Can I start the first blog of 2020 by wishing you all a Happy New Year and also by thanking you for all the support we have received following my email on Monday. Mrs Cook has been in a couple of times this week (I don’t think she trusted me with the school cheque book) but it will be a few weeks before the office is back to normal, particularly in the afternoons. Obviously our thoughts and good wishes go out to Mrs Cook and her family.
The pupils were straight back into their learning and during several walkabouts this week, I have seen some lovely maths, English and art as well as heard some impressive music from the Year 5s under the direction and instruction of Mr Brunton. Over the next couple of weeks, you will receive an update from the class teachers as to what the topics will look like this term and what exciting opportunities the pupils have to look forward to. I think the staff all agree with me when I say that the Spring Term is the time when the pupils really shine and make progress. Routines are well-established by the pupils and the teachers really have the measure of the pupils.
The start of a new year was an ideal opportunity to trial new arrangements for playground use at lunchtimes and break times. Traditionally the two main playgrounds have been split as Upper School and Lower School. There are benefits to having this age-related split but in the first few days of differentiation according to activity, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. The pupils are now free to use any of the playgrounds but do so according to the nature of the activity. We now have a ‘calm’ playground and a more ‘active’ playground with the pupils free to move between the two. It has been lovely seeing the Year 3s and Year 4s playing with the Year 5s and Year 6s. The Year 3s and 4s are also really enjoying the opportunity to use the climbing wall and I have included some photos from Friday lunchtime throughout this week’s blog. There appear to have been fewer squabbles and injuries as the pupils have more space to move and are self-regulating. Long may this continue.
I had another meeting this week in relation to after school provision for Whitehill pupils. As I have mentioned previously, it is my intention to have something based at Whitehill in the near future. In reality it will probably be September 2020 when this is up and running as there is lots of work to do in advance. We need to find the right provider and ensure there is the demand to make it viable for them to set up here. I will continue to keep you informed of my progress with this through these blogs and additional correspondence. There is also a shorter term goal which I have been working on this week in terms of finding suitable provision for the handful of families who, with the closure of the provision at Wymondley, now find themselves homeless. I hope this will be resolved very soon.
I have had a couple of chess matches this week against Thomas (Year 4) and his friends but am now acutely aware that there are a few others wanting to challenge me to a game, including Ethan in Year 3. I will let you know how I get on.
Our first Achievers’ Assembly of 2020 saw Mayan Class win Class of the Week and Air win the House Cup. Music was provided by Lilly O, Isabelle (Year 6) and Liliana (Year 5) who played the piano, drums and the trumpet respectively (but not at the same time). We also celebrated some further TT Rockstars successes with several pupils across all four year groups receiving a badge for the first time.
We have an early start on Monday as the Year 6s head off to London to visit the Houses of Parliament and Tate Modern. It promises to be a wonderful day with the pupils visiting two of the most iconic buildings in the capital. The Year 6s are also in for a fun time on Wednesday as they take part in a Ukulele workshop.
Hitchin Girls’ School are back in on Tuesday afternoon to deliver sessions to Year 5s on the heart. I am certainly going to try and see some of this work.
Plans to replace the aging play equipment are ‘full steam ahead’ now and on Wednesday morning, I have a meeting with the chosen supplier to talk through the timings for the project. I look forward to providing you with an update next week as to when we might expect to see the wonderful new equipment in use.
I am out of the office on Thursday morning for my termly regional NAHT meeting in Cambridge but will be back in school mid-afternoon. On Friday next week, fingers crossed, I have my first Herts Heads football match of the year.
So that’s about it for week one of 2020. A nice short blog to get you going and to keep my dad happy… for once!