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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22 Dec 2018

The Outliers

We were looking at some end-point data from one of the spelling interventions we run.  (To be sure that each intervention works we measure on the way in and on the way out.) It is a twelve-week programme, targeted at children who have a ‘spelling age’ significantly behind their chronological age.

The basic theory for a successful, effective, well-delivered SEND programme is that it should produce twice the normal rate of progress. So over the twelve weeks we hope / expect / want to see 6 months progress in spelling age (or reading age if it’s a reading programme), otherwise we start asking other questions: wrong intervention, wrong children, inaccurate measure, other factors, implemented as intended?

What the data has led me to is some personal professional (statistics) learning: I need to better understand ‘outliers’, how to define them, and when it is appropriate to remove them from a set of scores.

It is fairly easy to see how it would be hasty to base a judgement about the success of a programme on the progress or otherwise of a single participant. Likewise a single test might be too narrow to justify a confident statement of progress for the participant. To judge the programme / intervention itself we want to aggregate and average the progress scores from a decent sized group.

And this is what brought me to identifying my own learning need. Tests scores (using the same test in and out) showed a range, as we’d expect, of levels of progress. We calculated the number of months gained for each child in the programme, some with disbelief – not in the child but in the scale (and sometimes direction) of the scores. The lowest progress scores was minus 8 months, suggesting the child had lost eight months off their ‘spelling age’ in the three month period. The greatest progress was an apparent gain of two years and 10 months, or plus 34 months!

The majority were grouped between 1 month and 9 months, so that plus 34 looks extraordinary / unlikely / inexplicable. It matters because it puts over two months gain per pupil on the mean average. I needed to learn whether and how to discount it (and then what we would report to parents about this child’s progress if we disbelieved the test score).

'Mathwords', sort of helpfully, defines an outlier as: A data point that is distinctly separate from the rest of the data. One definition of outlier is any data point more than 1.5 interquartile ranges (IQRs) below the first quartile or above the third quartile.

So now I need to work out how to calculate the quartiles for the set of data, and the inter quartile range.

There is no hard and fast advice on whether to remove (and report) the outlier(s) as they may be the most interesting and significant data in the whole set!

We will continue to question it all, I think.

... (Read More)
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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01 Jan 2018

A Mathematical puzzle, the funding of Universal Infant Free School Meals, and How Funding Gaps Come About

Junior Schools do not provide the Universal Infant Free School Meal; obviously.

Primary Schools offer the UIFSM to just 3/7 of their pupils, the ones in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2.

Infant Schools obviously offer the UIFSM to all their pupils.

The funding stream is interesting.

Junior Schools get no funding for or from it.

Primary Schools get funding for and from it for 3/7 of their pupils, potentially.

Infant Schools get funding for and from UIFSM for all their pupils, potentially.

Even though it is free to all Infant pupils there is not a 100% take-up, and the Department for Education, in designing the annual funding stream, recognised this. But the methodology chosen has a few interesting quirks and potentials for securing funding that Junior Schools cannot access.

This is how it works:

Instead of a daily report on UIFSM uptake, submitted electronically to a central point, meal uptake on two Census days each year produces an ‘average’ and this is used as the root number.

Multiply that number of pupils by £2.30 for each of the 190 days of the school year and you derive that school’s UIFSM income for the year.

The cost, in Sheffield, with our preferred provider, is actually £2.27 per day.

If the number of meals taken is less than that taken on Census day then the school keeps the difference. Any higher and school pays, I think.

I set myself a bit of a logic number problem and have tried to calculate the potential for schools to improve their income, based on data released on city-wide whole-school meal uptake, free school meal eligibility, Key Stage 2 meal uptake, and our own individual school data for the same factors.

It all makes a potential, for an Infant school of our size, to make £26,900 a year from the way UIFSM is funded IF they promote the meal on census day and get a full take-up.

