Meeting and Greeting

Whereas I described last Monday morning as a bit of a West End farce, this week started with so much positivity and good news. We received our first bicycle donation for the Bikes without Barriers campaign with the promise of a couple more to get our collection off to a great start.

When I ventured out onto the playground, two Year 3s shared their exciting news with me too. Well done to Alex who won a competition run by Eco Kids magazine. He was so proud of his artwork, and rightly so – it was amazing. Samuel also showed me his comic-based artwork, which received the seal of approval from Hitchin’s ‘Mr Beano’, Danny Pearson. Both boys received Headteacher’s Award for their creativity.

Great work, Alex!

Mrs McConnell Smith joined me for my assembly on Monday as we introduced our new set of ‘Mighty Mediators’. We talked about what their role will be in school and how they will be able to support pupils at break and at lunch. On a similar theme, next week in school is our ‘feeling good week’. There will be various initiatives dotted across the whole week for the pupils linked with the school’s wellbeing work.

Mrs McConnell Smith introducing this year’s mediators

One thing we will be doing together is on Friday – the last day of this half term. We are going to invite pupils to swap their school uniform and wear something that ‘makes them happy’. This isn’t a charity day or a collection based non-uniform day, it is just for fun. Of course, pupils might stay in their uniform because wearing that ‘makes them happy’. More details were shared in the letter I sent out to parents and carers.

After school on Monday, we had the first netball fixtures since the winter break. Two teams played against Samuel Lucas and I positioned myself between both courts and watched as much of both as I could. There was some great play in both matches and a fair few goals to match. Two wins is a great way to start 2024.

Bartosz (Year 5) cashed in his advent prize of an extended play on Tuesday morning. I took Apollo class out 15 minutes early and let them use the adventure trail, as the field was quite dry. I think his peers were grateful and all appeared to have a lovely time. Lizzie (Year 5) also cashed in her prize of hot chocolate with some friends on Wednesday. I think I have a couple more prizes to honour, including a Wilde Class non-uniform day and Logan’s ‘headteacher for the day’.

What have the Romans ever done for us?

There was a great deal of noise coming from the hall on Tuesday afternoon. Upon investigation, I found the Year 4s being schooled by a Roman soldier in full regalia. At the point I was watching, he was providing instruction into the use of a gladius and thinking about why it was the size it was. I was a little worried for Isaac at one point when he went ‘full Roman’ on him! You may also have seen my favourite photo of the week of Samuel standing his ground!

I think Samuel is being told what…

I don’t usually reference staff meetings in these blogs. They aren’t normally the most noteworthy events, trust me. That being said, this week’s meeting after school on Tuesday, led by Mrs McConnell Smith, was very informative and insightful. It was an update on attachment and trauma and how an understanding of both – ‘being trauma aware’ – can and should influence our practice. Mrs McConnell Smith and our staff work really hard on relational behaviour support and this refresher reminded us all as to why this is key. It was one of those staff meetings I wish parents could also have seen as I think it would have been very enlightening. An opportunity for bigger picture thinking.

I do enjoy being out on the playground in the mornings and actually, there are clear links between being out and about ‘meeting and greeting’ and the staff meeting we had on Tuesday. This week, I had a lovely chat with Leo (Year 3) about his love for musical theatre and in particular the show he saw on Saturday, Wicked. I’m thinking we should form a ‘theatre appreciation club’ at school and we can sit and chat about other shows we have seen.

Mr Denney’s assembly on Wednesday was also on a very important theme that crosses the boundaries of school and home as well as parents and pupils. His theme, timed to coincide with ‘safer internet day’ looked at why responsible internet use is needed more now than ever before. Back in the day, this theme would be more about using a computer in school; not sharing passwords and what to do if they came across something they didn’t like. Today, with the exponential growth in smartphones and smart devices, it focuses more on personal responsibility. With the average smartphone carrying more computer capacity than the rockets which took man to the moon, my Spiderman quote becomes increasingly more important. ‘With great power, comes great responsibility.’ Mr Denney has asked me to share this from the Safer Internet Centre, to support parents to support pupils.

