I Couldn’t Disagree

It wouldn’t be fair to labour the point and I really must move on but I am delighted to start this week’s blog by saying that I did have a particularly enjoyable weekend! Not only that but I am pleased that Mr Khera crossed the road and allowed to me to gloat for a few minutes! I have no doubt he will be back on the playground at the start of next season if results go Liverpool’s way again!

Katie (Year 3) hanging around in the sun!

After an assembly first thing on ‘making a good first impression’, I headed into town to have coffee with Mr Moane from Hitchin Boys’ School. As I mentioned last week, it is good to occasionally meet offsite and away from each other’s office to remove all possibility of interruptions. It was another productive conversation and I am sorry it will probably be our last in its current format given HBS’s announcement last week that Mr Moane will be leaving. I will obviously reach out to the new headteacher when in post and hope that I am able to build a similar relationship with them.

Our Year 4 pupils completed their official times tables check on Monday. Unlike SATs, I have absolutely no real idea as to why the government insist on this particular test in this particular year group. That being said, we have no choice and so dutifully complied. The pupils didn’t seem phased by the test which is as it should be. Well done Year 4s.

I spent all of Tuesday morning in meetings in my office. My very hot office, taking it in turns to feel the benefit from the little desk fan my wife kindly bought me. The afternoon involved me starting to add my comments to the pupils’ school reports. I enjoy reading them and am always so impressed with just how personal the teachers’ comments are and how they capture each and every individual. As I said in a recent update, these will be coming home (if I have finished in time) on Friday 30th June.

I saw this sandwich and it certainly was not fit for consumption!

On Tuesday evening, I went along to the Stevenage Women FC’s presentation evening to support Miss Gooderham as we are official her sponsor. It was a lovely evening and I am pleased to announce that we are going to continue to sponsor Miss G next season when I hope even more of our pupils will be able to find a game to come along and watch as many did this season.

We had two more transition mornings this week. After HBS last week, it was the turn of HGS and Priory this week. I met with Head of Year 7 or Head of Transition along with the class teachers whilst other staff from the respective schools spent time with the pupils themselves. Both schools were so complimentary about the pupils they are getting. Mrs Rowe, Head of Year 7 from HGS, even stopped me again this morning when I was up at the Girls’ School to say how impressed she was with the cohort they are getting. I couldn’t disagree.

A club being run this half term for pupils in Year 4 and Year 5 is a netball club, in preparation for the start of next year. There were so many pupils who wanted to take part that a session is being run at lunchtime and a second session is being run after school. Mrs Small and Mrs Bryan were ably assisted by Isla, Eva, Bella and Alexia (Year 6) who were just amazing! I am going to be keeping my eye on these girls because I think there is a future employee in this group. Sports apprenticeship anyone?

Summer netball club for Year 4 and Year 5

As that was happening, I enjoyed an after school watching a cricket match against Wilshere Dacre. The team played very well and there were some good individual performances with bat and ball. Aggressive batting by Leo and Ed (Year 6) in the last over meant Whitehill won by about eight runs.

Words of wisdom from Miss Gooderham

I ventured out again on Thursday after school to watch the match against St Andrew’s. They were very strong and a very good cricket team indeed and thoroughly deserved their win. Despite not winning this one, there were again some good individual moments.

St Andrew’s bowled very well indeed!

On Wednesday afternoon, we were joined by six students from Hitchin Girls’ School who were teaching pupils in Year 5 and Year 6 a little bit more Spanish as part of Project Polyglot. In the little bit that I saw, Javier (Year 6) was (obviously) doing very well indeed!

Miss Gooderham took a group of lower school golfers to Letchworth Golf Club on Wednesday evening to take part in a sports partnership festival. The weather was perfect for a spot of golf and the pupils tried so hard. I had to laugh at one of the photographs of our pupils which appeared to show Ethan (Year 4) with a golf club about twice his size! Of the many sports I have played, golf has to be one of my least successful and so all of those pupils did better than I would have done!

Perspective with the photo or an enormous club?

I joined Aztec Class on Wednesday morning to take part in a blind taste test of some different drink flavours. I only had to do the one, pink grapefruit, and managed to guess it correctly. The pupils clearly did not find this one of their preferred tastes and so I don’t believe it will feature in many of the pupils’ rainforest cocktails on Friday afternoon.

I quite liked the grapefruit!

Apollo Class had a couple of visitors this week. Miss McGurk popped in briefly (work related) but still found time to show off Jaxon to the pupils. Later, I visited the class to look at some of the wonderful poetry they had been producing. There were some really emotive examples and the pupils can feel pleased with what they have achieved in this unit of work.

The more popular visitor to the class this week

Edie sang for us again this morning at the end of our Achievers’ Assembly where we once again celebrated so many group and individual successes. These included swimming successes for Leo (Year 4), Autumn (Year 3) and Dimitris (Year 4). We were also very proud of Jacob (Year 5) who brought in his ‘Cub of the Year’ award to share with the school.

Aztec Class won Class of the Week; Earth House retained the House Cup and the Wombles went upstairs to Voyager Class.

I have just come back in to post this blog, having popped outside to see some of the Year 3 cocktail party to check for myself the use (or lack thereof) of grapefruit juice. Thank you to the family members who were able to join us in the perfect weather for this treat.

Looking ahead to next week, my priority has to be to get my comments added to the rest of the school reports. I have about 150 to go! To help me, I have tried to limit my meetings and just have a couple including one with Herts Catering.

I am out of school all day Wednesday as Year 3 have invited me to go on the trip to Shepreth which I am really looking forward to, keeping my fingers crossed we get sun and not rain whilst we are there. The school has been for quite a few years to Shepreth as part of their topic but this will be the first time I have been to this zoo.

Pupils from Cookie Club came and watched the cricket this week.

Year 6 staff will be very busy next Thursday as we are being moderated this year for our writing teacher assessment results. The DfE moderate 25% of all schools annually and our last visit was in 2017. It always seems to happen in an Ofsted year – coincidence? Our processes for moderating and teacher assessment are exceptionally robust and so the team are looking forward to this external validation of the pupils’ work.

We are exceptionally busy at the moment, with event after event appearing in the calendar. Please do keep a close eye out for communication from me, the office or the class teachers in relation to the many things happening at Whitehill in the remaining 24½ days!

Have a great weekend.

Best wishes,

Steve Mills

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