I often tell the children in September that they are at the start of a year-long race and that they need to have their sights on the finish line.
Now that we are reaching the end of the school year, I feel a little bit more like the year is actually a marathon and the final few days are a sprint towards the end. Every year has its own highs and lows and I always count myself very fortunate to be head at such an amazing school. I smile when I hear people say that they imagine that primary schools start winding down from the middle of June and that the last few days are paradise. July is perhaps the busiest time of the school year. There’s always so much to do, some statutory things such as writing reports and getting new classes together, and other things that we do because we want the children to have a great time at school.
For reasons that you can probably imagine, this year has been particularly challenging, and I’ve often thought that one of the consequences of COVID is that we’ve had to have a more hands-off relationship with parents. It still feels strange to greet you at the school gate wearing a mask and to realise that you can’t see that I’m smiling when I say hello.
I know it might have been difficult for many of you that you haven’t been able to come into school to enjoy all the wonderful family activities that normally make up our school year. But I hope that you also understand that our priority is always your children. Not only have we wanted to make sure that they are safe, special and valued, but we have also wanted them to enjoy a rich and varied curriculum. Sadly, you have not been able to be part of this as much as we would normally hope, but we should keep our fingers crossed that in the new school year, we can welcome you back into the building and that you can share activities with your children.
As you’ll see from this newsletter, once again the parent questionnaire results are impressive. I’m grateful to all the parents that gave their time to complete the questionnaire and to those that also added comments. Although it may not be possible to please everybody all the time, that doesn’t stop us wanting to do our best. In the last year, or in fact in the last 18 months, your relationship with school has had to change and I know that this has been difficult. Despite this, I am grateful that so many parents believe that we are still doing a good job and this is reflected in the questionnaire results.
I always have mixed feelings when I’m putting together the last newsletter of the year and finalising arrangements for the last few days because saying goodbye to friends and colleagues as well as Year Six children and children in other year groups is always part of the end of the year.
We will be sad to say goodbye to our Year Six children but know how fortunate their new schools are to have such wonderful children about to join them. I’ve known many of these children since they joined the school as nervous and excited four-year-olds and to see them now as young people ready to take the next step in their academic career fills me with pride, so I can only imagine how proud their parents must feel.
I wish them all the very best of luck as they move on to their secondary school and I look forward to hearing of their future successes, as I am confident that they will go on to do us proud. When you read the nominations for this year‘s PRIDE Award you will appreciate just how hard it was for staff to vote for one winner. I hope that all the nominees feel proud that their achievements have been recognised and I hope this year‘s winner realises just what a fantastic achievement it is to be singled out as the winner of our most prestigious award.
So, as we work our way towards the end of term, with a disco to round off what has been another wonderful, if challenging year, I wish you all a very restful summer. With everything that is being reported in the news I’m not quite sure what sort of summer is in store for us all, and it may be that I must write again in August to let you know if there are any changes to our plans. But for now, I plan to switch off, turn off emails, pick up a good book, spend time with family and friends and to unwind, and I hope that you can do the same.
The Elephants have been demonstrating excellent concentration and perseverance skills this week. All children designed and created their own fabric fish. The children learnt how to sew using a running stitch and add embellishments using glue. Well done Year One! They look FISH-tastic!
When I joined the school, we had a very experienced Chair of Governors called Sally Highfield.
Sally had seen the school through thick and thin and stayed on board to help us with the first major building project we had. Eventually, she moved away, and together we created the PRIDE Award in her honour. The award is the highest award we have as a school. Each year, both Year 6 teachers nominate two children from their class who they think have embodied the PRIDE Code (Polite, Respect, Independent, Do Your Best, Everybody Matters). This gives us four nominees and then all staff are given the chance to vote for who they think should be the winner.
This year’s award goes to…
Many, many congratulations Antoni!
