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/dB), Miss Hayden (3RH), Mrs Holden (3SH) and Miss Wall (3AW). We have several Teaching Assistants who work with Y3 children at different times through the week: Miss Mahon, Mr Bartholomew, Mrs Dawes and Miss Kania.
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 consists of: Mrs Loosley (5NL), Miss Cunningham (5EC), Mrs Ridsdale and Mrs Webb (5W/R) and Mr Bradshaw (5BB). The children are also supported by our teaching assistants: Mr Swain, Mr Jenkinson, Mrs Hornsey and Mrs Allen. We have help from Mr Jones, Miss Lee, Ms Grimsley and Ms Reasbeck too. What a fantastic team!
Our PE days are Tuesday (indoor) and Wednesday (outdoor): the children need to wear their PE kits for school on those days.
Spellings are sent home every Monday, to learn ready for a spelling dictation each Friday.
Homework books (maths and SPaG) will be sent home once a week - the days will be decided by the class teachers who will let their classes know. They will have a whole week to complete the homework tasks.
In our weekly blogs, the children will share some of the things they have been doing at school. Check in each weekend for the latest Y5 news!
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); Mrs Rougvie and Mrs Jones (Y6R/J); Mrs Phillips (Y6CP); and Miss Norris (Y6HN). Also teaching in Year 6 are: Miss Lee (Thursday in Y6R/J); Mrs Farrell (Thursday in Y6HN); Mrs Grimsley (Thursday in Y6CP); and Mr Jones (Thursday inY6S/W).We are also very lucky to be helped by Mrs Hill, Mrs Mulqueen and Mr Gartrell. 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....
We had a meeting of four staff on Friday afternoon to talk about the profile of our RRS (rights Respecting Schools) work, and whether it being embedded and internalised was enough – we considered whether it didn’t need to have an openly overt presence and voice – so that we constantly proclaim what we are about and why we do what we do.
The risk, we felt, of just being this way – of having RRS ingrained but not specifically spoken about – is that we are only hoping that the intentions come across through modelling and treating others well (and first).
We decided that we do need to return to making things far more explicit.
- We had started putting the relevant Article on every document, but had stopped doing this.
- We had been having weekly Assemblies based on Articles, but have stopped doing this.
- We had ensured a lesson each week in each class, but the summer term’s events put paid to much of that.
- When we organised or participated in certain events we promoted the RRS scheme through them, but such things have not taken place so much.
We will return to our former position, of stating the rationale more clearly, through staff training and all the things above.
So Monday’s Assembly, ostensibly about The Lost Sheep (but actually about respecting play equipment given freely), will promote Article 31, the right to play.
Our activities to support Children in Need (13th November, the second Friday after half term holiday) will support Article 24, he right to inclusive education
Our immediate provision of remote learning for any isolating groups will also promote Article 29 – the right to a high quality education.
Removing the (condemned) ‘Parent Shelter’ from the top playground, will help keep children safe from harm (Article 19 – the right to be protected for injury).
SEND review meetings over two weeks will make sure that children can enjoy Article 29, and the right to an education that develops them to their individual potential.
Our constant insistence over Covid-19 safety measures will provide for Article 24, and the right to the best possible health standards and protection.
Getting School Council restarted quickly will provide for the right to voice opinion and to be listened to seriously and sincerely (Article 12).
Altering staffing to increase our pastoral capacity will ensure we can provide for children’s rights under Article 39 – recovery (physical or psychological) in an environment that fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child after lock-down or as another result of coronavirus.
Introducing an additional agreement with parents whose children are part of an isolating ‘bubble’ about online learning and appropriate behaviour expectations will protect children’s rights in Article 16, and parents’ responsibility in Article 18, so that we use it well and respectfully.
The over-arching intention is to have the child at the core of what we do – their needs, their best interests, their rights.
After staff had stripped all the display boards in the communal areas of school during the week, and then prepared them for next use, staff mounted our latest ‘whole school art’ after school today.
The theme this term is ‘Fairy Tales’.
Normally we would find a way to invite parents to take a look – with parent consultations on Monday and Thursday next week we would, normally, pre-Covid, have been sure to see children showing proud and curious parents where their piece is displayed; they are in Reception, along the top corridor, in the servery, around the hall, outside and inside the IT suite, filling the music room, up and down both sets of stairs.
There are wolves, ramparts and walls, Rapunzels in towers, mountains and forbidden forests, castles surrounded by magical woods, each telling a section of a story and each produced using a different technique. Every child in every class has made a piece for display.
