Thank You So Much

For many members of staff, and pupils, this week was a continuation of last week with several activities taking place over the weekend. There is no doubt about it that as we reach the halfway point in the year – still without that illusive ‘call’ – everyone is ready for and deserves a rest.

Last Saturday, Miss Gooderham met up with pupils from Year 5 and Year 6 for the Herts County Cross Country Championships in St Albans. The course was challenging with hills featuring for the majority of the race. All of our runners deserve a lot of praise, including Ben (Year 6) who has not had the best of luck recently with injuries, for doing as well as they did. Jacob was our sole Year 5 boy and he ‘got into the zone’, tackling the course with confidence.

Leo (Year 6) did very well last year in this competition as a Year 5 qualifying for Nationals and I am delighted to say that again he did just that, finishing a very impressive third, not far behind the two boys in front. This is an incredible achievement and we look forward to seeing how he gets on representing his county in a few weeks’ time.

It’s catching… a traditional Richards photo-bomb but not Freddie this time!

On Sunday morning, Miss McGurk and Mrs Davies took our girls, who will be performing in the County Dance Festival next month, to St Albans for a dress rehearsal. This is an opportunity for the organisers of the festival to see the dance for the first time and to pass on any words of advice as the routine is polished between now and the show. Our routine received a great deal of praise and I can’t wait to go and watch when they perform on 9th March.

This week in school was designated a ‘Feeling Good Week’. A themed week where, as well as tackling the usual timetable, teachers would weave into the lessons a series of sessions linked closely to the Five Ways to Wellbeing.

A happy school!

Miss McGurk took my assembly first thing on Monday to share some suggestions as to what pupils could do and some of the events we had planned.

I fulfilled my promise on Monday morning taking on Avleen in a time stables challenge. I think that fits in with pretty much all the five ways. I have to admit, I went into the challenge feeling pretty confident that I could write quicker and recall answers faster than my eight year old challenger. I was wrong! Both Avleen and I got 100% of the answers we wrote in the 90 seconds correct. It is just that she managed to write two more than me! 96 v 94. There was only one thing I could do after this and that was to challenge her to a rematch. Bring it on!

I must try harder!

There is never any worry of pupils not ‘being active’ (one of the five ways) at Whitehill. In a typical week all pupils average two and a half hours of PE before any clubs, fixtures or special events are added. This week was no exception and after school on Monday we had a boys’ netball fixture against St Andrew’s School. It was a lovely evening and so I took some time to sit and watch the match.

Action from the boys’ netball match

We had the NSPCC in on Tuesday all day working with our upper school classes. This is something we have engaged with before as a tool for promoting personal safety and responding to those ‘oh oh’ feelings.

I ventured into Year 5 on Tuesday afternoon to see the results of some science the pupils were doing. They were looking at the component parts of blood and ‘made’ some using a combination of food items, including Cheerios (red blood cells) and granola (platelets). It was a very clever visual (if not messy at times) representation and when questioned, the pupils could all tell me the functions of the different parts.

What’s the matter Nandi?

Tuesday’s sporting offering was a girls’ football fixture away at St Francis. We had a Lower School Team playing for the first time as well as our Upper School Team. Whilst the highlight of the evening for many would be the homemade chocolate chip cookies the players had after the match, both teams can feel very proud with their performances. Jessica’s (Year 6) hatrick ensured a 3-3 draw in their match. And apparently, we should have been able to hear the cheer back at school when Brooke (Year 3) scored the only Whitehill goal in their game. (We are not worried in the slightest by the 12 goals St Francis scored – it was our first match!)

We scored one!

Pupils arrived in school on Wednesday morning in an eclectic mix of sporting attire for our ‘Sponsored Sportathon’. It was an incredible morning! The atmosphere, the weather, the enthusiasm was spot on! Working in House groups, the pupils took part in six out of the 12 activities on offer across the morning before finishing with a fun run.

I worked with Mr Lord in a crazy Lacrosse session which seemed to involve pupils trying to hit me and him with a ball! It was such good fun but I have to admit that after the sixth rotation, I was bordering on exhausted. It is for this reason I decided to take on the role of chief ‘cheerleader’ and ‘high-fiver’ during the run. It was a pivotal position!

Summer helped me up… Bella and Katie looked on in disbelief!

