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, as every parent of a Year 6 child will know, was end of key stage 2 test week.
(While it is commonly known as ‘SATs Week’ they have never been formally called this – they are, properly, End of Key Stage Assessments, or EoKSA.)
I’d like to praise my pick as Star of the Week.
I know that children can get a bit fearful, and worry a bit about questions they got wrong or how well they have done, but generally they handle the process really well. The children have been prepared proportionately and had a very healthy diet of everything but tests in the months and weeks leading up to this point.
Every child who has given their best deserves credit, and I know they will want to take pride in their individual outcomes when they come back to us in July.
But here’s the amazing story. Out of 122 pupils in Year 6 just one was absent on Monday morning when they were due to start the tests with grammar, punctuation and spelling. (That’s attendance above 99%, showing that any ‘anxiety’ was overcome by resilience and determination and good preparation.) The same pupil was also off on Tuesday and so had missed the whole set of English papers as Reading was on Tuesday morning.
That could have been it, except when she came back to school on Wednesday she not only wanted to do that day’s maths tests (Arithmetic and Reasoning paper 1) but also catch up on the missed English tests.
I applied for her to sit the tests later in the week and so she did them all, finishing this morning (Friday) a single day after everyone else in the year group. (In fact pupils can do the tests up to five school days late under certain circumstances and with permission from the appropriate body.)
She smiled all the way through and I expect she will have done very well indeed. She finished the last test with 20 minutes spare!
I really, really hope she gets results that make her very proud, because she did show an fabulous attitude in sitting tests that she did not have to and that we did not require her to take.
Well done all – all 700,000 Year 6 pupils across the country who took the tests this week. I hope you all take pride in your many achievements.
This will, likely, be the last year that we manage to set a budget that balances and keeps us in the black. Governors agreed a spending plan for the financial year ahead that just about allows us to continue with the current staff set-up and other spending, but it uses every last penny of the carry-forward to do so. There will be none left in 12 months.
It is true, I agree, that we have more income than ever before. It is also true that we have higher outgoings than ever before.
We got a grant to help cover the unexpected cost of the national increase in teachers’ pay. Not surprisingly we’ll be using it to cover the cost of our teachers’ pay rise.
We expect another grant to assist with otherwise unfunded increased employer contributions to pensions. We’ll use that to cover the rise in contributions to pensions.
We will be getting a windfall sum of £4,115 of Healthy Pupil Capital. It has to be spent on premises works that will improve the ‘availability’ of health and activity equipment or provision (but not on people to staff it). We will spend it accordingly, but not without difficulty.
The full implementation of the Living Wage across the Council has resulted in many support staff getting an extra, utterly deserved, pay rise to maintain some differential. That was unfunded.
The PE & Sports Grant is staying at its high level of about £20,000 for the year. We will spend every penny on the purposes set. You can read our statement on the school website.
Pupil Premium income will be down next financial year against this year as we now have fewer ‘disadvantaged’ pupils than we did 12 months ago. We also updated that Statement this week. You can again see the report and intentions on our website. We will spend slightly more than the specific income on provision to assist these pupils in achieving their best.
I also presented a brief report on Financial Benchmarking. Not a ‘sexy’ topic in any way, but highly illuminating. You can make your own comparison by visiting the gov.uk website (click here).
If you select Lydgate Junior School and let the site select 15 ‘similar’ schools you’ll find we have:
- the lowest income per pupil,
- the smallest senior leadership team,
- the smallest spend on occupation charges per pupil,
- the smallest revenue reserve per pupil.
I do not want to finish this piece in a negative way so I’ll put the prediction here: this time next year we will have to decide what provision to cut and what charges to increase.
We make fantastic provision based on these factors. I know I have written this before but we do provide excellent value for money. We will try our hardest to keep doing so.
- how well a person, machine, etc. does a piece of work or an activity
- the action of entertaining other people by dancing, singing,acting, or playing music:
a performance (mainly uk informal)
- an action or type of behaviour that involves a lot of attention to detail or to small matters that are not important
DfE has published the annual ‘Performance Tables’ this week for end of Key Stage 2 assessments in 2018.
