Nice Shirts!

A slightly earlier start for me on Monday this week as I had to make sure Mr Mills Jnr was in school in time to greet the Year 6s who were heading off on their residential to the Isle of Wight. I am pleased to report that all who needed to be on time were and the reports back to base camp from the staff team throughout the journey were all very positive. That is the sort of start to the week I wanted.

The weather in the Isle of Wight was certainly better than here

Those pupils who didn’t want to go were promoted to Teaching Assistants for the first couple of days and when I chatted to them at the end of day one, they had clearly had an enjoyable time too.

Whilst the Year 6s in the Isle of Wight had a varied week, as I am sure you will have seen on Instagram, those in school were also kept very busy. Mrs Vernon was in charge from Wednesday and although a trip to Fabios was on the itinerary, the weather meant that we had to have a ‘take out’ thanks to Uber Eats! I mean, who doesn’t love an ice-cream from Hitchin’s number one ice-cream shop?

An incredible piece of art from one of our Year 6s who was working with Mrs Vernon

Straight after assembly on Monday, Nevaeh (Year 4) challenged me to a maths competition. The class (Orville) were due to complete their weekly timed maths quiz and the pupils wanted to see how much they had improved and whether they were quick enough now to beat me. Short answer… Yes! Nevaeh and Zofia both did the 100 questions quicker than me with William matching my time exactly. This is really impressive and I clearly need to practise more!

Tuesday morning proved to be a little more problematic. The SLT, left on our own in the school office for an hour or so, managed to lock ourselves out of our phone system as well as mess up the attendance data when the ‘computer said no.’ Needless to say, it did all get sorted and I don’t think Mrs Lanni was too upset with me (he says more in hope).

We had a year 4 cricket team taking part in the Year 6 competition on Wednesday at Hitchin Cricket Club. Miss King was so proud of our young team who were a credit to the school. I popped over just after lunch to help transport Year 5 hockey players to the same venue for one final practice before Thursday’s county finals and was able to see them myself. I was fascinated by Sam H’s trick bowl. Totally illegal in a game, but incredible to watch.

Well done, Year 4s

It wasn’t quite as early a start on Wednesday for the Year 4s trip to Overstrand. Something else was different too. The weather! A huge thank you to the parents who stayed around and helped get the cases to the coach in the monsoon conditions. Fortunately, the rain did stop in time for the Year 4 lunch on the beach and from what I have been told, and from you will have seen, the rest of the week was reasonably fine. Another very successful residential for sure.

Thank you to all of the staff who went away with the pupils. They are long days and they are on duty 24/7. I know I speak for all parents when I say their time and effort is appreciated.

Skill on display

Back in school on Wednesday afternoon, we said goodbye to Mr Brunton – our woodwind teacher – as he moves on to pastures new. The farewell formed part of the Year 5 woodwind assembly where pupils got to show what they have been learning on the flute and clarinet to parents and our Year 3s. It was a lovely assembly and the special song at the end was inspired. Mr Brunton described Whitehill as ‘truly special’ and reiterated how much he would miss us. We wish him well in the future and look forward to welcoming Miss Moorhead, who will be taking over our Year 5 lessons.

Teamwork in action

I had been alerted earlier on Wednesday by NAHT HQ to some potential news that might be coming out of Downing Street. As we all know now, this rumour was correct and indeed, the country will be going to the ballot boxes on July 4th. I emailed parents and carers early on Thursday morning with regards to arrangements in school on that day and as soon as I have further information, I will send this out too. For now, please assume school will remain open to pupils.

The afore mentioned hockey players actually enjoyed a bit of blue sky for their county finals on Thursday. Mrs Bradshaw and Mrs Wells were keeping me updated throughout the morning and considering the team was made up of Year 5 pupils we are all naturally delighted with an overall third place finish. All pupils received a medal and the team also won the ‘respect’ award which actually pleases me more.

A great team performance and a great attitude

They arrived back in school just in time for an ice-lolly. As we saw some blue sky, Mrs Lanni cleaned out Asda of their rocket lollies and we delivered them to the 125 pupils and 15 staff still at Whitehill this week. I think the pupils were pleased, even if we did cause chaos outside for Mrs Jarman and Mr Lord who had just started the lower school PE lesson! Sorry!

Rounders practice between the showers

There was no Achievers’ Assembly on Friday morning and so we will need to wait until after half term to celebrate the success of the hockey team. I was joined by Mrs Adshead, however, the new Highbury Headteacher, for coffee and a chat.

We finish today for our half term break. I will keep everything crossed that we do actually have some decent weather as we recharge our batteries for the final push towards the end of the academic year. We have 33½ teaching days until the end of term!

You’ve got this!

Looking ahead to that first week back, remembering we return on Tuesday 4th June, we have our interhouse netball competitions on the first day back. Year 6 are also heading up to HGS for a lesson in their science labs with Head of Physics, Mr Derrett.

On Wednesday 5th June, we have our whole school photograph. We usually do this once every two years and so are keeping everything crossed for nice weather and full attendance.

We have a golf competition after school on that day and the Year 3 maths challenge on Thursday, after school.

On Friday, we have a couple of skateboarding workshops to which some pupils will be invited and we also have the first of our secondary school transition visits. Mrs Hone from HGS will be visiting to talk with me and the Year 6 teachers about the girls heading their way in September. She will also spend a little time meeting the pupils themselves.

A very busy first week back and they get busier! Hold tight for the final leg.

Have a lovely half term.

Best wishes,

Steve Mills

Have a great half term!

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