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 the School Governors, 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....
Last Sunday, the last before we all start getting excited in school about Christmas, the Sunday before Advent, is known as ‘Stir-up Sunday’.
Its secular tradition is that it is the day that the Christmas Pudding should be mixed and stirred, and have it first steaming. The pudding gets reheated on the big day. The Anglican Church, however, uses words from the book of common prayer, "Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people," in services that day. The people of the Church are asking to be whipped up, to be filled with energy, to be turned up in the fervour of their faith. They are asking for faith that gives them the confidence to proclaim their beliefs, encourage each other and seek a better world for all. ‘Ah, go on, go on, go on,’ as Mrs. Doyle would say.
In School Assembly this week I brought back out a poem I have used before, and used to have on display. It begins, ‘Be warmly angry. Be hotly angry, but do not boil away’. And it concludes with, ‘Keep on making a difference until things are different’. I was stressing to the children how we should not be deterred from a passionate belief just because others might disagree, discourage or misunderstand. I explored this sort of anger, and how it is not a violent emotion. It is a passion that drives action, and a determination that campaigns until just change is brought about. I suggested that, in such circumstances, we should keep on either until we are convinced or we have convinced. (As Vic and Bob would say, we shouldn’t let it lie.)
And then on Tuesday afternoon (in lesson time, because we invest properly in it, giving time for sixteen children and two members of staff to attend) we had our first School Council of the year. These wonderful, energetic, junior campaigners have ideas, and a list was made that will become the agenda for future meetings:
Notes about playtimes:
- Playtime rota - is it fair? Some say that they have only had 2 go's on something, when others have had more.
- Cover for the slide so that they can use it when it rains.
- Not being allowed to run on the boat.
- Have whole year groups on bottom yard so that you can play with your friends.
- A way of controlling the slide so that people don't push or go down the slide too soon.
- More play equipment.
- An inside space to go when its cold outside.
- Y5 quiet area near the hall/music room stair doors.
- Resurfacing around the boat.
- Playtime and lunchtime buddies. Inspired by Harry Banks' 'Fun Patrol'
Notes about lunches:
- Have a pasta pot option, where you have plain pasta then add a sauce (3 options) and add a topping (2 options).
- Somewhere to queue for lunches because it gets cold standing in the winter.
- Outdoor shelter for eating packed lunches.
- Many, many food suggestions (and complaints) – to talk to the man from Taylor Shaw who has been in to talk to Governors.
Sir Humphrey might suggest that, allowing the School Council to choose its own agenda, and to invite adults to attend to be quizzed, is, ‘very courageous, Head Master’. I think it is enabling the conversation to match the manifestos of the candidates.
I hope that they will be stirred-up with passion, and be warmly angry on the issues that matter to them. Here comes the next generation and their issues, for, eventually, the youth will inherit the Earth and they might as well have a voice that is heard as soon as they can put words to their thoughts.
Elections are won by those that turn up. Issues heard are only those that are raised. The best learning is active and engaging. Those who do not vote do not get to complain about the outcome. This last week, across school, included electioneering, manifesto production, hustings, advertising and polling in our School Council elections. We boosted it a little this year by having one week across school, culminating in children using real polling booths and ballot boxes (borrowed from Election Services in the City Council).
I was a sceptic about School Councils for a long time, not because of process or passion but due to the lack of power invested in them. I had worked in many contexts were all but the important things could be delegated, but once the topic needed a proper budget or would impact on the adults in the system then senior management claimed the discussion and decision making. School Councils became a Junior Parliament, playing at debate and decision, delegated an insignificant budget of a couple of hundred pounds, and staffed by dedicated but non-empowered colleagues.
It is inevitably true that children in school cannot possibly know the complex context and background to how school is structured and directed. There are too many extraordinary and subtle pressures at work for them to grasp or imagine. (Typically, younger children struggle to infer as they cannot imagine motives or outcomes beyond their concrete experiences.) This does not mean that they, the consumer, do not have valid opinions on what is presented for and to them daily. Maybe school should think more their way – and try to cut through the bindings of red tape, inertia and vested interest to produce rapid, simple, positive change.
