What Should I Take?

We had that strange school phenomenon at the start of this week which was to have to work on a Monday. Because of INSET and bank holidays, Mondays have not featured much this term and it was interesting to note the number of staff members – me included – who made reference to this as they arrived for work.

Year 5s had a great day as they took part in the K’Nex challenge under the watchful eye of visiting engineer and guest judge, Mrs Neighbour. I think I am right in saying I am not supposed to reveal what their challenge was as this stage as other schools may still have to take part but nevertheless, I can reveal that the models I saw were very good and closely fitted the brief. Huge congratulations to Lily and Addi, and Summer and Finley who were overall winners for their respective classes.

A great day of K’Nex in Year 5

There has been quite a lot of sport this week in the form of whole day tournaments. On Tuesday, our Upper School cricket team took part in the Dynamos Cricket competition. Game by game the pupils got better and better but most importantly, had a great time.

On Thursday, it was the turn of the girls’ cricket team to take part in their competition. Again, it was great experience for the players to put into practice the skills they have been learning in PE.

The first ever tournament for our girls’ cricket team

At the same time the girls were playing cricket, we had our hockey team taking part in the county finals of this year’s competition. Mrs Wells and Mrs Bradshaw were rightly proud of the team’s achievements especially as they returned to school finishing fifth overall and also winners of the School Games Values overall award. This highlights the values of passion, self-belief, respect, honesty, determination and teamwork. These values are those which we celebrate at the end of each half term in school, including earlier today in our Achievers’ Assembly. Well done to Grace (Year 3), Stanley, Mia (Year 4), Henry, Martha (Year 5) and Nate (Year 6).

Huge congratulations to our hockey team – a perfect attitude all day!

Organising all our sporting events takes a great deal of work and patience and so a huge thank you to Miss Gooderham for seamlessly making sure every pupil has the right kit and is able to get to the right venue every single time. Thank you also to all the parents who regularly help with transport. Without this help, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the experiences we do and so it is very much appreciated.

Another thing this week’s fixtures has highlighted is the amount of playing kit we need. As a result, I will look to purchase a little bit more in the coming weeks, with the help of our Friends’ Association, so that our pupils always look smart when representing the school.

Mr Wells organised this year’s inter-house tables competitions this week. They were great fun and this year we had the additional spectator in the form of a friendly blue tit in the school hall. Of course, we assumed he was cheering on (or chirping on) water house.

Joint winners in Year 3

Other Interhouse events this week included the netball competitions which saw Water House win the Lower School tournament and Earth House win the Upper School tournament.

Some very proud netballers

As you may have seen in my earlier update, there are a few staff changes in the offing at Whitehill from September. Much of this week has therefore been taken up with getting our ‘ducks in a row’ and making sure everything is planned for and more importantly budgeted for. It will be a real shame to lose Mrs Small but the opportunity which came her way was perfect for her and I know she will do exceptionally well in her new role. She has promised me she won’t be a stranger.

When one member of staff is leaving, it means that there is room for others to come in and I am really excited by the two teachers who will be joining our teaching team from September. Miss Smith and Miss Payne will spend quite a bit of time in school over the coming weeks before taking up their full time post in September. I know you will help us make them feel very welcome as they start with #TeamWhitehill.

Finley gets great height when playing netball

You will remember we had a new club at school last term when Mrs Chown and Mrs Dent ran a lower school photography club. It was a great few weeks and I know there are plans to repeat this opportunity next year. Mrs Chown has finished editing the pupils’ work now and I will share with the families concerned details of how they can view the outcomes shortly. For now, please have a look at the video which gives a taste of their amazing work.

We had a very special visitor on Wednesday when Miss McGurk and two-week-old Jaxon came in. He was certainly the centre of attention and many of the staff got to have a cuddle with him, although Mrs Wells did seem to be hogging the opportunity!

It was lovely to see Miss McGurk and Jaxon

The lovely weather this week has been wonderful and allowed pupils the opportunity to play outside. There were some very interesting photos doing the rounds on twitter of the Year 6s having fun in the sun.

It was great to be outside

I showed a prospective pupil around the school on Thursday afternoon with his parents. It was a lovely tour and one which saw us spend quite a bit of time in the library. I am extremely proud of our library – I am sure it’s been mentioned before – and am grateful for the hard work Mrs Vernon and Mrs Winter put into looking after it for us. It was also lovely to present Headteacher’s Awards to Maya and Florence (Year 6) this week who have been exceptionally proactive all year in helping the staff keep it looking as lovely as it does.

You will recall in a blog a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the fact that the Ofsted inspector referred to our pupils as being delightful. This was highlighted again this week when the pupils from Kahlo Class helped Mrs Small run Lower School activity afternoon on Thursday. Each group of Year 6s planned and ran an activity and the Year 3 and Year 4 pupils rotated through each. They were, as I have said, delightful!

Charlotte explaining her activity to Year 4

I had a break in preparing for governors on Thursday night by playing Connect4 with pupils at Cookie Club. To make things interesting we also invented the game of blindfold Connect4 where you couldn’t see where you were going and someone else had to say when and who had won. Summer (Year 5) beat me quite often in the regular version of the game and Katie (Year 3) was happy when she finally got her win.

Achievers’ Assembly was busy on Friday morning. I have already mentioned the values awards we handed out and we were also able to celebrate the other sporting results.

Music this week was provided by Libby (Year 5) who played the clarinet and Arthur (Year 3) who played his guitar. They both did very well indeed.

Arthur – Year 3 – playing his guitar this morning

The regular awards were handed out in the following way: Class of the Week went to Kahlo; the Wombles went to Apollo and the House Cup was awarded to Water.

Straight after assembly, I actually found time to attend the local consortium headteachers’ meeting. This is the first one I have managed to get to in over a year and it was nice to get out of the office and network with some new faces. That is how long it has been!

I had to be back at school straight after lunch as we had a chance to meet the moderator who will be coming in at the end of June to moderate our Year 6 writing assessments this year. This is a process imposed by the DfE roughly every four years to ensure consistency across the whole country. With the experience we have in Year 6, this is nothing to worry about.

Year 3s have planted their sunflowers

So, next week we have our two residentials taking place. I will be heading off early on Monday with the Year 6s to the Isle of Wight for five days and then on Wednesday the Year 4s head off for three days in Overstrand. For the second half of the week the school is going to be very quiet indeed.

Some pupils will be taking part in a multisport festival on Thursday morning at Hitchin Girls’ School before the penultimate half term of the year comes to an end.

I will write a blog next week and will try to keep abreast of the goings on in school and in Norfolk so that these can be included. I suspect that quite a bit of the content, however, will also reflect upon my week away with the wonderful Year 6s.

Have a great weekend. I need to make sure I get everything packed that I need but I am not 100% certain I have had a kit list yet! What should I take?

Best wishes,

Steve Mills

Another photo from this week’s interhouse netball courtesy of Mr Mills Junior

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