Our Brilliant Year 6s

Although Wolves failed with their part in my weekend’s masterplan, Manchester City didn’t and I was able to wear my shirt with a huge smile on my face as I welcomed the pupils to school on Monday morning. I got the distinct impression certain pupils have been avoiding me this week! Just the small matter of the ‘domestic treble’ to try and win now… any Watford supporters out there (other than Mrs Vernon)?

Over the weekend, I got some very funny looks when I reached the checkout in ASDA. 250 pastries (in a variety of forms) and that was it. The reason? To feed our brilliant Year 6s each morning this week as they arrived in school before they sat their SATs. The Year 6 team have a great way of relaxing the pupils and getting them set for the day ahead. Food, music and general chilling has gone down very well and the feedback from the staff and also the visiting ‘scrutineer’ was that the pupils have been well-prepared and appear very relaxed. The tests have been very fair – challenging in places – but fair. We can now forget them and enjoy the rest of the term.

The pupils have been making the most of the nice weather and we have seen Year 4s testing the science behind evaporation as well as Year 6s practising mindfulness in our extensive grounds. It is weather like this that really makes me appreciate how lucky we are with our school site. We have such great facilities and wonderful resources. Of course, we have also seen pupils enjoying a whole host of different sports and games. On Tuesday afternoon, I joined in a game of cricket bowling against Jude (Year 6) and then facing a few balls myself, including from a former pupil of mine, Mr Miley! On Wednesday afternoon, I had a lovely 30 minutes playing Frisbee with Ethan (Year 6). He was really good and we only managed to lose one Frisbee on the roof of 6CB. I’ll have to speak nicely to Mr Waluk to hold the ladder as I try to retrieve it.

I have been promising to join in with Mr Robinson’s after school brass ensemble for many (many) weeks now and this week, after a further reminder from Beth (Year 5), I dusted off my trumpet and went along. It was great fun and it was lovely to play again. Beth is the only current Whitehill pupil who attends but Max and Tommy, both former pupils, are also members. I have no doubt I will go along again.

On Thursday, the Year 6s found out what their end of year production is going to be. It sounds like it will be great fun and certainly capitalise on the great singers we have across the year group. That being said, there will also be opportunities for some pupils who are less keen on being ‘front and centre’ to get involved with the more technical aspects of the show.

During lunch on Thursday, I was invited to watch debate club and was really impressed with the quality of arguments both teams were able to articulate. All eight pupils contributed effectively to the debate, which on this occasion was, ‘Should the school have a D&T club?’ but I was particularly impressed with Chantal (Year 3) who spoke with clarity and conviction. This club is run by Mrs Beresford and former Whitehill pupil, now HGS Year 12, Syra. After half term, there is an interschool competition being held at Whitehill which promises to be a really exciting day.

In Achievers’ Assembly on Friday, our music this week was provided by Ava, Delilah, Isabelle and Liliana who showed off their talents on the saxophone, flute, guitar and trumpet respectively. We also celebrated the musical talents of Matilda (Year 5) who has recently performed with the HSO at St Mary’s Church. It was a family affair, as her older sister and former pupil, Abigail, also took part. The House Cup was presented to Water and both 6TB and 6CB were awarded the Class of the Week trophy. Other pupils celebrated today were Lyla (Year 4) and Charlie (Year 6) as they had attended the Comet Community Awards as finalists on Thursday night. We presented a swimming certificate to Roisin (Year 3) and a rugby award to Ailsa (Year 3).

I joined in the Year 3 game of family tag again on Friday lunchtime and once again I was unable to catch Ailsa. It’s going to be trainers or running spikes next time for me… she is incredible!

Next week is the last week of the first half of the summer term. How can that be?! Not only that, but for some, it is only three days long.

I will be opening up school at 3am on Monday in order to wave the Year 6s off as they embark upon their residential in France. It is going to be a great week and I would like to thank the staff team for giving up their families for a week to make this trip happen. I know you will keep up to date with the events from Chateau Beaumont via our twitter feed and don’t forget that for parents of Year 6s, there is a dedicated twitter feed just for you! Make sure you apply to follow.

Later on Monday (eight hours after opening up), at 11am, I am popping up to Highbury to touch base with Mrs Avey so we can think about the remainder of the academic year and discuss the various transition events planned for the current Year 2s. Three hours after that, I have a meeting with school health!

Whilst the majority of the Year 6s are heading off to France, we have a group of Year 6 pupils staying at Whitehill and they too have an action packed three days. They won’t be in school for much of the time as Mrs Beresford, Mrs Davies and Mrs Burniston have a whole host of trips and activities planned including a picnic at Ashwell Springs. I will be joining in with this visit and will certainly remember to have a change of clothes this time!

On Wednesday, it is the turn of the Year 4s to set off for their residential to Overstrand. Fortunately, as I am also taking part in this trip, we leave at a slightly more sociable time. Once again, there is a dedicated Year 4 twitter account for parents to follow so you can see what the pupils get up to. I am aware that phone signals aren’t great on the North Norfolk coast but we will do our best. Again, thank you to the staff team who are giving up their time to make this trip happen.

For the Year 3 and Year 5 pupils left in school, we have a really exciting day for them on Wednesday as an instructor from the dance group, Urban Strides, will be running workshops all day. Ava (Year 5) has been the driving force behind this, after she first saw them perform at the O2 when she was in Year 3. She has been very persistent and finally convinced me to make the booking.

You will all be aware by now that for the pupils not on residentials next week, Wednesday is the last day at school. We have been forced to close on Thursday 23rd May for the European Elections (thank you Brexit!) and then on Friday we have our planned INSET. We have already put arrangements in place for next academic year to ensure something similar doesn’t happen again. Next year’s two residentials will take place in the week before the May half term again, but the INSET day will be tagged onto the end of the week off so we will be off on the Monday and return to school on the Tuesday.

The Year 4s should be back at Whitehill around 4.00pm on Friday and then around eight hours later, I will still be in school as we await the return of the Year 6s. Looking at the early mornings, the late nights and the three days away, I think I need to stock up on my coffee supplies.

We still have a few 50th Anniversary Ball tickets left and it would be great if you are able to join us for what promises to be a fun evening. Please spread the word to current and former parents and friends. Any questions, please contact the school office and speak to Mrs Cook.

That’s it for now, however, I am off to get as much sleep as I can this weekend!

Best wishes,

Steve Mills




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