All the candidates promoted their personal qualities to appeal to the voters. About half the candidates (self-nominated) had policy stances that they put on their literature. It is at this point that we have to shape School Council so that those interests and concerns (their manifesto pledges) are discussed and given serious consideration. With teachers running the meetings it would be simplicity itself for the adults to select the agenda for the whole year – back to hackneyed favourites such as healthy snacks and food waste, perhaps.
Those manifestos promised exploring longer playtimes, revised or removed playtime rotas, school meal choices, toilets and toilet access, respecting all members of school, lunchtime clubs, learning outdoors and more. These have to be the agendas for the first meetings (and possibly the next set, too). If we (school leaders) are really to listen actively we have to make sure we do not dismiss questions without serious consideration and balancing possible gains against real costs. And we have to attend – nothing says we think an activity is important as much as actually attending.
Well done each victorious candidate (to be announced next week) and equally well done to each defeated candidate. Thank you for taking part in the process and offering your involvement.
Children have that right to be heard. We have a duty to listen. We have to give them the chance to talk on the issues that matter to them and to the people with power. A micro-budget is a little condescending, I think, but having our ear is not if we actually listen and consider..
(The Y6 blog has a little more on how they ran the process.)
Is a simple outright ban on ALL playtime snacking the only answer to unsuitable, sugar-loaded, snacking?
I wrote about my concerns around snacking at school back in June and July 2017, (see Blog posts: http://www.lydgatejunior.co.uk/the-headteachers-blog/a-weighty-issue and http://www.lydgatejunior.co.uk/the-headteachers-blog/not-a-healthy-snack ) and about food waste in November 2017 (http://www.lydgatejunior.co.uk/the-headteachers-blog/love-food-hate-waste ).
This week we have seen announcements from Public Health England encouraging parents to limit children’s snacks to 100 calories and to no more than two a day. (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/phe-launches-change4life-campaign-around-childrens-snacking )
One third of Primary School aged children are over-weight or obese. 28% of pupils in our school are over-weight or obese, from Year 6 height and weight measurements by Health professionals. Schools should safeguard their pupils' health and well-being, and so this IS an issue for schools to take up. We could clearly do more than we already have in place, even though this includes:
- All school meals meet the national school food nutrition standards,
- We teach cookery and baking,
- We host a cooking club,
- We provide drinking water for free,
- We have physical activities before and after school almost every day,
- We have signed up to the PE Pledge to offer two hours per week PE,
- We take longer swimming lessons than required,
- We offer MAST access through school drop-ins,
- We target some of our physical activities to less-engaged pupils,
- We have introduced the Daily Mile sustainably,
- Our PE Premium report shows how we are improving ‘outcomes’ through tr=argeted spending,
- We have removed our Snack Shop,
- We do not use sweets as rewards,
- School meals provide for many dietary needs and are fully allergen-compliant,
- School meals offer a salad bar every day, additionally and free.
I will not institute a rule that limits all snacks to a maximum of 100 calories – simply for the practical reasons of unenforceability.
We will not be searching lunch boxes, or turning out coat pockets, and confiscating snacks with ‘too much sugar’.
But with what appears to be direct links between snacking, unnecessary calories, food waste and obesity, we surely should be doing something effective.
An absolute ban would be the simplest thing to invoke, if it got full support and backing from parents and pupils. I wouldn’t want to see snacks being snuck in and sneakily snaffled in secretive scenes; that promotes rule-breaking and sets us on the path of conflict.
Would you, then, support a total ban on playtime snacks?
As I like to do, I have set up the simplest SurveyMonkey questionnaire (other web-based survey engines do exist) to collect opinion. Should take about 60 seconds from clicking this link:
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.