I joined the Infant School staff for their weekly staff meeting today. They have been working on an ongoing, evidence-based research project which looks into the variables surrounding children’s writing; the positions they write in, when they write, whether exercise has an impact, what they write with, whether their targets improve their writing. This staff meeting was an opportunity to share with each other their findings so far. It was a fascinating meeting where enthusiastic and committed staff shared results, challenged each other and discussed positive impacts. This is all part of a bigger picture to create learning environments that suit all needs and abilities, to consistently raise the standards of writing within the Infant School.
I’m standing next to The Enormous Crocodile and a very purple Violet Beauregarde as a sea of colourful characters sing enthusiastically (some dance where they are sitting) to the songs from Matilda. Yes, it is World Book Day and I’m watching an assembly in the Junior school. An opportunity for all the children to come together and share in this day collectively. It is obvious from the smiling faces of children from year 3 to 6 that this is a fun day, an experience day! A day to celebrate through song, stories and art work. What a privileged peak into our children’s world within school!
I was invited to join a group of high ability Year 1 children in their daily phonics session. They were asked, “How many ways can you write the sound oo?” I watched the group of confident children as they quickly started to write on their whiteboards, chattering quietly to themselves and each other. I myself started to think. I could think of 4. I listened as children confidently spoke, every child being given a chance to take part. I watched them develop their ideas by using an engaging, fun programme on the interactive whiteboard. They talked about phonemes, graphemes and split digraphs with ease. They identified “oo” words in interesting texts, categorised them into groups and wrote sentences to apply their learning. All of this in one 20 minute session! And in answer to the question… there are seven different ways to write “oo”. Who knew? Did you?
Wednesday 17th December
Infant School monitoring of lunchtime behaviour within the hall.
I came prepared, Christmas sweater on, novelty flashing earrings at the ready and observed wonderfully behaved children eating their Christmas lunch. Children sat readily where they were asked, plates were filled and children ate happily whilst pulling crackers and telling jokes. The atmosphere was busy and happy with a real sense of community. Children were encouraged to eat by friendly staff and most children obliged. What a lovely festive experience!
Wednesday 10th December
I visited the school to observe the Junior School lunch time, in particular, to look at the behaviour of the children in the playground.
I observed the whole lunch hour and saw the diverse range of playing which occurred. Role play, physical play, ball games, football training, wall climbing, den making. Something for everyone, and everyone being active and taking part.
The children played happily with very few incidents of bad behaviour. I talked with many children who were confident about the systems already in place that helped them know what to do if they needed adult help and support.
Friday 5th December
Governor Helen Tyler visited the school to observe (and take part in) the Junior Learning College activities.
I was particularly impressed with the diverse selection of new activities on offer, both from the teaching staff within the school and from the external experts brought in for this series of weeks.
Having had my hair straightened by two conscientious children in the hair dressing club (much better than my current salon!) I took my seat, with the rest of the junior pupils, to watch an accumulation of performances from a selection of different groups.
Street dancers performed with confidence, music played which had been composed and mixed by budding DJs and the final cut from the pop video group was shared, which they had starred, directed, filmed and edited to produce a wonderfully creative music video.
All was received with enthusiastic applause. What a delightful experience to see proud and confident learners sharing their hard work in such a supportive environment!
The final Full Governors meeting of the calendar year was held on the 8th December and the governors had an opportunity to reflect on a successful first two terms in both schools with positive actions and policies in place to ensure that both schools remain on target towards the new year and rest of the school year. There was also an opportunity to be updated on various items by Jo Keeble ensuring all governors were aware of their responsibilities in line with any future Ofsted inspection likely to occur in the New Year.
Roger Vaughan – Vice Chair
Governors Helen Tyler and Chris Jackson visited the school to observe maths teaching in the Infants School, with special emphasis on the most able pupils. We were very impressed by the children’s enthusiasm, and we appear to have a budding Ada Lovelace in Reception! It is heart-warming to see young children having so much fun with numbers, and also to see one of the youngest in the school setting complicated maths problems for her own teacher.
I saw the Year 3 Christmas performance yesterday. The children were energetic, spoke clearly and sang with great enthusiasm all rounded up with a cup of tea and mince pie from the Parents Association.
What a treat!
Wendy Griggs, Governor
The Business Committee carries out the strategic responsibilities for, amongst other items, finance, Health and Safety and the school premises. The School Business Manager, the Head and the governors work to ensure that the budget is used as effectively as possible to give our pupils a high quality education. We are also always appreciative of the financial support of parents through their fund raising activities which also helps achieve this aim. At the moment we are working towards achieving an energy reduction and budget reducing programme. In addition, with rising pupil numbers in the Junior classes, a review is being undertaken of the school premises to bring in an extra classroom for September. The governors and staff will be discussing these two items at their next meeting.
Wendy Griggs, Chair of Business Committee