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 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.
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
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....
Sadly this week I have had to consider replacing some signs on our school front doors.
Long ago I successfully argued that the red notices informing visitors that ‘Smoking Is Not Allowed On These Premises’ were superfluous as everyone knew the fact and no one ever tried to smoke on the school site. I made the point that we did not have a separate poster for all the other things that were not allowed – the trading of sheep, the grazing of cattle, laundering money, stealing school’s resources, selling cigarettes to children, and so on. I also won the day over removing the sign provided by the City Council that said aggression or verbal abuse shown to staff would not be tolerated.
After a week that contained some overly emotionally-charged exchanges I am going to examine my previous stance and consult on what we should overtly declare and expect. It seems it may be necessary to spell out once more what will not be either accepted or tolerated. I completely understand the emotional capital involved in being a parent, but I also understand the vulnerability of the teacher to abuse.
Many Health Centres and Practices have policies on display, and many are available to read online. More than one or two schools have similar ‘zero tolerance’ policies published online. Sheffield City Council has revised what was a customer care statement into the current ‘Customer Commitments’ statement. Now this is a well-worded and balanced document because it spells out what the customer can expect from Council staff while also saying what Council staff need from customers. Communication in meetings, on the telephone and via electronic media is a two-way thing after all.
I will take a measured approach to introducing a code or statement of expectations. I will start by discussing reasonable expectations for professional school staff and school functions before discussing what school expects from parents and other visitors. It is absolutely fair that all staff understand and agree the reasonable expectations that can be placed on our behaviour before we try setting expectations for others.
This discussion will start with Sheffield City Council’s ‘Customer Commitments’ because I think they can be applied to every sector of the Council’s work. School staff will look at both sets of expectations and I hopefully accept the expectations of them as much as they will back expectations of school visitors.
I want to be sure that we are neither hypocritical nor elevating our needs above any other groups – why should my staff be any more protected than the children we work with, for example? And if we state that all staff should be free from aggressive behaviour directed towards them shouldn’t we ensure that the same is true for all children?
Finally, I turned to the RRS Charter and looked for appropriate Articles that say what rights the children should enjoy. Article 12: Every child has the right to have a say in all matters affecting them, and to have their views taken seriously. Article 19: Governments must do all they can to ensure that children are protected from all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and bad treatment. In the original form (adult-speak) these two Articles ensure that a parent can give us their views on their child’s education but also that they do so in a way that does not abuse or mistreat the employee.
If that all sounds rather negative I will just mention that SCC’s Customer Commitments give eleven promises to customers while having only three requirements of customers in return. We will, likewise, promise more things than we expect in return.
Oftentimes it’s the little things that give truth to the story, that provide all the back-up evidence you need to reach a conclusion on a service, a school or a person.
We took the infrequent but regular step of bringing the whole school together twice this week, both in the Hall and on the playground. It takes an age, and is a squash, so we don’t do this often, but we had two good reasons to do so.
As that last, drawn, note slipped away the children, quite spontaneously, did something that was unexpected and in its way also respectful – they applauded her playing. And then they stood silently for a minute: another moment to make us proud of our school community.
It is difficult to outdo Wednesday's highlight, Year 6 enthralled by a performance of Macbeth, but Monday and Friday possibly have done.
And today, Friday, was the annual celebration, bun-fest, and organised daftness that is Children In Need. ‘James Pond’ was the official fastest duck, and all who had backed him to win then took part in events to find our £20 winner. Children raised more cash by Sponsored Silences, walking three-legged all day, paying to wear RRS colours, buying badges and wristbands, and running the cake stall. We watched some heart-breaking stories and laughed at Pudsey’s techno dancing. Back out on the playground we formed our annual rainbow-coloured heart and later swapped a promise – to respect other’s rights, and to ask that they respect ours.
I believe school has raised at least £1,500 to pass on to the fabulous cause.
We heard from one of our own Y5 pupils who is on a personal ‘Kindness Crusade’, and is, by himself, helping ‘children in need’ right here at our own school. That makes us all very proud.
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.)
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.
Staff completed their third and fourth training days of the year this week, while the school’s pupils had an extra-long Christmas and New Year holiday.
There are long-established reasons for placing the training days like this, always up against the start or end of holidays. We hope it makes it easier for parents/ carers to arrange childcare, that it gives greater opportunity to take a vacation out of term time by increasing the length of break and number of possibilities, and it keep s the term time itself intact as one block. We always synchronise with our feeder school, but cannot do so with the many Secondary schools that our pupils’ siblings attend. Too many Secondaries and far too many feeder schools unless all would take the same days. And as many are now Academies with full freedom to select their own arrangement of five training days there really is no way to insist on coordination.
We used these two days to concentrate on:
- The next stages of Rights Respecting Schools work – how we cover all the Articles in our cross-curricular teaching,
- Moderating writing within and across year groups, leading from the annual John Lewis TV advert - using writing specifically produced by all the pupils for assessment to develop further our own understanding and recognition of ‘working at greater depth’ and ‘meeting the expected standard’,
- Planning for the teaching of English in year groups, and for mastery maths lessons – so that we share planning skills and roles, ensuring quality provision is continuous,
- Interventions available in school including Lexia, First Class at Number, Catch up Reading and others – what they can provide, who they are aimed at, what can be expected from them, what they need in order to be most effective,
- Staff well-being – so that we are fit and well in order to look after our pupils as best we possibly can and as they undoubtedly deserve.
Our fifth and final training day closure is in June, fitted alongside the May half term holiday. This year we will have been able to have one on each of the five days of the working week – helping our part-time staff and hopefully inconveniencing each part-time working parent / carer a little less.