They thoroughly deserve it!

Another phenomenal week! Another week for me to be so proud of Whitehill Junior School. Before I reflect on the week from Monday, let me go back to last Friday and the Friends’ Association Summer Social.

We were so lucky with the weather again and after an afternoon of hi-viz direction and instruction the pupils left their classrooms at 3.15pm ready to enjoy the inflatables and join their parents for an evening of summer sun. It all seemed to be going so smoothly as well, until one too many plugs (powering a rather large pizza oven) was plugged in and everything stopped. To say we were deflated is an understatement and it matched the images of the bouncy castles which went down quicker than an Inter Milan centre forward!

Huge thanks to Mr Beattie and other parents who helped investigate and try to resolve the issue. Temporary solutions were found which meant the evening was a success and pupils were entertained. I am also pleased to report that a blown fuse back in the main input cupboard was the culprit and that was repaired before the pupils arrived on Monday morning (thanks to another future Whitehill parent).

Some great rain forest work in Year 3

Anyway, the Summer Social itself raised in excess of £4000 profit which is just incredible. Probably our most successful single event ever. Success has more than a monetary value too, and the social aspect of the evening was particularly pleasing, especially as I got to listen to Finley McKillop sing a few of my favourite West End songs. Thank you to everyone who came along and in particular to the committee and volunteers who made it work.

We have had a few key events this week to keep us busy and entertained. All have been amazing!

The Year 6 production has to have been one of the best ever. (There are quite a few superlatives appearing in this week’s blog) I have enjoyed all three performances this week, from the matinee on Monday afternoon to our two evening shows.

Liam and Eoin as Shrek and Donkey

Everything about the production was perfect. Every individual element from stage crew to dancers; from a single line of dialogue to donkey’s script was executed to perfection. More importantly, the pupils (and staff) looked like they were having fun and that is key.

Once seen, never forgotten!

I will send home the password you will need to watch the film we will be making as soon as it is ready and access will be via the school website (probably). Thank you to everyone who came along to watch – some of you several times – and also for contributing to the charity collections. Across all three shows, you helped to put an additional £290 in our fund. That brings the total for the year to a wonderful £880 which will be shared between Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust and Operation Ocelot.

In the middle of the run of shows, we also received the outcomes of the Year 6 end of Key Stage statutory assessments (their SATs results). And, in keeping with theme and positivity of this week’s missive, they too were incredible.

Edie as one of the Princess Fionas

For those of you who know me well, you would have probably heard me talk about Simon Sinek’s ‘Infinite Game’ when referring to education at Whitehill. Schools and certainly pupils should not be defined by the finite outcome of a test taken in the middle of May. Assess, yes. Hang everything on these tests as an ultimate (finite) measure, no. We need to avoid crass headlines in the papers along the lines of ‘Britain’s Five Worst Schools’, which have naively and simplistically been derived from some no-context SATs data.

Science lessons take place in some weird and wonderful locations

That being said, once again, our data is very impressive and the pupils are to be commended for the effort they have displayed over the last four years. Four years which have seen them leave Year 3 in March and not return until September. Miss the Spring Term of Year 4 due to another lockdown and then continue with bubbles and disruption in Year 5. Have I mentioned a coach to Leicester?!


  National 2023 Whitehill 2023
Average Scaled Score % at Expected Standard Average Scaled Score % at Expected Standard % at ‘Higher’ Standard*
Reading 105 73% 110 93% 55%
Writing N/A 71% N/A 85% 35%
GPS 105 72% 108 90% 48%
Maths 104 73% 107 87% 43%
Science N/A 80% N/A 93% N/A

* – this is not a published standard nationally at present but is assumed to be a scaled score of 110+

We have had Hitchin Rugby Club in this week spending an afternoon with each year group and they have one more session with Year 6s next week. Some of you will be familiar with the ‘Hedgehogs’ and these sessions are giving pupils a sample of what is available if they fancied trying a different sport at a very well run and family orientated club.

The rescheduled Interhouse rounders for lower school pupils had to be postponed again but Miss Gooderham will definitely make it work next week. I don’t think she has a choice judging by the enthusiasm of some of those Year 3s.

A group of Year 6s were out at a rounders festival organised by the sports partnership and hosted by Fearnhill School on Wednesday morning. It looked like great fun and Miss Gooderham was very proud of the team. Although it was originally a ‘festival’, it ended up being a competition where Whitehill faced William Ransom in the final. I am delighted to report that Whitehill won and came skipping back into school. They were presented with medals in Friday’s Achievers’ Assembly. Well done everyone who played.

The winning team!

Thursday was all about transition. Our current Year 6s had their first day at their new secondary schools and judging by the conversations on Friday, the majority of pupils had a good time and are looking forward to the next phase of their educational journey from September.

The Year 6 production was enjoyed by many

In school, our remaining pupils all moved up and spent most of the day with their new teaching teams in their new classrooms and we were joined by 60 new Year 3s who spent the day in their (soon to be) new school. I visited the classes as much as possible without wanting to be a nuisance, and was really pleased with the way the pupils engaged with the tasks they were given. I think we have another great cohort joining Whitehill.

Our ‘soon to be’ Year 6s on transition day

It was a case of ‘as you were’ on Friday as everyone returned to their current bases. We had our penultimate Achievers’ Assembly and presented our usual school awards. Class of the Week went to both Year 6 classes after their phenomenal performances and their great assessment results: the House Cup went to Air and Wilde won the Wombles.

We also presented the prizes to the latest competition supported by Stonegate Estates. This time, the two competitions were based around the upcoming women’s world cup. The Lower School winner was Julia (Year 3) and the Upper School winner was Sarah (Year 6). Both pupils received a £50 sports voucher kindly provided by Stonegate.

Well done to Julia and Sarah

Looking ahead to next week, the diary is considerably clearer than it has been.

On Monday morning, Year 5 pupils will be sharing their musical talents in a woodwind assembly showing off what they have learned over the course of the year on either the flute or clarinet. All Year 5s learn one of these two instruments as part of our music curriculum and I have already been chatting to Mr Brunton about next year. Straight after, the pupils will share with family in attendance what they have been learning in history in an Olympic themed showcase. Mr Lord has suggested that parents should have appropriate footwear in order to join in some Olympic challenges!

The big event takes place on Tuesday. The whole day is given over to sports day with family and friends invited to join us from 12.45pm for the track events.

For the remainder of the week there will be lots of finishing off and saying ‘goodbye’ and then at 1.30pm on Friday we finish. The end of another, very successful year.

The perfect metaphor!

For now, I am off to set up for the Year 6 party taking place this evening. Unfortunately, we have had to go with a wet weather plan but with this cohort, it will still work and after their amazing successes this week, they thoroughly deserve it!

Have a great weekend!

Best wishes,

Steve Mills

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