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....
In order to offer what we do at this incredible school, we do ask a lot of our parents, in terms of support, involvement and patience.
All the Year 4 children, all 122 of them, took part in a led Forest School session on Thursday or Friday this week. Those were the days when a month's rain fell on Sheffield and the surrounding area. Just like with a fly-past, there really is no wet-weather alternative other than to put on a coat and to bring a full change of clothes.
The children loved it; the wood is at the bottom of the site, and has its own slope down from the playground to the edge of Tapton Hall grounds. The bank become a a muddy slide and the temptation to shape their own play was irresistible. I was told by staff that some of the most energetic sliders were children who are often quietest in class.
We sent an apologetic, and grateful, text to parents, warning then that the washing machines would be on overtime that evening. Not one parent has moaned about the activity or its impact on the home washing basket.
While there is always debate about the role (and quantity) of homework, parents unfailingly support their children in completing tasks and challenges in novel, interesting and expanded ways. This week we have held our annual School council elections, with candidates creating posters, flyers and speeches at home, quite clearly with a lot of adult conversation at home to improve the language of persuasion. In one class, 16 out of 30 children stood for election! We put up posters, held hustings and then, like last year, used real polling booths and ballot boxes (loaned to us by Democratic Services of Sheffield City Council) as each child cast their vote. Like in the grown-ups' world, there will be some very disappointed candidates on Monday when the Returning Officer announces the results. We thank parents for supporting their children in both preparation and in dealing with winning and losing.
Last half term we had to delay three sessions of Parent Consultations as we had some staff absence that we could not, usefully, cover. Alternative dates have been offered for next week, and parents have kindly and quietly gone about arranging appointments to replace those we missed. We could easily have let them slide and hoped that no-one would pick us up on the missed opportunity, but staff and parents are so much better than that. I recognise the patience and understanding those parents have shown in allowing us this time lapse without any complaint.
It’s been a confusing week in parts, with feedback that contradicts.
One set of parents insisted that we are too soft on poor behaviour and that we need to be seen to be much harder on anything that hints of bullying. (Their son felt we simply didn’t do anything about his complaints.)
The very next set of parents were deeply concerned that their child had been admonished the day before and felt that school’s discipline was far too harsh. (Their son was worried about coming back to school that morning because of our severe sanctions.)
The truth is that we try to be consistent, but we do not operate with a set list of fixed responses to specific actions.
We believe that, once get past a child’s initial and sometimes inevitable denial of action or responsibility, they know that what they did was wrong (or right) and they do not need us to go on and on about it. If they quickly and honestly accept that their actions were wrong then we move on rapidly. Is that ‘soft’?
But we are thorough and determined. A child who seeks to deny and defy, obscure or be outraged, will find us to be utterly stubborn, and willing to dedicate an age to uncovering the truth. This process is itself uncomfortable and often enough of a sanction to have imposed – a child might easily squirm and struggle and want to avoid that feeling in future. Is that ‘soft’?
And holding a child to account, ensuring that they do not get away with a blanket denial of something reported by a member of staff, is that being too ‘hard’? If we allow a child to get away with the denial they come to believe it as true, and to expect to blame others rather than accepting responsibility for their own actions. Only by accepting that personal responsibility can someone hope to change for good and for themselves.
We never, simply never, impose a sanction that is dangerous, difficult or humiliating. We might use sanctions that are proportionate, appropriate and, sadly, called-for. Isn’t that part of learning?
What we are looking for is for children, when they have done something wrong, to own up and apologise. And that is not too much to ask, is it?
If behaviour and safety are ‘Outstanding’ in our school (see Ofsted report November 2012- https://www.gov.uk/find-ofsted-inspection-report) why would we need to work on respecting rights? Surely outstanding behaviour suggests that respect is a strong feature?
In conflict with this chain of thought have been two outcomes from discussions with groups of adults within the school itself – staff and Governors.
Both identified respecting people and property, the ‘stuff’, as a priority for development within reviewing our behaviour policy.
Before I give any examples, can we just pause a moment and remember that we are splitting hairs here – the extent of the donations for the Food Bank collection, the enjoyment and pride shown at Toast and Jam-boree, the fantastic costumes and engagement in Year 5 Viking day are just three of this week’s high spots. We are trying, we know, to build on what is already a really good standard. We are simply aiming ever higher.
So, what does the problem look like?
Some seemingly tiny but typical incidents:
- How did a dice and a uni-fix cube get to be on the bottom playground and then left there?
- Where did the two ‘Headteacher’s Special Award’ pencils and the three manuscript pens (and the fixing blu-tac) disappear to from an interactive display?
- Why isn’t a broken set of headphones notified to the member of staff in the room?
- What is it that makes it okay to leave a ball that is kicked over the fence into the wood?
- While I totally get the challenge of walking on the edge of the path’s kerb stones, why walk in the muddy fringe and walk it into school?
- When did ‘sorry’ become a word lost from our lexicon?
- Why does lost property have so many unique but unclaimed items?
- Who ever said it is okay to drop stuff and not pick it up, whether outside or in?
- I have this really quite odd collection going on on the front corner of my desk. I’m collecting lollipop sticks when on yard duty. We don’t encourage sweets amongst play time snacks so how come I can usually pick up one at least every single school day? I’m thinking of displaying them as a tally chart, probably increasing it as I collect. They’re not mine, I’ll bet they’re not from members of staff, and as the school’s squirrels don’t have the pocket money to buy them, it does only leave the one option. How do they get to be on the floor when we have ten plus bins outside and four handy litter pickers freely available?
I really misunderestimated (George W Bush, I believe) your confidence in me, trust in the printed word, and faith in the words of Willy Wonka.
I dressed up as Mr Wonka on our Roald Dahl Day on Tuesday, using an outfit we have at home. Last time it was used was by my wife in her school. Big hat, brown trousers, purple frock coat, flowery waistcoat, cravat, silver topped cane; the works. As a little extra touch I had a ‘Golden Ticket’ stuck to the lapel. This was a photocopy of one in an illustrated book of the film of the book.
By coincidence, and entirely and only by coincidence, the wording on the ‘Golden Ticket’ had it that the Bearer could present it at the Wonka factory gates at ten in the morning (don’t be late) on the first of October to gain admission for themselves and a family member.
I did wonder last night, at home, as sleep evaded me for a while, whether I shouldn’t prepare something chocolaty for the day ahead, but then realised that my day planned would make it very hard time-wise, that I didn’t have time to make factory gates or a big sign (or to lay a series of clues like a treasure hunt), that colleagues would get upset at children missing lessons, it would cost a small fortune, and what if no-one found where I was? So I didn’t.
And then, at school, the phone started ringing. Parents wanted to know where the factory gates were. Others wanted to know if they could bring the little one along in the pushchair if it ate no chocolate. Children who had ‘lost’ their ticket wanted to know if they could still get in. Younger brothers wanted to know if older brothers would be coming for them or if they had to go for their brothers.
Honestly, the date on the ‘Golden Ticket’ was a complete coincidence. I didn’t think on Tuesday there would be such a clamour on Thursday. I didn’t think, I suppose, that I had made a contract with each holder of one of those ‘Golden Tickets’. And if I had, I would have printed far, far fewer and had proper criteria for handing them out!
What’s to be done, apart from suing me in court for breach of contract?
I’m arranging for a chef-come-chocolate expert to come into school to do some demonstrations,
I’ll hold a screening of the classic film,
I’m planning a chocolate-themed treasure hunt – with real prizes, honest.
It’s not enough, I suppose, to say that if you come with me, then we’ll be in a world of pure imagination?
Click on the link – enjoy the song: