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.

Yours sincerely,
Stuart Jones

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Welcome to Year 3!

The Y3 teachers are Mrs Dutton & Mrs de Brouwer (3D/deB), Mrs Holden (3SH), Mrs Noble & Mrs Finney (3N/R) and Miss Wall (3AW). We have three Teaching Assistants who work within the team: Mrs Allen, Mrs Dawes and Mr Gartrell.

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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Welcome to the Y4 blog. 

The Y4 team consists of the following teachers: Mrs Purdom in Y4JP, Mrs Smith and Mrs Smith (yes, that's right) in Y4SS, Mrs Wymer in Y4CW and Ms Reasbeck and Mrs Drury in Y4RD. The children are also supported by our teaching assistants: Mrs Proctor, Mrs Cooper, Mrs Hornsey, Mr Jenkinson and Mrs Wolff. We have help from Mrs Farrell, Miss Lee and Mrs Grimsley too and some of the children are lucky enough to spend time in The Hub with Mrs Allen. What a team!

We know that the question children are mostly asked when they arrive home is 'What did you do today?' The response is often 'nothing'! Well, here is where you can find out what 'nothing' looks like. In our weekly blogs your children will share with you what they have been getting up to and show some of the wonderful work they have been doing. Check in each weekend for our latest news.

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Welcome to the Year 5 Blog page.

The Year 5 teaching team includes our class teachers, Mrs Loosley (5NL), Mrs Rougvie and Mrs Jones (5RJ), Mrs Webb and Mrs Ridsdale (5WR) and Miss Cunningham (5EC).  Many children are supported by Mrs Hill, Mr Swain and Ms Kania (the Year 5 Teaching 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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We are the children in Y6 at Lydgate Junior School. There are 120 of us and our teachers are: Mrs Shaw and Mrs Watkinson (Y6S/W), Mr Bradshaw (until Mrs Parker returns) in Y6AP), Mrs Phillips (Y6CP) and Miss Norris (Y6HN). Also teaching in Year 6 is Miss Lee (Monday - Y6AP, Tuesday - Y6HN and Wednesday - Y6S/W) and Mrs Grimsley (Tuesday -Y6CP).We are also very lucky to be helped by Mrs Ainsworth and Mrs Biggs. 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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13 Dec 2019

Numbers never lie

On a day where the news was all about the day before’s General Election, the annual School Pupil Performance Tables were published.

CLICK HERE for the DfE searchable database

Schools are far, far more than can be described in a simple set of results, but numbers can make for a good read and a bit of a puzzle over. I do urge everyone to consider context when looking at figures – they are simplistic and give very little contextual background. But here are some highlights:

Search for all Primary Schools in Sheffield, choose the radius of search and, for us, Primary Schools in the maintained sector.

By looking at the comparison group (My Schools – 85 schools) you see that Lydgate Junior School is / was:

First out of 85 schools on percentage of pupils attaining the expected standard in all three subject areas (reading, writing and maths),

12% to 23% ahead of national average on the same measure over the last three years,

Lowest funded per pupil,

Fifth best on reading progress score,

Tenth best on maths progress score,

Tenth best on percentage of pupils achieving the higher standards in all three areas,

5%, 6% and 7% ahead of national average on the same measure over the last three years,

Third best on average score in maths,

Third best attendance rate.

All this with the ninth highest Pupil : Teacher ratio in the comparison group (25.6 : 1 compared to a national average of 20.7 : 1) and in a Junior School (where, it is recognised, progress is lower on average).

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17 May 2019

Star of the Week

This week, as every parent of a Year 6 child will know, was end of key stage 2 test week.

(While it is commonly known as ‘SATs Week’ they have never been formally called this – they are, properly, End of Key Stage Assessments, or EoKSA.)

I’d like to praise my pick as Star of the Week.

I know that children can get a bit fearful, and worry a bit about questions they got wrong or how well they have done, but generally they handle the process really well. The children have been prepared proportionately and had a very healthy diet of everything but tests in the months and weeks leading up to this point.

Every child who has given their best deserves credit, and I know they will want to take pride in their individual outcomes when they come back to us in July.

But here’s the amazing story. Out of 122 pupils in Year 6 just one was absent on Monday morning when they were due to start the tests with grammar, punctuation and spelling. (That’s attendance above 99%, showing that any ‘anxiety’ was overcome by resilience and determination and good preparation.) The same pupil was also off on Tuesday and so had missed the whole set of English papers as Reading was on Tuesday morning.

That could have been it, except when she came back to school on Wednesday she not only wanted to do that day’s maths tests (Arithmetic and Reasoning paper 1) but also catch up on the missed English tests.

I applied for her to sit the tests later in the week and so she did them all, finishing this morning (Friday) a single day after everyone else in the year group. (In fact pupils can do the tests up to five school days late under certain circumstances and with permission from the appropriate body.)

She smiled all the way through and I expect she will have done very well indeed.  She finished the last test with 20 minutes spare!

I really, really hope she gets results that make her very proud, because she did show an fabulous attitude in sitting tests that she did not have to and that we did not require her to take.

Well done all – all 700,000 Year 6 pupils across the country who took the tests this week. I hope you all take pride in your many achievements.

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12 Jan 2019

When schools choose to increase their workload

Not long ago the DfE introduced a new assessment check for ‘proficiency in English’.

