Squeaky Clean

I will start by wishing you all a Happy New Year and trust that your break – however short it might have felt – was a success. Chatting to parents on the playground on Thursday morning, many of you, like me, experienced some form of the cold / flu bug. Teachers always seem to get it when they are on a break but that didn’t stop me heading into London a few times to see a few shows. Happy to recommend a new one to those of you interested in this type of pastime, if you chat to me one morning.

I was in school on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, catching up prior to the pupils starting and it was on Tuesday a most bizarre event took place in relation to our pond. It was early and Mr Waluk and I were walking around the pond to see what signs of life were there. Usually at this time of the year, the wildlife is hiding (hibernating?) and this was the case on first inspection. As we walked away however, there was a rather large fish – looking not too dissimilar from ‘Big Bad Bob’ (a fish from the past) – laying on the grass nearby (two metres away). Thinking it was dead, we were just about to scoop it away when it showed us it clearly wasn’t. As soon as it was back in the water, it started swimming around quite happily. We had saved his life! Of course, the question is, why was it taking a rest out of the pond? It could be that our friendly (or not-so-friendly if you are a fish) heron had tried to get it and given up / or we had scared it away. Had a heron stolen a fish from a nearby pond and landed in our garden for a rest? Either way, a fish we have not seen for many, many months is now in the pond and seems to be quite happy. Long may it continue.

A life saved

When I was in school on Tuesday, I was made aware of the fact that Bella (Year 6) had set up a car washing initiative along with her brother, Albie (Year 4) and some Whitehill friends from her close: Edie (Year 6), Georgia (Year 3). She was also joined by two other friends, Seren and Gracie from Highover and HGS respectively. My car was certainly looking grubby and so I was delighted when Bella confirmed she was going for a second day of trading and was looking for some more cars to clean. By now, her initiative had a name, ‘Squeaky Clean’. I dropped my car off on Wednesday morning and after just over an hour, I was able to pick up a very clean car and was greeted by some wonderful customer service.

My car sparkled after being looked after by ‘Squeaky Clean’!

The reason for this initiative was Bella’s way of contributing to the ‘David Leach Spinal Injury Recovery appeal’. I am sure by now you will have all heard or read of the injury that Davey – a parent of two Whitehill pupils – suffered playing lacrosse and how the community are now looking to support the family during this difficult time. I was only too pleased to contribute to this through Bella and I can confirm, as a school, we are also looking to see what we might do later in the term to support the appeal. I will keep you posted through this blog and other communication channels. It goes without saying that we wish Davey all the very best with his recovery.

I am not sure what I think of two days of school to start a term. Would it have been better to start back on a Monday or do two days to give you a gentle way into a new term?

The pupils were in fine voice in our singing assembly on Thursday morning. The staff briefing finished before singing did and so I was able to pop down to the hall and have a listen. We have some great singers at Whitehill that is for sure. After this, the majority of my Thursday morning was spent catching up on emails and other bits and pieces.

Natural teachers

I ventured out and about during the afternoon to visit some of the classes. Kahlo class were experimenting with a variety of media during their art lesson and results were looking very promising. In Year 5, pupils were learning about the heart and combining some very informative science with very creative artwork. I hope to have some of this art on display in my office in the coming weeks. During Lower School Activity Afternoon, Wilde Class helped out Miss Gooderham and the team to deliver a carousel of activities, running their stations very well indeed.

Year 6s taking control

We still held an Achievers’ Assembly on Friday and did still present our regular awards. We based decision on the last three days of last term as well as the start of this. Class of the Week went to Wilde with Water winning the House Cup. The Wombles are starting the Spring Term in Mayan Class. Music was provided by Emily and Grace (Year 6) who played the piano for us.

Straight after the assembly I went into an online meeting which finished just before lunch. After lunch, Dr Ray, our Chair of Governors came in to catch up and chat about plans and thoughts for the coming months. It is going to be a very busy (and perhaps a little bit stressful) term. As is always the case when governors visit, we also walked and talked and visited some of the classes to see what the pupils were getting up to.

Looking ahead to next week, I will not be on the playground on Monday morning as I have a meeting offsite at the start of the day. I will try and be around at the end of the day if there are any people wanting to touch base with me.

I am doing a prospective parent tour on Wednesday morning and then on Wednesday evening, I am heading into London for a book launch. This is a book written in relation to ‘Lessons from Lockdown’ to which Mrs Beresford and I contributed when we were in the thick of the disruption. It will be lovely to meet up with the author who we only met via Zoom! It will also be lovely to meet up with Mrs Beresford again who left us at the end of 2021.

In the coming days, I will update the school website calendar. There are several school events which I need to get onto the website calendar so that you are able to keep up to date (and ahead) of what the pupils might be getting up to in the coming weeks. Until this is updated, please do ask if you are not sure what is happening; my calendar is pretty much up to date and I should be able to tell you.

That’s it for today. If anyone has a contact in the West End and can get their hands on a ticket for the last performance of Come From Away tomorrow night, you know where I am! If you don’t ask…

Anyway, have a great weekend!

Best wishes,

Steve Mills

One of my favourite shows closes tomorrow!


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