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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

Latest Curriculum Topics List

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 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.

 

Latest Curriculum Topics List

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....

Latest Curriculum Topics List

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04 Jan 2019

Spring Term 'Assembly' Themes

To make a change this year (change being necessary or children hear the same themes and the same assemblies each year for the four years they are with us) the Collective Worship themes for the spring term will ignore the 'special days' and festivals, and ignore any Church or faith cycle.

The overall theme will be, 'Famous People and Faith Leaders'.

We will ignore Valentine's Day, even though it falls in the last week of the first half term, and not need to worry about Easter because it falls AFTER the Easter holiday (if you can get your head round that one). St. David's Day and St. Patrick's Day will be passed over, as will the season of Lent.

The weekly focus will go like this:

  • Rich and Famous (Actions, not words)
  • Louis Braille (from humble beginnings)
  • Eureka! (Problem solving)
  • Louis Pasteur (Using talents wisely)
  • Go Compare! (comparison may not be helpful)
  • Tea with me? (Fantasy Dinner Party)
  • Who? Me? (Isiah)
  • How you cut it – a star inside us all
  • Humpty Dumpty – help from all the King’s men
  • A Day for Special People (not just mothers)

They will allow us to look at the contributions of scientists, celebrities and ourselves. The assemblies will include stories, discussions, role play, visual presentations and contributions from the children.

There are opportunities in the plan to demonstrate equality - using examples across gender, faiths, age, ethnicity and nationality.

At this point we have no visitors booked to lead these sessions, though we do have other speakers for other purposes and times.

I think they will be engaging and enjoyable sessions.

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30 Nov 2018

Why, it's almost like we planned it that way

Last Sunday, the last before we all start getting excited in school about Christmas, the Sunday before Advent, is known as ‘Stir-up Sunday’.

Its secular tradition is that it is the day that the Christmas Pudding should be mixed and stirred, and have it first steaming. The pudding gets reheated on the big day. The Anglican Church, however, uses words from the book of common prayer, "Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people," in services that day. The people of the Church are asking to be whipped up, to be filled with energy, to be turned up in the fervour of their faith. They are asking for faith that gives them the confidence to proclaim their beliefs, encourage each other and seek a better world for all. ‘Ah, go on, go on, go on,’ as Mrs. Doyle would say.

In School Assembly this week I brought back out a poem I have used before, and used to have on display. It begins, ‘Be warmly angry. Be hotly angry, but do not boil away’. And it concludes with, ‘Keep on making a difference until things are different’. I was stressing to the children how we should not be deterred from a passionate belief just because others might disagree, discourage or misunderstand. I explored this sort of anger, and how it is not a violent emotion. It is a passion that drives action, and a determination that campaigns until just change is brought about. I suggested that, in such circumstances, we should keep on either until we are convinced or we have convinced. (As Vic and Bob would say, we shouldn’t let it lie.)

And then on Tuesday afternoon (in lesson time, because we invest properly in it, giving time for sixteen children and two members of staff to attend) we had our first School Council of the year. These wonderful, energetic, junior campaigners have ideas, and a list was made that will become the agenda for future meetings:

Notes about playtimes:

  • Playtime rota - is it fair? Some say that they have only had 2 go's on something, when others have had more.
  • Cover for the slide so that they can use it when it rains.
  • Not being allowed to run on the boat.
  • Have whole year groups on bottom yard so that you can play with your friends.
  • A way of controlling the slide so that people don't push or go down the slide too soon.
  • More play equipment.
  • An inside space to go when its cold outside.
  • Y5 quiet area near the hall/music room stair doors.
  • Resurfacing around the boat.
  • Playtime and lunchtime buddies. Inspired by Harry Banks' 'Fun Patrol'

Notes about lunches:

  • Have a pasta pot option, where you have plain pasta then add a sauce (3 options) and add a topping (2 options).
  • Somewhere to queue for lunches because it gets cold standing in the winter.
  • Outdoor shelter for eating packed lunches.
  • Many, many food suggestions (and complaints) – to talk to the man from Taylor Shaw who has been in to talk to Governors.

Sir Humphrey might suggest that, allowing the School Council to choose its own agenda, and to invite adults to attend to be quizzed, is, ‘very courageous, Head Master’. I think it is enabling the conversation to match the manifestos of the candidates.

I hope that they will be stirred-up with passion, and be warmly angry on the issues that matter to them. Here comes the next generation and their issues, for, eventually, the youth will inherit the Earth and they might as well have a voice that is heard as soon as they can put words to their thoughts.

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11 Nov 2018

Article 12 of the UN Declaration on The Rights of The Child – the right to be heard

Elections are won by those that turn up. Issues heard are only those that are raised. The best learning is active and engaging. Those who do not vote do not get to complain about the outcome. This last week, across school, included electioneering, manifesto production, hustings, advertising and polling in our School Council elections. We boosted it a little this year by having one week across school, culminating in children using real polling booths and ballot boxes (borrowed from Election Services in the City Council).

I was a sceptic about School Councils for a long time, not because of process or passion but due to the lack of power invested in them. I had worked in many contexts were all but the important things could be delegated, but once the topic needed a proper budget or would impact on the adults in the system then senior management claimed the discussion and decision making. School Councils became a Junior Parliament, playing at debate and decision, delegated an insignificant budget of a couple of hundred pounds, and staffed by dedicated but non-empowered colleagues.

It is inevitably true that children in school cannot possibly know the complex context and background to how school is structured and directed. There are too many extraordinary and subtle pressures at work for them to grasp or imagine. (Typically, younger children struggle to infer as they cannot imagine motives or outcomes beyond their concrete experiences.) This does not mean that they, the consumer, do not have valid opinions on what is presented for and to them daily. Maybe school should think more their way – and try to cut through the bindings of red tape, inertia and vested interest to produce rapid, simple, positive change.

