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 Mrs Proctor.
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 the next two months Governors must decide what to do about the forecast school budget deficit. I have to find suggestions and work on recommendations, given their strategic guidance.
Governors will either set priorities for increased and protected spending (and by implication what we might cut) or make the bold decision to run with a ‘licensed deficit’ assuming that the Local Authority will allow us to carry a deficit from year to year if we can present a reasonable, realistic plan to reduce it in time. Carrying a deficit then costs interest on the ‘loan’ or overdraft, only serving to add to the debt over the next year.
In previous years Governors have asked senior leaders to simply trim, gently, everywhere, as and when cautiously possible.
It has felt a lot like ‘shrinkflation’, the process where manufacturers avoid putting up prices by reducing the size of products. Toilet rolls have fewer sheets, tins of chocolates are smaller, juice cartons hold less fluid. Toblerone, famously, has increased the gap between its mountains. Costs go up and companies cannot make a loss so they either have to raise prices or reduce costs. ‘Shrinkflation’ allows cost savings. Can schools use the same process?
- We employ fewer teachers than three years ago, but have exactly the same number of classes and pupils.
- We have fewer senior posts than three years ago –two from three.
- We reduced direct staffing for pastoral work when a colleague retired.
- We collect money, but no longer pay for a cash collection (we use online payment systems instead).
- We send out more newsletters, letters and communications to parents than ever before, but only 20 each time on paper, cutting our printing costs (and possibly increasing the same for the end-user) by using email and text.
- We no longer provide a crèche at Parent Consultations.
- We have the grass cut less often.
- We give out fewer physical prizes and awards to pupils.
Not much shrinkage there, is there?
The bold, challenging, out-of-the-box approach might be to shrink the length of the school day, or parts of it. The law only requires school to open to pupils on 380 ‘sessions’, but does not say how long a session is. There is no legal minimum length of a school day. We could therefore shrink the school day and employ staff for fewer hours and thus save wages. You think this is unrealistic? Many schools are already doing just this!
On Friday this week, despite it being the day with the highest school meals uptake, all the children were finished in the Hall by 12:55. We could simply shrink the lunch break by 15 minutes and save 16 hours on supervisor contracts each week, around £7,500 per year.
If we shrank the teaching day we could employ fewer teaching assistant hours – anyone engaged in 1 to 1 work for supervision or direct support purposes would not be needed for that time. We could save another £2,500 by finishing 15 minutes earlier.
This would save us cash on utilities as we use less energy and water.
We could provide additional support only to those pupils with recognised additional needs and cut support staff.
We could increase class sizes by accepting more pupils or losing more teaching staff.
We could drop another senior leadership post (we have only two) and by less available to parents and agencies.
We could freeze our involvement in staff training and thus freeze our practice and knowledge.
We could stop all free extras, and either save the cost, charge for them or redirect the staffing resource. This would include choir, cross country, inter-school sports in school time, forest school, art club, orchestra in school time, golden time, providing counter signatures on official forms and photos, providing spaces for instrument lessons and all after school clubs…
International comparisons on length of lunchtimes are fascinating - up to two hours in France, and as little as twenty minutes in the United States. There is, generally, still no lunch break in German schools, and an hour and ten minutes for lunch in South Korea. The average and norm in the UK is around an hour but 1/6 of Secondaries have reduced their lunchbreak in the last 20 years, and 96% of the same schools now have no afternoon break! Hampshire Local Authority is so concerned it has launched a toolkit for a successful lunchtime and called it ‘the fifth lesson’.
And ask children (like in this study in Ireland: https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/health-family/parenting/what-children-say-about-school-lunch-time-1.2079949 ) and they tell you they simply don’t have a long enough break to eat, talk and play.
The only conclusion I reach from all this is that I can see both (all?) sides of every debate, but not always come to a clear conclusion. Something is going to have to give, or we are going to have to change a long-held practice of balancing the budget.
How many of our pupils do you think would be overweight or obese?
Do you think it would be so many that we might want to focus on it as an issue?
Recognising that we have reasonably affluent parents, the majority of whom have an active lifestyle themselves, an educated parent body, the majority of whom have ‘professional’ status in employment, the great outdoors on our doorstep and no end of sporting and active opportunities freely available locally and in the city, and parents who are willing to put in the effort needed to support their children’s involvement in regular clubs and groups, we might expect a low figure, certainly lower than national and city-wide averages.
Would 28.2% of our Year 6 pupils reported (National Child Measurement Programme outcome 2016) as overweight or obese surprise you?
That’s 33 children in each year group, or 132 across the whole school.
The list of sporting activities we put on or provide access to is pretty extensive. We promote many local clubs and other opportunities. We are signed up to the PE Pledge of 2 hours per week PE as a standard. Our school meals hit every nutritional standard. Your packed lunches are sound. We host a cooking club. We grow fruit and vegetables on site. Children are health-aware and conscious.
But we still show 28.2% as overweight or obese.
(A quick bit of balance – Sheffield city-wide average is 33.9% and the national average is 34.6%.)
Might we want to focus on this as an issue? It depends, doesn’t it, if we are content to be just better than average.
So here’s a heads-up on things we are already talking about:
- • The Daily Mile
- • Inclusive activities targeted at specific groups including Pupil Premium grant attracting pupils, out of catchment, non-engagement, sports averse, over-weight
- • Cutting out play time snacks
- • ‘Banning’ certain snacks from school,
- • ‘No cake, No sweets’ policies,
- • Weight management programs such as Alive and Kicking (http://www.whyweightsheffield.co.uk/children-and-young) and the school-based STOP,
- • Family information interventions such as ‘HENRY’ and ‘Start Well Sheffield’ (https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/education/information-for-parentscarers/care-support/childcare/start-well-sheffield.html)
- • Including cooking in the formal curriculum,
- • Fit Bit challenges,
- • Man v Fat Football (https://www.manvfatfootball.org/Home/Registration),
- • Issuing Pedometers to count steps / movement during the school day.
Based on nothing more than your first response, are there more references to things being made of 'triple chocolate' or 'double chocolate'?
For me it's the former - I cannot actually think of a single 'double chocolate' - but neither can I work out why 'triple' should be the expected standard. If we need three types of chocolate in or on a doughnut to make it great, why not four or five types of the glorious stuff to make it even better?
Is it 'triple' because 'quadruple' and 'quintuple' and 'sextuple' just sound wrong? (Or do those words signify a multiple serving of the same type rather than a broad variety of linked substances - six of one topping rather than six different toppings? 'Triple' is not the same as 'treble', after all.)
Ordinarily I would find a way to neatly tie this up in an education analogy. I'll let you try.
The Baccalaureate perhaps? Secondary schools' GCSE benchmarking perhaps? The 'Three Rs' maybe? Labour Party education shadows? Terms in a school year? Strikes and you're out? The three stages in the education system (Primary, Secondary and Tertiary)?
Have some fun.
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: