I’m Impressed!


Firstly, can I begin my first blog of this academic year by welcoming all of our new families to Whitehill. If this is the first time you have read one of my blogs, I hope you find them interesting and informative. I endeavour to give an insight into what the pupils and I have been getting up to over the course of each week and also to give you the ‘heads up’ as to events for the week to come. With the functionality of our new website, you are also welcome to add your comments and if they are kind (hint, hint), they will be published.

As well as our new Year 3 pupils, we also welcome several other new pupils into Year 4 and Year 5 and I hope you all have an enjoyable, rewarding and stimulating time.

I hope you have all had a lovely summer holiday spending some quality family time together. Over the course of the week, I have tried to chat to as many pupils as I could and have enjoyed listening to the exciting opportunities they have had. In these first few weeks, I deliberately try and keep my diary as clear as possible so that I can spend time visiting the classes and talking with the pupils. It is a really enjoyable aspect of my job and also exceptionally inspiring.

At the end of Tuesday, after a wonderful first day back, we had our first staff meeting of the year. The sentiment was unanimous in that the pupils in all eight classes had impressed and had clearly come back to school ‘ready to learn’. There were many other positive comments including praise for the Year 6 pupils who are going to be putting themselves forward next week for the position of Head Boy and Head Girl. Mrs Beresford and Mrs Little spent time with them on Tuesday supporting them with their preparations for their talks and proposals, and were full of praise. They’ve predicted a very difficult decision for all involved in the vote next week.

The Year 6s wasted no time in taking the pupils’ learning beyond the school grounds and headed off to the Henry Moore Foundation for the day on Wednesday. It was a lovely day and a great way to begin the year. They will follow up the work they did, including some sketching, back in school. During one of my visits to Wilde Class, the pupils were making their own sculptures out of clay based on the work they had seen first-hand.

On Thursday, Mrs Cook and I met with representatives from a play equipment company as we start the process of replacing the blue and yellow wooden ‘adventure trail’ which is starting to feel a little sorry for itself. We are going to be using money raised by our Friends’ Association last year (plus a few other bits and pieces) to bring it all up to date. I have lost count of the number of times I have had to promise the pupils (particularly our new Year 3s) that we will still have monkey bars! Once we have a proposal, I will meet with some pupils to get their opinion as to what it is they want.

One of my more ‘procedural’ tasks this week has been to check the data from this year’s SATs results before they get published by the government. I mentioned at the time how pleased we were again with the outcome of these tests and comparing to other data I have seen, locally and nationally, it is clear that once again, we have had an extremely successful year. These pupils started their new secondary schools this week and I have no doubt, do so ready to access the Key Stage 3 curriculum and ready to continue to impress.

This morning was our first Achievers’ Assembly of the year. I really enjoy these assemblies as they are all about celebrating the great things that have happened across the week. After only four days this week, there weren’t lots of awards to hand out, or team successes to celebrate, but we did begin with some live music thanks to Kezia (Year 6). A rota will be sorted over coming days for other pupils to sign up and perform. I did present the House Cup and Fire were first recipients of the year. In the absence of House Captains at this stage, Mrs Bailey and Mrs Little came up to collect the trophy. I also awarded Aztec Class the Class of the Week trophy. It was such a difficult decision this week as it has been a fantastic first week back. All of the teachers have repeatedly found me to tell me how impressed they have been with the way they have started back.

That’s about it for this week and so let’s have a look at what we have planned for the coming week.

I will be showing a visitor around Whitehill on Monday afternoon and so this will be a first opportunities for the Class Reps to ‘meet and greet’ a guest in their classrooms. Mrs Billing is a local Councillor, a champion of education around Hitchin and North Herts and a regular visitor to the school. I am looking forward to introducing her to our new Year 3s.

I am really excited that Mrs McConnell Smith’s daughter, Maddy, is coming back to visit us on Wednesday. She came into school towards the end of last term to sing opera for us and I am delighted that she has agreed to come back, before she heads off to University again, to sing songs from the musicals this time. The pupils are in for a real treat and I can’t wait!

After school on Wednesday, we have two parent meetings. At 3.30pm Mr Denney and Mrs Davies will be talking to parents of pupils in Year 4 about their residential trip to Overstrand. Later, at 6.00pm, Mrs Bailey and Mrs Bryan will be talking to parents of our Year 6s about their residential to France. These are both wonderful, educational trips and great fun. I hope as many pupils as possible will make the most of these opportunities.

One of the key events of next week will be the Head Boy and Head Girl elections. I have already mentioned how impressive the candidates are this year and I look forward to hearing their proposals. After the hustings, each Year 6 standing has a short meeting with me and a governor whilst the pupils and staff all get to vote. Once we have the results, the staff all meet after school to discuss and select the House Captains, Sports Captains and Ambassadors. On Friday, in next week’s Achievers’ Assembly, it will be my pleasure to announce the results and present the pupils with this year’s set of badges. I wish all of the pupils who are standing for one of the positions, all the very best. It will be a very difficult decision, for sure.

Later on Friday, just after lunch, we are keeping our fingers crossed that part two of our very successful RAF Day will take place. We have had to be deliberately vague to date but we are quietly optimistic that it will go ahead. Mr Denney is liaising closely with the relevant authorities!

That’s about it for the end of week one. I hope you find these blogs useful and coupled with the twitter feed a valuable insight into what the pupils get up to each day after you drop them off in the playground.

Have a great weekend.

Best wishes,

Steve Mills


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