All the candidates promoted their personal qualities to appeal to the voters. About half the candidates (self-nominated) had policy stances that they put on their literature. It is at this point that we have to shape School Council so that those interests and concerns (their manifesto pledges) are discussed and given serious consideration. With teachers running the meetings it would be simplicity itself for the adults to select the agenda for the whole year – back to hackneyed favourites such as healthy snacks and food waste, perhaps.

Those manifestos promised exploring longer playtimes, revised or removed playtime rotas, school meal choices, toilets and toilet access, respecting all members of school, lunchtime clubs, learning outdoors and more. These have to be the agendas for the first meetings (and possibly the next set, too). If we (school leaders) are really to listen actively we have to make sure we do not dismiss questions without serious consideration and balancing possible gains against real costs. And we have to attend – nothing says we think an activity is important as much as actually attending.

Well done each victorious candidate (to be announced next week) and equally well done to each defeated candidate. Thank you for taking part in the process and offering your involvement.

Children have that right to be heard. We have a duty to listen. We have to give them the chance to talk on the issues that matter to them and to the people with power. A micro-budget is a little condescending, I think, but having our ear is not if we actually listen and consider..

(The Y6 blog has a little more on how they ran the process.)

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13 Apr 2018

Collective Worship, Summer term 2018

I understand that our themes for Collective Worship, and a perceived imbalance towards Christian themes, were one of the issues raised by a few parents in their response to the recent Ofsted Inspection questionnaire.

The list below shows what I intend to cover this term. Some have a clear Christian basis, some a faith element only, and some might be seen as totally secular – more ethos and social than ‘worship’.

Being Determined

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

 

Discipline

Training and strengthening by saying, ‘no’ to temptations.

Tolerance

I have a dream, that one day…

Cooperation

Tug of War

Honesty and Truthfulness

http://www.assemblies.org.uk/pri/242/a-tissue-of-lies

Reliability

Nemo

 

 

Caring

Protective Clothing

Patience

William Wilberforce (abolition of the slave trade)

Happiness

The dog, the goose and the jar

Understanding

God Understands Everything

Love in Faith

Why smiles matter / how smiles make a difference

Revolution - change

Making a difference, making things better and better

New Horizons

Leaving and moving on

 

The simple answer as to why we (schools, not just this school) still have a daily ‘act of worship’ is because the Law requires it. ‘Assembly’ has been the tradition, but ever since the 1944 Education Act schools have been required to provide some form of ‘worship’. The most recent requirements and clarifications are looking old, at 24 years ago, but the lines of the 1994 DfE circular still apply.

As long ago as 2004 the then Chief Inspector of Schools, David Bell, stated that 76% of Secondary Schools were failing to meet their legal requirement on daily acts of worship. If three quarters are not doing what the law requires (but are not being closed down / taken over / locked up / named and shamed) why do we bother? As is most often the case there is a really lengthy answer available that covers education policy history, a chunk of politics, school inspection reports, Law, practice, differences of opinion, accountability, responsibilities, and the needs of our school community. There are dozens of reports and research articles available from academics and secular and non-secular organisations.

The simple answer is in our recent Ofsted Report:

https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/ELS/106998

School Short Inspection Report,

Lydgate Junior School

Leaders are determined that pupils should achieve well both academically and as rounded individuals who are respectful and make a positive contribution to their school and community. The curriculum ensures that pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is given high priority. Consequently, pupils demonstrate tolerance and respect for others and they value being able to contribute their ideas and suggestions.

Ofsted, April 2018

Pupils ‘demonstrate tolerance and respect’. The curriculum ensures ‘that SMSC development is given high priority.’ Our Collective Worship provision therefore adds to the development of our pupils and is in part responsible for their continued outstanding behaviour.

We do it because it works.

 

If you want to know what the legal requirements are for schools it is covered by Circualr 1/94, found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/collective-worship-in-schools

Circular number 1/94

Religious Education and Collective Worship

All maintained schools must provide religious education and daily collective worship for all registered pupils and promote their spiritual, moral and cultural development.

Local agreed RE syllabuses for county schools and equivalent grant-maintained schools must reflect the fact that religious traditions in the country are in the main Christian whilst taking account of the teaching and practices of other principal religions.

Collective worship in county schools and equivalent grant-maintained schools must be wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character.

DfE 1994

 

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11 Mar 2017

Pupil Voice (aka ‘Raging Against The Machine’)

Well-aware of the risks, we are teaching our pupils how to protest, campaign and raise their opinions, as we believe that they have the right to a ‘voice’ and the right to be heard. Quite a few are there already, as parents will be only too aware, and one this week has amused me greatly with an anonymous contribution. Read on ...

For World Book Day last week I made and put up a few things round the school and site – ‘Do Not Feed the Hippogriff’ signs, signposts to Hogwarts, potion collections and a fair few of Professor Umbridge’s Education Proclamations banning such things as music in study hours, girls and boys in close proximity, wizarding wheezes and the like. I used a blank Proclamation poster to set a challenge that many children took up.

But having all these banning orders on display was clearly too much for one child. Blu-taced to the wall beside my display was a handwritten poster, in thick blue felt-tip:

‘Proclamation 48,’ it said. ‘Children should ignore all other Proclamations.’

This individual already knows their own mind, is following ‘the path less-trod’ and took a chance to join in.

Is this kid in trouble? No. In fact, if I found who the author was I’d award 10 points to the appropriate house, because that is the sort of school we have and how we roll in the Muggle world.

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