When we added up the number of laps the pupils (and staff) managed between them, we had run the equivalent of around 360km. This equates to running from Hitchin to Bangor in North Wales – a route I have driven on many occasion.

A great morning

As you will be aware, as well as being great fun, the main reason for this Sportathon was to raise some money to support the David Leach Recovery Fund. At the time of going of going live, I am delighted to say that through your incredible generosity, we have raised £1500. From everyone involved in this appeal, thank you so much!

On Wednesday afternoon, I was back in Kahlo Class to finish off the D&T unit of work making their cars. We have been waiting for front wheels to arrive and I am delighted to say that Mrs Lanni found a different supplier. We now have enough for this year and probably the next couple of years.

The pupils in Kahlo Class were once again so independent and creative and used the advice given to solve problems such as why does my car drive around in circles. Jess thought carefully about the position of the battery to see if that made a difference, for example. For creativity and ingenuity, Sarah and Amelia deserve top marks. Sarah’s model had its own set of fluffy dice – very 1980s! I have really enjoyed working with this class and hope I get invited back to teach this unit of work next year too.

Not sure we have ever had fluffy dice in a model car

Wednesday’s sporting event after school was a netball fixture away at Highover. There were probably some very tired pupils after the morning’s exploits but well done nonetheless to those who took part. Not long to go before the end of season festivals.

I spent most of Thursday getting shouted at by Mrs Lanni as I coughed my way through the day. I tried a variety of remedies being suggested and ended up adding ‘sorry’ to the end of every cough.

Wilde Class were joined by Mrs Charmantier on Thursday afternoon to talk about ‘classification’ – a link a unit of work the Year 6s have been doing in science. I was showing someone around the school that afternoon and so wasn’t able to watch the whole talk but I was very interested in the bits I did manage to catch, particularly the statement around scientists always arguing and not necessarily coming to an agreement. We can all learn from this. 

Thank you to Eoin’s mum for sharing her expertise

We had a football match after school on Thursday against Pirton in the league and given that the fresh air might make me cough less (it didn’t) I went and watched. It was a good match and the team played well. I was particularly impressed with Joseph (Year 5) and Bailey (Year 6) who linked up superbly for a lovely goal.

An accomplished performance from Aidan in goal

With all that we have been getting up to, our Achievers’ assembly on Friday morning was quite a marathon. As well as hearing about all the events across the week and sharing in the success, we presented the usual awards.

Class of the week this week was Aztec; the House Cup went to Earth and in the absence of Mr Waluk, I decided that the Year 6 pupils who have been helping out in the dining room for the last two weeks should receive the Wombles.

Music this week was courtesy of Harriet who played the cello for us. It is lovely to see how confident she is becoming in a relatively short space of time, having recently taken part in the music service strings’ day.


A couple of weeks ago, Grace and Scarlett (Year 6) set off on a project of writing a newspaper about things happening in school and I said that I would share it with you in one of my blogs. Below is a link to the first edition. I believe they are thinking about producing future copy and each time they do, I will share it with you. Thank you in advance for giving it a read on behalf of the two girls. 

Whitehill Weekly – First Edition

So that is it. Officially the halfway point of the school year and a chance for us all to rest – get rid of this cough, if for no other reason that to stop Mrs Lanni nagging – and to prepare for the second half. Please don’t forget that we return to school on Tuesday 21st February due to staff INSET on the Monday.

An action shot from the lacrosse on Wednesday

When we return, Mr Derrett from Hitchin Girls’ School will be in to work with Year 5 pupils looking at the heart. Also that week, we have a day of safety workshops for our Upper School pupils culminating in a parent information session starting at 6.00pm. It is still not too late to sign up if this may be of interest, using the following link:

E-Safety Evening for Parents – Book me a place

There are also three sporting fixtures: a football against Samuel Lucas; netball matches against Ickleford and district finals of the indoor athletics competition.

During half term we have a couple of little projects taking place including the cleaning of the netball courts and playgrounds. They do get a hammering and are certainly due for a little bit of a facelift. I just need to make sure Mr Lord’s holiday camp keeps them clean!

Now, what shows can I pick up some tickets for over the coming 10 days?

Have a great week.

Best wishes,

Steve Mills

Have a lovely half term break – and thank you!

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