf of my staff team, I would like to thank all of you for your cards and gifts this week. They are all very much appreciated. Thank you too for your wonderful support this term. I have already mentioned how successful it has been and, after a well-deserved rest, we will return on Thursday 4th January for the next instalment.

I have no doubt I will write to you on that first Friday back outlining some of the upcoming diary events, and so, as a Christmas gift to my dad, I will simply end the blog here! He had better appreciate my brevity!

Many a true word!

Have a wonderful Christmas break.

Wishing you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Steve Mills

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