Schools had to assess EVERY child for their early English language acquisition and assess where they were on the journey towards competency so they could access the full curriculum. The assessment focused on children who are indicated by parents as having EAL, are bilingual or have dual nationality. Their English was graded A to E (plus possibly N – not yet assessed), from 'New to English' to 'Fluent'. We recorded this in SIMS and reported it in the spring term census.

Not one penny of extra funding was given to run assessments or as a result of assessments.

We did experience some resistance from a small number of parents, as there was suspicion over the motives for the assessment.

Now the HMI for EAL, Mark Sims (nice coincidence), has told schools that this collection of data 'is no longer required’ and it will not be collected in the census this term.

You would think that this would be seized on as an opportunity to reduce workload for all schools’ administration teams, except there is seen to be value in the assessment and data. Our LA, in-line with others, has urged ‘schools to continue to use these codes to assess EAL pupils’ levels of language acquisition, followed up by a more detailed EAL assessment framework, such as NASSEA, where appropriate’.

I come across these situations where I see the difference between being told that we 'do not have to do something’ and being told to ‘not do something’ too often.  Only one will reduce workload demands. The other means we continue, but it is our own fault.


DfE          Department for Education

SIMS        School Information Management System

HMI         Her Majesty’s Inspector (of Schools)

EAL          English as an Additional Language

LA            Local Authority

NASSEA   The Northern Association of Support Services for Equality and Achievement
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18 May 2018

Is everything ‘measurable’, and do only those things matter which can measured easily?

This was the annual ‘SATs’ week for 700,000 children in Year 6, including every last one of our 120 Year 6 pupils.

By Friday lunchtime every single one of our Year 6 pupils had completed every single one of the tests set.


And you might well think that this is just how it should be. But two of the children were sick on Monday and went home to miss the next day or two.  Another pupil attends a different setting for part of the week and so missed tests back with us on two mornings.

So here’s an indication of qualities and attitudes, rather than knowledge or skills: all three children, and their parents, wanted to complete the full suite of tests. There are systems available now that allow this to happen (as long as I apply for and gain permission) through a timetable variation.

When they returned I applied and gained the necessary nods of approval from the appropriate body. Though it was inconvenient for us and required some difficult reorganisation, we staffed it properly to ensure the secure running of their tests.

Just consider what they did; they had been off ill, or educated off-site, and none of them actually had to sit the tests, but all wanted to and asked to. There is no scale of resilience or determination, but if they are both binary qualities all three children score 1 in both measures.

I honestly have no idea how they will fare when it comes to marks and standards – for one thing I am not allowed to even look at the test papers once the children have completed them. I do know that these three (along with all the other children across the country who have tried so hard) deserve to get full marks. The external marker has no idea when each child sat the tests they are marking and so no allowance is made. The mark they get will only record their score in the test. So does the approach, attitude, stick-at-it-ability not matter nor get recorded?

Answer: yes and yes. We have noted it, and will report it to parents in the children’s Reports at the end of the year. That’s one of the things Reports do that raw test scores cannot. It is why we still write prose as well as report scores.

Proud of them, I am.

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03 Feb 2018

Knowing your Known Knowns and Learning the Known Unknowns

It’s a bit obvious, I suppose, but Fredrik Barlett’s research shows that the memory errors we make tend to focus around the unfamiliar elements of the things we are learning – we accurately recall the old stuff and make mistakes with the new.

He then argues that you need to integrate new ideas into what you already know, making connections between old and new information if you’re going to successfully recall them. The trick to making teaching and learning understandable is to make it relatable.

Research also makes the obvious point that you are more likely to engage with someone being passionate and amusing than being disconnected, nervous or dull. If you don’t care about them either way, you won’t care about what they say. You won’t follow up. You won’t even remember. It doesn’t mean an effective teacher has to be all animated and larger than life, but they are most engaging when they clearly are interested in the lesson being led.

When I watch children complete / attempt a ‘Beat the Clock’ challenge (a rapid and randomised multiplication facts recall task) I see children answer the ones they know first. There are children who insert all 144 answers in time, but oftentimes children run out of clock before they are done. Observing the practice of those children we see that they answer the ones they know. It gives some quick fill-in, but …

What it does for them is only practice what they know and fails to teach what they do not.

The task does provide challenge, and the more competitive children do love a challenge; them against the clock or them against their previous score. What the task does not do is to teach them either a method for calculating unknown answers nor the actual facts bare of relation to other, previously-held, facts.

We need to actively teach them two things: what they don’t know and how to learn the things they don’t know. Otherwise they will not extend their confident knowledge range or their rapid recall score. We need to actively teach it, as it won’t come by osmosis or magic.

Two things that research is telling us –

              Relate the new learning to what children already know, and

Make sure that the teacher is engaging, that the teaching is engaging, so that the learning is something children will care about.

I discussed this with the teacher in class when the ‘Beat the Clock’ was progressing. I wanted to stress the only way this activity could maximise learning. It had to lead to the teacher identifying common unknown facts and links and then explicitly teaching these. Barlett’s research then supports over-learning until there is confident recall.

What my observation suggests is that Alice Littlehailes was right and still is – babies do not grow any heavier by being weighed. Children do not learn only by testing. The teaching is crucial, and it leads learning. The testing should inform and direct the teaching focus.
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