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....
- 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.
This was the annual ‘SATs’ week for 700,000 children in Year 6, including every last one of our 120 Year 6 pupils.
By Friday lunchtime every single one of our Year 6 pupils had completed every single one of the tests set.
And you might well think that this is just how it should be. But two of the children were sick on Monday and went home to miss the next day or two. Another pupil attends a different setting for part of the week and so missed tests back with us on two mornings.
So here’s an indication of qualities and attitudes, rather than knowledge or skills: all three children, and their parents, wanted to complete the full suite of tests. There are systems available now that allow this to happen (as long as I apply for and gain permission) through a timetable variation.
When they returned I applied and gained the necessary nods of approval from the appropriate body. Though it was inconvenient for us and required some difficult reorganisation, we staffed it properly to ensure the secure running of their tests.
Just consider what they did; they had been off ill, or educated off-site, and none of them actually had to sit the tests, but all wanted to and asked to. There is no scale of resilience or determination, but if they are both binary qualities all three children score 1 in both measures.
I honestly have no idea how they will fare when it comes to marks and standards – for one thing I am not allowed to even look at the test papers once the children have completed them. I do know that these three (along with all the other children across the country who have tried so hard) deserve to get full marks. The external marker has no idea when each child sat the tests they are marking and so no allowance is made. The mark they get will only record their score in the test. So does the approach, attitude, stick-at-it-ability not matter nor get recorded?
Answer: yes and yes. We have noted it, and will report it to parents in the children’s Reports at the end of the year. That’s one of the things Reports do that raw test scores cannot. It is why we still write prose as well as report scores.
Proud of them, I am.
Linford Christie said that some of the secret of his 100m success (Olympic gold medallist in Barcelona) was down to a very good start - going on the 'B' of the 'BANG!'
I try hard to avoid leaning into my personal activities on this blog, but this morning's achievement lends itself well to a lesson. I Parkrun - I am on 133 of the little beauties. This morning I blew away my previous best time for the 5 km run, beating my previous record at Hillsborough Park by over a minute, and going under 22 minutes for the first time ever. At the start I had edged forward toward the front, but only to say hello to a friend. I then saw someone else, a member of my running club, nearer the front than me that I decided to chase - I had narrowly beaten him at a race earlier this year and knew he would set a good, but not reckless, pace. The run started and my 'hare' set off much quicker than I expected - he went on the 'B'. I went hard, too, much harder than I would normally run the first 200 metres. The first lap was up on my usual time, and so was the second, but I did not consider a PB possibility until the final 100 metres, when I had actually overhauled my 'hare' and pushed on. I was faster overall because I was faster at the start and in the first part of the run.
I achieved my highest ever age-grading (over 70% of the world best for my age), my course PB, my all-time Parkrun PB, and, says the email, my year's best time. My 'splits' showed a slight negative trend (I got marginally faster, not slower, as I went on, and not much-faster-at-the-end-having-held-back-earlier.) Was it solely because I went on the 'B'?
Because if so, and I am in Headteacher-mode now, we need to get all the teachers and all the children to go on the 'B' on Monday morning if they are to achieve at their greatest ever rate of learning this year. None of that 'get to know each other' stuff. None of that 'settling in', setting the scene, building up the pace slowly, getting to know each other first, setting out the expectations, spending time on the rules, finding out whether the children had a nice break.
There is, of course, much more to the story of my PB than the fast start. I've done a lot of miles this summer, on road, hill, fell, field and trail. I ran at home and I ran when away. I started regularly running on Wednesday evenings with my Club. I have had great variety, from 5 km runs to 10 km trail races and to city centre orienteering events. On holiday we walked up and down hill despite the warmth of the evenings and the angle of the slope. I'd had a rest day before today, and unusually I'd had breakfast before running. I've run by myself, in pairs and in groups. I've chatted with people I did not know before but who were there this morning. And I brought cake for someone's 100 Parkrun milestone.
I suspect that the children who will make the new 'personal best' in learning achievements will be ready to go on the 'B' on Monday morning, but they'll be ready because they have:
read all summer long, (and talked and listened and counted and sung and swum and run and drawn ...)
read from a wide variety of things,
read new things and done new things,
shared what they have done with others, and talked about their experiences,
done things at home and when away,
kept it regular,
kept it in perspective,
and had some cake or shared some cake with other people.
Can I start by saying that his Blog Post has been produced at no cost to the taxpayer? I have done all the research, all the reading, and calculating, processing, sifting, questioning, comparing, writing and editing in my own time, on my own PC, using my own electricity, telephone line and broadband. I wouldn’t want you to think I was wasting school’s income on trivia and blind alleys.
I have written before about how our school’s income compares to that of other schools, and as we get closer to setting a new budget I am going there again. Successive Ministers for Education have talked about the issue for the last 20 years, and the Chancellor announced a consultation to happen this year, so it clearly isn’t just me.
So, as it has been a topic of conversation and deliberation for so long, how are we getting on?
