The Last Full Week

The end of the last full week of 2023 and it certainly feels like it too. From the positive angle, there have been plenty of Christmas activities or themed lessons. However, from the opposite point of view, there are a lot of tired pupils and staff are certainly looking forward to the break.

On Monday, the Year 3s started their week with a visit to Highbury to watch their Christmas Play, Whoops-a-Daisy, Angel. Unfortunately, I had several other commitments and so wasn’t able to join them this year but I did catch up with the Year 2s who were in it when they came down to Whitehill for the matinee of our Year 3 play, ‘It’s Chr-i-i-i-stmas!’

They came to watch the first of three performances and they were an impeccable audience along with 50 other guests. The Year 3s performed two more times this week, on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and I enjoyed the show every single time. When the staff told me, after the dress rehearsal, just how good it was, they weren’t wrong. A great play, performed brilliantly. Everyone did so well and the standard of acting and singing was very impressive.

Three great audiences!

A huge thank you to the Year 3 teaching team for all their hard work in managing rehearsals and putting the show together, whilst still teaching all the other subjects. Whitehill will certainly never be accused of narrowing the curriculum!

Mr Denney has been up and down that ladder quite a few times over the last few weeks!

Thank you to those of you who came to support and also thank you for your generosity with our charity collection. The charities chosen by our Junior Leadership Team for this year are Stand By Me and the Evelina Children’s Hospital and I am delighted to say that our charity pot stands at £310 after this week.

Miss McGurk returned to work this week after her maternity leave and returned as Mrs Jarman. It is wonderful to have her back in school and she was straight into it again as she joined Mrs Burniston for a singing assembly. Mrs Jarman will be working with all of our classes in a variety of roles each week.

It was Christmas lunch day on Wednesday (perfect timing Mrs Jarman) and it was a mammoth affair. Mrs Stokes and her team cooked around 250 lunches for pupils and staff and we ran four sittings. It felt very festive and I know the staff appreciated the comments from pupils who referenced the fact that, ‘this is the best meal ever!’ It also doubled as the birthday lunch for Harriet (Year 5) and Mr Mills Jnr who, I believe, treated himself to two lunches. He’s a growing lad!

Year 5s tucking into their lunch

The weather on Wednesday was not what we would have wanted. My morning advent calendar to celebrate St Lucia Day was a little damp and then when we could have done with getting the children outside for an extended lunch, the rain got heavier. Credit to the pupils, however, as their behaviour was great and they just accepted that it was perfect weather for ducks.

Mr Wells was not in school on Wednesday and so it was imperative I was at Maths with Munchies. Amelie (Year 3) was tasked with reminding me which was perfect. I came armed with some festively coloured paper and we attempted some festive origami, making Christmas trees out of truncated tetrahedra. As a black belt in origami, I hope my instructions were clear and as a result, some were able to make that magical ‘tricky first fold’ relatively easily. All achieved success in the end, even if they did require a little bit of additional help. I had a great time!

After the Year 3s entertaining everyone else, it was our turn to entertain them on Thursday morning, along with the rest of the school. Anthony Glenn returned to perform A Christmas Carol in his own unique style. He was ably assisted by many of the pupils who were so keen to volunteer. Alex (Year 6) made a great Bob Cratchit and Albie (Year 5) was the Ghost of Christmas Present. This annual show for the pupils is funded through money raised by our Friends’ Association. A huge thanks to them again for all their hard work in 2023.

Scrooge meets his younger self thanks to the ghost of Christmas Past

I had a lovely afternoon hot chocolate with a group of Year 6s on Thursday following a recommendation by Mrs Vernon. Milly, Addi, Martha, Oona, Libby and Nihal have been amazingly helpful getting library books returned to the correct shelves when the task was looking quite daunting. Thank you, girls.

We weren’t able to have an Achievers’ Assembly last week but we did this week and it was a mammoth one.

We were entertained with music from Lottie (Year 5) who sang some carols for us. At the end of the assembly Oona and Nandi (Year 6) did a viola and vocal duet. All three were amazing!

As it was the last Achievers’ of the year, we also presented our School Games Awards for the half term. The following pupils all received a certificate and medal and can feel proud of their achievements in PE: Lucas, Ronnie (Year 3), Eva (Year 4), Chloe, Tom (Year 5) and Ava-Lily (Year 6).

We presented our Wall of Fame Awards to three pupils in each class. One for English, one for science and one for maths. They all received a certificate and their photos are now on our special display.

The regular school awards were handed out and these went to Orville as Class of the Week; Air won the House Cup and Voyager were awarded the Wombles, although I believe there is now a stewards’ enquiry into this last award.

Success in Year 6 this week

Looking ahead to next week and the final three days of the Autumn Term, my diary is reasonably quiet.

Our Chair of Governors, Dr Ray, is visiting on Monday afternoon and we are bound to have a little tour of the school. Edie (Year 3) has missed out on the last few Class Rep opportunities for Aztec Class and so I will try and visit so she can have another go.

The winners of the Activity Afternoon rewards will have their extra session on Tuesday morning and then at lunchtime, the SLT have invited the JLT for an offsite Christmas lunch. I have been given their choices from the menu so I know they will eat well.

We have our final Christmas assembly on Wednesday and I am still working out the best way to allow you to watch, should you wish to. I will send a link to you via a separate letter.

That’s it for the week. Despite being very busy, the blog is slightly shorter than usual as a treat for my dad!

Have a great weekend.

Best wishes,

Steve Mills

Friend of Whitehill – Anthony Glenn

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