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The Headteacher's Blog

Introduction

Welcome to Lydgate Junior School.

We aim to ensure that all children receive a high quality, enjoyable and exciting education.

We feel that our school is a true reflection of the community we serve. Lydgate children are well motivated and come from a range of social and cultural backgrounds. Within the school community we appreciate the richness of experience that the children bring to school. This enhances the learning experiences of everyone and it also gives all pupils the opportunity to develop respect and tolerance for each other by working and playing together. We want your child's time at Lydgate to be memorable for the right reasons - that is, a happy, fulfilling and successful period of his/her childhood.

Yours sincerely,
Stuart Jones

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Introduction

Welcome to Year 3!

The Y3 Team includes Mrs Dutton & Mrs de Brouwer (3D/deB), Miss Cunningham (3EC), Mrs Webb & Mrs Watkinson (3W/W) and Miss Roberts & Mrs Noble (3AR). We have three Teaching Assistants who work with small groups and help across the four classes: Mrs Dale, Ms Kania and Mr Swain. Mrs Proctor, one of the School Governors, also helps out in all four classes.

We will use this blog to keep you up-to-date with all the exciting things that we do in Year 3, share some of the things that the children learn and show you some of their fantastic work. We hope you enjoy reading it!

The Y3 team.

 

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Introduction

Welcome to the Y4 blog. We know that the question that children are mostly asked as they leave school is 'What did you do today?' The response is often 'nothing'! Well, here is where you can find what 'nothing' looks like. In our weekly blogs we will share with you what your children have been getting up to and all of the wonderful work that they have been doing. The Y4 team consists of the following teachers: Mrs Shaw and Mrs Drury in Y4S/D, Mrs Smith and Mrs Smith (this is not a typo!) in Y4S/S, Miss Norris in Y4HN and Miss Wall in Y4AW. The children are supported by our teaching assistants too, including Mrs Biggs, Mr Jenkinson and Mrs Tandy. We also have help from Miss Lee, Mrs Cooper, Mrs Flynn and Mrs Wolff. Some of the children are lucky enough to spend time in The Hub too with Mrs Tandy. What a team!

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Introduction

Welcome to the Year 5 Blog page.

The Year 5 teaching team includes our class teachers, Mrs Parker (5AP), Mrs Rougvie and Mrs Jones (5RJ), Miss Reasbeck and Mrs Ridsdale (5RR) and Mrs Holden (5SH). . Many children are supported by Mrs Hill and Mrs Allen (the Year 5Teaching Assistants) who work with children across the 4 classes. Our Year 5 teaching team aims to create a stimulating learning environment that is safe, happy, exciting and challenging, where each pupil is encouraged to achieve their full potential.

As a parent or carer, you play a massively important role in your child's development and we'd love to work closely with you. Please feel free to make an appointment to see us if you want to discuss your child's attitude to learning, their progress, attainment or anything else that might be on your mind. We'd also love to hear from you if you have any skills that we could use to make our Year 5 curriculum even more exciting. Are you an avid reader, a talented sportsman, a budding artist, a mad scientist or a natural mathematician? Would you be willing to listen to children read on a regular basis? If so, please contact your child’s class teacher. Similarly, if you have a good idea, a resource, a 'contact' or any other way of supporting our learning in year 5, please let us know.

We are working very hard to ensure your child has a successful year 5, please help us with this by ensuring your child completes and returns any homework they are given each week. If there are any issues regarding homework or your child finds a particular piece of homework challenging, then please do not hesitate to come and speak to us. In order to help improve your child’s reading skills, increase their vocabulary and develop their comprehension skills, we also ask that you listen to your child read and ask them questions to ensure they have understood what they have read.

We look forward to keeping you up to date on the exciting things that we do in year 5 through our year group blog.


The Year 5 Team

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Introduction

We are the children in Y6 at Lydgate Junior School. There are 120 of us and our teachers are: Mrs Purdom, Mrs Phillips, Mrs Loosley and Mrs Wymer. Our Monday and Thursday morning teachers are Mrs Farrell, Miss Lee and Mr Jones.We are also very lucky to be helped by Mrs Ainsworth, Mrs Cooper, Mr Jenkinson, Mrs Biggs and Mrs Dawes. We use this space to share all of the great things that are happening in our classrooms. Join us each week on our learning journey....

