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 Team includes Mrs Dutton & Mrs de Brouwer (3D/deB), Miss Cunningham (3EC), Mrs Webb & Mrs Watkinson (3W/W) and Miss Roberts & Mrs Noble (3AR). We have three Teaching Assistants who work with small groups and help across the four classes: Mrs Dale, Ms Kania and Mr Swain. Mrs Proctor, one of our regular volunteers, also helps out in all four classes.
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 Parker (5AP), Mrs Rougvie and Mrs Jones (5RJ), Miss Reasbeck and Mrs Ridsdale (5RR) and Mrs Holden (5SH). . Many children are supported by Mrs Hill and Mrs Allen (the Year 5Teaching 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 Purdom, Mrs Phillips, Mrs Loosley and Mrs Wymer. Our Monday and Thursday morning teachers are Mrs Farrell, Miss Lee and Mr Jones.We are also very lucky to be helped by Mrs Ainsworth, Mrs Cooper, Mr Jenkinson, Mrs Biggs and Mrs Dawes. 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....
This week I have tried to share my professional experience and insight by responding to research inquiries and questionnaires. But it can get a bit silly…
I have been asked about staff ASD training and confidence (sound idea with practical potential).
I have been asked about my confidence in planning the teaching of reading (good idea to inform staff development plans)
I have been asked about mental health service development needs for Sheffield (vital, but seriously pessimistic)
I have been asked about proposed changes to Ofsted Inspection (relevant, obviously, but doubtful that my input will make any difference, and without the formal consultation actually being open)
I was asked about Brexit contingency planning and preparation (my response was as brief as our plan)
I was asked about LED light bulbs (seriously!)
School was asked three times about procurement practices (because they wouldn’t be fobbed off)
I am crucially aware of the research need for quality information that is honest and full, as the data we try to use often has gaping holes in it. Where there is a chance that research might be well-designed and well-intended and useful we try to participate. My wonderful colleagues responded in numbers to a student’s request around ASD provision; they saw the immediate relevance and wanted to help.But Brexit planning and LED light bulbs can go sit over there.
While we reserve the right to make the decisions (particularly because we are, ultimately, responsible for the outcomes of them), and want our professionality to be respected, we really do listen to the valuable opinion of ‘stakeholders’.
This week I met with a small but well-informed set of parents in a ‘round table discussion’ on school’s response to what is known as adverse weather. As a result of comments made by them, and in emails contributions, I will be changing the wording of some elements of our published scheme of working. They asked that I clarify authorisation of late arrival if a sibling’s school is opening later than us. So I will. And other points raised will be similarly explained.
I have been partly responsible for whipping up a little passion and idealism in our pupils, partly around School Council but also linked simply to them having a mind and speaking it. When one pupil decided to propose some environmentally-aware action she was not content to be told ‘no’ on the first request. She came back with a really coherent political and ethical argument. I admire the commitment and I have yielded to her request and told her (and her mum) how much I admire and respect her campaigning. School visitors will shortly see the outcome of her talking and talking to me until I agreed with her request.
Four Year 6 pupils have spent a good slice of each day’s playtimes with me (at their own choice) this week to discuss their request that they be allowed a ‘den’ to play in. They have not been put off but have responded positively and thoughtfully to every point I made, to every objection I raised. They ‘got’ the legitimacy of my issues and sensibly argued back, and conceded where it was obvious they had to. Five days later they are nearly there – I am just one sticking point away from conceding to their request (and possibly causing myself a lot of difficulty with colleagues and other pupils). They have moved me from a straight out ‘no’.
Colleagues have argued the case for staffing increases and supply cover. They are well-aware of financial pressures but critically aware of risks from under-staffing and the pressures on colleagues from the same. And so we have covered absences we previously haven’t, and are about to advertise to refill a vacancy we have run with for half a year.
Governors considered the normal range of issues at their committee meeting. While they recognise there are sensible and practical limits to what we can, they are still keen to continue to improve, and so small steps forward in site security will happen, and communication and challenge over school meal quality will continue.
The Local Authority, through the Schools Company ‘LearnSheffield’, offered us access to a website audit tool. This highlighted things we should improve to ensure full annual compliance and an up-to-date set of information. Reports, Policies, Strategy documents and links have been reviewed and improved as a result.
If we were rigid, unsympathetic and un-listening none of these changes might happen. We won’t promise to always agree with an opposing or even a novel view but we will continue to listen and consider.
In an exercise on our training day a colleague asked about the development of an email policy.
In ‘Feedback’ some parents raised questions about communications between senior leaders and parents.
One stage of the response to both has been senior leadership-level discussion about the range, purpose, place, timeliness and effectiveness of the communications strategies we use.
This one week we have used telephone calls, home visits, a newsletter, direct personal email, booked meetings, drop-in meetings, informal conversations, focussed letters, ‘bump’ notes, the school website, being visible, the FOLA ‘End of Summer BBQ’, the front desk, and all our electronic and physical interfaces to share information and enhance contacts. We know we have not seen everyone and not shared everything, nor answered all the unspoken questions but we certainly have continued to ‘reach out’ and to be available.
Conversations have provided insight into cycle storage, private school admissions, school start times, lost property, before school activities, homework, accessibility, and a myriad of personal issues.
We are honestly happy to meet, listen and talk as much as we can, and we will continue to do so.
In the week that saw parents in a small region of France (Provins) vote to introduce school uniform (against that nation’s norm), and when our Year 4 classes are debating hot topics (Y4S/D were arguing the points around uniform), I’m asking your opinion.
Our Uniform Policy was introduced some years ago after over-whelming support by the then parent body. As far as I know, that group has not been asked for a confirmation since. The Policy statement talks about that parent support; but today’s parents are not those same people. So what do you think today? Is uniform still right? Is what we ask for practical, reasonable, suitable, reasonably priced? Setting the right tone? Open for enough individual variation? Helpful for children with specific needs? Non-discriminatory?
There’s a Survey Monkey link at the bottom of this blog if you’d like to comment.
Uniform will be one of the topics for our ‘Round Table Discussions’ next year.
Currently we ask for:
Dark royal blue sweatshirt, cardigan or fleece.
White or blue shirt or polo shirt.
Black, navy or grey trousers. Plain black, navy or grey jeans with no may be worn.
Headscarves should be blue, black or white.
Tights should be black, plain grey, navy or a neutral colour.
Sensible shoes, boots or trainers.
For those children who wish to wear something lighter in the summer months:
Gingham dress in blue & white, red & white or yellow & white.
Black, navy, grey or blue shorts (from above the ankle to just above the knee).
Sandals or crocs.
Jewellery – only watches and sleeper/stud earrings are allowed.
We have around 99% engagement / agreement, but we are having to be tight on this currently with some less-willing or less-aware pupils.
Keep the uniform as it is?
Relax the uniform to ‘optional’?
Do away with a uniform totally?
Go for a standout colour instead of a plain-old blue?
Introduce a more formal code, such as blazers and shirt and tie?
Have four separate colours for PE kit, one for each Team?
Just click the link to take part:
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.