Here is his nomination:
Having taught Antoni for a second time now, I can honestly say that he epitomises our school ethos and PRIDE code. Antoni brightens up any school day and has impeccable manners. He always has a smile on his face and all staff members enjoy his company. During break time and lunchtime, he plays with his friends harmoniously and happily. He always acts as a ‘peacemaker’, often alleviating any behaviours that have a potential to become challenging. Antoni is one of the most generous, outgoing and pleasant children I have ever taught, and will always check to see if adults and his peers are happy. At lesson time, he listens intently and will produce work he is proud of, never letting learning faze him, even though he sometimes finds it tricky. He has a great sense of humour and is a popular member of our class for this reason. When we tidy up, Antoni always finds the ‘mystery items’ on the floor and is our current highest dojo scorer because of this.
On entering the classroom in the morning, leaving at break time and at the end of the day, he always wishes me a lovely break, evening or weekend and it is for this reason that he has been nominated as a potential PRIDE winner. Antoni always sits upon the ‘Golden Step’ of our behaviour chart as he does the right thing, not because he wants to impress adults, but because he knows it is the right thing to do, showing integrity. He is a fantastic big brother to twins and always tells us how much he loves them, which is such a beautiful quality to exhibit. Overall, Antoni is a kind, considerate, positive, happy young man who radiates this through his smile and demeanour and thoroughly deserves to be our 2021 PRIDE winner
As you can see, Antoni is a very worthy winner.
Congratulations also go to the three other nominees:
Storm has been a shining light this year in the Shark class, which is why she has been nominated for this PRIDE award. I can always rely on Storm to add some mature comments during any discussion and does so with a smile. On arrival in the classroom, Storm will always say ‘good morning’ to me and wishes me a lovely lunchtime and evening, something that shows an innate politeness and consideration. She is a kind young person who always checks to see how others are, including adults, showing ‘everybody matters’ from the PRIDE code. I love Storm’s enthusiasm towards her learning, including during lockdown, and she enjoys being given a time to shine during assessments. Throughout this year, Storm has ensured that the people on her table are settled and know what they are doing during learning time, which shows a high level of respect towards her fellow classmates.
This year, Storm has grown into a confident, selfless young person and will give her assistance to those around her when needed. Storm has a love of musical theatre, especially Phantom of the Opera’ and I can think of many conversations I have had about this, being able to share many interests with her - Storm’s enthusiasm towards life is infectious. She is an absolute joy to have in the classroom and I know she will thrive at secondary school. Storm, you are a funny, observant, kind and considerate human being who shows warmth towards those around, which is why I have nominated you for this award. Good luck with this nomination, you deserve it.
Jamie is one of the humblest individuals I think I have ever had the privilege to teach. An exemplary pupil, who sets a great example for others, yet also puts every ounce of effort into a given task, with a maturity that is to be admired.
He has been a real asset to Year 6 and the whole school, from day one. Jamie has exemplary manners, the ability to relate with both adults and children, and nothing is ever too much trouble.
As a quiet individual, some may think that Jamie lacks confidence. This is most definitely not the case! He is always quietly absorbing every little thing going on around him, to lead him to success. Whether this be listening attentively to how he can improve himself academically, or observing moods, emotions and behaviours of his peers, so that he can lend a supportive hand if necessary. Jamie is able to adapt and use his calm nature to aid both those around him and to further himself.
Jamie demonstrates the PRIDE code at its highest level, and is an individual who always shows that he does his best. He can be relied upon to take a keen interest in all subjects and learning activities set. This positivity and thirst to learn has been reflected in the excellent progress Jamie has made this year.
Jamie is someone who can be trusted to work independently, showing resilience and tenacity and he reflects carefully on his own learning. He listens carefully to the advice of his teachers and acts on it! Additionally, Jamie is an avid and talented sportsman, where he demonstrates his flexibility to be an excellent team player. He eagerly works with other children and also supports them, showing that he is a good friend and that everybody matters. His ability to ask questions to further his learning is also something really to be admired.
