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The Headteacher's Blog

Introduction

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.

Yours sincerely,
Stuart Jones

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Introduction

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.

 

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Introduction

Welcome to the Y4 blog. We know that the question that children are mostly asked as they leave school is 'What did you do today?' The response is often 'nothing'! Well, here is where you can find what 'nothing' looks like. In our weekly blogs we will share with you what your children have been getting up to and all of the wonderful work that they have been doing. The Y4 team consists of the following teachers: Mrs Shaw and Mrs Drury in Y4S/D, Mrs Smith and Mrs Smith (this is not a typo!) in Y4S/S, Miss Norris in Y4HN and Miss Wall in Y4AW. The children are supported by our teaching assistants too, including Mrs Biggs, Mr Jenkinson and Mrs Tandy. We also have help from Miss Lee, Mrs Cooper, Mrs Flynn and Mrs Wolff. Some of the children are lucky enough to spend time in The Hub too with Mrs Tandy. What a team!

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Introduction

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

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Introduction

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....

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04 May 2018

Differing Opinions

It’s been a confusing week in parts, with feedback that contradicts.

One set of parents insisted that we are too soft on poor behaviour and that we need to be seen to be much harder on anything that hints of bullying. (Their son felt we simply didn’t do anything about his complaints.)

The very next set of parents were deeply concerned that their child had been admonished the day before and felt that school’s discipline was far too harsh. (Their son was worried about coming back to school that morning because of our severe sanctions.)

The truth is that we try to be consistent, but we do not operate with a set list of fixed responses to specific actions.

We believe that, once get past a child’s initial and sometimes inevitable denial of action or responsibility, they know that what they did was wrong (or right) and they do not need us to go on and on about it. If they quickly and honestly accept that their actions were wrong then we move on rapidly. Is that ‘soft’?

But we are thorough and determined. A child who seeks to deny and defy, obscure or be outraged, will find us to be utterly stubborn, and willing to dedicate an age to uncovering the truth. This process is itself uncomfortable and often enough of a sanction to have imposed – a child might easily squirm and struggle and want to avoid that feeling in future. Is that ‘soft’?

And holding a child to account, ensuring that they do not get away with a blanket denial of something reported by a member of staff, is that being too ‘hard’? If we allow a child to get away with the denial they come to believe it as true, and to expect to blame others rather than accepting responsibility for their own actions. Only by accepting that personal responsibility can someone hope to change for good and for themselves.

We never, simply never, impose a sanction that is dangerous, difficult or humiliating. We might use sanctions that are proportionate, appropriate and, sadly, called-for. Isn’t that part of learning?

What we are looking for is for children, when they have done something wrong, to own up and apologise. And that is not too much to ask, is it?

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13 Apr 2018

Collective Worship, Summer term 2018

I understand that our themes for Collective Worship, and a perceived imbalance towards Christian themes, were one of the issues raised by a few parents in their response to the recent Ofsted Inspection questionnaire.

The list below shows what I intend to cover this term. Some have a clear Christian basis, some a faith element only, and some might be seen as totally secular – more ethos and social than ‘worship’.

Being Determined

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

 

Discipline

Training and strengthening by saying, ‘no’ to temptations.

Tolerance

I have a dream, that one day…

Cooperation

Tug of War

Honesty and Truthfulness

http://www.assemblies.org.uk/pri/242/a-tissue-of-lies

Reliability

Nemo

 

 

Caring

Protective Clothing

Patience

William Wilberforce (abolition of the slave trade)

Happiness

The dog, the goose and the jar

Understanding

God Understands Everything

Love in Faith

Why smiles matter / how smiles make a difference

Revolution - change

Making a difference, making things better and better

New Horizons

Leaving and moving on

 

The simple answer as to why we (schools, not just this school) still have a daily ‘act of worship’ is because the Law requires it. ‘Assembly’ has been the tradition, but ever since the 1944 Education Act schools have been required to provide some form of ‘worship’. The most recent requirements and clarifications are looking old, at 24 years ago, but the lines of the 1994 DfE circular still apply.