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21 Sep 2018

Talk Talk

In an exercise on our training day a colleague asked about the development of an email policy.

In ‘Feedback’ some parents raised questions about communications between senior leaders and parents.

One stage of the response to both has been senior leadership-level discussion about the range, purpose, place, timeliness and effectiveness of the communications strategies we use.

This one week we have used telephone calls, home visits, a newsletter, direct personal email, booked meetings, drop-in meetings, informal conversations, focussed letters, ‘bump’ notes, the school website, being visible, the FOLA ‘End of Summer BBQ’, the front desk, and all our electronic and physical interfaces to share information and enhance contacts. We know we have not seen everyone and not shared everything, nor answered all the unspoken questions but we certainly have continued to ‘reach out’ and to be available.

Conversations have provided insight into cycle storage, private school admissions, school start times, lost property, before school activities, homework, accessibility, and a myriad of personal issues.

We are honestly happy to meet, listen and talk as much as we can, and we will continue to do so.

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16 Sep 2018

Making Room for Music

I have, over the years of my career, visited many other schools and for many different reasons. This weekend I visited Harrow School, in north London. The current full fees are £40,050 per year.

Harrow School is 450 years old. Among its site facilities to support music and performing arts are specialist teaching and practice rooms, as well as a Concert Hall for chamber music. Pupils regularly perform in a number of other buildings on the estate including Speech Room, Chapel, the Ryan Theatre and the Vaughan Library. The School has two major pipe organs, several grand pianos, and a harpsichord. There are two recording studios and a suite of 25 computers and midi keyboards with notation and sequencing software. Over half the Harrow School pupils learn an instrument. Tuition is offered in all orchestral instruments, as well as the piano, organ, guitar, bagpipes and singing. Musicians are involved in ensemble work through choirs, bands and orchestras; there are more than 80 concerts and productions each year, with many solo performance opportunities.

You do get a great deal for that £40,050 a year.

The school is fantastic, and the people I met were just the same.

Lydgate Junior School is funded at around £3,600 per pupil per year. We put on a very impressive range of music opportunities. Our children learn and perform in different ensembles including wind band, hand bells and orchestra. They perform at school in the hall, and at venues nearby in the city. We have three upright pianos and a range of brass and woodwind instruments available for hire. Our IT suite has software available to compose and play pieces. We have one dedicated music room. It holds keyboards, one of those three pianos, a full drum kit and a set of djembes. Over one quarter of our pupils learn an instrument through peripatetic lessons. We also have choir and singing practice for all year groups. We employ staff with a real passion, flair and expertise in music and stage performance.

Our problem is that we have run out of space and time to fit any more sessions in to the packed week. We run a complicated maze of timetables for the few ‘spare’ rooms (with doors) to fit in our core lessons and learning, meetings, teacher planning and preparation, small group work and all those peri lessons. We use rooms that are also kitchens, staffrooms, offices, withdrawal rooms, ‘quiet rooms’ and the music room.

To develop our offer and children’s experience further we could do with proper practice and performance spaces that do not intrude on other lessons. I am, honestly, not jealous of the facilities enjoyed by pupils at the grand schools I have visited (which includes Christ’s Hospital School) but what we could do with just one year of comparable funding!

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07 Sep 2018

The B of the Bang!

Linford Christie famously did not start his sprint races on the bang of the starter pistol, but on the ‘B of the Bang!’

That’s how our term has started. Every child was in on the first day of the new year (none of this ‘one year group at a time’ idea), and settled in my lunchtime. Normal lessons were up and running by lunchtime. Reading books had all been selected and opened and enjoyed. All our teachers could be seen outside before and after school so that parents had the chance to get to recognise their child’s new teacher.

By the second morning we had spelling and reading interventions running, including children attending Lexia before school. Year 3 children starting arriving on scooters. We had our first Singing Assembly that morning, with some new arrangements by staff in place and working well. Information about half our out-of-hours Clubs and activities went out the same day. FOLA met in the evening to make plans for the ‘End of the Summer’ BBQ in a couple of weeks.

Classes were in full swing by Friday, our third day back: PE was going on in the hall, IT in the suite, maths and counting and science and art and history across the year groups. A second Singing Assembly took place in the Hall (and the newest pupils were fabulous.) A ‘Conker Challenge’ was issued – find the biggest you can and present it to Mrs Ridsdale to win a prize! Homework from over the summer holiday had been brought in and shared, and the next set issued. Spelling was assessed and the half term’s plans in place. A further set of letters went home, advertising yet more extra opportunities. Parents of children in Year 3 checked with us about arrangements for next week, regarding collection at the end of the day, and they and their children, are clearly ready for the step to meeting outside the top gate.