DfE and Ofsted have stated that they want to see schools getting back to delivering a broad, engaging, quality curriculum as soon as possible. In their early Inspections (report out this week – click here for the pdf report) Ofsted have commented on how those schools visited are planning on getting back to something like a full curriculum by the summer term.
We do not intend to brag, but we do believe we are doing well, and are well on the way with this. Limited space prevents the final pieces falling into place just yet but we have all the core subjects covered, music projects going on, whole school art, out of hours activities, PE indoors and out, visits taken place and planned for next week, selected visitors enhancing provision, swimming lessons in Year 4 and cycle training (outdoors of course) for Year 6.
We do need to sort methods, digitally most likely, of delivering lessons in Mandarin and re-establishing peripatetic instrument lessons, but other than that we really are engaging children in lessons in a broad, engaging and quality curriculum.
Schools were told by DfE, back in July, what the expectation would be for ‘home learning’ (or ‘blended learning’ as it has also become known). Quite fairly they want to see every school earn its funding and fulfil each child’s right to a high quality education that meets the child’s needs if pupils of any number are not in school because of coronavirus outbreaks or infection.
The guidance says that schools need to be ready (by last Wednesday, in fact) to provide such remote learning ‘immediately’. There’s detail but a good portion of fudge – so much so that schools have still to work out quite what t means and here in Sheffield we have still to receive a local interpretation or detail of a minimum offer.
At our school we have been discussing the implications and possibilities at senior leadership level. The discussion will move to Governors’ Committees next week, to consider the costs of what is implied and needed. There are inherent difficulties in meeting the national expectation, not least a 180 degree disagreement over what might be the most difficult scenario. DfE thinks it will be when whole ‘bubbles’ are sent home to isolate; we think it will be when individual pupils only are off and isolating, or small groups, with the teacher still working at school teaching the rest of the class / ‘bubble’. Because in that situation, how is the teacher to both teach the class – perhaps 27 out of 30 children (full time) – and the three children who are at home? How is the class teacher supposed to be in daily contact with those children, to set up their learning for the day, and later to review progress, and also run their full-time class at exactly the same time? And if one is supposed to be done ‘asynchronously’ (i.e. recorded earlier and emailed out) when do they do that extra work? How are schools meant to fulfil their duties on staff welfare and well-being and at the same time expect teachers to work two jobs concurrently?
It seems to us that we will simply need to employ an extra teacher per year group, to provide all that work and contact, but without any increase in school income.
This is more of a problem than simply money – we are also concerned about online access at home in a way that is more fundamental and likely more widespread than the anticipated ‘digital divide’. Take the family with, say, three children who are isolating as a household. Do they have three devices and enough bandwidth to access what their schools provide? Can they all watch in at 9 o’clock if the teachers broadcast at the same time? Can they research, write up, play and feedback for five hours each (as the guidance suggests a full day of activities)?
But last night it got serious – last night the Secretary of State issued a ‘Direction’ that means instead of these being ‘guidance’ they have become a legal expectation, through the emergency Coronavirus legislation that gives extra, swift powers to government. Without detail or examples (a webcast is available next week, ‘limited’ to 10,000 viewers!) we cannot yet know what the law actually expects. These things usually sound and read as though they were intended for Secondary Schools (can we expect parents in their kitchens to provide reception children with the equipment needed for experiential learning of the range, detail and length they would have through professionals in school settings?) so we will want interpretation locally, and a conversation with local colleagues to see what they are actually doing.
Making it law is an interesting step, though – the wording has not changed but it has become a requirement rather than an expectation.
And that’s all very well and good, but I still do not see how the class teacher in my school is going to both teach the class and teach the children at home, all while we protect ‘bubbles’ and minimise mixing.
Your thoughts, as ever, will be welcome.
Each year we return to the Global Goals (https://www.globalgoals.org/), and use the World’s Largest Lesson (https://worldslargestlesson.globalgoals.org/) to help each class consider how they, individually and collectively, can help the global effort to achieve sustainable development.
The Goals are written and organised as if by magic into 17 - one for each of our 16 classes and one extra. I can then use that one as my assembly focus. Surely they did not design it just this way just for us?
The Goal I will focus on, number 17, is ‘Partnership for the Goals’ (https://www.globalgoals.org/17-partnerships-for-the-goals)
This is where it gets amusing, interesting and contradictory for me, as the message can be at odds with other Assembly themes I have used, and written about on these blogs.