There are some differences that are really hard to explain and to justify, and the differences between school types within the Primary sector baffle me. In Sheffield we have a mixture of Infants, Nursery and Infants, Juniors, Primaries, and Nursery, Infant and Juniors (sometimes known as ‘through Primaries’). There will be some individual school differences in funding level due to social deprivation (Pupil Premium), size (pupil numbers), rates, buildings ownership arrangements and so on. So I removed those factors, and then added them up and averaged them out. Surely, across a city as big as Sheffield there should be parity between these three parts of one sector of the education system?
The average income per pupil for Sheffield Infant (including Nursery and Infant) Schools was £3,909.87.
The average income per pupil for Sheffield Junior Schools was £3,596.08.
And the average income per pupil for Sheffield Primary (including through Primaries) Schools was £3,969.68.
I understand Infant Schools’ income being higher due to staffing ratio requirements in Nursery and capacity guarantee issues around provision for 2 and 3 year olds. But shouldn’t the figure for Primary Schools then be between Infant and Junior?
I am aware of the potential impact of the flat sum given to each school regardless of pupil numbers. This ‘small school protection’ payment allows each school to carry out the statutory duties that apply regardless of how many pupils you have. In Sheffield it is £150,000 per school. (No idea what it is elsewhere in the country as local authorities do not have to publish the detail of their school funding formulas.)
When you remove the £150,000 from each Sheffield school’s income and recalculate the average income, we get:
Infant - £3,111
Junior - £3,068
Primary - £3,483.
That £415 per pupil per year difference would increase our income by 13% or by £235,608 a year.
My data set is limited, however, and I acknowledge the fact. Getting to the funding schemes for Academies is really difficult. They are not funded via the local authority and so the funding formula used to derive their income is not shared with us. According to the DfE, Academies should publish this on their websites. I’ve just spent 20 minutes trying to find it from five Primary Academies in Sheffield and failed. On the DfE’s site you can get the Academy’s funding report, but these are usually about an Academy chain or ‘umbrella’ and so income for single schools is impossible to extract.
In days gone by Ofsted made a judgement about ‘value for money’ in their school inspections. So I had a look at this. The Performance Tables let us compare our school with 150 ‘similar schools’, selected by algorithm on the DfE Tables site. Not one that performs better than us is within 75 miles of our site. We rank joint 18th in pupil performance against these 150 ‘similar schools’. If you select all those ahead of us, and level with us, and then click on compare, and then on the 20 schools button, then finance and finally sort by clicking the top of the income column in the finance page, you find we were lowest funded per pupil. That’s got to be ‘VFM’, surely?(Am I being selective in my use of data? Try the next twenty schools, those twenty who performed below us - we got less income per pupil than every one of them as well.)
The next lowest got £88 per pupil more than us (£42,240 per year for our school size). The two highest funded are both within the M25 and so do need to be able to meet the higher costs of outer or fringes of the capital. One is similar in size to Lydgate Junior School. Its income per pupil is 65% higher than ours. Costs aren’t that much higher near London, are they? (In fact, the Tables pages allow us to see the average salary of the teachers, and theirs is just 17% higher than ours. Class sizes are no smaller – 23.1:1 against 23.3:1, so it’s not that either.)
The finance report for one Academy in Sheffield has not downloaded in the time it has taken me to compose this Post. That’s not on purpose, is it?
I have not moved my school forward on any front in this study, nor changed any public or political opinion. I should, perhaps, resolve to stop considering irrelevant, immovable, unequal numbers. It could ’do my head in’, as the youth of today have probably stopped saying.
‘85% of people cannot see the the mistake in this sentence.’
Have you fallen for one of these on Facebook or elsewhere? And felt a little bit stupid?
Well, in the course of duty, I’ve just watched a video that explained how Primary schools will have ‘value added’ calculated next year. Fascinating! And I think I spotted the mistake in the explanation.
The challenge is that Year 2 outcomes of three years ago measured against a different curriculum to that which Year 6 are studying now, in a different scoring system (‘Levels’ then, and a ‘scaled score around 100’ in 2016), using all teacher assessment against national tests and in a stable situation (no change at KS 1 since 2004) against a brand-new one (we won’t know how to attain the ‘scaled score around 100’ until after the tests have all been marked, externally of course).
Well, the video explain how, in a class of 28, each child counts. The calculation takes each individual’s KS 1 outcome, for maths, reading and writing, and finds the mean. It compares that one child’s KS 2 ‘scaled score around 100’ against the national average for children with the same KS 1 outcome. That child earns a plus or minus figure for the class, depending on whether they have exceeded or trailed the national average (for children of the same prior attainment).
The total for the class or cohort is added up and averaged. A positive value added is good, and a negative is poor (though Ofsted seem to be suggesting that down to -0.3 will still be considered ‘average’).
Did you spot the the mistake? Obvious, really – those cheeky chappies – such little scamps and jokers the lot of them. I mean, who ever heard of a class of only 28!