The Headteacher's Blog
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.
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 our regular volunteers, 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.
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
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....
This will, likely, be the last year that we manage to set a budget that balances and keeps us in the black. Governors agreed a spending plan for the financial year ahead that just about allows us to continue with the current staff set-up and other spending, but it uses every last penny of the carry-forward to do so. There will be none left in 12 months.
It is true, I agree, that we have more income than ever before. It is also true that we have higher outgoings than ever before.
We got a grant to help cover the unexpected cost of the national increase in teachers’ pay. Not surprisingly we’ll be using it to cover the cost of our teachers’ pay rise.
We expect another grant to assist with otherwise unfunded increased employer contributions to pensions. We’ll use that to cover the rise in contributions to pensions.
We will be getting a windfall sum of £4,115 of Healthy Pupil Capital. It has to be spent on premises works that will improve the ‘availability’ of health and activity equipment or provision (but not on people to staff it). We will spend it accordingly, but not without difficulty.
The full implementation of the Living Wage across the Council has resulted in many support staff getting an extra, utterly deserved, pay rise to maintain some differential. That was unfunded.
The PE & Sports Grant is staying at its high level of about £20,000 for the year. We will spend every penny on the purposes set. You can read our statement on the school website.
Pupil Premium income will be down next financial year against this year as we now have fewer ‘disadvantaged’ pupils than we did 12 months ago. We also updated that Statement this week. You can again see the report and intentions on our website. We will spend slightly more than the specific income on provision to assist these pupils in achieving their best.
I also presented a brief report on Financial Benchmarking. Not a ‘sexy’ topic in any way, but highly illuminating. You can make your own comparison by visiting the gov.uk website (click here).
If you select Lydgate Junior School and let the site select 15 ‘similar’ schools you’ll find we have:
- the lowest income per pupil,
- the smallest senior leadership team,
- the smallest spend on occupation charges per pupil,
- the smallest revenue reserve per pupil.
I do not want to finish this piece in a negative way so I’ll put the prediction here: this time next year we will have to decide what provision to cut and what charges to increase.
We make fantastic provision based on these factors. I know I have written this before but we do provide excellent value for money. We will try our hardest to keep doing so.
At the last count 477 parents had made appointments for parent consultations next week.
Some would ask, I suppose, why it is not 484, seeing as that is the current number on roll.
I’m declaring the 99% uptake of the offer to be impressive, a clear indication of the strength of the partnership we have with parents, and an indication that parents do find them to be continually useful.
I once failed spectacularly at an interview for a Headteacher post, shooting myself out of contention with my honest answer to a question about the role of business in Primary Schools. The school in question was in the wealthy and leafy western part of Hartlepool and the Governor with the question was, it turned out, a ‘prominent’ local business owner. It said I thought business should have little or no role to play at all.
According to DfE research 96% of Primary Schools offer some sort of tailored careers education currently. Damian Hinds has announced £2 million for a quango to share with partners to further develop career-related learning in Primary Schools.
It astonishes me that the figure could possibly be so high. It baffles me that this is higher than the percentage of schools that offer effective swimming lessons that meet national curriculum requirements – just 94% in the same year!
Aged 10, when you struggle to calculate the simplest percentage of a whole (say, 20% VAT on an item costing £140), do you really need to know that Tax Inspectors exist, what they do or what qualifications you need to become one?
At the Primary Stage I would still suggest that 100% of schools are teaching tailored career-related learning: we teach every child literacy and numeracy skills which will be pretty vital whatever their future holds. We teach music which will help future composers and producers. We teach IT which will help future programmers and planners. We teach science, surely a future benefit for budding food producers. And when we teach languages we help possibly every child in an ever-widening global workforce.
I just don’t think children’s needs are best defined by the owners of factories.
School's current average attendance: 98.4%
National average for Spring term 2018: 95.8%
That difference is just plus 2.6%, hardly anything it might seem, but it means a huge amount.
It is 2,390 extra days of school for our pupils in a year.
That's the equivalent of 12 pupil school years extra attendance and learning.
- No wonder our results are good - we teach each child an average of 5 more days each year.
- No wonder we use this to justify our judgement as providing valued and valuable education - didn't like and value school and children would be off more.
- No wonder school feels full - because of that average extra 12 children each day.
- No wonder staff have to work hard and long - more marking and prep than in the average school.
- No wonder our resources are stretched - schools get paid whether pupils actually attend or not.
I choose to assume we are not seen as cheap and legally required child-care, but as the silver bullet to overcome poverty and the key to success. I choose to assume parents see us as doing a good job by their children. And when combined with the incredibly low 'mobility rate' (the number of moves in and out of school, on and off roll) - one fifth the Sheffield average - and we can see that parents and pupils like being here, value what we provide and are happy to stay.
Obviously it is far more complicated than that - parents work and need child care, parents who are well-educated and qualified themselves see the value of education, relative wealth brings better health, alternatives are actually limited in an area where all schools are full, and so on.
But daily attendance is very high - well done everyone who makes that happen.
I issued a challenge today to a specialist in PE, and waved the carrot of over £4,600 in fees if he could come up with a viable solution to a persistent problem.
We have been informed, as I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, about our one-off income from the Health Capital Grant (Sugar Tax) - estimated at £4,623.
The source and the title suggest areas we should be spending it on, though there are few strings attached. We could have a go at Mental Health provision improvement, but we do have a lot of evidence about other basic health issues, such as obesity and inactivity.
Though we provide out-of-hours activities every day, analysis of the attendance registers shows that only a small percentage of our pupils are involved. Many children involved are engaged in more than one of the things we put on. And that means that an awful lot are not involved in any.
Of course many of those may be engaged in activities outside school, with parents or in local clubs and at local centres. However, the annual height and weight checks keep on telling us that 40% plus of our Year 6 pupils are overweight and worse. Observation shows that those same children tend to be less active at play times (and possibly so during our 2 hours a week PE sessions).
So the challenge I issued was this: formulate a plan for getting those currently unengaged and less-resilient children active on a regular basis and the £4,623 is yours to pay for the work in making it reality.
Sadly the national review of impact of years of health and education spending on children’s physical activity and associated health indicators shows it has not worked. I think what happens in creating a new opportunity is that they get taken up by children and families who are already engaged and active.
If we are to make the intended impact, with this money and with funding such as the Sports and PE Premium, we need to target it much better, and we need a better appeal to those children.
We have a spare slot for an extra out-of-hours activity – Tuesday before school because indoor athletics has had its season. I want to fill it with something that will attract and inspire a different demographic.
We’ve done the obvious – increased the range, used experts, connected with Clubs, asked the children, consulted School Council, improved facilities, narrowed who we make offers to, worked on Saturdays, started a mile a day, participated in every inter-school event, worked across partnerships and locality – but still the negative statistics linger. It seems to need something radical (as we won’t accept that the question is impossible to beat).
‘Those who can, do. Those who don’t, won’t’. I want to prove this wrong.