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 & Miss Roberts (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....
As you will know the government has taken the decision to close schools from Friday 20th March. The government has published guidance about how schools will continue to support vulnerable children and the children of key workers.
The guidance makes clear that our priority, as a country, is to do everything that we can to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.
That is why the government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.
It is important to underline that schools, colleges and other educational establishments remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.
Schools are, therefore, being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children:
- children who are vulnerable
- children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.
Vulnerable children include children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.
Parents who are critical to the Covid-19 Response
Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined below. If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in a critical sector, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision.
Many parents working in these sectors may still be able to ensure their child is kept at home and every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.
Please, therefore, follow these key principles that the government has set out:
- If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
- If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
- Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
- Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
We anticipate that our Sheffield schools will be open to support the children and young people that need to come on Monday.
If arrangements need to change in the days and weeks that follow, for example because there are not enough school staff to remain open, your school will keep you informed.
I am proud that all Sheffield schools have made such magnificent efforts to support our children and young people during this difficult time. We will be continuing to provide for the children of the other critical workers of our country. It is an essential part of our national effort to combat this disease.
Please help this effort by following this guidance - if your child can be safely cared for at home then that is where they should be - not in school on Monday.
School's current average attendance: 98.4%
National average for Spring term 2018: 95.8%
That difference is just plus 2.6%, hardly anything it might seem, but it means a huge amount.
It is 2,390 extra days of school for our pupils in a year.
That's the equivalent of 12 pupil school years extra attendance and learning.
- No wonder our results are good - we teach each child an average of 5 more days each year.
- No wonder we use this to justify our judgement as providing valued and valuable education - didn't like and value school and children would be off more.
- No wonder school feels full - because of that average extra 12 children each day.
- No wonder staff have to work hard and long - more marking and prep than in the average school.
- No wonder our resources are stretched - schools get paid whether pupils actually attend or not.
I choose to assume we are not seen as cheap and legally required child-care, but as the silver bullet to overcome poverty and the key to success. I choose to assume parents see us as doing a good job by their children. And when combined with the incredibly low 'mobility rate' (the number of moves in and out of school, on and off roll) - one fifth the Sheffield average - and we can see that parents and pupils like being here, value what we provide and are happy to stay.
Obviously it is far more complicated than that - parents work and need child care, parents who are well-educated and qualified themselves see the value of education, relative wealth brings better health, alternatives are actually limited in an area where all schools are full, and so on.
But daily attendance is very high - well done everyone who makes that happen.
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.
This week the Government announced that parents will get the right to request that their child’s school provide wrap-around child-care. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-34453564
On the face of it, not a bad idea if lack of suitable, affordable, provision is preventing parents from re-entering the workplace after taking a break to start a family, say.
So, why don’t we just provide it now, and not wait for parents to request it of Lydgate Junior School? There are some pretty good reasons why we don’t – alternative provision already available, lack of additional demand, school security, lack of suitable spaces in the school buildings that are not otherwise in use, lack of management capacity, and a possibility that we could not provide it at anything like a competitive price.
The City Council, as local authority, run a continuous check on childcare sufficiency (https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/education/information-for-parentscarers/care-support/childcare/childcare-providers/childcare-sufficiency.html). The latest report has loads of fascinating insights – more families in ‘West’ area (ours), fewer lone parent families in ‘West’, a higher percentage of families with income below £10,000 a year in ‘West’, a higher percentage also of families with higher incomes (£40,000 to £70,000 a year) in ‘West’, a higher percentage of ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ providers of childcare in ‘West’, and a determination to use market strategies to match provision to changes in need. As no extensive house building is expected in the ‘West’ area there is unlikely to massively increasing demand for childcare. Alternative provision is available in huge quantities, and very near to our site.
Our school is full, at the capacity indicated in our ‘Indicative Admission Number’. We have 481 pupils in four year groups each with an admission number of 120. There are no plans in any Council school building proposal to extend our school or increase our admission number. You can read the latest consultation on increasing Primary School capacity here: https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/education/about-us/consultation/school-places.html
There is, then, no clear reason why demand would increase significantly in the foreseeable future.
Our main building is open-plan, as all visitors will know. Once inside you can move throughout the whole building, unchecked by doors or lockable screens. Governors have long expressed the problem of hosting private hire events as there is a real challenge in limiting access to one area of the building. And if we cannot limit movement around the building, how do we ensure the security of the building and contents? Once in the hall you can walk through the school via practical area, IT suite, library, Year 4 base, craft area, Year 3 and Year 5 bases without passing through a single door. Adaptation of the building would not be straightforward either, as planning and building regulation would prevent installation of doors at the base or top of stairs, for example. Nor do we have any unused spaces, suitable or otherwise, so a provision of wrap-around would have to be held in an area we use as classroom, hall, or venue for an after-school club or activity. We would have to stop using the hall before and after school for street dance, table tennis, hockey, fencing, choir, karate, athletics and wind band so we could free up the hall. We could reduce pupil numbers to free a classroom, but that hardly addresses the issue of demand for school places in S10. Those ideas are simply robbing Peter to pay Paul. http://www.lydgatejunior.co.uk/letters-home
Frankly, I don’t have time to manage another facility or an expansion of our school’s workforce. We could engage another manager, of course, or put provision out to tender, but those processes need managing too. And we could include the cost of that in the hourly rate, I suppose.
This brings us to cost. The average paid for After School Club childcare in Sheffield appears to be (from the sufficiency survey) £2.72. As the school budget has a projection of a surplus of just £24 at the end of financial year (and the most recent financial report to Governors updates this to a deficit of at least £9,000), the school certainly does not have the means to subsidise this as a way of supporting families and thus children. We would need to employ a minimum of two people, change premises staff working hours and contracts, charge a hire fee for any premises (including any part of the school’s own building, or we unfairly undercut local ‘competition’), pay insurances, provide separate resources, train and manage staff, pay employer’s costs … We could make a plucked-from-thin-air projection about take-up that takes us to the Ofsted limit allowed, based on age. And the hourly rate would be considerably more than £2.72. So would a request to provide after school hours childcare translate into take up of an offer?
Any request based on a new ‘right’ will be met by a proper business opportunity and cost analysis, but my gut feeling is that, unless the Council has indicated a clear need to increase the available capacity in S10 / Crosspool, it will be met with, ‘Sorry, but no’.
The ‘Right to Request’ is not the same, after all, as the ‘Right to Expect’ or the ‘Right to Access’ and a matching ‘Responsibility to Provide’.