Jamie is thoroughly deserving of this PRIDE nomination – with all of the attributes mentioned, it is clear that he truly is an OWPS role-model.
Lucy has been on my radar to nominate for the PRIDE award this year, from very early on and I am thrilled to be able to do so.
She consistently demonstrates The PRIDE code through all that she does and has proven herself to be a caring, conscientious, sensible, supportive and responsible member of Year 6. Lucy has a maturity that is beyond her years and approaches all aspects of school life in a diligent way. She also does so with a smile on her face. She is a quiet member of the year group, yet one who definitely doesn’t go unnoticed. Her level of commitment to every aspect of her learning, exemplary.
The relationships she has developed with some of her peers, this year, are to be admired. She uses her able skillset to support those, who are maybe less confident on a daily basis – almost acting as a mini-teacher, yet this does not impact the output of her own learning. All of which is of an extremely high standard.
Lucy has a passion for learning and is never afraid to ask questions. She makes positive contributions to any discussion and has one of the most admirable helpful natures; often putting others before herself. This is a characteristic that comes so naturally to Lucy and she should be extremely proud of herself – I know I am!
It has been an absolute pleasure to watch Lucy grow into the young, mature lady that presents herself today and to be a part of her Wistow journey. She is thoroughly deserving to be a nominee for this year’s PRIDE Award.
By Mr Eardley, Head Teacher
The final House Points of the year have been counted and the results are in! These are great totals given that they only represent two terms.
Well done to Dempsey who have now won for two years running.
In recent years, we have had a hard-fought election for the positions of House Captain, complete with hustings, polling stations and ballot boxes. Although this had to look a little different this year, we were delighted that 43 of our Year 5 children were brave enough to put themselves forward. They each prepared a presentation to explain why they wanted to be a House Captain.
We are delighted to announce that our new House Captains are:
Congratulations to the eight of them. We look forward to seeing how they grow and develop in this role, and we look forward to working with them.
By Mr Eardley, Head Teacher
I am pleased to be able to share with you the Parent Questionnaire results for this year. Despite the challenges of this year, we have had another cracking set of results. They were already high last year, but we have seen an increase in 60% of the questions and the main areas that we have seen a decrease are the questions about clubs and opportunities for wider personal development, which we accept as we have not been able to offer the same range of activities this year as we would have hoped. Please note that Ofsted has not published National results for this year as very few inspections have taken place, so the comparison data is a year old.
I am particularly pleased with the responses to the COVID-related questions as this is something that we have had to work very hard on. There were 124 parents who completed the questionnaire, so in many cases, there are only one or two parents who chose a negative response. I would like to reiterate what I always say, please do not feel that you have to wait until the last two weeks of the school year to let us know that you think that we could do something better. In my experience, this is too late to do something about it. Instead, get in touch with us when you start to have concerns, and we will aim to work with you to find a solution.
DOJOs have proved to be a fantastic way to recognise when children at OWPS are following the PRIDE Code and the Learning Toolkit.
Every week in the Achievements section of the website and newsletter, we publish the DOJO scores for each class in KS1, LKS2 and UKS2. We also announce the DOJO Masters — those children in each Key Stage who have achieved the highest number of DOJO points that week.
To mark the end of the Summer Term, the children have watched an assembly announcing the overall scores and DOJO masters for the year. Those results are also published here.
Congratulations to our overall DOJO Masters and to all those children who have contributed to their class totals throughout the year! Together, the children have earned a grand total of 150863 DOJO points for the whole school this year.
Well done - this score is more than just a number: it is a reflection of how every child's positive behaviour contributes to making OWPS a thriving, supportive and successful school.
A Word from the Chair of Governors
By Mr Bewick, Chair of Governors
For the past 2 years I have been a parent governor and, for much of that time, Chair of Governors at this great school. I have made the decision for personal reasons to hand over the reins to Kirsty Cleworth and hold the position of vice-chair commencing September 2021. Kirsty has a deep education background and will be great in this role.