And if our 480-pupil school were a through-Primary, then 206 would be Infants, and we could be £11,523 up each year, just for running a very successful couple of day’s school meals promotion.


Our kitchen asks me each year if I’d like them to run a special promotion on Census day. While I’m all in favour of every child taking the balanced, up-to-school-meal-standard-standard meal, a successful promotion at a Junior School does absolutely nothing to aid income.


Junior Schools also missed out on one-off capital investment to improve and prepare facilities ahead of the implementation of UIFSM; obviously.

This all goes some way to explaining differences between our provision and that our children may have enjoyed at their previous schools.
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17 Nov 2015

85% of people

‘85% of people cannot see the the mistake in this sentence.’

Have you fallen for one of these on Facebook or elsewhere? And felt a little bit stupid?

Well, in the course of duty, I’ve just watched a video that explained how Primary schools will have ‘value added’ calculated next year. Fascinating! And I think I spotted the mistake in the explanation.

The challenge is that Year 2 outcomes of three years ago measured against a different curriculum to that which Year 6 are studying now, in a different scoring system (‘Levels’ then, and a ‘scaled score around 100’ in 2016), using all teacher assessment against national tests and in a stable situation (no change at KS 1 since 2004) against a brand-new one (we won’t know how to attain the ‘scaled score around 100’ until after the tests have all been marked, externally of course).

Well, the video explain how, in a class of 28, each child counts. The calculation takes each individual’s KS 1 outcome, for maths, reading and writing, and finds the mean. It compares that one child’s KS 2 ‘scaled score around 100’ against the national average for children with the same KS 1 outcome. That child earns a plus or minus figure for the class, depending on whether they have exceeded or trailed the national average (for children of the same prior attainment).

The total for the class or cohort is added up and averaged. A positive value added is good, and a negative is poor (though Ofsted seem to be suggesting that down to -0.3 will still be considered ‘average’).

Did you spot the the mistake? Obvious, really – those cheeky chappies – such little scamps and jokers the lot of them. I mean, who ever heard of a class of only 28!

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19 Oct 2015

This week's Big Number - 98.8%

Oh my word - last week's whole school attendance was 98.8%.

I'll say that again, I think - 98.8%!

Or, converted into attendance numbers, that's 2,386 school days attended across school in one week. That's 12.5 school years' worth of learning and play, friendship and cultural development, free childcare and growing up.

If we replicated that across the entire school year we'd have 90,669 school days attended. These are big numbers indeed.

For the people who prefer the glass is half-empty model - there was still a 1.2% absenteeism recorded. That was 29 days lost in the week, or 1,101 over a year at the same rate per week. This is just over 5 children missing an entire year (and everyone else being in every day).

Why is attendance so very high?

Our teaching is engaging? Our methods are stimulating? We are meeting children's needs? Children feel happy and safe here? The level of support (and challenge) is about right for every child? We give an appropriate variety? School itself is a healthy place to be? We work effectively where issues do occur to support children coming to school?

Or is it that our parents really value education? Or they go to work and really need the childcare? Or parents are afraid of 'the system' and daren't have a child off school? Or our attendance officer is really scary? (We don't have one attached - we use local authority services when needed.) All our pupils live in catchment? (not so, actually.)

Or the relative wealth in the S10 area leads to healthier and stronger children who are more resilient to coughs and colds, are physically stronger because of their involvement in so many active activities, have high prior attainment and so have experienced success at school and hence reward / pleasure and so want to repeat the pleasurable experience?

Whatever it is, it is impressive.

And for those who like statistics, and what you can make them say, 98.8% and just 29 absences means that we may have had not one class with 100% attendance, or fifteen. We may have had four days with every single child here, right across school, or none. We may have had not one class on any one day with more than one child off, or we may have had fourteen classes with two children off on the same day. We could even have had a class with only one child in school for a day, and the other 29 off!

Someone suggested that, if we get a whole school score of 100% we should be able to take a half-day as reward, but this does seem a little illogical to me.

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