It has been a highly successful and enjoyable first three days for the pupils, and I know that they are keen to return on Monday for more. They are settled, they want to get on with learning, and they are happy and secure in school. The starting pistol has issued  the ‘B’ of the ‘Bang!’ and we are off, learning everything we possibly can, and enjoying as much as we can squeeze in, over the whole year ahead.

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20 Jul 2018

Don't Watch That! Watch This!

When I lead assembly (or ‘collective worship’ as correctly called) I look for an illustrative story, a picture, an artefact or analogy that the children can relate to easily. I want, like we do in lessons, to capture the attention and engage children in thought.

I hope that that idea resonates and stays with them. Then, when they see the prompt later, or remember the analogy, they also recall the teaching and learning point.

Well, at our last assembly of the year this morning the visual aid I used went and did a whole lot more than I expected or thought it would.

Throw out your action movies and your blockbuster digital cartoons. Pack away the games systems and the smart phones. All you need to get your child enraptured this holiday is a 31-minute film of the tide washing away a sandcastle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b44ruhi5ji4

The children ‘oohed’ and ‘ahhed’ at the film as I talked through the assembly, and the message I wanted to give.

And the message?

At the end of the summer term, and for 118 pupils the end of their time at our school, there can be many tears at what will be gone, done and they think lost.

But there is always the next adventure, the next opportunity, the start of something else; the new door that opens.

On Monday we had Tug of War, and considered the rope – the middle is easy to find, but where is the start of a rope, and where is the end? For every end is also a starting point.

The point of the sandcastle film was to illustrate that, once it has gone we can build again. But with the skills, knowledge and experience gained the next sandcastle may be better than the one just gone. We miss was has gone but welcome what is ahead.

We come, then, to the end of another school year, and 118 pupils leave us ready for Secondary School. We hope we have set them up properly so that they thrive and enjoy all that Year 7 will offer. We hope they will think fondly of us, but, in time, come to realise that these were the childhood years and the big adventures lie ahead.

Enjoy your summer, build a sandcastle, sit and watch it wash away. And go back the next day and build another.

We will be here in September, ready for 121 new pupils in Year 3, ready to build our own sandcastles.

 

 

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09 Jun 2018

Is there a future for School Uniform?

In the week that saw parents in a small region of France (Provins) vote to introduce school uniform (against that nation’s norm), and when our Year 4 classes are debating hot topics (Y4S/D were arguing the points around uniform), I’m asking your opinion.

Our Uniform Policy was introduced some years ago after over-whelming support by the then parent body. As far as I know, that group has not been asked for a confirmation since. The Policy statement talks about that parent support; but today’s parents are not those same people. So what do you think today? Is uniform still right? Is what we ask for practical, reasonable, suitable, reasonably priced? Setting the right tone? Open for enough individual variation? Helpful for children with specific needs? Non-discriminatory?

There’s a Survey Monkey link at the bottom of this blog if you’d like to comment.

Uniform will be one of the topics for our ‘Round Table Discussions’ next year.

Currently we ask for:

Dark royal blue sweatshirt, cardigan or fleece.

White or blue shirt or polo shirt.

Black, navy or grey trousers. Plain black, navy or grey jeans with no may be worn.

Headscarves should be blue, black or white.

Tights should be black, plain grey, navy or a neutral colour.

Sensible shoes, boots or trainers.

For those children who wish to wear something lighter in the summer months:

Gingham dress in blue & white, red & white or yellow & white.

Black, navy, grey or blue shorts (from above the ankle to just above the knee).

Sandals or crocs.

Jewellery – only watches and sleeper/stud earrings are allowed.

We have around 99% engagement / agreement, but we are having to be tight on this currently with some less-willing or less-aware pupils.

Questions:

Keep the uniform as it is?

Relax the uniform to ‘optional’?

Do away with a uniform totally?

Go for a standout colour instead of a plain-old blue?

Introduce a more formal code, such as blazers and shirt and tie?

Have four separate colours for PE kit, one for each Team?

Just click the link to take part:

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/RJY9FSV

 

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