All the usual caveats must be applied when you read the data – are you comparing like with like, is it progress or attainment that matters, reading or maths, funding – does that matter, disadvantage levels, what does the data hide, why publish average teacher salary, what about the private sector, why are so many Academies excluded, how can you tell if small schools do well if their data isn’t published, Infant Schools have no data, is this a one-year snap shot or a three year average?
Dig back through this blog series and you will find me writing about a question at interview (how would you place the school) and about more important things than scores and gloating.
Well, we still are not top of the table, but we are doing very well, thank you. Out of Sheffield’s fourteen Junior Schools (surely a sensible comparison set) we have the:
- second lowest absence
- third highest percentage meeting the 'combined' (reading, writing and maths) expected standard
- second highest reading progress score
- third highest writing progress score
- second highest maths progress score
- fourth highest percentage for higher standard for 'combined'
- fourth highest average score in reading, and
- fourth highest average score in maths,
- AND all with the fourth largest pupil to teacher ratio.
Year 4 thrilled a hallful of parents with the annual pantomime this morning in a demonstration of a different definition of ‘performance’. Huge applause and appreciation was heard and felt because it was brilliant. The story was ‘Cinderella’ but with plenty of twists included. Cinderella was forced to change her life goals once she saw how shallow and desperate the Prince was, and found happiness somewhere else entirely.
The singing was amazing – harmonies and split parts, solos and choruses, actions and dancing. Words were clear as a bell, and jokes were delivered with comic timing.
This was the sort of performance I really wouldn’t mind being judged on.
I hope we didn’t make too much of ‘a performance’ in our organisation and control around FOLA’s Christmas discos. These are run by the volunteer parent team, with a good slice of staff support. They want to be safe and sure and confident they have all the bases covered, and so felt the need to have booking tickets available, and to put out an indicative limit on attendance numbers.
We had two very busy events in the one evening and a whole lot of fun was had, but the volume of email, text and message must have added enormously to their stress leading up to opening the doors.
I think they did an excellent job.
It’s been another really good week.
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:
Is it due to better and better teaching, harder and harder working pupils, greater and greater support from parents, education reforms, curriculum change, the positive impact of successive Secretaries of State for Education, evolution, the internet, an inevitable and unstoppable law of social change, or something else entirely?
GCSE results hit an all-time high: tests are getting easier?
A* at A Level reaches a new record high: curriculum is narrower?
Three quarters of graduates get a 2:1 or first class honours degree: Universities are inflating grades?
8% increase nationally in ‘new’ Key Stage 2 tests in their second year: teaching to the test and losing a ‘rich curriculum’?
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck was a French naturalist who developed a theory that learned behaviour of an animal, which is supposed to result from physical and chemical changes in the nervous system, can be inherited by its offspring. Lamarck was writing 70 years or so before Darwin.
According to the hypothesis of formative causation, there is no difference between innate and learned behaviour. This hypothesis therefore admits a possible transmission of learned behaviour from one animal to another, and leads to testable predictions of the Lamarckian theory.
'Cultural inheritance', whereby the offspring learn patterns of behaviour from their parents or other adults, is different – it requires the adult and offspring to be together. Lamarckian theory and ‘formative causation’ do not.
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? If I learn a new skill, such as playing an instrument, speaking a new language or running a maze, my children will acquire the same skills quicker than I did?
Except this has been demonstrated in the lab (using rats learning to run mazes using negative stimuli). Successive generations of rats learn novel mazes quicker and quicker, even though they were not raised by their parents - the knowledge could not be passed by demonstration or modelling.
However, Lamarck’s theory fails to explain the continued presence of simple organisms, while Darwin’s expects them to always exist, and Lamarck’s ideas fell out of favour.Students at all ages ARE scoring higher than ever before, so something is causing this progress. It may be hasty of any group to claim all the credit, though many would like to.