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/dB), Miss Hayden (3RH), Mrs Holden (3SH) and Miss Wall (3AW). We have several Teaching Assistants who work with Y3 children at different times through the week: Miss Mahon, Mr Bartholomew, Mrs Dawes and Miss Kania.

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 Mrs Drury in Y4JD. The children are also supported by our teaching assistants: Mrs Proctor, Mrs Cooper, Mrs Mulqueen, Mrs Allen, Mrs Hill and Mr Gartrell. We have help from Ms Reasbeck, Miss Lee and Mrs Grimsley too. 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 consists of: Mrs Loosley (5NL), Miss Cunningham (5EC),  Mrs Ridsdale and Mrs Webb (5W/R) and Mr Bradshaw (5BB).  The children are also supported by our teaching assistants: Mr Swain, Mr Jenkinson, Mrs Hornsey and Mrs Allen. We have help from Mr Jones, Miss Lee, Ms Grimsley and Ms Reasbeck too. What a fantastic team!

Our PE days are Tuesday (indoor) and Wednesday (outdoor): the children need to wear their PE kits for school on those days. 

Spellings are sent home every Monday, to learn ready for a spelling dictation each Friday. 

Homework books (maths and SPaG) will be sent home once a week - the days will be decided by the class teachers who will let their classes know. They will have a whole week to complete the homework tasks. 

In our weekly blogs, the children will share some of the things they have been doing at school. Check in each weekend for the latest Y5 news!

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); Mrs Rougvie and Mrs Jones (Y6R/J); Mrs Phillips (Y6CP); and Miss Norris (Y6HN). Also teaching in Year 6 are: Miss Lee (Thursday in Y6R/J); Mrs Farrell (Thursday  in Y6HN); Mrs Grimsley (Thursday in Y6CP); and Mr Jones (Thursday inY6S/W).We are also very lucky to be helped by Mrs Hill, Mrs Mulqueen and Mr Gartrell. 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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06 Sep 2019

Absence Cover

One of the things that can exasperate parents is staff absence. We have had a little staff absence to deal with this week even though it is the first week of term. With fifty six members of staff it is unsurprising that some colleagues will be out of school in any one week. This week we have had colleagues undertaking training prior to their classes starting swimming lessons next week; developing Governing Body Clerking skills; attending a family funeral; keeping a hospital consultant appointment (in a part-time hospital department); continuing their maternity leave and being off sick. All of these are totally justifiable and unavoidable. (They add up to around 9.75 days, or 4% of working days this week. Pupil absence this week was around 4% as well.) On the plus side we saw part-time staff in school on days they do not work, to get set up for their own start of term.

We do have to accept that no-one wants to be ill, incapacitated or absent due to resolving some family crisis. And absence does, pretty much, have to be authorised, just as it mostly must be when pupils are absent.

We apply the same levels of justification for both – a pupil’s absence due to illness will be authorised, and so will that of a member of staff. The difference is most marked in the detail provided as guidance to Headteachers for the two groups – we have a full HR Model Policy for staff leave of absence whereas the Government simply said that Headteachers have discretion around authorising pupil Leave. I try to maintain a similar set of criteria and grant leave for the same reasons and durations.

We have, alongside the policies on granting Leave of Absence, parallel policies on managing attendance. Pupil absence can lead to Attendance Service (part of MAST) intervention. Staff absence can lead to discipline or capability proceedings. Both are formal proceedings and both have trigger absence levels.

While I am writing this. Radio 2 is playing ‘We’re in the Money’, which school certainly isn’t. Yet the financial cost of cover is not the first priority in making decisions about covering staff absence; quality and continuity are our top considerations. There are many cheap options we simply rejected a long time ago and do not even consider seriously, such as splitting classes, using teaching assistants to stand in for teachers, removing teachers’ entitlements to release, study leave, only engaging the cheapest possible supply staff, never training in school time, refusing all staff absence, misusing student teachers on placement and leaving them without supervision.

