One final thought for the this week…

With an increase in Friday fixtures, (the week simply isn’t long enough) I am now having to start each blog with reference to something from the previous week. On this occasion, it was a first representative outing for some of our Year 3s as two teams travelled the short distance to William Ransom for a couple of lower school football matches. Both teams worked really hard and showed potential for future years. The Year 3 team lost in injury time via a deflected goal, 2 – 1, and the Year 4 team (with one Year 3) won 7 – 1. Huge thanks to everyone who came along to support, including Leo (now Year 7) who missed that golden opportunity to photobomb his brother’s team after years of Freddie popping up in the back of his photos. Next time, Leo?

It was a first for a different reason too, as I ventured back to my previous school for the first time in 11 years. There were no pupils in either school who were born when I was last there. It was quite surreal but I would not have missed watching Kai, Zico and their friends play their first match.

After the games, I was back at school to get set up for and then support the Friends’ Association quiz night. The hall was rammed and it was a great fun evening, compered by the incomparable Mrs Bannister with an interesting collection of hats (and a false beard). Mrs Avey, in her final weeks as head of Highbury, also joined in the proceedings and gave the team she joined a little bit of an advantage in the final round which was all about her. Fun fact of the night, Mrs Avey’s grandfather played for Liverpool! And to think, I used to have so much respect for her!

A packed hall for a great quiz

This week in school was our Feeling Good Week. For the most part, the pupils followed their usual timetable, however there were a good few wellbeing-themed activities scattered throughout the week for the pupils to engage with.

On Friday we dressed in clothes that made us happy

Actually, it wasn’t just the pupils, as the staff were treated very well this week as we enjoyed some additional snacks and treats in the staffroom. Staff were greeted with pastries as they signed in on Monday morning; there was a ‘feed your wellbeing’ display for staff to choose a snack to keep them going and the table has never been so full of tasty treats. Miss Smith’s tiffin was to die for!

We did eat some healthy food… honest!

Mrs McConnell Smith also organised a display – having secretly interviewed pupils at lunchtime – of kind messages for every staff member. I did wonder what she was doing with her clipboard on Monday and Tuesday but it was very much appreciated. What a lovely touch and as one pupil said to her when she was asked what her job was, ‘it is to make people happy’.

Such a lovely thing to do

It really doesn’t take much to be kind and to be supportive of each other. We can and should show empathy, understanding and support each and every day. I hope this message will be something that lasts and that pupils will take from some of the work they have been doing.

On Monday afternoon, Mrs McConnell Smith and I met up with Mrs Adshead, the incoming Highbury headteacher. We met at her current school and enjoyed a tour of the classrooms as well as an opportunity to chat with some of the pupils. We then spent some time talking over a few ideas we have to strengthen further the link between the two schools. We have extended and invite for Mrs Adshead to visit Whitehill now to see where her future pupils end up. I cannot wait for her to meet our class reps.

Links between Highbury and Whitehill are strong. Mrs Davies was there on Tuesday morning, for example, to watch some teaching and chat with teachers. At the same time, another strong partnership was being utilised, as Mr Derrett from Hitchin Girls’ School spent the morning with our two Year 5 classes exploring the heart. The practical activities, including a dissection, were so good and I was impressed with the attitude of our pupils who worked so hard and got so much out of the session. I received some lovely feedback from Mr Derrett on Tuesday evening, in which he stated that the two classes ‘acted responsibly and safely throughout and impressed [him] with their knowledge, attitude and respect.’ He went on to say that the pupils are ‘a real credit to [our] school and [he] looks forward to seeing them again in Year 6’.

Mr Derrett didn’t have a coat!

Not having played for some time, I was challenged to a game of chess this week by Joshua (Year 5). It was a lovely game and Joshua is a talented player. It attracted quite a crowd too, with Year 3s hovering to watch until they were summonsed back into class for afternoon registration.