With great power comes great responsibility

I have already mentioned the netball match and across the week, there were plenty of other sporting fixtures. I should start by referring back to the indoor athletics last Friday afternoon where both of our teams qualified for the finals with the boys finishing second and the girls finishing first.

On Saturday, we had quite a few athletes take part in the county cross-country finals in St Albans. Everyone who took part did really well and represented the school brilliantly but we must give a shout out to Connor and Kieran (Year 5s) who finished first and fourth in their race. You may spot a familiar face who couldn’t resist getting on the photo with the twins and Albie who also did superbly.

Well done to all our runners! How did Mrs Small get in that photo?!

The boys’ football team suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat against Samuel Lucas on Tuesday evening. The feedback I received was that we dominated play and just couldn’t find the back of the net. It was the turn of the girls after school on Wednesday who played two games against Wilshere Dacre. I positioned myself on the corner of the playground so that I could watch both games and also catch up with David Leach, who was back watching Summer (Year 6). There was some great play on both pitches and I would certainly give a ‘shout out’ to Jasmine (Year 5) who was in goal in one of the games and to Evie (Year 6) who scored a sublime hat-trick in the other. I thought her third goal was a contender for goal of the season but apparently, her first was even better! The results were shared with one win each.

A close game this week

I was away from the office on Thursday but was able to meet our speed stack teams at Knights Templar School on the way back from London. They were amazing! I think slow motion was needed when the videos were played back. All eight pupils did brilliantly and can feel very proud of their achievements. We also scooped a few medals (including Alfie’s three!) which is always a bonus.

Go Bella!

Not being in school meant I missed the Caribbean day in Year 5. How did I not notice that in my diary? I caught up with Mr Lord and Mrs Burniston after the event and both were full of praise for the pupils and confirmed that there were no leftovers from the food tasting session. I need to check my diary more carefully next year.

Year 5s loved the food tasting session

With all the sport this week, you can only imagine how long Achievers’ Assembly took. I did try to talk quickly.

Music was provided by Ellie and Eleanor (Year 6) who sang for us at the end of the assembly.

Year 6s singing in Achievers’ Assembly this week

As well as the sport, we also celebrated Nevaeh’s (Year 4) dance award and Freddie R’s (Year 4) football success.

The school awards were handed out as follows: Voyager won Class of the Week; Kahlo won the Wombles and Air won the House Cup.

I have already that next week is ‘Feeling Good Week’. If we had better weather, that would help me to feel good. Other events in the diary include three football fixtures and the finals of the sports hall athletics competition. We have a Boccia festival on Wednesday afternoon and having seen the pupils take part in this week’s Interhouse Boccia competition, I have no doubt we will field a strong team.

A competitive interhouse Boccia competition

Year 5 have a visit from Mr Derrett, a science teacher from HGS, on Tuesday morning where they will be adding another level of practical to their science topic and taking part in a heart dissection.

The only other key event for me next week is an initial meeting with the incoming head of Highbury Infants. Mrs McConnell Smith and I are going to visit Mrs Adshead in her current school to share our initial thoughts and ideas. Exciting times.

We end the week with our previously mentioned ‘happy clothes’ day and an Orville Class assembly on Friday afternoon.

Time to go and set up the hall for this evening’s quiz night. I believe it’s a packed house and so I need to try to find the emergency chairs! Anyone else fancy taking my dad’s call when he phones to complain about the length of this week’s blog – he is lovely, really!

Have a great weekend.

Best wishes,

Steve Mills

Some Macbeth inspired artwork in Kahlo Class this week

All comments (1)

    I’ll take the call from your Dad during the quiz, that way I can sneakily look up the answers I’m failing to provide.

    Wonderful feel-good blog ahead of the feeling good week to come. I’ll gladly set aside time for a coffee and read for these blogs about our children. Thank you for taking the time.

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