Purple 4 Polio

I’ve had a busy week! A great deal of time has been spent trying to get up to date with many of the tasks and answering a long list of questions Mrs Cook has compiled for me. I am afraid I am still not quite there with the tasks (questions all answered) but given a couple more days without interruption, I should be close.

Kahlo Class cancelled their Hitchin walk scheduled for Monday morning having looked at the weather forecast. Typically, it turned out to be a perfect morning and so we are now all keeping our fingers crossed that next Monday will be kind. At the time of starting this blog, I think they should be fine. Wilde Class did go out for their walk however, on Wednesday morning and did so in glorious sunshine. It’s always good to take the learning beyond the classroom walls and Hitchin is rich in history and an ideal place to bring learning to life.

On Monday after school, two of our football teams headed off to St Andrew’s School. The ‘A’ Team were playing a Wix Cup match and the ‘B’ Team were playing a friendly. Both teams enjoyed very successful evenings leaving with a win. The ‘A’ Team now progress through to the quarter finals of this competition. Well done to all the players and thank you to Mr Miley and Miss Gooderham for all their hard work with the school football club and teams.

Mrs Beresford and I followed up our visits to the classrooms last Thursday morning, chatting with pupils from all four year groups about reading. It was really insightful and provided us with lots of valuable information which we will use next week when we have a visit from a local authority adviser who is tasked with monitoring the work of maintained schools across the county. We are looking forward to the visit and the opportunity to show the great work which goes on at Whitehill by our fantastic pupils!

I had a really interesting meeting with two members of Hitchin Priory Rotary Club on Thursday. We have been asked if we would support their ongoing project Purple 4 Polio. The Year 3s are going to be planting 3000 purple crocus bulbs in the week before half term in a prominent place in the school grounds. The display should be quite spectacular when they flower in the early spring. Nearer the time, I will be delivering an assembly to the pupils as to the significance between crocuses and the polio vaccination. I wonder if any of you know.

Straight after work, I headed off to a county NAHT meeting – the first of the year – to find out what is going on across the county and what the key issues are which are keeping Hertfordshire’s school leaders awake at night. They don’t often change!

At 9.00am on Friday morning, our booking system opened up again for our Autumn Term parent consultation evenings. If you have any problems logging on, feel free to contact the school office and we can help you out. At the time of this blog going live, 51% of you have booked appointments.

Parent Consultation Evening Booking Platform

I have mentioned before the work Mrs Beresford and I have done on assessment and on Friday morning David Cook from Herts for Learning came to Whitehill to look at how we make use of their Maths Assessment tools. It is a really good product which gives the diagnostic information and not just a ‘score’. As well as discussing maths assessment, we also took the opportunity to show him around Whitehill and he also joined in with our Achievers’ Assembly. I was so proud of the Class Reps who came over to talk to our visitor as we entered their classrooms. Chloe and Spencer (Year 4) and Harry (Year 5) were particularly impressive.

During this week’s assembly, our live music was provided by Niamh (Year 6) and Liliana (Year 5). We celebrated all of this week’s sporting achievements which, as well as Monday’s football success, also included a girls’ Wix Cup match played on Thursday. The girls did very well and in a close game against Our Lady’s, won 1-0 and so also progress through to the next round. The pupils are well and truly settled back into the swing of things as can been seen by the number of Bronze awards which were celebrated today. This ensured the House Cup was a close call this week but it was Air who came out on top. Mayan Class were awarded the Class of the Week cup (for the second time his term).

Looking ahead to next week, all staff will be engaged in this year’s first set of pupil progress meetings. These are opportunities for the class teachers to talk through with the leadership team how the pupils have settled and how they have progressed over these initial weeks. They are very labour intensive but invaluable in terms of discussing the successes and development areas for every pupil in the whole school.

On Monday morning we will be counting the ballot papers for the vacant parent governor position. Thank you to all of you who have taken the time to be part of this process. We will announce the result as soon as the successful candidate has been informed.

In addition to these meetings, Year 4 are off to the Natural History Museum and, due to a meeting back at school, this will be the first time since I became Headteacher that I have not taken part in this particular visit. I do enjoy this trip but as Mr Denney is aware, me not being there probably means all 61 pupils will be accounted for at the end of the trip! Don’t ask!

We have a governors’ meeting on Wednesday evening, when the curriculum committee meet for the first time this year.

On the sports front, we have both netball and football fixtures on Wednesday. Our netball teams have a home fixture against Our Lady’s School and our football team travels to Offley School for an away fixture.

On Thursday, we are joining in with marking World Mental Health Day. Pupils are invited to leave their uniforms at home and come to school in bright, rainbow colours in exchange for an act of kindness or a friendly word. I have a few prizes to hand out to pupils / families for particularly kind acts that I notice as I move around the school.

That’s about it for another week. A week in which I was able to wear my poncho again, and once again cause amusement for all who saw me. I am glad I have a use in the mornings!

Have a great weekend.

Best wishes,

Steve Mills






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