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.
As the vast majority of our pupils leave school through the ‘top gate’ towards Manchester Road, and there are far more parents there, I made the change some time ago to be at that gate rather than on the top playground within the site at 3:15.
The literature on discipline, parent views, trust, happiness of staff and pupils and pupil academic progress all points towards school leaders being highly visible.
Professor and Dame, Alison Peacock (CEO, Chartered College of Teaching) references key leadership practices that build trust in her book Learning without limits. She lists visibility as sixth in her top ten ‘Leadership Practices’. She says that, ‘Headteachers have to be omnipresent and regularly seen in and around school by the whole school population’.
Visibility is a big issue in any school and Headteachers should not be noted for their absence at key points in the day when being seen really matters. Everyone notices this; parents, pupils and staff. If a Headteacher is rarely seen first thing in the morning or is office-bound at home-time then these are valuable missed opportunities to build trust, inspire confidence and communicate.
And so we, my Deputy and I, are at the gate as often as we possibly can, at both ends of the day.
By being at the gate we can welcome children, calm issues, assist parents, answer queries, and give an assurance to parents that we are in school, working hard each day to help their children’s learning and promoting the best behaviour and discipline.
All very well-intended and purposeful, well-thought out and researched.
Except some people read other things into our actions. Our being at the gate has been seen by some parents as a deliberate barrier and an obstacle to their talking to teachers.
Not sure what we are to do, but I have put a short piece in the Newsletter trying to allay this fear.
Toast and Jam-boree
As well as being named and praised as the ‘Star of the Week’ from their class, 16 children a week get a certificate, a Gold Star, their photo on display (along with an explanation of the reason why they have been selected)and at the end of each half-term they get invited to a ‘Toast and Jam-boree’.
We held one this morning. For an hour we took over the lower playground. We had space-hoppers, bouncers, footballs, basketballs, rainbow scoops, table tennis, a sound system knocking out YMCA (and other classics), and treats to eat including toast, jam, lemon curd, chocolate spread and marmite, drinks and a final large tub of Celebrations left over from Christmas. We made sure that we had Gluten-free bread and spreads so all the children could enjoy the treats properly, of course.
It had a great atmosphere, with wonderful politeness: children thanked us for putting on something that was meant to thank them for their great behaviour, attitude, engagement and contributions, they helped pack away all the equipment and they left not one bit of mess behind.
It was, naturally, a fair bit of work for us in collecting the equipment and materials, getting it in place and setting up all in morning break ready to start, organising staffing and supervising all the toasting and spreading, playing and singing / dancing. It was also a perfect example of why it’s great being a teacher.
I had a lovely day, thanks, and so, I believe, did every child who joined us this morning.
The ‘BEST SCIENCE LESSON EVER’
Mr Sharrock, our Premises Manager, was standing next to me at the school gate at the end of school. He was having a good chuckle as he listened to one of our Year 4 children telling me, urgently and insistently, that she had just had the ‘BEST SCIENCE LESSON EVER!’
Apparently they had investigated and observed changing state through melting chocolate (at a very precise 350C), then reshaping it in to moulds, setting it solid again in the fridge and then testing it (by eating) to see if it was still chocolate. It was, she told me. A perfect example of why it’s great being a teacher.
I had a lovely day, thanks, and so, I believe, did every child in Year 4 science today.
Prospective Parents / Parents of Prospective Pupils
In my diary this afternoon I had an appointment with a couple who are checking out the local schools prior to applying for places. Very sensible of them to visit in the school day when the school (i.e. the people in it, and not the empty buildings) is open.
They were a bit surprised to find that I was showing them round, the Headteacher, but I’m really proud of my school and I like showing it off whenever I can. Normally this sort of thing lasts 30 minutes or so, but this was half one through to the end of the school day, because they wanted to see everywhere, everyone and everything and were obviously enjoying picking up the ethos / feel / atmosphere in school.
So we saw music and Spanish in Year 5, art, IT and science in Year 4, reading and spelling in Year 3, and PE and Forest Schools in Year 6. They saw playtime and the end of the day routine.
Their parting words were, oddly you might think, ‘See you in Court’. You see, they live out of ‘catchment’, but they were so impressed that they will, if needs be, use the Admissions Appeal process to try to secure places for their children. It makes me feel rather proud of all our school is that parents, with choice, will go through this to get their children into our school. A perfect example of why it’s great being a teacher.
I had a lovely day, thanks, and so, I believe, did all our visitors in school today.I hope you enjoy going to work as much as I did today.