As long ago as 2004 the then Chief Inspector of Schools, David Bell, stated that 76% of Secondary Schools were failing to meet their legal requirement on daily acts of worship. If three quarters are not doing what the law requires (but are not being closed down / taken over / locked up / named and shamed) why do we bother? As is most often the case there is a really lengthy answer available that covers education policy history, a chunk of politics, school inspection reports, Law, practice, differences of opinion, accountability, responsibilities, and the needs of our school community. There are dozens of reports and research articles available from academics and secular and non-secular organisations.

The simple answer is in our recent Ofsted Report:

https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/ELS/106998

School Short Inspection Report,

Lydgate Junior School

Leaders are determined that pupils should achieve well both academically and as rounded individuals who are respectful and make a positive contribution to their school and community. The curriculum ensures that pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is given high priority. Consequently, pupils demonstrate tolerance and respect for others and they value being able to contribute their ideas and suggestions.

Ofsted, April 2018

Pupils ‘demonstrate tolerance and respect’. The curriculum ensures ‘that SMSC development is given high priority.’ Our Collective Worship provision therefore adds to the development of our pupils and is in part responsible for their continued outstanding behaviour.

We do it because it works.

 

If you want to know what the legal requirements are for schools it is covered by Circualr 1/94, found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/collective-worship-in-schools

Circular number 1/94

Religious Education and Collective Worship

All maintained schools must provide religious education and daily collective worship for all registered pupils and promote their spiritual, moral and cultural development.

Local agreed RE syllabuses for county schools and equivalent grant-maintained schools must reflect the fact that religious traditions in the country are in the main Christian whilst taking account of the teaching and practices of other principal religions.

Collective worship in county schools and equivalent grant-maintained schools must be wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character.

DfE 1994

 

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23 Dec 2017

Shaping Relationships Education

The Secretary of State for Education has announced the intention to make Relationships Education and, possibly, Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education mandatory in all Primary schools.

The DfE has launched a consultation to ask for your views on how the content of the subjects and how the current guidance on sex education should be updated. Your comments will, says the DfE, be used to help the department ‘further refine their thinking and proposals’.

The Department for Education is first considering how to update the existing guidance which, was last updated in 2000. The new guidance will ‘support schools in delivering the new subjects of Relationships Education at primary (and Relationships and Sex Education at secondary), as well as, potentially, Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE)’.

Currently Sex education (also known as Sex and Relationship Education) is only compulsory in maintained secondary schools. Primary schools have to have a policy on the teaching of sex and relationships, but this policy may be to NOT teach it. Many do choose to teach it, but the picture is not consistent across the country. Academies and free schools are encouraged to teach it as part of a broad and balanced curriculum.

Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) is a non-compulsory subject in state-funded schools and can encompass many areas of study. All schools are encouraged to teach PSHE and this expectation is outlined in the introduction to the national curriculum.

The decision to make Relationships Education compulsory was taken because children need support to navigate growing up in an increasingly complex and digital world. Whilst the internet is a mostly positive development in our lives, it does present significant challenges. With the visibility of social media, the prevalence of cyber-bullying and the risk that children learn about relationships from untrustworthy sources – the evidence was compelling that young people need support to make the right decisions and keep themselves safe and happy.

The consultation simply asks for your top three subject areas to be covered in each of Relations Education and PSHE.

You have until 12 February 2018 to give your views.

https://consult.education.gov.uk/life-skills/pshe-rse-call-for-evidence/

 

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27 Oct 2017

A Problem Shared

When we talk Child Protection and Safeguarding we often refer to ‘Protective Factors’, things that are most likely going to work to keep children safer. There are many of them coming from or related to school:

  • Healthy peer groups,
  • School engagement,
  • Positive teacher expectations,
  • Effective classroom management,
  • Positive partnering between school and family,
  • School policies and practices to reduce bullying,
  • High academic standards,
  • Consistent discipline,
  • Language-based discipline,
  • Extended family support,
  • Mastery of academic skills (maths, reading, writing),
  • Following rules for behaviour at home, at school, and in public places,
  • Ability to make friends,
  • Good peer relationships,

and probably many more.

Long-term readers of this blog may remember a display I posted about last year, one of the interactive boards I like to put up in the lunchtime entrance area. I asked the children to tell, in thought bubbles, who they could ask for help.

This week, in a similar way, I asked them who they would talk to if they were unhappy at various times in the day. Once we got past the teaching requirement (I needed to model better how to use a tally, and the classic five-bar gate) the results are interesting. There is a lot of children here who would actually resolve their unhappiness themselves, many who would rely on friends, lots who would turn to staff, plenty who find strength in family members, and quite a few with the confidence to call on anyone handy or well-placed.

