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....
The annual PTA UK survey of parents shows that what appears to be a rising concern about the expectation to contribute to school funds. The AVERAGE donation reported was £8.90 a MONTH!
At least 47% knew nothing about how schools used their Private Fund, and a fifth of parents thought it was spent on teacher salaries.
I think it might be time for some clarification:
Salaries, premises costs, curriculum resources, utilities, insurances, services, subscriptions, broadband, grounds maintenance and photocopying all get covered by our delegated school budget. This comes via the local authority from your taxes. The amount we get each year is formula-driven. It is accounted, reported, budgeted, monitored, audited, and regularly scrutinised. Our delegated school budget amounts to nearly £1,700,000 a year. 80% or so goes on the salaries of the nearly 60 staff, a similar percentage to pretty much every school. At the end of this financial year we expect to have about £19,000 left over to help us through the next.
Buildings’ improvements and purchasing new IT hardware can be covered, in part, by a separate ring-fenced allocation know as DFC, or devolved formula capital. This year we received £9,600 DFC funding, which might sound a lot until you consider the size of the plot, the buildings and their condition, and the amount of hardware needed in a school with 480 pupils.
We also get Government funding for Pupil Premium and Sports Premium, both spent as intended and reported on our website.
And that leaves income from other sources, donations and voluntary contributions. Our only major income source each year, as we do not rent out spaces or hire out staff, is the commission earned from school photographs. We do get a few donations each year, and last year these added up to £130.
Private Fund is the vehicle, principally, for us to collect voluntary contributions for activities that do not carry a charge. We only ever ask for voluntary contributions towards the cost of activities and trips that will enhance the children’s learning. We never ask for more than the actual cost of the activity and we never seek to cover any staffing costs this way.
Last year we received a little over £29,500 in voluntary contributions, and spent a little over £29,500 from Private Fund on the activities these contributions supported. We added in some more to cover the shortfall, as we won’t let a shortfall stop really useful activities or visits taking place. We, effectively, subsidised some trips, clubs, sports activities and other events from budget share or using that commission from photographs. The commission came to £1,127.90, or £2.34 per pupil.
Every single penny that went in to Private Fund from a charity collection (£2,648.60) went back out again, with a little bit added (£2,683.33).
We also use Private Fund to receive income from clubs that are ‘chargeable’. These are what the policy calls ‘optional extras’, and are after school or before school clubs with a cost. Again they are money in, money out, but supported via budget share with Sports Premium funds. We could try to raise funds by charging more for clubs and making a profit, but we choose not to.
Private fund raises less than 2% of our income. We spend the income on only the things we have stated. It makes no surplus over time. It is independently audited annually. It has the same financial safeguarding systems in place as the much larger school budget share, including separation of roles and multiple signatory requirements on spending. We report to Governors on the standing of the Private Fund, and give hen copies of the annual statement and audit report.
We do not ask parents to make a regular or non-specific contribution. No pupil is ever excluded from an activity or visit because their parent does not make a voluntary contribution.
Now, the income from last week’s BBQ at the autumn fair, that went to FOLA (the parent teacher and friends group) direct. And if you want to decide how it gets spent you’ll have to join in their meetings. They announce them on their Facebook page.
Four (or more) Benefits of Volunteering, plus a little reference back to ‘Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc’
At the Percy Pud road race today volunteers from the Archer Project were collecting donated Christmas Puddings for the Food Banks there (Sheffield Cathedral) and in S6. So that’s people giving their time to collect and transport donated Puddings just given to them by volunteers at a race organised and run by volunteers for the joy of sport and competition. And so they can stock a food bank for Sheffield residents they do not know and who will never be able to pay back directly those who gave in the first place.
And it felt good.
Research says all sorts of positive things about volunteering and how it is as good (or better) for the volunteer as it is for the person receiving the gift or support. You have to read the reports carefully as they can assume causal links where there might not be any (coincidental occurrence does not mean that one thing causes another – the leaves falling off trees happens at about the same time as the autumn rugby season but does not cause it) but a lot of it makes good sense.
The most striking four benefits of volunteering seem to be:
- Volunteering time makes you feel like you have more time. Professor Cassie Mogilner wrote in the Harvard Business Review that those who volunteer their time feel like they have more of it. This is similar research showing that people who donate to charity feel wealthier. Said Mogliner: “The results show that giving your time to others can make you feel more ‘time affluent’. “ It is ‘quality time’, and though the reticent may feel a lack of time in their lives the giving of our time enriches our lives to the extent that we feel we have more. (Perhaps we just use it more efficiently?)
