Friday 10th September 2021
Mr Eardley, the Head Teacher, writes...
I hope that you are all well and that you had a restful summer. I felt that I didn’t get around to completing the big tasks that I had planned. Instead, I found the time to ‘potter’ and relax, which was just what I had needed.
As you would expect, there is still work that gets done in the summer holidays. We are excited about the new Golden Mile track which was installed and pleased with how cheery the reading nooks and shed look with their bright stripes. Other building projects happened in school, and we were busy writing the new staff handbook, School Improvement Plan and our COVID Outbreak Management Plan. Teachers were also busy in their classrooms getting everything ready for the children’s return to school.
All the prep and hard work are worthwhile as the children have made a settled start to the new school year. I feel like a bit of a dinosaur when I look back on the start of my career when we would have an off-task fortnight in September to gently settle the children back into school. I now realise that the reason my classes were still ‘bubbly’ by the half-term was because I hadn’t established my routines and expectations with them from the very start.
Establishing these routines is fundamental to what we do as a school from the very first day and our staff training this week and last week has focused on what we want the children to do and how we expect them to behave. 98% of parents who responded to our questionnaire said that the school makes sure children are well-behaved – with only one parent disagreeing. This is a fantastic result, and we feel proud of what we have achieved. We are always looking for ways to recognise when children go that extra mile. You will know from the Positive Behaviour Policy which we introduced in September 2019, that we expect children to be on the PRIDE Step of our step system. The step above that is the Golden Step, when a child has:
- Been a good role model to others
- Demonstrated the Learning Toolkit
- Exceeded our expectations
As you would expect, this is difficult to achieve – it takes hard work, determination and effort. To recognise this, we are introducing a new Golden Sticker for children who have reached the Golden Step. We will make a point of noticing these children and asking them about their achievement when we see them in school and I wanted to let you know so you can do the same if your child comes home wearing a Golden Step Sticker! I hope that you have also accessed the Class Dojo app for your child as this will also help you to see when they are doing well. There will also be PRIDE Postcards, Shining Stars and Honours Awards as usual. When children make poor choices, we will continue to help them to review their behaviour and to think about what they should have done. There will also be sanctions.
Even before the start of COVID, we had prioritised staff and children’s mental wellbeing in school and have devoted one of our Working Parties to drive this area. This year we are taking this one step further and Mrs Scarff (PSHE Lead and Lead of the Wellbeing Working Party) will write to you about this in the coming weeks.
I have also challenged the children and staff to set themselves a HUGG (Huge Unbelievably Great Goal) for this year and it was lovely to hear some suggestions in my assembly. Quite a few children want to work on their handwriting and several want to be better readers. Miss Wyatt is going to learn to use a sewing machine, Mrs Edwards aims to read ALL the texts that the children focus on in FS through to Year 6 and Miss Tansley plans to read her own height in books. I set my own HUGG back in January when I set about learning to knit so that I could knit a scarf for my dad this Christmas. I have now progressed onto cable stitch and bought the wool and pattern for the scarf.
My other HUGG is to run the Cambridge Half Marathon on October 17th in aid of Kidney Research UK, a charity close to my heart. I’m seven weeks into my training schedule and now up to a 16km run. Mrs Schneider is also running the same race to raise money for Cancer Research UK. I will write to you again with details of our Just Giving pages in case you would like to donate.
My reason for mentioning the knitting and running is that I want the children to see that even grownups have to attempt and overcome things that they find difficult as I hope that this will help them to Persevere and be Resilient (two of our Learning tools) when they find things tough. I think it is important for them to hear how we cope when we fail at something as, when you are at primary school, a lot is difficult and a challenge. You are welcome to set yourself a HUGG as well. 😊
I have high hopes for this year. We already have lots of exciting plans and we hope that we can reintroduce some of the things that we couldn’t do because of our COVID risk assessment. We are looking forward to seeing you in school for events as we know that you gain a lot from hearing from staff and seeing how we teach parts of the curriculum. For now, please make sure that you help your child achieve their weekly target of reading to or with an adult at least five times a week. Last year we achieved our best ever result in this area, and we want to do at least as well in 2021/22.
Enjoy this late summer mini-heatwave and make the most of the chance to be outdoors.