Clearly the respondents have many ‘protective factors’ established and know to use them. This is very encouraging for us, and indicates strong, healthy, relationships with peers, family and school staff.

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17 Oct 2017

Making Time To Talk

First Parent Evening of the year done today. It seems, from everything I could pick up, that it has gone over really well. Just seven parents from 477 children have not contacted us to make an appointment (a hit rate of 98.5%). All bar three parents were pleased or satisfied with what they heard from the class teacher and just three wanted to see me later (a success rate of 98.7%). Books were available everywhere. Class share teachers who are part-time and do not work Tuesdays came in anyway, so five sets of parents got ‘two for the price of one’. In one class, where we have had a supply teacher for most of the half term, the temporary teacher provided the consultations, and to an overwhelming positive reception. Maps and signs worked fairly well, but staff on site showed people round where needed. The mood and atmosphere was warm and friendly wherever I went.

We experimented last year with altering the timings of the four Parent Evenings but reverted to the tried and tested format for this week’s sessions. Here’s why.

We tried starting a little earlier on two of the four evenings, and a little later on one of the others. The intentions of the early starts were two-fold – to offer more early appointments, which are always in greatest demand, and to partly address staff well-being issues. We then put in a later start in the spring term in response to a counter demand, mostly by parents with work commitments that would suit a later appointment. (This meant a later finish for staff who still had to work the full day the next day, of course.)

There was no gushing ground-swell of approval for either scheme.

There were, however, plenty of arguments against both:

  • Staffing the pupils when teachers were in early consultations before the end of school,
  • Housing the pupils at that time if it was wet outside,
  • Securely transferring children to the right adult when they were with staff who might not know the arrangements and personnel so well,
  • Safeguarding concerns around site security and unescorted visitors on-site while children were present,
  • Clashing with the end of Lydgate Infant School’s day,
  • The limited number of additional early slots actually provided,
  • The observation that some parents still selected deliberately, it appeared, the final slot so that they could take more time than allocated (and thus causing staff to still finish later than on a normal working day,
  • Coordinating multiple appointments (for siblings) was made no easier (or harder),
  • Staff did not really get a break between school and the start of the ‘late’ session, so it really extended the working day,
  • Preventing an early start to the later start was difficult as some parents did not leave the premises in-between,
  • We still weren’t going late enough to satisfy every request,
  • and so on.

Since then we have been adopting, adapting and developing the online booking system. This has been this year’s ‘innovation’. What we aimed for was a quicker, smoother, paper-free, joined-up, accessible, transparent system that would allow parents to book across multiple classes swiftly, and would free teachers from a paper-chase. The technical issue came about because we did not anticipate the scale of instant response, and did not have server space that could cope with so many parents accessing the system at once (without logging out when done). It was fixed pretty quickly though.

We reviewed last year’s trials, and considered a further extension and option. What about just one, super-long, Parent Evening each term, with all 30 appointments in one run? 3:40 to 8:40 would give 10 minutes per child, but with absolutely no gaps and no margin of error. Add on 10% wiggle room and we have a finish time of 9:10. This might be just what some parents would prefer as it would fit very well around their working hours. But Staff haven’t eaten since lunch, have been at work since 7:30 am, haven’t marked any books or set up for the morning, and have to be in and on top form ten hours later. It didn’t strike me as a sensible option, and so it was rejected.

My problem, shared I think by many others, is that the ten minutes we can allocate per pupil is often not enough, or as much as might be useful. It derives from class size, partly, and subsequent workload. Cash cost prevents us from releasing teachers during the day to make time. A moral standpoint on what constitutes a school session prevents us from closing early and forcing the children home at, say, 1:30 so we could free up four hours extra (8 more minutes per consultation). Cash again prevents us giving teachers extra cover in return for working beyond their directed time contracted. And we remain full to admission limit because parents keep on sending their children to us. Coming full-circle in the piece, back to the variants we tried last year we could see how an earlier start could allow extra time for each discussion, but the cost of implementation tipped the balance against.

By the end of Thursday’s sessions we will have seen 98% of parents and provided good, useful, information to 98% of them. We will be trying to meet, and meet the expectations, of both 2% in future.

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