- Volunteering your body helps you have a healthier body. “Research demonstrates that volunteering leads to better health… those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.” C.N.C.S.
(Caution here – maybe those who volunteer also look after themselves better through diet, exercise and rest, for example, but it’s well worth a pop, isn’t it?) For more information on this, read “Can Volunteering Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease?”
- Volunteering your experience helps build your experience. Volunteering in a new industry might give you knowledge to help you change careers. If you want to move from the business world to the non-profit or public sectors, volunteering can help prove your commitment and build your knowledge and confidence in the meta-language. The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have published articles about how volunteering can help you into your next job.
- Volunteering your love makes you feel more love. Love, being an abstract, is a hard thing to measure. But researchers at the LSE examined the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness, and found the more hours people volunteered for, the happier they were. Volunteering needs and supports empathy, strengthens social inclusion and makes you smile — all factors that increase the feeling of love.
Volunteering also seems to lower stress, increase feelings of positive mental health, aid social interaction, reduce the risk of depression, and can boost the sills of the volunteer.
Now that’s a lot of really strong reasons for volunteering if you wanted to look at doing it for selfish reasons. The benefits appear to be stronger, however, if giving is done for altruistic reasons, for the benefits of others.
The cost benefits for a school of volunteering must be huge. We have volunteer reading mentors, volunteer bakers, volunteer Club and activity leaders, volunteer sport leaders, volunteer fund raisers, volunteer organisers, volunteer Governors, and students and staff who give well beyond their paid hours. The available data doesn’t seem to show the number of people nationally who do this – schools don’t feature collectively in the list of organisations produced by the Institute for Volunteering Research (who knew there is one?), but at just 5 volunteers per school it would be the fifth largest group in the UK.
We always want our volunteers to have a purposeful experience so that they feel useful and can experience making a difference. We have been known to turn down offers only occasionally, but only when we had nothing ‘real’ to offer.And for those that have seen through me; yes, this is about FOLA having to cancel the Christmas Discos. I share their disappointment.
Do you know the story of the widow’s mite?
Two young pupils handed me an envelope this morning. They told me they wanted to make a donation to help the school. I could buy some things with the money, they said, for lunchtimes or whatever. The envelope held 76p.
The size of the contribution is immaterial, really – it comes from the heart and from their money-boxes. And it is probably an amount that has some significance for two young boys.
The cash will be added to our Private Fund and will, therefore, support some hugely enjoyable activity that we provide later in the year.
Thank you, boys; sincerely, thank you.
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?
Call it what you will, but the spirit of charity, of love, of Christmas was certainly clearly with us this week. We held our second collection for the local Food Bank, which is based at St. Thomas’s in Crookes. The scale of the giving and collection became powerful, showing an outpouring of generosity, love and compassion.
This was giving, quietly done, avoiding the clamour of drums, bells or cymbals. Children and adults alike came, gave and left without seeking any reward. And the collection grew, and grew throughout the week. It filled the trugs we put out, then the baskets, then the bins and tabletops and worktop.
There was no ‘British Value’ on show here, as charity and neighbourliness knows no state boundary. Nor was this an act limited to the Christmas Christian festival. Yes, children of Christian backgrounds and faith gave, honouring Jesus’ teaching that we should love our neighbour as we love ourselves. But Jewish families supported the campaign also, in the same quiet way, teaching us about ‘Tzedakah’: to give donations anonymously to unknown recipients. Muslim children demonstrated by their actions one of the ‘five pillars’ – Zakat: paying alms or charity to benefit the poor. Sikhs also believe that a place in God’s court can only be attained if we do service to others in this world, as they were taught by the Guru Granth Sahib. Similarly Hindus are taught that they must help the poor as a way of building up good karma for themselves. Buddhists believe that by helping others they cease to be selfish and to move on the way towards enlightenment. Members of the British Humanist Society give money and/or time generously and regularly to an average of 6 charities each. Humanists tend to plan their giving rationally and selectively, but most also respond generously to emergency appeals and street collections. The most popular causes are those connected with social welfare. And those of no faith gave too, also demonstrating the spirit of sharing, community and love for others.
On Friday, at our Christmas Big Sing, we sang the Carol, ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’, based on a poem by Christina Rossetti. The final verse goes like this:
‘What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man
I would do my part;
Yet what I can, I give Him -
Give my heart.’
I believe that, by the giving to the Food Bank we have witnessed this week, we have also witnessed people giving their hearts to others, and to God.
Thank you for your support, and be sure that you have done good work this week.A very happy Christmas to you all.