Not That We Are Counting

Very occasionally, you have ‘one of those days’, don’t you. I am sure it isn’t only in education but in other public sector roles and perhaps in industry too but Monday this week was one such day! Things were happening around me that would look right at home in a West End farce – perhaps I could sell the plot to the writers of ‘A Play That Goes Wrong’. There’s a thought!

Somehow, we made it to Tuesday and despite the legacy of Monday, it did feel a little more like Whitehill again.

Mr Lord’s latest recycling initiative – batteries! Keep sending them in.

Those of you with a connection to Highbury will have received the news that they have appointed a new headteacher to take over from Mrs Avey. Mrs Adshead will take up her post after Easter and whilst both outgoing and incoming heads will have plenty to do in the coming weeks, we have already reached out from Whitehill to begin the process of developing the relationships that are essential. I can share details as and when appropriate but I do think there are some exciting opportunities available for both schools moving forward.

I met with other teachers and headteachers form across Hertfordshire on Tuesday afternoon as part of a working party looking at the procedures for transition to secondary school that happen well before the current Year 6s start in September. Four weeks today, the Year 6s will be told their secondary allocations and from that day, a great deal of work takes place preparing and sharing information that secondary schools need to ensure transition to Year 7 is as smooth as possible.

Ultimately, it is up to the local secondary schools to dictate (ask politely) what information they would like and primaries can facilitate. Whilst there are some tweaks I would like to see in this district, overall it is reasonably efficient. I think my role in this working party will be to try to minimise interference from further afield whilst picking up some little nuggets of additional efficiencies.

It was lovely to see football back at Whitehill after the winter break. Our boys’ team were first up on Tuesday evening with a Wix Cup semi-final match against a very good Weston side. The boys played so well – as they have all season – and thoroughly deserved their 3-1 win. It was very clear at the end just how much this victory meant to the players. It was also lovely to be able to have a chat with a few of our parents who, in the absence of sport, I haven’t seen for some time.

Action from Tuesday’s semi-final

In my diary for Wednesday, I had the DfE turning up at 8.00am and an adviser from the Local Authority turning up at 1.00pm. As it transpired, the DfE arrived at 12.45 – right in the middle of lunch – and my friendly adviser popped in at 10.15am. Surely, I can’t be that disorganised. It all worked out in the end and I think all left happy.

Quite a bit of Wednesday afternoon was spent chatting to Year 3s from Mayan Class. They have been doing some super work and I handed out a fair few Headteacher’s Awards. Two groups were showing me their cave drawings and as I was with Aztec Class last week, I was very impressed.

Art in Year 3 this week

One group came and showed me some investigative work at the start of their unit of science on the body. They had to think about which bones we have and where they are. I believe this group drew around Violett and I don’t think she appreciated me saying that I could see the likeness! Noah was very knowledgeable and could tell me about the largest and smallest bones we have.

I don’t think she was impressed with me!

I also handed out an award to Zoe (Year 3) for some letter writing and Ayla (Year 3) for her progress and confidence in maths. Well done Year 3s, a great few weeks.

The girls were in Wix Cup action after school on Wednesday against Highover. They also brought a second team along which meant we were able to give more girls a game. Both games were very close with the main game going to extra time with the score at 2-2. Highover scored the only goal to end up winning 3-2 and progressing through to the next round.

A rallying cry before extra time

Science was the order of the day in Year 5 on Thursday as the pupils made blood! Their practical work looked at the components of blood from plasma to platelets and considered the function of each. It looked like great fun and made a change from the Year 4 lesson on poo!

Year 5 looking at the components of blood

Miss Gooderham has been busy this week with a variety of different teams. I have already mentioned the two football matches and then on Thursday afternoon, she was out again with two dodgeball teams. Both teams did very well indeed with one progressing all the way to the final losing narrowly in the dying seconds of the match. Well done to all who played and especially Alex and Evie (Year 6) who both received fair play awards, having been nominated by other schools.

Achievers’ Assembly on Friday morning was a chance to celebrate all of these sporting successes this week, plus a few other certificates and medals.

Music was provided by Lottie (Year 4) who played her guitar for us.

Totally focused on her music

Our regular awards were handed out as follows: Apollo won Class of the Week; Fire won the House Cup and the Wombles were awarded to Apollo. (A class double!)

We also presented certificates to the group of Year 5s who underwent three days of training last week to qualify as peer mediators. We will remind the pupils on Monday what this new team will be responsible for outside during break and lunch.

At break time on Friday, I honoured another advent calendar prize voucher that Ellis (Year 4) had won. This one was ‘Cakes for Your Class’ and he came to me at the beginning of the week having decided he would like to cash it in. I have already started to think about this year’s advent calendar as we lead up to Christmas 2024, as it seemed to go down quite well with those who joined in.

On Friday afternoon, we had our second sports hall athletics team taking part in a district heat. At the time of this blog going live, I am yet to hear how they have done.

Great partner work in Year 3

Looking ahead to next week, there appears to be a sporting event after school every day. We have our first netball match of 2024 and a variety of football fixtures, including an outing for a Year 3/4 team away at William Ransom on Friday. We also have pupils taking part in a speed stacking competition after school on Thursday.

On Tuesday afternoon Year 4 have a visit from a Roman (that is exactly what it says in my diary) as part of their history work. On Thursday morning, I am popping up to Kingshott to meet up with their headteacher. A meeting we have been trying to set up since 2020 when Covid hit.

On Friday evening, the Friends’ Association are hosting a quiz night at Whitehill. If you don’t have your tickets yet, look out for the fliers and posters that are around both schools. I don’t have a team yet, and so I might be looking to gate crash a table.

Before wrapping up for this week, I thought I would share the photo I was sent earlier in the week in relation to last year’s Junior Leadership Team’s chosen charity. They donated some of the money they raised last year to the Addenbrookes Charitable Trust in memory of Emily who was a close friend of Isla who proposed this charity when she was elected. As you can see from the photo, it has certainly been put to great use. What a lovely legacy.

In memory of Emily

That is it for the week. As I pointed out to staff on Thursday, we are now over halfway through the academic year. 93 days to go. (Not that we are counting)

Have a great weekend.

Best wishes,

Steve Mills

Great collaboration

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