Never Mind The Quality - feel the width

It might be tempting, in a school as busy as ours, to be distracted by the very breadth and frequency of what we offer and then to judge us on that alone.

I have many times before written about our ‘ordinary’ weeks and the incredible things we have organised and offered. We sometimes, it seems, forget that the regular offerings are not so regular in all schools and are certainly not part of any guarantee. There is not a week that goes by that does contain something different – I literally find myself laughing at what we put on at times.

The last five school days were no different to this picture of everyday normality at Lydgate Junior School – there were children who are not the best swimmers perhaps out at Ponds Forge for an ‘AquaFest’ all paid for by PE & Sports Premium. We had assemblies led by Reverend Nockles, where she daubed the Headteacher with ashes as she told the children about Ash Wednesday reminding people about their own limited life-span. There was a School Council meeting, with a pupil representative form each class. A Speech and Language specialist came in to work with a couple of pupils. Our Year 6 Leader went to one of the neighbouring Secondary Schools to start the transition process for children moving on in September. World Book Day saw children dressed up, books on sale, free book tokens exchanged, a book swap in full-flow, outdoor learning on a treasure hunt, and parents visiting our new library. A Year 4 class used the wood. FOLA hosted a second hand uniform sale after school. Year 5 pupils, all of them, went to the City Hall for a Halle Orchestra concert and Year 6 went to Birkdale School for a performance of Les Miserables. I attended two Admission Appeals at the Town Hall (and lost both – see next week’s blog). Three pupils went to Lydgate Park as part of their School Council work. Parents attended SEN reviews with our SENCO and the class teacher (and admin support). Taylor Shaw area manager visited to review changes and improvements made recently to service, and to update on plans. Fairly normal activities, but on top of the usual lessons and extra-curricular range.

As I say, we could then confuse the level of activity (width) with the impact of that activity (quality).

The children who went swimming were deliberately chosen. Rev.Nockles helps us build community links. School Council listens to children and helps them feel listened to in school. Individual needs are met. Smooth movement is ensured. Literacy is promoted successfully. Active and outdoor learning promotes engagement. Parents are involved usefully in school. We have a positive environmental impact. Children enjoy a vastly rich culture, and we do not take anything for granted, assuming all our pupils do this outside school. Activities are (sometimes) provided totally for free. Developments are sustained. Parents are listened to and are provided with good quality information.

I think we provide both quality and width – massive provision, all of good quality.

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