Instead, we make use of regular, trusted, supply staff who know the school and the children well, or our own staff who may be willing to work additional hours on top of their part-time contracts. The children will recognise these occasional supply staff as school staff because we use only a core few to meet the vast majority of our needs. We aim to make this seamless, whether we know about an absence well in advance (something like a professional development opportunity) or that same morning (something like staff illness). I believe we do a really good job of this.

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19 Mar 2017

Friday – just another day?

When asked, ‘Do you enjoy being a teacher / Headteacher?’ I could just tell folks about the Friday just gone. It was a privilege, a delight and an eye-opener to take part in the brilliant range of activities such as I did.

I spent half an hour before school setting up for the day, writing up some notes from the day before, and using the freedoms of Headship to have my daily fun when writing up the notice board in the staffroom. (I choose to post something quirky / me each day, often based on the news or an anniversary.)

A few brief chats followed, with staff back from absence, students on how their week is going, and colleagues with a need for an answer.

I watched, with a colleague, a colleague teach a maths lesson using the ‘mastery maths’ approach. Watching others at work is something that never loses value or disappoints, and allows us to make a difference. We find talent in unexpected areas at times and can then recommend the sharing of really good practice. Our knowledge increased.

After a review with the colleague who shared the observation I went to set up for the lesson I was teaching in Year 3 – RE lesson two, understanding that Christians are told to love their neighbours. I was to be watched, incidentally, by one of our teacher training students, so I needed to be good having watched her earlier in the week. Turns out that the children have heard and seen the story of The Good Samaritan a few times before – no surprise, and so I was ready for this. The children were delightful, amusing, keen, happy, engaged, on form and great to work with. The lesson used video, autobiography, pictures, pupil talk, question and answer, drawing, writing, modelling and me eating a few pre-dunked malted milk biscuits (instead of sharing them or giving the whole lot away). I enjoyed the lesson, the children enjoyed the lesson, the observer enjoyed the lesson, and the children told me exactly and articulately the learning from the lesson.

I spent lunch with a pupil, ensuring he had a safe time and could return to class ready for the afternoon. We ate, we chatted, we played a couple of games of Connect Four, we talked about my Easter Egg Maths Challenge. It worked just fine.

I rushed across to give feedback to the colleague I watch teach in the morning before she was due back in class for the afternoon. It is the best form of training we have available, perhaps, and certainly the one most easily available to us and most affordable. It makes a difference directly.

Then it was off to our Learning Partnership (S10LP) half-termly Headteacher meeting, at one of the other schools. We talked admission numbers, national funding formula, high needs crisis funding, Ofsted and Pupil Premium, the impact of local moderation working, suggestions for combined funding for lead Headteacher work in SEN, the PE Pledge, mental health training opportunities, a request to join us from another school (not in S10), Tracking data systems, vacancies and the coming retirement of two of those present. Frank, funny and friendly conversation with one or two decisions (rather than just a moan and groan session). Plus there were strawberries and chocolate pieces.

It was back to school by 3:30. I spent 30 minutes or so with one of the teacher training students who has an interview next week. We practiced a q & a session, helping her to explore her ideas, preferences and experiential learning. We talked through the possibilities of the practical task she has to do at interview, and how to make the best impression of her skills and abilities as a teacher by NOT talking all the time available. An enjoyable and fulfilling activity this one – the greatest thing we get to do is appoint staff, and when we do we change lives.

Finished off back in my Office, filing, sorting, wrapping up a few things, and dealing with a few of the in-box of emails. It was pleasing to see how much had been achieved in one week.

As I left (5:45 p.m.), changed and ready for a run up the hill to Ringinglow, I saw a colleague loading the boot of her car with the cross country team flag and vests. Saturday morning saw the Y3 & 4 team at Hillsborough Arena for the relays – another totally free and totally brilliant sporting event. And so Friday becomes Saturday, and on Sunday I bought rhubarb crowns for our soon-to-be-planted rhubarb triangular bed. Love it.

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