It sounds obvious, but so much goes into running a school and even more to run a school well. This school is like a well oiled machine and has an amazing team making sure that it runs effectively and efficiently. No one could have foreseen what was going to happen over the past 18 months - I had the privilege as a governor and a parent to see the extraordinary lengths that the entire school staff put in to ensure our children were both cared for and educated. If you’re like me, I left the lockdowns with a new perspective of teachers and education – it’s rewarding but hard work! It has not been easy for anyone involved – children, parents nor school staff – but I am proud of the entire school community (children, parents, school staff and leadership team) for what it continues to achieve.
So, I’ll still be around but serving in a different capacity from September. Some of the old “normal” will return and we will combine this with some of the newly discovered approaches to give the best possible educational and personal development outcomes for our children.
by Mr Cowles, PE Lead
Sports day is one of, if not my favourite events of the academic year. Children get to experience lots of different activities and embrace the competition within their houses. As we could not organise this last year, there was hope that this year’s event may be back to normal.
We wanted to make sure that the safety for adults, staff and children was at the front of our planning, therefore, it was decided that each year group would take part in their own sports day. The activities were the same and each class was able to compete in the traditional running races at the end. Although I wasn’t able to witness all the year groups in action, from pictures and videos I’ve seen, the children didn’t stop smiling from start to finish. Our learning toolkit was in full force and that was exactly what we wanted to see.
With many schools opting not to take part in a sports day again this year, I am proud we have been able to offer the children some form of normality and allow them to have fun doing so.
Fingers crossed that next year we can welcome families back to watch.
Music Mark Award
by Mrs Ironside, Music Lead
As many of you may know, I am the OWPS Music lead, and this week I was delighted to discover that Orton Wistow Primary School has been selected by Peterborough Music Hub to become a Music Mark School for the 2021/22 academic year.
Music Mark’s vision is for there to be excellent musical learning in and out of school which inspires and enriches the lives of all young people in the UK. They look for schools that demonstrate commitment to a broad and balanced curriculum and the value that these schools place on music.
Here’s a direct quote from the letter I received from Music Mark.
“Peterborough Music Hub have recognised the value that you place on music and asked us to add you to the growing number of Music Mark Schools we support across the UK as a Music Subject Association. We would like to thank you for all the hard work you and your colleagues do to ensure that pupils at your school are able to access and engage with a high-quality music education. Your dedication to offering and delivering a broad and balanced curriculum is both welcomed and celebrated.”
What a great way to end this academic year!
End of Year Honours Award Winners 2021
Congratulations to all those children who have won an End of Year Honours Award!
Year Two Virtual Bee Event
by Mrs Granville, KS1 Lead
In normal years, we would take the Year 2 children to visit the Bee Observatory at the Showground.
This hasn’t been possible this year, but we have taken part in the virtual version of this, organised by Kid’s Country who are based at the Showground.
This was called ‘Bees inside the Hive,’ and fitted in perfectly with our learning this term. We have seen video footage of the hives at the Showground, watched other videos about bees and beekeeping, tasted honey from the Showground hives and local supermarkets, and made and scattered seed bombs on the school field.
We loved tasting the honey and hope that our seeds will flower over the summer holidays and attract the bees to the OWPS field!
Your child’s medication which was kept in school will be returned on Tuesday 20thJuly at the end of the school day. This medication will need to be passed over by your child's Class Teacher to a Parent / Guardian, so please can you pick your child up on this day.
Please can you ensure that all EpiPens / JextPens and asthma inhalers are handed in on Monday 6th September to the School Office, and also any medication if still required. Please can you check that all medication is in date before returning it to us in September.
Thank you very much.
Rocksteady is inviting new children to enrol for September 2021.
National Playday takes place on the first Wednesday of August. It highlights the importance of play for children's mental and physical health, and well-being. This year it will be held on Wednesday 4th August.
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