The SLT met with the JLT on Tuesday afternoon to start to map out one of their projects for the year. Their ‘Whitehill Extravaganza’ will take place during the afternoon of Thursday 13th June. This will be a variety show of pupil-based acts selected from some year group heats. Details will come out in due course but pupils who have a talent and would like the chance to perform in front of the school could start to think about an act. We can promise there will be no buzzers and giant Xs (although one member of the JLT who will remain nameless loved that idea and we needed to dissuade them!).

I have already mentioned the sport from last week and this week has been just as busy. As Miss Gooderham mentioned in a post she made on Tuesday, it was real footballing weather on Tuesday when two teams played, and won, against Our Lady. The rain then got progressively worse until it was ‘wet you right through’ weather.

On Wednesday, we had a group of pupils take part in a Boccia festival ay Knights Templar School. Thank you to Darcey’s mum who helped with lifts and with running a team. It was another great success. At the same time, we had our Year 3 and Year 4 girls play their first matches of the season and have an absolute blast! I stood in my usual place on the corner of the green playground so I could watch as much of both games as possible.

A great action shot of Luna

I was out again on Thursday evening watching more football with matches against William Ransom. This time it was our girls’ league team and a boys’ team. The boys won with a few great goals including one from Jacob B (Year 5) straight from a corner. The girls drew 0 – 0 which is a very unusual result for schools’ football.

Miss G leads the warm-up

The fresh air did me the world of good on Thursday as I had been stuck on zoom calls all day, including a three-hour safeguarding update and needed to get outside.

I mentioned at the start of this blog that this week was a celebration of wellbeing. It has been an incredible week with so much positivity on display across everyone in school. The work linked with the theme – much of which we have shared via our social media page – has been wonderful. I had to check with Mrs Bailey that Apollo Class actually started with a blank sheet of paper for one activity, it was that good.

As I am sure you can imagine, with so many exciting things happening, Achievers’ Assembly was quite a mammoth affair. Lyra provided us with the music with some quite beautiful guitar playing.

Beautiful guitar playing from Lyra

The House Cup went to Water House this week with Aztec winning the Wombles. The almost impossible decision of where to award the Class of the Week trophy saw Wilde Class edge it for their consistency.

We presented the half-termly sports awards to Freya, Zico (Year 3), Sam (Year 4), Jasmine (Year 5), Bella and Charlotte (Year 6).

In addition to everything else being celebrated, the winners of the John Gohorry Poetry Competition were also announced. Well done to the four year-group winners, Willow (Year 3), Isaac (Year 4), Joshua (Year 5) and Stephanie (Year 6). The overall winner and recipient of the John Gohorry Cup this year was Joshua. A huge well done to all our finalists and of course, our winners.

Our four year-group winners

On Friday afternoon, parents and carers of Orville Class were invited in to see some of the work they have been doing this year in the form of a showcase. One of the ‘events’ which actually started shortly before 9.00am was to see if the class could collectively climb to the top of Mount Everest. We were provided with updates throughout the day and by the end of assembly, they had climbed enough steps to reach the top of Ben Nevis. It was great that they reached the summit in front of their parents who had come in to watch.

At the time of this blog going live, we have our two indoor athletics teams competing in the district finals. With a few pupils missing, a huge thanks to those who have stepped up and slotted into the team at the last minute. I am sure they will be brilliant!

Another lovely photo from Friday

I usually conclude my blogs with a quick look at what is happening in the following week. As it is half term (we all need a break), the week after is our Science and Computing week. This STEM filled week is so busy and so full of exciting opportunities, to talk about it here would double the length of the blog. Regular readers will know very well the one (grumpy) reason why therefore I won’t! Keep an eye on our social media page throughout this week to see just what the pupils get up to.

Whatever you have planned for next week, I hope it goes well and that you all have some quality family time together. I am off for a few days in Copenhagen and might even put an ‘out of office’ autoreply on my emails.

One final thought for this week… just incredible!

Josh (Year 5) with the John Gohorry Cup

Have a great week!

Best wishes,

Steve Mills

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