Put the World to Rights!

Welcome back after our half term break. I hope you all had an enjoyable week and some quality family time together. We return to dark mornings and dark nights, which is quite miserable. On the upside, when we take delivery of the telescope, it means we get to have some fun after school looking into space.

First thing on Monday, we had the photographer return to take our class photos. We changed photographers this year for the individual photos and asked the same person to return to take the class ones. They will be different from previous years, taken outside with a more ‘traditional’ feel but a change is as good as a rest. He will be back once more later in the year to take a whole school photo for us.

We were lucky with the weather at the beginning of the week

Standing where I do on the playground each morning, you get to see familiar faces and in some cases, I can set my watch by the time and order the pupils turn up. I know who tends to be last on the playground, for example, meaning I am safe to go back in. On Monday, therefore, along with Mrs McConnell Smith, at the end of the day, I ventured to the opposite side of the school for a change to say goodbye to some different families. It was lovely, but did give me the sort of feeling you get from wearing your watch on the opposite wrist. Doing this also gave me a wonderful view of a lovely rainbow, which several families stopped to photograph, just as I did.

A clear double rainbow

Meeting followed meeting on Tuesday but I was able to spend some time chatting with pupils. I was visited by a group of wonderful writers from Voyager Class who wanted to show me their diary entries inspired by the book Cloud Busting by Malorie Blackman.

After I had finished lunch duty in the dining room, I popped to the pond with Alex, Luna and Bailey (Year 3s) who helped me clear some of the weed, which had grown far too much in recent weeks. We didn’t get too wet but Bailey with a net is quite a lethal combination! The pond, I am pleased to report, is much clearer again and we can see the fish.

Careful where those drips go!

I wasn’t able to get out after school to watch much of the football as I had a staff meeting. In a short break however, I did pop outside and watched from afar, as we scored a goal in one of the games. The more detailed feedback I received afterwards from Jude (Year 6) and Miss Gooderham sounded like both teams played very well. These fixtures were celebrated during Friday’s Achievers’ Assembly.

I had the first of a series of prospective parent tours on Wednesday morning. These normally involve parents who are thinking of choosing Highbury but of course, as children who choose the Highbury / Whitehill route spend longer at Whitehill, it is good to show families what they will get. I was so proud of the school when I showed the parents around. The class reps from Year 3 to Year 6 were incredible and the classes engaged in their work showed exactly what I would hope parents would see. Remember our phrase, ‘happy children learn…’ I have several more of these tours to do in the coming weeks and I am sure they will all be of a similar quality. I gave a specific ‘shout out’ out to Violet and Ellis (Year 3) in a previous blog and will do so again, along with Edie and Freya W, our other Year 3 reps in Aztec Class.

Orville Class had an amazing Wednesday. I saw some great maths when I visited the class with parents and later, the computing lesson they did was equally as successful. After one more positive piece of feedback from another member of staff, it was only right that they received their whole-class Headteacher’s Award.

Mr Denney’s assembly on Wednesday launched this year’s poppy appeal and these will continue to be available to pupils next week whilst supplies last.

Smarties in maths… what more could you want?

I was able to get out for half an hour on Wednesday after school to see some of both netball matches. We had two teams playing against William Ransom and both teams played some very impressive netball. Kieran and Connor (Year 5) used some of that fraternal ESP to set up a number of goals in their game. It was lovely to see Bella (now Year 7 at HGS) return to watch her brother, Albie (Year 5) who had another great game. I could name all the players and we certainly celebrated their success in Achievers’ on Friday, but Milly and Evie (Year 6) do deserve that additional mention from the 30 minutes I managed to watch.

I was out visiting a local school on Thursday morning and enjoyed a little tour through some of the classes. It is always lovely to see other schools in action, as there is always something you can learn or takeaway. It is also lovely to sit down with a fellow headteacher and put the world to rights!

I was back in time for lunch duty and managed to get some tuition from Nandi and Chloe in how to use chopsticks. I know I don’t do it right and these two Year 6 pupils are experts – I see them often when they are eating their packed lunch – and so I wanted to learn from the best. They did try, and have promised to help me further but Nandi didn’t stop laughing when she saw my first attempt! I will keep you posted as to how proficient I become.

On Thursday evening, I did take delivery of the telescope again. An amazing piece of kit that we are lucky to be able to use courtesy of our chair of governors. It is used with the Year 5s for space night but also, with the darker nights, you may see me outside at various other times. Look out for this and if you fancy having a go, please come and join in. There is something quite awe inspiring about seeing Jupiter and Saturn!

Using the telescope last winter. Looking forward to another couple of months of planet gazing!

I have already mentioned the sporting achievements we celebrated in our Friday Achievers’ Assembly which had music this week provided by George who played his guitar. Next time, I want to see George play his guitar whilst his amazing dog, Jasmine, dances!

Next time, I want Jasmine involved as well.

The regular awards were handed out as follows: Class of the Week went to Voyager but I do want to give another mention to Orville; Earth won the House Cup and the Wombles went to Mayan.

Amazing collaboration!

I often am sent information in advance of the Friday assembly, sharing news or photographs of some particularly notable achievements which I do enjoy receiving. A couple of examples this week are Tommy (Year 4) who came first in his age group at the ‘Duxford Dash’. Then, as look would have it, he bumped into Mr Denney who used his connections to get Tommy the opportunity to sit in a spitfire. What a treat!

What an opportunity

Freddie R (Year 4) has been having success after success on the football pitch, winning man of the match with Hitchin as well as receiving another very impressive report from Luton Town. The parents’ evening was held at Kenilworth Road, their premiership home! (How long will I be able to say that?)

Well done, Freddie. A great report!

We also celebrated more swimming success for Leo (Year 5), cycling success for Lottie (Year 4) and then a collection of swimming awards for our lower school pupils. It must have been a productive assembly as it went on until 9.35am.

At break on Friday I had another ‘Biscuits with the Boss’ and entertained six more Year 3s with some of Mrs Lanni’s incredible hot chocolate and a selection of cookies. These sessions are great for finding out about the start of term and at the moment, the start of their Whitehill journeys. I am not around for the next few Fridays and so we may have to look for an alternative day – I am not sure I will be allowed to wait until December to hold the next one.

We had a basketball team out on Friday afternoon taking part in a competition at Fearnhill School. At the time of this blog going out, the results are still not known and so look out on twitter later for updates.

Looking ahead to next week, I have another set of parent tours on Tuesday morning and then in the afternoon, we are hosting some safeguarding training. There are three sporting fixtures after school on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday but I won’t be able to get to any as I am heading up to Stratford upon Avon on Wednesday evening for two days of NAHT business. I will keep in contact with Miss Gooderham to ensure I know how we got on. And, before my dad gets too excited, I will do my best to ensure a blog goes out at the usual time on Friday afternoon!

Poppies will continue to be sold in school next week and so if pupils would like to get one, I have asked Libby (Year 6) to pop around the classes to facilitate this.

That is it for another week. I hope you all have a lovely weekend, even though the weather for Saturday does not look great!

Best wishes,

Steve Mills

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