‘Pupils thrive in this happy, vibrant and purposeful school.’ What a fitting opening sentence from our long-awaited Ofsted report which I sent home earlier today. I hope you are as pleased with it as I am.
The ‘outcome’ statement was also exceptionally pleasing considering this was not what was initially expected. This is clearly the reason for the delay in getting the final report to us. We knew we would retain the ‘good’ label as this was an ungraded inspection and as I have already intimated to those I have spoken to, the inspection went very well indeed. To be given what is known as a ‘rising judgement’ containing the word ‘outstanding’, is wonderful especially considering how rare this is. Everyone who plays a part in #TeamWhitehill can feel very proud indeed and I certainly do include the parents in this as your feedback to the inspector was amazing. After all, the inspector stated that, ‘Leaders enjoy the overwhelming support of pupils, staff and parents.’ Thank you.
The report also includes the following:
‘The provision for personal development is of a high quality.’
‘The school is a calm and purposeful place in which to learn.’
‘Pupils are safe. They look out for one another and treat others with respect and kindness.’
‘Pupils with SEND achieve well.’
It is just a shame that the phrase, ‘The pupils are delightful,’ couldn’t be printed but apparently, it is open to too much interpretation. This is a phrase the inspector used when talking about our children. I could go on but the full report is available on our website if you haven’t been sent one as a parent / carer of a current pupil. (Something else for my dad to read!)
What does this mean? Well, it does mean we will have our next inspection much sooner than if it were just a ‘good’ but if we keep doing what we are doing then we should look forward to it and embrace the opportunity.
It has been a disjointed week. This week tends to be. We have a bank holiday, are then forced to close so the school can be used as a polling station (staff have INSET). This year, too, we have an additional bank holiday next week for the King’s coronation before the Year 6s take their SATs.
Despite this, school has made the most of the three days and as productive as ever.
I had a lovely chat with two volunteers from Hitchin cemetery on St John’s Road who have established a series of plans for getting pupils to use this space for learning. There are clear links with history, geography and science and so I hope we will be able to make use of this space moving forward. I gave them the obligatory tour of the school and Nevaeh and Isaac were great class reps for Mayan.
I lost my chair on Tuesday morning. Esme (Year 3) had won it for the morning and so enjoyed the comfort as she completed her maths and English.
Staff had a bit of a practical staff meeting after school on Tuesday, much to the bemusement of Cookie Club. We finally got around to learning how to utilise our orienteering course set up in the school grounds. It was highly competitive (for some) and I am proud to show off and say that I got a sticker from our trainer! I refute the accusations that I cheated! Miss Gooderham will now work on a scheme of work for the pupils and this will be up and running shortly.
Bella and Isabella (Year 3) visited me to show me some wonderful maths work they have been doing in class and as is my way, I challenged them to complete even more challenging questions which of course they did with skill. They both received Headteacher’s Awards.
Other pupils I have had the pleasure of chatting with this week are Sophie, Joshua and Jacob (Year 4) who have been impressing Mrs Davies in Lamarr Class. Their history work was really good and all three chose different ways to present their ideas. Joshua’s comic strip was very clever.
The Year 6s were out on Wednesday completing some geography fieldwork and a river study. They took a short train journey to visit the River Hiz in Arlesey. It certainly looked like they were having fun whilst gathering some data which will be processed and used back in school. Mr Lord, our geography lead, also went with the Year 6 team and looked lovely in his bright pink shorts!
I hope you all saw the wonderful news I shared on Wednesday about Miss McGurk’s baby. Jaxon was born in the early hours and both mum and baby are doing very well. There were some very excited pupils and staff in school who can’t wait to meet him.
We had two sporting events this week. A group of four Year 4 tennis players headed over to Letchworth Tennis Club on Wednesday afternoon for a lower school festival. After school on the same day, I enjoyed watching our cricket team play against Wymondley. It was a lovely evening to watch the game and have a chat to some of the other parents and grandparents who had come along to support and see the team win.
As I have already mentioned, we were closed to pupils on Thursday but as I sat in my office catching up and getting ahead, it was lovely to chat to a few of the voters, some of whom I hadn’t seen for a number of years. It was also good to see some pupils coming in with their parents to see democracy in action.
On Friday we took delivery of lots of new books for our school library courtesy of the book wish list scheme which has been organised via our wonderful Friends’ Association. Huge thanks to everyone who supported this venture and to Mrs Vernon who has been liaising with the committee to ensure we get the right books. I have no doubt they will be in our lovely library very soon indeed.
We had a special visitor on Friday morning for our Achievers’ Assembly. Becky from Stonegate Estate Agents joined us to announce the winners of the coronation picture competition. The shortlisted entries will be on display in the town centre and so well done to Sophie (Year 4), Grace, Eva, Poppy, Thomas B, Lily-Ann (Year 3), Edie, Maya, Grace, Eoin, Jake, Kamila (Year 6) and Jemma (Year 5).
The two winners, who both received very generous book vouchers, are Thomas B in the Lower School competition and Edie in the Upper School competition.
Music in this week’s assembly was provided by Silvia and Eleanor (Year 5) who played the piano for us.
We celebrated the charity success of Sophie (Year 5) who had, along with her sister Olivia (Year 7 at HGS) and Albert the dog, completed a month long sponsored walk in all weathers and despite a hectic schedule to raise funds for Stand Up to Cancer. At present the total raised stands at £1155. She thoroughly deserved her Headteacher’s Commendation.
The regular awards were also handed out and went to: Apollo who won Class of the Week; Fire who won the House Cup and Mayan who won the Wombles.
Looking ahead to next week – another short week – the main event as far as the Year 6s are concerned are the SATs. They are more than ready and will do their very best for sure. Breakfast has also been purchased, which they have as they arrive and chill each day of the tests.
I hope to be able to finalise our budget next week which Mrs Granger has been working on in recent weeks. I just have to hope I can cover all bases. Perhaps I will write separately with my thoughts and concerns for funding in education!
There is another cricket match after school on Tuesday, away at Ickleford.
So that is it for the week. A week which has brought much to celebrate and over the weekend, I will certainly do just that.
Have a great weekend and I will see you all on Tuesday morning.