I do like to stress how the efforts of individuals are hugely important and at times the only thing each of us can do. The Friends of The Earth slogan, ‘Act Local, Think Global, (https://www.foei.org/) sums this up nicely – I alone cannot stop the melting ice caps but I can turn some lights off at home. I use the story of the boy on the beach throwing single starfish back into the sea he explains that he is, on each throw, making a difference to that one, even if he cannot save them all.
So each class will consider a Goal, from 1 to 16.
I will explain how the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts. I am looking for a useful and physical / visual analogy to illustrate the point – and I have toyed with retelling the Stone Soup story, and with building a 17-brick wall of bricks, each labelled with a Global Goal, a class number or a GG number. I ran the idea of stone soup past a colleague but they didn’t think it worked (she could not guess the point I was hoping to make – that all the ingredients together made a tastier soup than one by itself). And I can see how, by building a wall of bricks in front of my laptop webcam as I ‘Zoom’ the Assembly, it might get distractingly comic as I brick myself out of shot. A mentor in my early years of Headship pointed out that Assemblies did need to be more than just memorable – the message had to get across and be remembered for it to work.
Archbishop Tutu reminds us that we should, ‘Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.’
Maybe, with this in mind, it is okay to build the wall, block me out, and show how the 16 classes and the 16 Goals together, working in unity, can overwhelm the world (and me)?
I’m off to a leading DIY store to buy 17 bricks.
In this blog I want to thank the school community for making our full return to school go smoothly so far. There have been changes to get used to, but everyone seems to have adjusted really well. Where we have had relatively small issues these are being addressed with practice adapted calmly and quietly.
Year 3 parents have totally supported our use of the alternative entrance from Tapton field. This massively (25%) reduced the number of people at the top gate and has meant we are not worried about excessive mixing or ‘close contacts.
Our plan for arriving at school for all pupils over a relaxed 25 minute period, rather than trying to manage staggered starts and finishes (and potentially causing huge clashes within school and with other schools), is working very well. After a couple of days right at the start of term where there was a bit of consternation about the size of the first thing rush things have smoothed out. We can see how pupils are now arriving over the longer period rather than all at once – parents and pupils are self-regulating the situation so they arrive at a time when they feel comfortable.
Hand washing expectations were not easy for a few children, but as we have continued our insistence they have come on board and all children now readily accept the expectation and wash their hands with soap and running water every time they are asked to (and some do it a few times more).
All schools are trying to minimise onsite visits; some are trying to eliminate them but we have not quite tried to go that far. Parents are being really supportive of this policy, and happily allow staff at the gates to take messages or forgotten lunch boxes, and they are using telephone calls and emails more than previously. This is keeping contacts as low as possible and reducing risk all round.
Dinner organisation has been a challenge, but we have been determined, along with our very supportive contractor – Taylor Shaw – to offer a proper, full, school meal service while still protecting ‘bubbles’. It has meant a different timing and rolling structure from usual but the children are adapting to it very well. After one or two questions about whether the children were getting long enough to eat we are now seeing children themselves recognise that they do have time (if they do less chat while eating). In fact the children get 1 full 15 minutes in the hall, far longer than they would have taken previously. Staff are working flat out to secure this provision and ensure a positive lunch and play time.
With the changing rooms out of action (no fresh air flow and so we have decided in the risk Assessment that the rooms are not ‘Covid-safe’) changing for PE was going to be a problem. We asked parents to send children to school on the right days already in PE kit, and they are. It is saving lots of time, lots of contact points from occurring, and keeping cloakrooms clear so storage, and hand washing, is clearer.
When we asked that children also come kitted out ready for Clubs and out of hours activities, parents and children supported this too. We have had a conversation or two about football team tops and we have seen great support and understanding on that one – parents, staff and pupils together doing it right.
Every school in the country is probably experiencing higher rates of absence than usual for September – ours is up to 12% when it would normally be as low as 3%. Parents are being wonderfully understanding and supportive when we send a child home after they have been coughing all morning, perhaps, or they are keeping children at home, isolating, with similar symptoms. Parents are accessing tests as soon as possible, and then showing commitment to education by returning their child to school as soon as a negative result comes back and their child feels well enough. I cannot thank them enough for doing this – it is the first of the four most important steps we must take and it is reassuring that parents take it so seriously.
We will be asking understanding for more change over the rest of the term; SEND meetings and Parent Evenings will be online or by telephone as we minimise face to face meetings; swimming lessons, about to start in Year 4, will need children to be ‘beach ready’ as they come to school; the amount we ask as voluntary parental contributions for trips may go up as we have to make travel arrangements that protect ‘bubbles’; and so on.