Weather featured quite a lot in last week’s blog and on Saturday, as Leo was competing in the National Cross Country Finals, he had to compete with thunder and rain. Despite these conditions, he did so well and beat his personal best and also improved on last year’s position in a very strong field. Huge congratulations to Leo! We were also pleased to see Freddie make his obligatory appearance in one of the photos!
On Monday, my assembly continued with the current theme of being kind to each other and I reminded the pupils of the acronym THINK which we refer to when we are talking with each other. It is a useful reminder with the T (True) and the K (Kind) probably being the two most important letters.
Definitely more interesting than me talking for 20 minutes was listening to Josh (Year 6) play the piano for us again. Every so often, this amazing talent will come and let me know he has got some new pieces he is ready to perform and we find a slot in one of our assemblies. Music at Whitehill is strong and I think it is so inspiring for some of our younger pianists to hear him play and entertain.
On Monday afternoon, we opened the doors of the school and were joined by many (many) family members as they looked around at the displays; saw the work in the books and generally got a taste of school life prior to the consultation evenings on Tuesday and Wednesday. The school felt very full and there was a lovely atmosphere as the pupils proudly shared all the amazing things they have been getting up to. We will hold one further open afternoon just before the end of the school year in July at which point the pupils will also know which classes they will be moving to and so perhaps you can visit both classes, old and new.
The day of hockey on Tuesday for a few of our teams was impacted by the weather. Of course it was. A lot of rain fell but it didn’t stop the festival or the tournament taking place. Both Mrs Wells and Mrs Bradshaw were full of praise for all the players and the way they played and the results were particularly pleasing too. We celebrated this in our Friday Achievers’ Assembly.
I had the pleasure of watching the Lamarr Class assembly on Tuesday afternoon with parents, carers and other family members. I was so impressed with their performance of Julius Caesar which they had been working on since Shakespeare Week. As I said to the assembled audience, I struggle to remember what I had for breakfast so how they remembered all those lines, I will never know. It is lovely to be able to get back to some of these key events, like assemblies, which were part of our pre-Covid life at Whitehill.
The other exciting news we received on Tuesday this week was the fact that we have once again been shortlisted for Beano’s Funniest Class of the Year competition. We now have to actively campaign to get as many votes as we possibly can between now and the 28th April. We have a month. Please vote as many times as you can each day – multiple devices – and ask anyone you know to do the same. Let’s see if we can retain the title. I will make no apologies for the number of times I will share this link and beg you to vote. Thank you in advance!
I had a visit from a former pupil of mine on Wednesday morning but unfortunately, I was out for a couple of hours and so missed him. He brought in a match shirt of his for me and has agreed to come in when he is back in Hitchin again and visit the classes. Ben Wilmot played for Stevenage, Watford and Swansea before moving to his current club, Stoke City. I wonder if the pupils who tried on his shirt when they visited me that afternoon for a Headteacher’s Award will follow in his footsteps.
The weather prevented the Lower School inter-house football from taking place on Wednesday afternoon but we did manage to squeeze in the Upper School competition in the morning. Congratulations to Water House who ran out winners on this occasion. Miss Gooderham will look to get the Year 3 and Year 4 tournament played after Easter.
I attended the final photography club on Wednesday after school. This week was looking at still life and I was so impressed with the progress the pupils have made since week one when they were first given their cameras. They are now able to think about lighting, framing and composition and their creativity is to be applauded. A huge thanks to Mrs Chown and Mrs Dent who have run the club for us. I believe they are putting together a film which we will show in an assembly after the break. I hope we will also get to run this club again in the future.
I was out on Thursday at a regional NAHT meeting. As well as the usual business, we were joined by Amanda Spielman (HMCI) and the Regional Director of Ofsted, Mike Sheridan. Given we have only just had our inspection, it was interesting to hear from them about current thinking. I was also able to have a private meeting about our inspection which was very good. And no, we still haven’t had our report!
I was back in school just before the end of the day and did pop into most of the classes to see what was going on. If ever I have been out for any length of time, I do like to ‘do the rounds’ and see the most important part of the job – the pupils learning.
After school I joined a DfE webinar on the latest pay offer which has featured in the news recently. Although this blog certainly isn’t the vehicle to talk about pay and funding and the possibility of further industrial action, I might at some point share, in a different way, the concerns I have as a Headteacher about this latest offer from the government and outline the challenges leaders in education are having at the moment.
There has been some great work across the school this week, including some brilliant gymnastics in Orville Class. I did see on twitter that Mrs Locke shared a photo showing that the pupils in Year 4 know how to fold their clothes. Make sure you remember this next time you see them scattered all over their bedroom floors.
The music for Achievers’ Assembly this week was provided by Lottie (Year 4) on the piano and Edie and Sofia (Year 6) who sang for us and were very patient whilst we had technical troubles with the music.
We had quite a few certificates to present this week as we reached the end of the term. The Sports Values Awards were presented again and this term saw Finley (Year 5), Eme (Year 6), Joseph (Year 3), Tilly (Year 5), Freddie (Year 4) and Summer (Year 6) receive the certificates.
The regular awards were awarded to: Apollo who won Class of the Week; Water who won the House Cup and Voyager who won the Wombles.
We also presented gifts to Miss McGurk who leaves us for a couple of terms as she goes on maternity leave and to Mr Lord who will be getting married over the break. We wish both of them, and their partners, all the very best and of course look forward to hearing all about the exciting news.
My instructions for the rest of the day were simple – tidy the school! We have a film company coming in on Sunday to create a virtual walking tour of the school which we will put on the school website. It looks really exciting and the functionality is going to be very useful indeed. We think very carefully about transition from Highbury or our other feeders and Whitehill and this tool will be something additional which will make the move to Whitehill as straight forward as possible. It also has many uses beyond this, especially for some of our neurodivergent pupils. I can’t wait to see it up and running.
We return to school on Monday 17th April for the start of the Summer Term. I hope if I mention the word ‘summer’ enough, we might actually get some nicer weather.
If you have some time over the break, don’t forget to have a go at our current competition to celebrate the King’s Coronation. The details were circulated yesterday by email and the entry form is also on the school website. You can also watch the video here.
Year 4 start the term with an architectural workshop and there are some rearranged sports fixtures too in the diary. For me, the week looks reasonably quiet but these could be famous last words. Let’s hope not.
For now, let me wish you all a relaxing holiday and as always, thank you again for all your support.